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Shavuot of Violence and Fear: Is there still hope like that between Naomi the Hebrew and Ruth the Moabite?

Turn back, my daughters, for I am too old to be married. Even if I thought there was hope for me… Oh no, my daughters! My lot is far more bitter than yours, for the hand of the LORD has struck out against me.” But Ruth replied, “Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:12-16

Preparing for Shavuot this year is very difficult. We are mired in long and hard days of darkness. Thousands are hurt daily by the violence inside of Israel and from the war between Israel and Hamas. Continue reading

Letter to the Israeli Government calling on them to expedite the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

One hundred Israeli rabbis have already signed a letter calling on Israel: “to expedite the  distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout Israel, and in parallel – with as much importance and urgency – in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “

This is our responsibility and it is what Jewish ethics demand of us, as rabbis, as Jew and as human beings.

We invite you to join with us and the other rabbis who have already signed and to add your signature today.

Sign the letter – here Continue reading

‘Surely it will happen as peace will come’

RHR Board Member, Rabbi Noa Mazor offers us a compelling and moving exploration of this week’s Torah Portion, and as is her custom, she incorporates meaningful poetry that assists us in summing it all up!

“And I shall keep faith in the future, Though the day be yet unseen. Surely it will happen as peace will come carrying its blessing from nation to nation.” Tchernichovsky Continue reading

Rabbi Raanan Mallek: The Empathetic Imperative Warning Us about Our Relationship with the Other in Our Midst – Ki Titzeh

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.

You shall not subvert the rights of the stranger or the fatherless; Continue reading

The Calling of Shavuot: Standing Again at Sinai & Standing for Justice

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

Avi Dabush: Reflections on being Jewish and Human Rights

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 Tree here.   Continue reading

RHR goes up North

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

The attack on Rabbi Ascherman – Reflections on the 20th Yahrzeit of Yitzhak Rabin

by Rabbi Colin Eimer

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.

Continue reading