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SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) – Rabbi Melissa Weintraub has been awarded $100,000 for her work training Jewish leaders to be effec­tive agents in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Weintraub, founder and CEO of Encounters, was one of four young Americans named as winners of the first Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize.

The Grinnell Prize, which received more than 1,000 nomi­na­tions from 66 coun­tries, honors indi­vid­uals below the age of 40 who have demon­strated lead­er­ship in their fields and show creativity, commit­ment and extra­or­di­nary accom­plish­ment in effecting posi­tive social change.

The winners of the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize are outstanding exam­ples of people who saw a huge social need and then worked creatively to meet that need and make the world a better place,” said Raynard Kington, the college’s president.

In the past decade, Encounter has brought more than 1,000 Jewish leaders on dialogue visits to Palestinian areas of the West Bank. The program focuses on one-on-one encoun­ters to enable current and future opinion-makers and Jewish leaders to develop a more nuanced under­standing of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Each Grinnell Prize winner received $100,000 — half for the indi­vidual and half to the orga­ni­za­tion. Four people repre­senting three orga­ni­za­tions shared $300,000 in prize money this year.

Half of Grinnell College’s generous prize money will go towards sustaining and growing Encounter’s much-needed programs in Israel and North America,” Weintraub told JTA. “ Half of the prize money will support me person­ally to spend next year writing a book and providing work­shops, train­ings, and presen­ta­tions to support more construc­tive Israel engage­ment in syna­gogues, univer­si­ties, and Jewish communal institutions.”

The other winners were Boris Bulayev and Eric Glustrom of Educate, a training program for young Ugandans; and James Kofi Annan, who founded Challenging Heights to provide educa­tion and reha­bil­i­ta­tion for chil­dren who suffered slavery or other forms of forced child labor.

Click here for the orig­inal article. 

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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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