KSQD 90.7 FM Santa Cruz
KSQD 90.7 FM Santa Cruz
Jewish Dialogues on Israel, Gaza and Palestine

Jewish Dialogues on Israel-Gaza-Palestine

What conversations are Jewish people in the United States having about Israel, Gaza and Palestine among themselves at this time? With the collapse of ceasefire resolutions here in our little area of the nation … community members were instructed by our city’s “alternative resolution” to engage in “community dialogues” about the Middle East.

As campus protests heat up across the nation and the world, and as this war grinds on, with famine predicted immediately for Gaza and an invasion of Rafah in Southern Gaza imminent (now ongoing!) … What are self-described progressive Jewish thinkers doing to more deeply understand the situation and one another? And why do they this?

In this show, we speak with four Jewish community leaders who have accepted the challenge of engaging in community dialogues and “listening circles” about a topic that is not just about very real violence, fear and great harm for everyone but has, for these reasons, created deep divisions, not just in the greater society, but in Jewish society–especially outside of Israel.


Sarah Young, coach, facilitator and anti-racism instructor who has co-led the charge for Listening Circles on the current Middle East Crisis, as a way of “supporting listening across differences and striving to heal rifts within the Jewish community.” Sarah conducts workshops on a variety of topics, including Listening and Communication skills, Culturally Responsive Practice, Anti-Racism work, and De-Centering Whiteness. 

Batya Kagan is a therapist, member of the Jewish Renewal community and former youth director for Temple Beth El. Along with Sarah, Batya has been co-producing and leading Listening Circles for the (mostly) Jewish community to help people work through feelings around this complex topic and provide a space for all who participate to be changed by what they hear from others. Batya is also a local licensed Marriage and Family therapist. 

Dana Peleg, Israeli author, award-winning translator (Hebrew-English) and LGBTQ+ and peace activist. Her third book, a Hebrew novel, came out very recently. She lives in Santa Cruz with her partner, son and the cat they serve.

and Andrew Purchin, a psychotherapist and multidisciplinary artist who works with both inner and outer conflicts through public art projects that involve community members from all sides of essential issues. Purchin received the 2020 Ron Kovic Peace Prize for his short documentary, The Curious Scroll. Purchin brought an empty scroll to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in 2016 and around Santa Cruz County before the 2018 election. Hundreds of people created art on the scroll to find calm and to explore questions like, “What is beautiful and what is ugly to you?” The next layer of the Curious Scroll is centered around Palestine/Israel. Purchin is a recipient of a Santa Cruz City Arts Recovery and Design grant and an Awesome Foundation grant for his social practice and documentary project exploring our housing crisis: “What’s Home? Creative Listening Across Differences.”

This show first broadcast on May 6, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Topics covered include:

  • How did each of our guests feel on Oct. 7 and beyond?
  • What have local dialogue or “listening circle” projects been like? Has anything new been learned by participants?
  • What has each guest learned in these dialogues for themselves or wished for as a result of organizing these dialogues?
  • Have they felt afraid of “anti-Semitism” or anti-Jewishness as a result of local and global protests? Why?
  • What are next steps for the Jewish community?

Our guests also respond to to audio clips from student protestors at UCSC and Stanford pro-Palestinian encampments.

Resources and Notes:

Next Listening Circle and panel presentation, Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 pm. Contact Sarah Young through the

Sarah Young website: https://sarahyoungconsulting.com

Sarah Young professional email: sarah@sarahyoungconsulting.com

Andrew Purchin website: www.AndrewPurchin.com.

The Curious Scroll.

Dana Peleg is a member of SF Bay Activists for Peace. Please see SFBay4Peace on “X.”