/BY KATHY POWELL/ //SPECIAL FOR THE AJT// Jeremy Ben Ami

On Feb. 26, Temple Sinai and The Temple are proud to offer “Red State, Blue State, One State, Two State” a program featuring Jeremy Ben Ami and Daniel Gordis.

Each a respected thinker and commentator about Israel, Ben Ami is the President of J-Street, offering a more leftist point of view; and Gordis, an author and columnist for the Jerusalem Post, among other respected positions, will offer a view that is more right of center.

Both individuals will model what it means to have a sacred dialogue about Israel, recognizing that although we often disagree on particular issues, it is very Jewish to dialogue, converse, even argue and debate, but to also to find a place for another’s opinion.

By combining efforts, the leadership of Temple Sinai and The Temple affirm the communal nature of this event. Our tradition affirms the validity and importance of a plurality of opinions, and both Rabbi Ron Segal (Temple Sinai) and Rabbi Peter Berg (The Temple) believe that our community is strongest when sincere and honest dialogue occurs.

This event, then, becomes the focal point for one of the most important conversations impacting the Jewish community.

While affirming the unique nature of the event, the organizers have fielded criticism from some in the community for even holding the debate. Rabbi Brad Levenberg (Temple Sinai) likens the event to a continuation of a conversation that was most recently held in conjunction with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Rabbi Levenberg states, “For three years, I have co-chaired the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Selection Committee and have participated in countless conversations concerning whether a film is ‘too controversial’ to be shown in the festival. I have held, as have my predecessors, that film can be a wonderful vehicle to contribute new ideas and new perspectives to a receptive audience. Thus, the conversation that occurred over the AJFF, with films such as “Bethlehem” and “Omar,” continues on Feb 26.”

When asked about those who may attend but disagree with either of the presenters, Rabbi Levenberg responded, “If you disagree with Jeremy or Danny, your attendance at the program will demonstrate that you are fully capable of listening to a presentation to which you are in opposition. We don’t win the argument refusing to participate in the conversation. That’s not what Jews do.”

The event will take place at Temple Sinai at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26. Doors open at 7 p.m. for open seating. There is no cost for this event. Please RSVP to www.templesinaiatlanta.org.