Barbara Nordstrom-Loeb's Reflection

Following the second intifada, along with many other progressive Jews in Minnesota, I needed a forum and community that was simultaneously pro peace and pro Israel. As a member of the ‘frozen chosen’, I also wanted to also find ways nurture more respectful interactions on this topic, rather than ones that were polarizing or antagonistic. We founded the local chapter of Brit Tzedek chapter to support others in Minnesota, with similar needs.

Locally, we chose to build alliances and to actively advocate for respectful conversations about Israel and Palestine within the Jewish community.
Through Brit Tzedek we also brought in a range national and international speakers, which helped broadened local understanding about the conflict.

Personally, I remember feeling both appreciation and excitement at the sense of connection with so many others across the US and by extension in Israel as well. At national conferences, it was energizing to be surrounded by Jews who cared about the future of Israel and of the Jewish people; Jews who were also willing to speak out and advocate for peace through education, dialogue and peaceful debate. We brought that energy back home and continued to work locally for peace. It was an exciting time filled with possibilities and hope for the future. With the formation of J Street, I feel that the original energy of Brit Tzedek has grown stronger and that it has more impact. My hope is that our continued work in the US will eventually contribute to peace in Israel and Palestine in the near future.

Barbara Nordstrom-Loeb
BTVS- Minnesota Chapter- Co-chair and one of several founders