Frequently Asked Questions
Who is invited? How did you get my name?
Participants are selected on the basis of their professional experience, personal profiles and likely contributions to the program’s breadth and depth.
Traditionally, The Conversation participants are:
- Individuals of innovative achievement on a national or regional scale, whose career and other activities evidence wide-ranging intellectual interests.
- Individuals who appreciate and honor The Conversation’s non-commercial, non-partisan, off-the-record format, and who would enjoy The Conversation’s informal character, substantive content, and personal dimensions.
How do I register?
The Conversation is by invitation only. After receiving an invitation you should register online on this website.
What are the themes of The Conversation? What is the program? Who are the speakers?
You and the other participants will be asked to reimagine Jewish life in the coming decades. The group in effect will be an incubator for creative ideas and potential goals. To be clear: there are no intended outcomes, though some may emerge; there is no political or religious motive at play, and no business other than the Jewish business of thoughtfully, creatively and candidly discussing the boundaries and possibilities of Jewish in America in the 21st century. Our hope is that some of the ideas that surface through our discussions will percolate, and influence how issues are framed and dealt with in the future.
We use Open Space programming over the two days, allowing for small group discussions where the participants themselves choose the topics. There will be no panels or plenaries and no outside “experts” as speakers; the discussions will be organic, stretching beyond the denominations and touching on Jewish ideas, ethics and teachings; how we talk about being Jewish to ourselves and to others; what the voices of the past — from our bookshelves and from our families — mean to us.
Who are the founders and hosts? How was The Conversation established?
The first Conversation was held in Aspen, CO in 2005. It is sponsored by The Jewish Week. Gary Rosenblatt, the editor and publisher of The Jewish Week is the Founder and Chairman of The Conversation. The Conversation was born out of the idea that the most important things come out not by frontal lectures or plenaries, but in the conversations that happen in the hallways. This is what we hope to recreate.
Who are some of the people who have established reputation of The Conversation?
Please check out or distinguished list of Conversation alum under Past participants.
Can I bring guests?
No. We are unable to accommodate spouses, children or staff.
Can someone attend in my stead?
No. The invitation is for you alone.
How do I prepare for The Conversation? What should I pack?
Attire is casual. All meals are strictly kosher and optional prayer services (a traditional mechitzah minyan and an egalitarian minyan) are scheduled daily, as well as a yoga class. Let us know if you can help with any of these.
In the 48 hours that we will spend together our goal is to achieve a balance of serious and informal discussion, allowing you to get to know each other and enjoy the camaraderie as well as the lovely surroundings — and time away from daily routines and pressures. The use of Blackberries, cell phones, etc. are discouraged during program hours, but you will have ample time before and after to connect to “the real world.”
What are the costs?
Funding offered by our generous sponsors enables us to provide for your lodging and meals (kosher) at no charge to you. Participants will be expected to attend the full conference, from 4 p.m. on Sunday, to noon Tuesday. Registrants who cancel within two weeks of the conference will be billed for one night’s lodging. You are only responsible for your travel. A limited number of travel subsidies will be available, so please let us know if you wish to request one.
You are responsible for all travel plans and reservations. The Conversation does not arrange this for you. Pearlstone is located about 40 minutes from Baltimore Washington International Airport, near Baltimore, and Baltimore’s Penn Station.