Trinity President Joanne Berger-Sweeney has invited the Trinity community to an online community dialogue with faculty from Dartmouth College’s Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies Programs about understanding this complex time in history.

Trinity alumna Susannah Heschel ’73, H’10, chair of Dartmouth’s Jewish Studies Program, and Tarek El-Ariss, chair of Dartmouth’s Middle Eastern Studies Program, will participate in a conversation with Trinity Professor of History Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre. The hourlong event will take place virtually on Tuesday, December 12, at 12:30 p.m. Members of the Trinity community may register to attend online.

The forum follows several vigils at Trinity that sought to bring the community together following the shooting of Tahseen Aliahmad ’26, a Palestinian student, and demonstrations to raise awareness about the war. Both nationally and on campus, student activism continues to focus on the events unfolding in the Middle East.

Heschel and El-Ariss are the creators of a Dartmouth forum that engages students in open dialogue about events in the Middle East. In the days following the October 7 attack in Israel, the colleagues reached out to each other and conceptualized the forum as a way for students and others at the college to have thoughtful and respectful discussions. Their efforts have since attracted the attention of others in higher education and in the media.

“I immediately got on the phone with Professor Heschel,” El-Ariss recently told PBS, adding that they wanted the forum “to demonstrate to the college students and faculty how we come together in this moment.”

By working together, the two say, they model what it is to be a scholar at an academic institution, to discuss issues thoughtfully, and to think about what scholars can contribute to the analysis of the moment. “A classroom is a different kind of space. It’s not a space to rant and rave but a place for scholarship,” Heschel noted.

In her message announcing the upcoming event, Berger-Sweeney noted that Heschel, who is former Trinity trustee and the first female editor of The Trinity Tripod, has a sincere love for the Trinity community and recognizes the need for civil discourse in this country. “I am deeply grateful for this unique opportunity for the entire Trinity community,” Berger-Sweeney said, adding, “When we make room for well-informed dialogue and engagement, we empower our students to grow as 21st-century citizens who embody analytical thinking at their core.”