Mahloket Matters: The Beit Midrash Way" />

Mahloket Matters: The Beit Midrash Way

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Read a reflection from Sefi Kraut,
Pardes faculty member and educator of the Mahloket Matters program.

The Beit Midrash Way
An educational-workshop series for use in your community

Can text study of Biblical stories and their diverse interpretations empower us to engage more constructively in disagreements today?

One fact people across political divides today may still agree upon is that civil discourse between the political divides is turning less and less civil. Indeed, the sheer lack of desire to try to understand those with opposing political opinions (or political identities) and disagree constructively over critical questions is posing an existential threat to democracies around the world.

In response, the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution (PCJCR) has created a new initiative: Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively – The Beit Midrash Way. At the core of the traditional beit midrash, study hall, are havrutot, study pairs, critically studying together mahloket (also spelled machloket and makhloket), conflicting opinions, found on every page of classic Jewish texts. This methodology of studying text can be used to increase the desire and ability to understand and engage more constructively with conflicting political opinions today, improving civil discourse.

Mahloket Matters is designed for your synagogue, federation, campus school and communal study group.

Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively is generously supported by the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, the EGL Charitable Foundation and Ronald Guttman.



  • Introduction – Rabbinic Concepts of the Beit Midrash Way
  • Unit 1 – Meet or Refuse to Meet? From Korah and Moses to Political Adversaries Today
  • Unit 2 – Fear War or Trust Peace? From Jacob and Esau through Chamberlain and Menachem Begin to Today
  • Unit 3 – Xenophobia or National Security? From Pharaoh and the Israelites through Japanese Internment to Today
  • Unit 4 – Coexist or Separate? From Isaac and Ishmael to Israelis and Palestinians Today
  • Unit 5 – “Fake News” or Uncovering the Truth? From Joseph and his brothers through Jefferson and Hamilton to Today
  • Sanhedrin Way – a mock-constructive controversy exercise using the conflict scenario, “Keep or cancel the controversial speaker? You Decide!”




All sourcesheets, unit videos, educators videos and guides. Download source sheet samples!  In addition, special access to the OpenMind Platform.


Each Mahloket Matters unit can take between 1-2 hours, depending on the educator.

Our Partnership with:openmind logo
Pardes’s Mahloket Matters series is proud to be partnering with OpenMind, an initiative of NYU Prof. Jonathan Haidt, an internationally acclaimed scholar of civil discourse. OpenMind is a psychology-based educational platform designed to depolarize campuses, companies, organizations, and communities. OpenMind helps people foster intellectual humility and mutual understanding, while equipping them with the essential cognitive skills to engage constructively across differences. All participants in Mahloket Matters will be encouraged to participate in one of the five steps of OpenMind in between each unit of Mahloket Matters. Pardes and OpenMind are also jointly assessing their joint impact on participants and communities.

To get a sneak peek at some of the Mahloket Matters program,
click the selected scenes below!

If you have comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

**If you have already created an account by registering for the Sanhedrin Way or at least the first part of the Beit Midrash Way, login here.