Stories for the Sake of Argument emerged from a realization that the field of Israel education has changed. Co-authors Abi Dauber Sterne and Robbie Gringras found that the fear of getting into an argument was obstructing real conversations about Israel.
Robbie and Abi, longtime collaborators and colleagues, came to believe that no deep learning can happen without healthy arguments. They channeled their energy and creativity into writing the stories included in this collection.
The book was created at The Jewish Agency for Israel's Makom: Israel Education Lab.
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Stories for the Sake of Argument is designed to spark disagreements about key issues facing Israel and the Jewish world. From religious freedom to identity politics, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to COVID-19, gender equality to Israel-Diaspora relations, each story tackles a different issue, sets up a powerful clash of values, and leaves you with an unresolved dilemma to discuss.
The 24 stories in the collection will help you strengthen your argument muscles as well as the resilience to talk with people with whom you disagree. You can read the stories out loud and discuss them with your friends and family, or use them as a learning tool in an educational context.
The book also features a short practical guide to hosting healthy arguments along with guiding questions and background information accompanying each story.
In these polarized times, Stories for the Sake of Argument offers a fresh and invigorating approach to engaging with Israel, ourselves, and each other.
“Understanding why people disagree and learning to do so for the common good is essential for both the healthy development of children and the healthy functioning of democratic societies. Accessible for adults and children alike, Stories for the Sake of Argument offers engaging stories and meaningful discussion questions perfect for kick-starting conversations about how and why people disagree. This book is perfect for families who want to work together to practice arguing with compassion and schools who want to teach children how to engage with one another and with larger questions about how to live in a community in which people argue.”
“For the Sake of Argument demonstrates to participants the value of leaning into, and even embracing, argument rather than shying away from it. Using stories as a jumping-off point, participants learn to direct their emotions and opinions in constructive ways that lead to productive conversations and new understandings. I highly recommend this unique, groundbreaking educational program for Jewish educators everywhere.”
"This book offers a fresh and brilliantly original approach to some of the thorniest questions that press on Jews and Israelis as they navigate their relationship with each other and the wider world. Rather than avoid conflict and argument, it urges us to embrace it - encouraging families and communities to get it all out in the open. With great empathy and wisdom, Robbie Gringras and Abigail Dauber Sterne urge us not to steer clear of the things that divide us but to thrash them out, face to face, heart to heart - and they do it by telling stories. Stories, questions, arguments: it's a bracing and provocative formula - and could hardly be more Jewish."
“From family tensions to communal and national schisms, Stories for the Sake of Argument offers a wise blueprint for navigating one of the great challenges of our time: how to conduct passionate but respectful disagreements. At a time when democracies are unraveling and fellow citizens increasingly perceive each other as enemies, this book is a gift.”
"Let’s be real: we live In a world where an ideological dispute can tear close friends and family apart. We shout. We block. And thus, we become more polarized. Stories for the Sake of Argument changes this paradigm by helping reframe disagreement as something healthy and necessary for learning, growth, and a better world. I love this book and think people of all ages and walks of life should read it."
"This book represents the creative handicraft of two master educators, who use the format of stories and the processing of narratives to help shape more dignified, enduring, respectful and meaningful conversations across differences. This book calls for interactive wrestling and deep engagement. Stories for the Sake of Argument has an important place in homes, classrooms, boardrooms and libraries world-over."
"Everyone tells us to learn from one another, but few teach us how to do it. “Stories” gives us the stories, the questions — the tools we need — to get our own point across and to listen to the other. A vital contribution to a confused world."
“Deepening engagement with Israel requires more substantive debates not more rosy pictures of idyllic Israeli life. These extraordinarily gifted educators accompany readers into intense stories about real questions about justice and equality, the stuff upon which serious, life-long attachments can be built. I can’t wait to use the book to transform polarizing tirades into principled debates that change all of us for good. This is a book progressive Jews have been waiting for!”
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When we harness the power of healthy arguments, we can build resilience and readiness to live together in our differences.