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 appreciated the opportunity to deepen my understanding of the conflict without being told what I should think or what I should do about it. Instead, I was given a diverse community of colleagues with whom I could debrief and figure out for myself how to incorporate what I had encountered into my leadership.Miriam Heller Stern Director, School of Education, Jewish Institute of Religion, Hebrew Union College
Encounter gave me an opportunity that I had long been missing: to listen to the stories, perspectives, and experiences of Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. As a passionate supporter of Israel who yearns for peace, this experience was critical to a more complete understanding of the complexity of this land…Rabbi Adam Raskin Senior Rabbi, Congregation Har Shalom
It is a duty to listen to all the stories if you wish to have a properly functioning moral compass.Rabbi Steve Greenberg Executive Director, Eshel
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 am so impressed with the staff and the culture of this organization.Debbie Cosgrove Chair, Jewish Women’s Foundation NY
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.