For the past four years, the forum for The Bernard Wolfman Civil Discourse Project (CDP) took place during the Jewish festival of Passover, which is fast approaching on the calendar. So you may wonder why you have heard nothing of this year’s event.

The goal of The Bernard Wolfman Civil Discourse Project (CDP) has been to create a broad communication platform to model and discuss civil discourse and, within that, to engage about each year’s policy topic. To do so, we have mounted four annual fora (2013 through 2016), attracted a large attendance that goes well beyond the community of the CDP parent organization, Beth Sholom Congregation, and created a dialogue in the media to still further expand the audience. We have been remarkably successful, with 300 to 500 attendees each year and more than 15 articles and broadcasts across local and regional print and radio news outlets

The combined investment of time and other resources has proved significant to attract national experts, collaborate with their organizations’ publicity groups, build and maintain exceptional relationships with the media, and generate enough original content to feed all of those media outlets. While we touch a good sized local and regional audience through the event and media, we no longer consider it a sufficient reach to justify the investment, particularly as we compare our reach with what might be needed to address the problem at a scope appropriate to the breadth and depth of the fissures in effective discourse that have become apparent in the US and beyond.

We therefore have decided to discontinue the annual CDP forum. While we will not add to it, this website remains live so those interested in civil discourse and the topics we have covered can access the content, which includes information our expert speakers, video, audio and transcripts from our annual forum, media coverage, and other background information. We also continue to monitor news on civil discourse and we host our Facebook and Twitter accounts to share content that may be of value to those interested in the topic. In this way, we hope to offer a resource to those who choose to work on the large, high-impact endeavors needed to combat an environment in which we understand each other less and less, and we find it increasingly challenging to make inroads in public policy and build a functional society, because a wide swath of our citizens across the political spectrum seem to feel entitled to be uncivil and closed-minded in discourse and beyond.

Thank you for helping us to mount four years of CDP fora and for your support of civil discourse.




About our Namesake

Bernard Wolfman was a champion of civil rights and renowned scholar of legal ethics and tax law. A chaired professor and dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and chaired professor of Harvard Law School, he committed his life to seeking justice through lifelong learning and civil discourse. So influential was he that a Google search of his name unleashes 40 pages of references. LEARN MORE ABOUT PROFESSOR WOLFMAN >