Encounter seeks to grow the Jewish community’s capacity to contribute to a durable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which all parties live with respect, recognition, and rights.
The opportunity to build relationships and process this intense experience with colleagues and new friends feels essential and a gift.Rabbi Deborah Waxman President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
It is incumbent upon us, as lovers of Israel, Jews and Judaism, to know all aspects of the issues. We are people of the book, of seeking truth and knowledge and peace.Debbie Cosgrove Chair, Jewish Women’s Foundation NY
The trip forever colors your understanding of the security of Israel… It deepens your knowledge and exposure no matter how much you've read.Angie Atkins Director of Heritage Alumni, Wexner Foundation
I didn't learn any substantial new facts or yet-unknown perspectives about the conflict. But I was pressed to confront the urgency of... and the untenability of my own blind spots.Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky Rabbi, Ansche Chesed
Incredibly eye-opening, educational. It offers Jewish communal leaders a unique opportunity to get unfiltered facts about the current conditions.Deborah Lauter Senior Vice President, Policy and Programs, Anti-Defamation League
As Jews, we are heirs to an ancient tradition that prizes dissenting voices: a tradition that has never been afraid to ask tough questions, confront unsettling realities or argue l’shem shamayim, for the sake of the heavens.
Encounter brings these quintessentially Jewish values into our understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many of our community’s leaders — leaders who play an active role in shaping American Jewish engagement with Israel and the conflict — rarely have the opportunity to hear directly from the Palestinians with whom our people’s story is so intimately intertwined. More strikingly, so many Jewish communal leaders also rarely have occasion to connect with a cross-sector cohort of peers in an off-the-record, structured and facilitated way, about the very issues that are so high-stakes for our community.
We believe this moment, and responsible Jewish leadership demands of us to engage seriously and directly with both the voices of others in our community and of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Our programs offer the opportunity to do both, which in our view, is a fundamental act of Ahavat Yisrael: Love of One’s People.
In so doing, we invite American Jewish leaders to open themselves up to new knowledge, new experiences, new relationships, and — ultimately — new possibilities.