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

The Emergency Social Justice Hotline in the Shadow of the Covid-19 Crisis

Many places around the world are in various stages of dealing with horrific consequences of the Covid-19 health crisis. Far too many people got sick and far too many people died. Our hearts go out to those who lost their fight and we mourn with the families.

We are in awe of the people who were and are on the front line of this terrible struggle: Continue reading

PRESS RELEASE: RHR Blocked From Planting 200 Trees By Israeli Army

With an expired “closed military zone” order the Israeli Army prohibited 200 Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) activists from planting olive trees together with Palestinian farmers, in the Yaasuf village olive groves, some of which had previously been damaged by settlers.

RHR’s Executive Director, Avi Dabush: “It is incomprehensible why the army interprets planting olive trees and eating dried fruit as ‘an attempt to disturb the public order’. It is clear that the only “order” that has been interfered with was to plant trees in accordance with the traditions of the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat.” 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

Rabbi Michael Marmur at BFRHR AGM

At the British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights’ AGM on 9 December 2019, Rabbi Michael Marmur delivered the below speech, reproduced here with his permission.


At this time of year we read the Torah passage relating Jacob’s dream and try to interpret what it means. There are three clues as to what it is about:-

  1. A psychological reason for the wrestling. It takes place at the Ford Yabbok, which is a word play on the consonants in Jacob’s name. It is a struggle with himself as he tries to work out how we are meant to live in this world.
  2. A struggle with God in the guise of an angel. Jacob is trying to work out a theology and a religious response. There is an element of modernity in the struggle of the human with the divine.
  3. Another possibility is that he is wrestling with the spirit of his brother, Esau, of whom he is afraid. It is a drama of not only encountering ourselves and God but what happens in the struggle with the other – our brother.

Continue reading

RHR Announces New Executive Director!

The President of Rabbis for Human Rights, Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, the Board of directors, and the professional staff are pleased to announce the appointment of Avi Dabush— a well-known environmental, social, and political activist— to the position of Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights. Over recent months this position was held by Advocate Becky Keshet, who will now direct the organization’s social justice and public policy projects.  Continue reading

Welcome for RHR’s New President

Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman

Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman

Rabbis for Human Rights have announced their new president, Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman.  Founder of Congregation Kol Haneshama, a centre for progressive Jewish life in Jerusalem, he has also previously served RHR as Chair. Rabbi Weiman-Kelman teaches at the Hebrew Union College Jerusalem, and frequently lectures in Israel and abroad on Jewish spirituality and prayer.

We hope to bring Rabbi Weiman-Kalman to the UK after the chagim. Read the full statement from RHR here.

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