19 Jan Makom Salon Offers Candid Conversations, Prompts Contemplation
In 2020, when the global coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay home, the staff of Makom, The Education Lab of The Jewish Agency for Israel, had to adapt to create quality online programs, events, and content to bring Israel and Israel education to life. And so The Makom Salon was born.
“We were all at home and thought ‘we should really do something online,’” recounted Abi Dauber Sterne, the Director of Makom. “We decided there was a need for conversations between Israelis and non-Israelis that others could listen to as you often don’t often hear both types of people together discussing Israel, Israel education and Jewish peoplehood.”
The first season of online Salon events, which took place in 2020, met resounding success.
“Makom is known for its candor, for not only naming the elephants in the room but often bringing them into the room in the first place,” explained Abi about why the content of The Makom Salon stands out amidst other COVID-era online conversations. “We’re not afraid to talk about the hard issues and have disagreements… people know our discussions are going to be very real and provocative.”
About 300 people altogether tuned in to the inaugural lineup of sessions, hosted by Abi and Jonny Ariel, the founding director or Makom who now serves as a consultant. Season one conversations have been turned into podcasts so those who did not originally attend the events can tune in.
“The differing backgrounds, ages, and educational environments/focuses of the panelists provided a richer and broader perspective on Israel Education,” shared a season one viewer. “These types of conversations are really important to keep people from only hearing from people who share the same views and perspectives.”
Added another: “I’m glad I signed up for these. They are really enhancing my knowledge and thought processes as a professional in Israel-centered and related work.”
Season two, which began in January 2021, has seen promising registration numbers so far. Each event, which takes place on Zoom, includes guests who share their wisdom and experience, and respond to questions from the host. Featured guests include Rabbi Tamar Elad-Applebaum, Prof. Jon Levisohn, Lucy Aharish, and Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl. Recordings of the second season will be made available.
“Often the topic of Israel as a subject matter feels very cold and not everyone wants that, especially now,” said Abi on what viewers can expect from Salon discussions. “This is an hour-long experience about Israel that is also soulful and emotional, not political or historical. And I think that’s why it seems to have really struck some sort of chord and generated such a good response.”
To register for upcoming season two sessions, click here.