It is, to many of us, obvious that dialogue is a necessary response to the Holocaust. We need dialogue, need the common ground that makes dialogue possible. We know all too well what happens when human beings become disconnected from each other, and how people with whom we do not speak can become dehumanized. Dialogue is not the single answer to the world’s problems, but it is hard to imagine our finding our way to any sort of solutions without it.
Yet for those of us who engage in interreligious dialogue, it is not always clear what dialogue is. We think of dialogue as involving words, and yet good dialogues involve a great deal of listening. When we listen, we have to attend both to what is said, and what is unsaid. Dialogue is inextricably connected to silence.