Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Conversations: Pain, Heartache and Courage – Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories with Rabbi Aryeh Azriel



Thursday, June 24 
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Zoom (Registration required)

It’s often helpful to start practicing complex conversations with those we trust in our families and personal networks. 

Tri-Faith Initiative invites you to join us for this special Open Conversation, as we model how to engage in straight talk about one of the most complex topics in modern society: Israel and Palestine.

From Wendy:
Rabbi Azriel and I have known each other for 30+ years and have been partners every step of the way. We don’t always agree but we have deep respect for each other. Please join us as we honestly share our struggles about criticism of Israel and anti-semitism, and discuss the importance of calling out human rights issues.

I invite you to have a “straight talk” conversation this week, with this intention: To make everyone involved feel valued and respected, making space for everyone to express themselves and sincerely listen to others. 

Ask yourself:

  • What am I not seeing here?
  • What else might be true?
  • Are we open to the possibility of learning from and with one another on this complex topic?
  • Do we have the skills, historical context, and willingness to invite a civil conversation — and potentially not end the experience with a unified statement?


Rabbi Aryeh Azriel has been a visionary in directing the focus of the Tri Faith Initiative in Omaha, NE as a globally unique project together on one campus with a common desire to foster mutual understanding, respect and friendship. Born and raised in Israel, Rabbi Azriel received his ordination and Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 1983 from Hebrew Union College and served as the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel from 1988 until his retirement in 2016. He was the recipient of the Otto Swanson Spirit of Service Award in 1993, and in 1997 received the Martin Luther King, Jr. – Living the Dream Award, recognizing his continuing work on building cooperation with projects such as the Mitzvah Garden, Black/Jewish Dialogue, and Habitat for Humanity. He also received the Human Relations Award from the Omaha Education Association, and in 2008 he received his Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College. Additionally, in 2019, Rabbi Azriel was among the six Tri-Faith leaders who accepted the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light award at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial. The Eisendrath award is the highest honor given by the URJ, and it is presented to leaders who showcase the progressive, change-making core values of the group. Rabbi Azriel is currently the Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Israel and a Scholar-in-Residence at Countryside Community Church. Rabbi Azriel resides in Omaha. His wife, Elyce, passed away in 2020. They have two children, Leora and Yaniv, as well as two grandchildren, Gabe and Mia. In his free time, Rabbi Azriel enjoys listening to classical music, reading, and traveling.

Tri-Faith Initiative events are recorded and archived on our YouTube Channel.

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