Our Impact

Encounter is catalyzing change in the contours of Jewish communal engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

At Encounter, we believe Jewish leaders have a responsibility to engage seriously with a diverse set of voices — Jewish and Palestinian — to enhance our understanding of the dynamics that animate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to better inform our engagement with these issues, which are fundamental to being a Jew in the twenty-first century.

Very often, major accelerations of change came out when a group of people got together and learned together and dared to think new thoughts and then pass them on… Mary Catherine Bateson

Professor Emerita at George Mason University. In conversation with Krista Tippett, “Composing a Life” On Being, August 3, 2017

When Encounter was first founded, there were few – if any – organized opportunities for committed Jewish leaders to pursue a shared and rigorous inquiry into “other side(s)” as part of their understanding of the conflict, and none that enabled them to do so as part of a trusted cohort of high level Jewish leaders, deeply committed to Jewish life and to Israel.

To date, over 2500 Jewish leaders – rabbis, educators, professional, lay and philanthropic leaders representing every denomination and major organization in American Jewish life have participated in our programs.

Encounter has helped catalyze new ways of engaging on the conflict in American-Jewish life. Increasingly, leading Jewish organizations have recognized the need for a fuller engagement with both Palestinians and with Jews from across the religious and political spectra. These organizations are including a fuller set of perspectives in their itineraries, engaging directly with a spectrum of Palestinian voices and prioritizing the cultivation of a more civil and robust Jewish civil discourse. Encounter has been an important part of that culture change.

We are equipping Jewish leaders with the experiences, relationships and skills they need to effectuate more inclusive and constructive leadership on some of the most divisive issues in our own communities. Join us.

Encounter’s community of Jewish influencers who have joined our immersive programs reflect the diversity of opinion in the American Jewish community.

Hear in their own words how their engagement with Encounter has impacted their leadership on the conflict and read, watch and listen to reflections from past participants.

Dr. John Ruskay
Rabbi David Ingber
Rabbi Dr. Erin Leib Smokler
Jonathan Lopatin