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:
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:
- Check out a sample itinerary and learn about Bethlehem, Hebron and East Jerusalem
- Browse our Program FAQ
- Interested? Look up upcoming programs and apply online now!
- Watch the video we made for Slingshot
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.