Jewish communities in Israel and the United States will be a positive force in the pursuit of advancing a durable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that upholds the dignity, security, and rights of all parties.
I feel much more informed, have (some) first hand understanding and a better grasp on where to go to learn more. This is now an open and discussable topic.Rabbi Tully Harcsztark Head of School, SAR High School
I feel more engaged [after the Encounter program]. When I read news stories or hear personal narratives about the conflict, I feel like I have the tools to respond. I'm more sensitive to the challenges that Palestinians face, though I retain skepticism for any simplistic solutions to the conflict.Rabbi Joshua Heller Senior Rabbi, B'nai Torah, Sandy Springs, Georgia
Jewish communal leaders simply must recognize the need for us (right now!) to listen and learn, honor and engage, struggle and sit with all of these issues, narratives, experiences...for our sake collectively as a Jewish people, and specifically as American Jews.Lindsey B. Mintz Executive Director, Indianapolis JCRC
The value [of the program] is massive. The exposure to different points of view and its very organized well thought out meaningful way is very powerful and life-changing.Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman Associate Rabbi, Temple Beth El, Boca Raton
So important to put faces and images to labels we read about. So important to humanize those often pitted as our enemies. So important to do so with Jews in a context of Ahavat Yisrael.Rabbi David Wolkenfeld Senior Rabbi, Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel
As Jews, we are heirs to an ancient tradition that prizes dissenting voices: a tradition that has never been afraid to ask tough questions, confront unsettling realities or argue l’shem shamayim, for the sake of the heavens.
Encounter brings these quintessentially Jewish values into our understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many of our community’s leaders — leaders who play an active role in shaping American Jewish engagement with Israel and the conflict — rarely have the opportunity to hear directly from the Palestinians with whom our people’s story is so intimately intertwined. More strikingly, so many Jewish communal leaders also rarely have occasion to connect with a cross-sector cohort of peers in an off-the-record, structured and facilitated way, about the very issues that are so high-stakes for our community.
We believe this moment, and responsible Jewish leadership demands of us to engage seriously and directly with both the voices of others in our community and of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Our programs offer the opportunity to do both, which in our view, is a fundamental act of Ahavat Yisrael: Love of One’s People.
In so doing, we invite American Jewish leaders to open themselves up to new knowledge, new experiences, new relationships, and — ultimately — new possibilities.