Discussion Guide for JWA’s “Archiving #MeToo” Podcast

You may find it worthwhile to organize a conversation around our Archiving #MeToo podcast episode. (The episode transcript is also available on our site.) Below are companion guides for discussing it with two different kinds of groups: a small group, where some interpersonal trust has already developed, such as a Rosh Chodesh group, and a larger meeting, such as a class or synagogue organization.

Small, intimate group

Materials needed: index cards, pens

Ground rules

  1. Anything shared in the group will remain in the group unless explicit permission is granted to share someone’s story or viewpoint beyond these walls.
  2. Treat any testimony with respect and gratitude: No questioning the speaker’s behavior or choices, or challenging their experience.

Discussion questions

  • How did listening to these descriptions of sexual assault and harassment in the Jewish community make you feel?
  • [Pass out index cards] Take a moment to write down any thoughts or experiences that listening to this podcast brought up for you. These will remain private unless you *choose* to share any with the group. [~5 minutes]
  • Thank you. Would anyone like to share some of what they wrote? [Pause for several seconds]
    • [If no one speaks] “Ok. If at any point during our conversation you want to share a personal experience, you are welcome to do so. It doesn’t have to be now.”
  • What common threads tied together the experiences that we heard in the podcast?
  • What kinds of personal and institutional powers prevent perpetrators from being held accountable for their actions?
  • What cultural and social factors have enabled harassment, discrimination, and assault to go unchallenged in Jewish spaces (and at large)?
  • How can Jewish spaces and groups support and lift up survivors, whether their #MeToo experiences took place within or outside Jewish community? If you are a survivor and you care to share, what helped you or would have helped you?

Larger group discussion or seminar

Ground rules

  1. Anything shared in this conversation will remain in the group unless explicit permission is granted to share someone’s story or viewpoint beyond these walls.
  2. Treat any testimony with respect and gratitude: No questioning the speaker’s behavior or choices, or challenging their experience.

Discussion questions

Select from/modify the questions below as appropriate for the group:

  • What common threads tied together the experiences that we heard in the podcast?
  • How does Judaism fit into #MeToo? Is there anything distinctive about how discrimination, harassment, and assault manifest in Jewish organizations?
  • How are individuals harmed by sexual harassment?
  • How is the Jewish community harmed by sexual harassment?
  • What kinds of personal, institutional, and financial powers prevent perpetrators from being held accountable for their actions?
  • What cultural and social factors have enabled harassment, discrimination, and assault to go unchallenged in Jewish spaces (and at large)?
  • How can the Jewish spaces and groups support and lift up survivors, whether their #MeToo experiences took place within or outside Jewish community? If you are a survivor and you care to share, what helped you or would have helped you?
  • What steps can we take in our organization to ensure that those who have harassed members of our community are held accountable, no matter how powerful or prestigious they are? What role do men have to play in this urgent project?
  • How can Jewish values inform our approach to sexual harassment?
  • What can Jewish institutions do to change the culture of male entitlement to girls and women’s bodies?
  • How can we change the culture that boys grow up in to foster empathy, respect, and partnership across gender and sexuality, rather than domination and entitlement?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Discussion Guide for JWA’s “Archiving #MeToo” Podcast." (Viewed on September 28, 2021) <https://jwa.org/metoo/discussion-guide-for-jwa-s-archiving-metoo-podcast>.

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