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.
“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!”
Founded on the belief that healthy arguments can be an important tool for learning and social growth, For the Sake of Argument (FSA) helps leaders and educators engage learners in open, trusting educational experiences. FSA’s materials, tools, and training – currently focused on Israel – spark healthy arguments in various settings, including homes, workplaces, synagogues, schools, and campuses. In its first year, more than 2,000 people have participated in FSA’s in-person or online workshops and courses.Read more
Abi Dauber Sterne and Robbie Gringras’s book, Stories for the Sake of Argument, reminds us each week that knowing our perspective requires that we constantly shift the seat we are in so we are seeing situations from more than our own eyes. I am so grateful to have Stories for the Sake of Argument as an integral part of our Shabbat conversations as each week, we turn to a new story and discuss. Not only has this book shifted how we argue but also we are better listeners and have learned to take in all the information before stating opinions or debating.Read more
Abi Dauber Sterne is a Jewish educator, organizational leader and the co-author, with Robbie Gringras, of Stories for the Sake of Argument. Their new book is a compilation of 24 short stories that are designed to get people arguing, but also engaging with, the tough issues that face Israel and the Jewish world. We sat down with Abi to discuss why we need to engage in difficult conversations with people from across political and ideological divides, and also, just as important if not more so, how we do this.Read more
It’s rare that a text can accommodate both individual study and classroom learning. Yet in their latest educational resource, Stories for the Sake of Argument, Robbie Gringras and Abi Dauber Sterne do just that. Their book is an invaluable platform for students and teachers alike to explore some of the thornier and more divisive questions that Israelis and Americans face daily.Read more
Abi Dauber Sterne and Robbie Gringras want society to argue more. Really! The two veteran educators believe that arguments can be a constructive force in Israel education. Robbie and Abi, authors of the book Stories For The Sake of Argument, explain why argument does not always have to end in divisiveness, and how a healthy argument can bring people of opposing view points closer together. This conversation takes on added importance this week, in the aftermath of the Israeli election and as Israelis and Jews around the world prepare to observe and reflect on the 28th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a time when the space for healthy arguments was missing in Israeli society.Read more
We often like to think ourselves as an argumentative people and believe that is a good thing. After all, the Talmud is a record of debate that paves the way to truth. But in a world that feels increasingly polarised, the clash of views can seem more fractious, no more so than when we are talking about Israel. If we are losing the art of healthy argument, a new book co- authored by Israel-based educator Robbie Gringras hopes to show us a way to recover it.Read more
The authors of Stories for the Sake of Argument hope to create citizens more skilled in earnest disagreement and reduce incidents where one tries to shout at the other into silence. In effect, they are continuing the Talmudic tradition of building a better world with more heavenly arguments.Read more
Innovative Jewish educators Abi Dauber Sterne and Robbie Gringas have taken on a new approach to learning about Israel: Argument circles. Now, with the help of a $1.1 million grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, For the Sake of Argument (FSA)’s pilot program will give Dauber Sterne and Gringas the opportunity to achieve successful execution of the program among Jewish community groups across the world.Read more
An engaging conversation between Jessica Steinberg and Abi and Robbie on Times Will Tell, a weekly podcast from The Times of Israel, exploring the backstory and goals of Stories for the Sake of Argument.Read more
The book is intended to be a guide for discussions both in classrooms and in homes. It is worthwhile because it frames many of the issues that Israel faces in new, more understandable ways, which people who devote themselves to ethical choices can debate and learn.Read more
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