The Purpose

Listening as a Transformative Methodology
Who We Target
Core Values

© Bruce Shaffer


Encounter is a non-parti­san educa­tional orga­ni­za­tion culti­vat­ing informed and construc­tive Jewish lead­er­ship on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

© Shari Diamond

Who We Target: American Jewish Leadership

Our past partic­i­pants, 2000 American Jews, repre­sent the full gamut of opin­ions on the conflict—from anti-occu­pa­tion activists to staunch settle­ment support­ers. On these trips, partic­i­pants from these diverse back­grounds sleep in the homes of former mili­tants and pore over maps and histo­ries for hours with their hosts—discovering all the while a real­ity previ­ously unknown to most of them. Past partic­i­pants include Orthodox and Reform rabbis and educa­tors, settle­ment funders and anti-occu­pa­tion activists.

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Encounter’s Core Values

Encounter is an educa­tional orga­ni­za­tion that culti­vates informed Jewish lead­er­ship on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We do not take specific posi­tions regard­ing the outcome of the conflict. We do, however, hold a set of values that under­lie all of our work, includ­ing our orga­ni­za­tional programs, alumni activ­i­ties, and staff and board inter­ac­tions. Our vision is one of genuine peace: an envi­ron­ment of safety and equity that embraces the full dignity of all.

אהבת ישראל / Ahavat Yisrael / Love of Ones People
Encounter’s work is grounded in a sense of belong­ing and deep commit­ment to the Jewish people, which exists irre­spec­tive of ideol­ogy and polit­i­cal persua­sion.
כבוד / Kavod / Dignity
Encounter affirms the funda­men­tal dignity and inter­con­nect­ed­ness (areivut) of all human beings, and encour­ages deep respect for the phys­i­cal, emotional, and spir­i­tual well-being of all people.
שמע / Shema / Listening
Encounter culti­vates resilient mutual listen­ing and curios­ity, for Jews towards Palestinians as well as between Jews and other Jews with diver­gent world­views.
חכמה / Hokhma / Wisdom
Encounter values the persis­tent seek­ing of wisdom, under­stand­ing, and knowl­edge, partic­u­larly of unfa­mil­iar and differ­ing perspec­tives.
רחמים / Rakhamim / Compassion
Encounter encour­ages all of us to find soft­ness within ourselves, and to extend the most expan­sive possi­ble view of each other grounded in empa­thy.
פתיחת לב / Petikhat Lev / Openness
Encounter encour­ages recep­tiv­ity rather than dogma­tism, open­ness to being trans­formed by new encoun­ters and ideas.
אלו ואלו / Elu v’elu (‘These and Those’) / Constructive Conflict
Encounter values the multi­plic­ity of voices within soci­eties and even within indi­vid­u­als, know­ing creativ­ity often emerges from contra­dic­tions and complex­ity.

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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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