In the latest newsletter from Rabbis for Human Rights, NPR follows the Olive Harvest in the Shadow of War – Palestinian farmer Ayoub Abuhejleh is arrested as he tries to harvest this crucial crop. Click the photo below to hear the story from NPR.
Far from Gaza, the war between Israel and Hamas upends lives
At the same time, with the rise in settler violence across the West Bank (with three times the number of attacks on previous years), RHR are reaching out to their Palestinian partners to express solidarity and ask how they can help. This has led to the purchase and distribution of emergency medic kits across the Northern West Bank.
Samir Awad, Avi Dabush, Rabbi Michael Marmur & Anton Goodman of RHR at the Hizme Checkpoint
At this crucial moment, in the shadow of war, underserved communities find themselves in dire circumstances, grappling with food insecurity and the struggle to live a dignified life.
The British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights are supporting Rabbis for Human Right’s appeal to get aid to communities falling between the cracks
With your support they aim to deliver food boxes to survivors of October 7th and families in Southern Israel facing poverty; Bedouin communities in unrecognised villages in the Negev; Palestinian communities in the West Bank facing settler violence; asylum seekers and migrant workers. The Torah teaches us that social solidarity is measured by caring for the most vulnerable and excluded.
Together, let us rally behind our shared mission and recognise the power of solidarity during these testing times.
As time goes by, the numbers are still growing – So far, more than 1,400 people have died in the horrific Hamas massacre in Israel, and more than 200 people are still being held hostage under Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Almost 200 people are still considered missing (Neither dead nor hijacked. Status unknown).
Avi Dabush is a social activist and the CEO of Rabbis for Human Rights. He was also living in Kibbutz Nirim, one of the 11 Kibbutzim built as part of the 11 Points project to settle the area bordering Gaza / Egypt (1948 border).
On the Black Sabbath, Avi was sieged with his family in the shelter for 8 hours; his Kibbutz lost 5 community members who Hamas terrorists murdered.
This the story of the survivors. If you wish to help the Kibbutzim Nirim and Nir Oz who were attacked and suffered heavy losses in lives (Nir Oz lost more than 100 people out of a community of 400 people in total!) and property, here are a few links to donate and also a campaign to free our hijacked civilians with Posters you can download and hang:
We are excited to announce that Rabbis for Human Rights’ Olive Harvest Project, protecting Palestinian communities in the West Bank will begin on October 15th! In partnership with 5 Palestinian communities we will be bring volunteers every day of the Harvest to join Palestinian farmers and their families in picking olives, and ensuring a peaceful harvest by repelling settler violence.
We have recently released our volunteer sign-up form and hundreds of people have already signed up to be volunteers at one or several of the harvest opportunities. If you are in the region of have friends and family who would like to join, we would be so pleased to welcome you to the Harvest!
“Ki Tavo” portion is also known as “The great rebuke portion”, because it contains a long and drawn-out description of blessings and curses that will come upon the people of Israel, according to their actions. When I look up from the books and look at what is going on around me, it is easy for me, too easy for me, to fulfill the mitzvah of rebuke…
These days are the days of the month of Elul, on my desk the machzor for the Tishrei holidays is already open in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and beyond, Yom Kippur, and this passage brings up before me the text of Rabbi Mordechai Rotem’s confession:
“We closed our ears to the cry of the poor and wretched.
We disdained people of honesty and integrity […]
We set our sights on “only by might and only by power” […]
Thoughts on Parashat “Re’eh” | by Rabbit Lana Zilberman Soloway
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; The curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other Gods, which you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11, 26-28)
These are the opening words of Parashat “Re’eh”. The Parasha that reveals many of the commandments that our people are obligated to follow when we enter the land of Israel. These include: destroying idolatry and concentrating God’s work in one place, the laws of Kashrut, the mitzvah of giving away ten percent, the commandment of holy pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year, and more.
Some of the commandments were already mentioned earlier, during the wilderness generation. Others are new, only announced now, as we prepare to enter the land. There are fifty five commandments in total, listed one by one, after the opening verse, which has received endless interpretations: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse”. Continue reading →
L-R: Ishai Menuhin, Mazon-Israel; Adv. Becky Keshet, Rabbis for Human Rights MK Meirav Cohen, Yesh Atid, Dorit Adler, President, Israeli Forum for Sustainable Nutrition
In recent weeks our Social Justice team have been fighting tirelessly to overturn a sudden government decision which stopped food stamps reaching 6,000 families across Israel.
Last week, at a hearing called by MK Meirav Cohen (Yesh Atid) who chairs the Knesset Committee for Caring for Holocaust Survivors, the Government reversed their decision and food stamps will be issued to the families who has been blocked.
We are proud to work shoulder-to-shoulder on the issue of food security with our partners: Mazon – a Jewish Response to Hunger; and the Israeli Forum for Sustainable Nutrition.
The strength to take a risk, and the humility to admit when a risk fails
In one of his discussions of this week’s Torah reading of “Vayikra,” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z”l (“The Sins of a Leader,” Covenant and Conversation, 5781) pointed out that in referring to sins committed by functionaries – the priests or the judges – or by the people, for which they must bring sacrifices, the word used is “if” (im) – if they should sin. But when referring to sins of the nasi, the political ruler, the word used is “when” (asher). This is the basis for an important talmudic insight. “When a leader of Israel sins and unintentionally commits one of all the commandments of the Lord, which may not be committed, incurring guilt…” (Leviticus 4, 2).
Rabbi Sacks writes: Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai summed it up with a brilliant double entendre on the word “asher”, meaning “when” in the phrase “when a leader sins.” He relates it to the word “ashrei”, which means “happy,” and says: Happy is the generation whose leader is willing to bring a sin offering for their mistakes (Tosefta, Bava Kamma, 7:5).
Rabbi Sacks comments that the unique challenge of political leadership is that it must deal with conflicting interestsContinue reading →
The weak defend themselves with humor. It can be Macaulay Culkin’s character outsmarting the burglars in the movie: “Home Alone,” or the Jews in Yiddish stories about bamboozling the non-Jewish authorities, or the protagonists in many hilarious Czech novels poking fun at the ham-fisted efforts of the Czechs’ German and, later, Russian occupiers to squelch their economy and culture. In whatever setting, we root for the scrappy underdog who turns the oppressors’ stupidity against them. We laugh at the downfall of the cruel and inept. Continue reading →