Encounter in the Middle East

The trip is not a left wing trip. The trip is not a right wing trip. The trip is for every­one at every place on the polit­i­cal spec­trum. Call it Responsible Zionism.”

–Michael, Yeshiva University (Read more testi­mo­ni­als)

Encounter provides the only oppor­tu­nity for main­stream American Jewish lead­ers to visit Palestinian terri­to­ries in the West Bank. On our Middle East program, a plural­is­tic group of Jewish lead­ers meet Palestinian civil­ians and lead­ers in Bethlehem, Hebron, or East Jerusalem and engage in thought­ful conver­sa­tion about the complex­i­ties of Israel and the conflict.

A diverse array of Jewish leaders–rabbis, Federation Executives, lay lead­ers and Jewish educa­tors from every denomination–sleep in Palestinian homes, play with Palestinian school­child­ren and gain unique, multi­fac­eted insight into Palestinian life. These programs include rich Jewish conver­sa­tion amongst Jewish partic­i­pants who have disparate polit­i­cal and reli­gious affil­i­a­tions and perspec­tives. Many partic­i­pants iden­tify this inter­nal dialogue as an equally power­ful part of the trip.

Watch Encounter partic­i­pant Charlie Schwartz reflect on his expe­ri­ence with us:

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Encounter brings Palestinian history, culture, and poli­tics to life by expos­ing lead­ing Jewish profes­sion­als, rabbis and educa­tors to the stories of real human beings.  Participants meet Muslims and Christians; elders and school­child­ren; and a broad cross-section of lead­ers from Palestinian soci­ety: busi­ness, media, poli­tics, educa­tion and grass­roots activism. Across the board, our partic­i­pants report dramatic trans­for­ma­tion in both personal and polit­i­cal under­stand­ings, regu­larly describ­ing the trip as “mind-blow­ing” and “life-chang­ing.”

Read more about our ground­break­ing programs:

In addi­tion to our West Bank trips, we offer ongo­ing alumni educa­tion in both Israel and North America.  From advanced facil­i­ta­tion skill train­ings to speak­ers, retreats and film discus­sions, there are oppor­tu­ni­ties for ongo­ing educa­tion and action for every­one. Find upcom­ing events.


Our Mission

Encounter is an edu­ca­tional orga­ni­za­tion dedi­cated to strength­ening the capacity of the Jewish people to be construc­tive agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moti­vated by the relent­less Jew­ish pur­suit of hokhma (wis­dom) and binah (under­stand­ing), Encounter cul­ti­vates informed Jew­ish lead­er­ship on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict by bring­ing...

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Contact Encounter

Encounter welcomes all your questions, comments, stories, and queries.

For general inquiries, including upcoming program information and dates, please write to:


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