Alisa Robbins Doctoroff is the Chair of the UJA-Federation in NY and the immediate past president of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in Manhattan. Doctoroff serves on the Boards of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Mechon Hadar and Moving Traditions. She is a past president of Congregation Or Zarua, past board member of the American Jewish Committee, and past chair of the Israel Task Force as well as the Task Force on Youth and Young Adults of the Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal (COJIR) at the UJA Federation of New York.
Alisa Robbins Doctoroff’s connections to Israel run deep; her grandfather was born in Israel and she has secular family who played a part in Israel’s founding. A portion of her family lives in Israel, including Orthodox relatives living in Israeli settlements.
“Encounter came so highly recommended from so many people I trusted. I am interested in seeing both sides—I never feel things are black and white.”
One of the most impactful experiences on her Encounter trip was her home-stay with a Palestinian family. She and the family’s son talked late into the night, poring over maps and talking about non-violent activism. “Seeing the common humanity speaks loudly to what needs to be done… Putting food on the table, taking kids to piano lessons, and providing for a better life are hard to do there—these are things that Palestinians in the West Bank struggle with daily and we take for granted.”
As a result of her Encounter trip to Bethlehem in 2008, Doctoroff was motivated to join the JFNA Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society and participated for more than a year in a dialogue with Palestinian leaders who are part of the Palestinian Mission to the UN.
Doctoroff continues to work toward resolving the conflict: “I still love Israel, I’m still powerfully connected and thankful for my spiritual roots there. Israel continues to be a home. Now I am more knowledgeable about the divisions that exist, and I want to help heal those divisions.”