On Thursday night, Nov. 18, the Narrow Bridge Fellows of Brown University unveiled a new resource titled, “Love Thy Neighbor: A Guide for Tackling Antisemitism While Committing to Justice for All” (lovethyneighborguidebook.com). The guidebook is intended as an introduction to the issue of anti-Semitism, especially as it relates to Zionism and Israel, and applies to the campus context.
Jewish Rhode Island recently caught up with Rabbi Michelle Dardashti, Associate University Chaplain for the Jewish Community at Brown University and Rabbi at Brown RISD Hillel, to find out a little about the guide and the project. Here’s what she had to say.
What distinguishes this resource from the many others being produced by colleagues of mine at Jewish groups across the political spectrum in the realms of Israel and anti-Semitism education/activism (from the Anti-Defamation League to Hillel International, to JFREJ, Stand With Us and more) is that it was produced by a group of Jewish students with a diverse set of agendas, backgrounds and opinions with regard to Israel and Zionism, who came to the table to wrestle it out, so as to be able to more honestly and productively confront anti-Semitism together.
The students attempt to convey in one guide the best of what they gleaned from the various resources they researched. They write from a place of humility, acknowledging that this project comes out of a desire to uncover their own blind spots on anti-Semitism (and particularly where it does and doesn't intersect with anti-Zionism) and to help others do the same. As they write on page 8, “Everyone has blind spots when it comes to anti-Semitism, and none of us can successfully fight this issue on our own.” (You can check out their bios on pages 11 and 12 of the guide.)
The students are trying to work out for themselves and their peers the answers to deep questions and their feelings on complicated issues, many of which are further confused by social media, and share what they learned with a broader audience. The project is shepherded by me, supported jointly by Brown RISD Hillel and the Brown University Office of the Chaplains, and funded by the Dorot Foundation.
For more about the Narrow Bridge Project, go to www.brown.edu/campus-life/spiritual-life/chaplains/programs-projects-and-events/narrow-bridge-project
Download the PDF version of the guidebook at www.lovethyneighborguidebook.com.
You can reach Rabbi Dardashti and the Narrow Bridge Fellows at NarrowBridgeProject@brown.edu.