In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Titzeh, there is a substantial connection between ensuring justice for the stranger (the Other), the orphan and the widow and our collective will to exploit our national memory so that we may be empathetic towards the oppressed members of our society.
As the holiday approaches, Rabbis for Human Rights share a special Shavuot edition of their newsletter.
The Calling of Shavuot: Standing Again at Sinai & Standing for Justice Rabbi Michael Marmur, Chairperson, Rabbis for Human Rights
Shavuot Sameach! This year the festival of Shavuot will be experienced in a different way than usual. In various stages of post-lockdown, puzzling over the cultural, institutional and economic impact of this global crisis, Continue reading →
An open letter from Rabbi Michael Marmur, Chair, Rabbi for Human Rights and an appeal for donations to help create an Israel of equals, with democracy and human rights and where all Israelis and Palestinians are treated with dignity and respect.
Avi Dabush, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights, spoke at the British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights AGM last December. This speech, discussing peacefully bringing together the different cultures and peoples of Israel, is reproduced here with his kind permission.
Avi also wrote a reflective piece on Human Rights, on the occasion of Tu B’Shvat this year, before RHR went out to plant olive trees in the West Bank where they had previously been burnt and uprooted. Read In the Shadow of an Uprooted Olive Treehere. Continue reading →
For the last couple of years, I’ve taught a class about ‘Religions, Justice and Peacemaking’ at Leeds Trinity University in the Theology and Religious Studies program. It has been a wonderful opportunity for my research into Israeli-Palestinian peace activism to lead directly into my teaching, by using religion in the Israel-Palestine conflict as the class topic. Among the activists I research are Rabbis for Human Rights, giving me the perfect case study around which to focus the class.
RHR doesn’t describe itself as a peace group but it certainly pursues “justpeace” as conceived by peace studies scholars. One key idea of “justpeace” is expressed by the familiar slogan “no justice, no peace.” Beyond that, “justpeace” entails an ongoing process of addressing inevitable social conflicts non-violently and with an emphasis on justice. RHR’s advocacy for social justice within the State of Israel as well as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, its practice of nonviolence, and its dedication to building reciprocal social relationships through education and interfaith work all indicate that it strives for “justpeace.”
So, what did the students learn in the class and what did they make of RHR? Continue reading →
Imagine the scene. A rabbi in Israel is being attacked by a man wearing a balaclava and threatening him with a big and dangerous looking knife. They struggle and fall to the ground; the man has the rabbi in a stranglehold, still waving the knife, but incredibly not sticking it in. Eventually the man runs off. Given what’s been happening on the streets of Israel in recent weeks, you might be thinking that it’s not surely all that surprising.
It sounds strange. How can I say anything positive about a knife wielding violent and hate filled young man who has turned the sanctity of the Land of Israel into idolatry? When one looks at this awful video of the attack filmed from afar by Rabbis For Human Rights’ field coordinator Zakariah Sadeh on October 23rd, one sees that he could have easily murdered me. He was on top of me, my back was exposed, and the knife was in his hand. One can see him almost plunge the knife several times, but he doesn’t.
As we prepare for the celebration of the Passover, the Jewish holiday marking the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian slavery and the beginning of their cohesion as a “people,” Rabbi Arik Ascherman, senior rabbi and president of RHR, shares his Passover thoughts on the holiday, the horrors of housing demolitions, and RHR’s upcoming High Court date that could end them for good.
At 7 pm on Sunday, 6 April 2014 (6 Nissan 5774), at the Jerusalem Botanical Garden Auditorium, Rabbis for Human Rights celebrated its 25th anniversary. The evening events included:
Tribute to the founders of RHR and introductions to staff and management
A Panel: “The Role of Judaism in the Struggle for Human Rights in Israel: Current Reality and Future Possibilities. Moderator: RHR Co-Chair Moshe Yehudai; Special guest panelists: Rabbi Shmuel Reiner of the Orthodox Ma’aleh Gilboa Hesder Yeshiva, member of RHR Rabbi Na’amah Kelman, Dean of the Jerusalem campus HUC-JIR, the Reform movement’s rabbinical school in Israel, long term RHR member and current RHR Advisory Committee member. You can read more about her here. Dr. Meir Bouzaglo, Founder of “Tikkun,” a think tank dealing with social issues in Israel; Founder of “Mizrakh Shemesh,” which teaches the religioustraditions of Jews from Arab /African countries Linda Gradstein, Bureau Chief, The Media Line and Contributor to NPR
Rabbis for Human Rights is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary – a landmark achievement for an organisation that draws support from Rabbis across the religious spectrum in Israel. Rabbi Israel Newman (zecher tzaddik livrachah), an orthodox Rabbi from London who taught Talmud to progressive rabbinic students at Leo Baeck College and who then made Aliyah on his retirement, introduced many of us to the organisation with which he was deeply involved until his death. Working to highlight human rights violations, educating the public and pressurising the State institutions to correct injustice both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories were some of the things for which he campaigned and worked.