Understanding the Progressive Movement and Israel

The recent surge of antisemitic attacks, anti-Israel rhetoric, and violence in Israel and Gaza leaves many Jews feeling vulnerable, uncertain, and even in fear for personal safety.  Synagogues have been vandalized and for the first time in their lives, some American Jews are afraid to wear Jewish symbols in public.  This topic came up theoretically during our program with Bari Weiss, and at that time she was encouraging Jews to be front and center, countering antisemitism with loud and proud Jewish pride and visibility.   

The Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s newly created Task Force on Israel and Antisemitism has scheduled a series of programs, events, and speakers to assist in gaining some background, clarity, and perspective on how to address these concerns in a practical, effective and meaningful manner.  On Sunday, August 1, the Task Force, in coordination with the Jewish Community Relations Committee, will welcome Oren Jacobson, Project Shema co-founder, to Nashville for a public program.  

Project Shema offers presentations and workshops to help the American Jewish community explore these questions and engage more effectively with progressives on issues surrounding Israel and antisemitism.  Named after the Hebrew word which means "to hear" or "listen", Project Shema seeks to help Jewish organizations and advocates build stronger bonds of trust between our Jewish community and members of the progressive movement. 

 Oren ’s grandfather was among the 10% of Polish Jews to survive WWII, making his life a statistical improbability. This truth guides and motivates Oren to live a life worthy of the Jewish lives lost for the crime of being a Jew, dedicated to supporting, strengthening, and protecting all who are attacked for the crime of being who they are. Oren knows that while progress can be slow, urgency is required in the face of injustice. In professional and personal practice, deep pride in his Jewish identity instills in him a sense of duty to disrupt the unjust imbalances of our world. ​

The presentation will address the attacks made about Israel that are confronting us in the American Jewish community.  Many American Jews, including Jews on the political left, have grown concerned about the perceived lack of support for Israel among progressives. Some simply claim rampant antisemitism is to blame. Others place all the blame on Israel. The truth is obviously more complex. However, to understand the progressive view of Israel one must first understand the progressive movement. Without that understanding, there is no way to meaningfully engage in healthy and productive dialogue. 

Please join us for this important opportunity to learn about how Israel is perceived in the progressive movement and how we in the Jewish community can develop skills and knowledge to respond more confidently and effectively when confronted with criticism and attacks on Israel and Jews.  Please register at: jewishnashville.org/shema 

For additional information please contact Deborah Oleshansky, deborah@jewishnashville.org 



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