Productive Discomfort

Productive Discomfort - Esti Lodge, CLIP: New York, 2016

CLIP 2016 has already set the stage for an amazing experience. We started our summers with three days of orientation which included icebreakers, discussions, talking, and listening. We heard from Sarah Gass at PresenTense, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Jay Herman, Esther Ann-Asch, our respective supervisors, and each other (just to name a few).

One term that kept being thrown around was “Productive Discomfort.” This idea that, with a little nudging and some uncomfortable conversations, we can more deeply understand and respect each other’s ideas. Pluralism, a semi confusing topic, is something that CLIP stresses. How do people of such seemingly different backgrounds, with varying levels of religiosity and interpretations on Jewish identity, come together and speak openly. Productive Discomfort tackles this head on. While I have been in pluralistic environments before, I have never been “forced” (in the best way possible) to probe others about their religious, activist, professional, and personal identities.

With this, comes a level of respect. As a member of CLIP 2016, I am a part of a cohort. We are not simply called “CLIP” or “interns”, we are a group of Jewish students who are looking to make some sort of difference in the world. However, what’s amazing about CLIP, is that this seemingly small unifier brings us together even when our ideas, opinions, and beliefs can be so different.

As I sit on the train going to the first day of my internship, I am excited for the summer that lies ahead. I know it will be filled with learning and growing on the individual and collective levels, through both comfortable and uncomfortable conversations.