United Hebrew Congregation, 13788 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO 63141 | 314-469-0700

How to Disagree Constructively – Zoom

August 5, 2020, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join Cantor Eichaker for this six-week intensive course on healthy dialogue under the auspices of the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem.

The class is free for UH members and $60 for non-members

Register at the bottom of the page or by calling Esther Olson at 314-469-0700.

Detailed Class Description

Our environment can be a challenging and frustrating place to hold conversations when topics of deep, personal issues are dominating our lives. Friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances and even first-time encounters can result in jarring and upsetting scenes when disagreements are locked in personal biases and nonconstructive dialogue.

Disagreeing constructively does not come naturally. It is taught and learned either through the hard and often random experiences of daily encounters, or through a coordinated series of interactive study sessions with a well-prepared curriculum.

For over 2000 years, Jewish scholars and students have engaged in deep and constructive disagreements over various topics, which have formed the basis of Jewish studies and problem solving we practice today.

Recently, disagreements have become increasingly polarizing and, in some cases, violent. The Pardes Institute’s Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution has spent over a decade developing methods for using Jewish texts to teach the concept and practice of mahloket l’shem shamayim (disagreements for the sake of Heaven/constructive disagreements).

Cantor Eichaker will use Pardes Institute’s curriculum, Mahloket Matters – How to Disagree Constructively – the Beit Midrash Way in a six-week class (starting….) as his foundation to help people better handle the hard conversations we are hearing and having today. This course is interactive and encourages participants to openly and candidly discuss their opinions with others in havruta (study pairs) via Zoom breakout rooms. We recommend participants register with a partner or partners so that breakout cohorts can be formed prior to the first session. If an individual wishes to register, we can arrange a breakout room as each session will include at least two breakout sessions.

Mahloket Matters – How to Disagree Constructively is appropriate for adults of all ages and demographics. Once you finish the six-week course, you will have tools to diagnose nonconstructive disagreements and resources to help you broaden your own process of gathering information and facts that will assist you in understanding your own opinions and those of others.

Cantor Eichaker will be leading a six-week course (beginning Wednesday, August 5th) on Constructive Disagreement in the style of the traditional Beit Midrash (Jewish House of Study).

Weekly Course Breakdown

  1. Introduction – Rabbinic Concepts of the Beit Midrash Way
  2. Unit 1 – Meet or Refuse to Meet? From Korah and Moses to Political Adversaries Today
  3. Unit 2 – Fear War or Trust Peace? From Jacob and Esau through Chamberlain and Menachem Begin to Today
  4. Unit 3 – Xenophobia or National Security? From Pharaoh and the Israelites through Japanese Internment to Today
  5. Unit 4 – Coexist or Separate? From Isaac and Ishmael to Israelis and Palestinians Today
  6. Unit 5 – “Fake News” or Uncovering the Truth? From Joseph and his brothers through Jefferson and Hamilton to Today

After registration, an e-mail confirmation will be sent which will include supplemental resources that will prepare you for six weeks of open, informative, engaging and stimulating learning. A pre-course survey will be provided, created by the Pardes Institute along with a post-course survey . Also, you will have the opportunity to take a personal evaluation and education course from Open Mind. This on-line, optional course is for your personal use and can be done at any time. A special password will be provided upon registration.

The month of Elul is a time to consider where we have been, where we are today and where we are going. As we look toward the New Year ahead, we will be faced with many new realities and we will have to adapt, adjust and be equipped to handle some hard unknowns. We want this course to help guide you today and long into a healthy and successful future.


Register below or by calling Esther Olson at 314-469-0700.

How to Disagree Constructively - Zoom