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.

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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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