Discussion Guide - Silence and Rupture

December 27, 2014
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1. How would a discussion change if we changed the way we phrased a question? Consider the difference between these two questions: A) “How do you decide whom to vote for?” and B) “Whom should we vote for in the next election”? What makes a question “big” rather than “hard”?

2. Silence during a conversation is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable. How could we turn that silence into a meaningful pause for listening,
reflecting, and formulating a response?

3. We learn in Midrash Tanhuma that the Torah was written with words and pauses —  “black fire on white fire.” What does this mean? What is the
significance of the spaces within the text? What role do pauses play in literature or in the performance and narrative of stories?

4. Should all Jewish communal professionals — not just rabbis and academics — be provided with some form of a sabbatical after several years of service? What impact would such a change have on the Jewish workplace, on Jewish professionals, and on the Jewish community?

5. Rabbi Rami Shapiro writes: “The deepest language of the soul is silence.” What does this mean?

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