Hello friends and followers, happy 2016! Thank you for subscribing to the monthly listing of my Seattle-area public talks, presentations, and discussions.

Israeli Settlement Policy: January 5 at Herzl-Ner Tamid

The Israel Current Events series kicked off last month at Herzl-Ner Tamid on Mercer Island, but you can still join. (Please note that the content will not necessarily match that of the groups at Temple B'nai Torah in Bellevue, Temple Beth El in Tacoma, or The Summit at First Hill in Seattle.) The next session will be on Tuesday, January 5, and will explore the topic of Jewish settlements on the West Bank (or “Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” depending on one’s political views….). Whose land is it, anyway? Why are these communities so problematic? We’ll consider Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter and its suburbs, Efrat, Ariel, Hebron, and Migron—what do they all have in common, and how are they different? Why should or should not Jews live in any of these places? I will not be advocating for any particular viewpoint or ideology; rather, we will explore the arguments on all sides of the debate and look at some options for resolving the question in the context of a future two-state solution.
The full 7-session series at Herzl costs $100 and advance registration is required here. Part-series registrations are accepted with a pro-rated fee, and single-session drop-ins will be accommodated as space allows. You are welcome to bring a dairy lunch.

Israel on College Campuses

The monthly Israel Current Events series continues at Temple B'nai Torah in Bellevue and The Summit at First Hill. (For a review of the series, please see A safe space for difficult discussions by Janis Siegel in the JT News.) 
In this month's session, we will examine how Israel is portrayed and perceived on North American college campuses—increasingly hostile environments to Israel, and sometimes even to Jewish students. What is happening in the classrooms, with student activists, and with faculty members’ academic associations? How much of this hostility is driven by disagreements with specific Israeli policies vs. delegitimization of the basic notion of a Jewish state? How is it helping (or hurting) the Palestinian people and the quest for peace? Who is responding to this troubling trend, and what are they doing to address the issue?
Please join us to explore the facts and consider different viewpoints in a safe and inclusive setting.

  • Wednesday, January 6, noon to 1:30 p.m. at Temple B'nai Torah in Bellevue. There is a $5 fee to attend ($8 for non-members of TBT), and you are welcome to bring your lunch.
  • Thursday, January 7, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Temple B'nai Torah in Bellevue. There is a $5 fee to attend ($8 for non-members of TBT), and you are welcome to bring your dinner.
  • Wednesday, January 13, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Summit at First Hill in Seattle. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited and advance registration is requested.

Optional pre-reading for these sessions is available at


Middle East Turmoil: Syria’s Disintegration and Broader Regional Trends

On Sunday, January 10, 2016, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Temple De Hirsch Sinai (Seattle campus), I will review the latest news and “broader view” implications from the tumultuous Middle East. The presentation is offered as part of TDHS’s Parent Education Program, for members only.


Israel Current Events in Tacoma

On Sunday, January 17, from 10:30 a.m. to noon I will be back at Temple Beth El in Tacoma. The topic is still being finalized; contact me for details.


Coming Up....

Next month's Israel Current Events discussions will be at Herzl-Ner Tamid (February 2 at noon; advance registration required), Temple B'nai Torah (Feb. 3 at noon and Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m.), The Summit (Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.), and Temple Beth El (date TBA). Save the dates now, and watch for details in next month's update.

As always, I welcome your input. Please contact me by email or through my website with any questions or suggestions for future topics.

I'm available for more speaking!

I welcome a chance to engage with additional groups and forums. Is your synagogue, community group, book club, or any other organization interested in having an informed and open discussion about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Would you like to learn more about the settlements debate, the refugee problem, or the different viewpoints regarding Israel within the Jewish community? Would you like to bring the Israel Current Events series to an additional audience? I can also customize topics and format to any group and forum. Contact me (or just reply to this message), with no obligation, to discuss possibilities.

You are welcome to share and forward this message and to invite others to attend. If you have received this notice second-hand, you can sign up to join this mailing list.


Nevet Basker
Broader View: Israel Resource Center
(425) 681-5545

For information and resources about Israel, please visit my Web site,, or “Like” my Facebook page at Subscribe to the newsletter for monthly updates and analysis!