Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, Founding Executive Director Emeritus, Encounter
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, age 36, was ordained as a Conservative Jewish Rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary and has served as a Rabbinic Fellow in Conservative communities throughout North America. She co-founded Encounter in 2005. A noted speaker and educator, she has taught on four continents, including at the Parliament of World Religions, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Jewish Council of Public Affairs Plenum. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, she graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in political theory and women’s studies. More information on Rabbi Weintraub is available on Encounter’s website.
Encounter is an educational organization dedicated to training Jewish leaders to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by providing them with firsthand exposure to Palestinian narratives and realities on the ground. Encounter’s flagship program has brought more than 1,000 influential Jewish leaders on trips to Palestinian cities, representing the only significant non-military Jewish presence in Palestinian areas of the West Bank during the last decade. Through innovative methodologies geared towards producing civil discourse across political divides, Encounter seeds fruitful and vibrant conversations regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Encounter’s past participants include rising and prominent leaders, opinion-shapers, and decision-makers. The program helps leaders on the right and left to gain a more nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and accordingly, to reshape their funding priorities, advocacy efforts, and policy decision-making.