Facilitating Difficult Conversations


Facilitating Difficult Conversations: A 3-part Workshop

Facilitating Difficult Conversations is a transformative three-part series designed specifically for Jewish spiritual leaders. In today’s challenging landscape, we understand the weight you carry as community leaders, and we’re here to support you with the essential skills and resources needed to navigate and nurture thriving Jewish communities amidst differing viewpoints.

Over three sessions, you’ll be equipped with the tools to skillfully navigate trauma, conflict, and communal healing. From active listening techniques to conflict de-escalation strategies, you’ll learn how to turn sources of tension into opportunities for Jewish connection and community building. Our comprehensive curriculum includes practical exercises, role-playing scenarios, and a “train the trainer” component, empowering you to share these crucial skills with key leaders in your community, ensuring that the journey towards community resilience is a collective effort.

Workshop Dates

All 3 sessions of the workshop will meet online, and will be limited to 15 people. 

We are currently offering two options for the workshop. Due to the nature and structure of the content, we ask that participants prioritize attending all three sessions. 

All Workshop Dates are currently at capacity. To be added to the waitlist or to learn about new dates as soon as they are scheduled, please email Brigid Goggin, Senior Director of Programs, at brigid@atrarabbis.org.

Option 1:

Thursdays, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET

May 16, May 23, and May 30, 2024

Option 2: 

Mondays from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET

June 10, June 17, and June 24, 2024


Community of Action and Practice

In addition to the 3-session workshop, you will also have the opportunity to participate in a Community of Action and Practice (CoAP), which will begin after the final session of the workshop. The CoAP will be a peer-facilitated group supported by Atra staff that meets online and is exclusively for those who participated in the workshop. Meeting times will be scheduled directly with CoAP participants.

As you apply newly learned skills in real time, a CoAP will provide structured space to reflect and brainstorm with your peers to expand and deepen your work in your own communities. You can choose to opt in to the post-workshop CoAP any time before the last workshop session.


How to Sign Up:

All Workshop Dates are currently at capacity. New dates will be added soon. To join the waitlist for the June 2024 Workshop, or to learn about new dates as soon as they are scheduled, please email Brigid Goggin, Senior Director of Programs, at brigid@atrarabbis.org.


Workshop Facilitators

Cara Raich, a former attorney, is a New York-based conflict consultant and facilitator who leads institutions, organizations, museums, religious leaders, companies, partnerships, family businesses and families through challenging situations with clarity and sensitivity. Cara’s skills include mediation, conflict resolution, facilitation, crisis management, employee relations, respectful workplace trainings, anti sexual harassment trainings and advising on governance matters. Cara is a “how” expert. She knows “how” to navigate the most stressful, conflicted environments. Cara uses this skill to lead productive conversations across lines of difference and complexity. She makes sure all voices are meaningfully heard. Cara creates order from chaos and clarity in moments of confusion so her clients can take productive action when the way forward seems uncertain.

Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein is the Executive Director of Atra. Previously, Rabbi Epstein served as Executive Director of the 14th Street Y in Manhattan, and as a member of the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Her past roles have included serving as Rabbi-Educator at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and as Associate Director/Reform Zionist Think Tank Manager at ARZA. Rabbi Epstein publishes and teaches widely in the Jewish community, and has served at various congregations, Jewish youth groups and summer camps as an educator. A certified Storahtelling “Maven,” she has studied improvisational comedy in various programs including the Upright Citizens Brigade. A Wexner Field Fellow, she received the 2011 Pomegranate Prize for Jewish Education from the Covenant Foundation. Rabbi Epstein received her BA from Wesleyan University, has attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem and received her rabbinic ordination and MA in Religious Education from HUC-JIR.