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.
by Avi Dabush (Translated from the original Hebrew)
The use of Judaism and Zionism to slander, trample and harm entire communities: LGBTQ people, secular, Arabs, leftists and anyone who does not align, is a blasphemy. This is a true call for mobilization: those for whom human dignity, human rights, humanity and Judaism are important must get off the fence and join the struggle.
The idea of blasphemy is about how people harm [religion in general] good name of Judaism through what they do. I always think about this, of course when I see defendants who, on a daily basis, do not wear a kippah put one on as they are being arraigned or remanded in court. It should be the opposite. Continue reading →
How is hatred born? What is the human mechanism that creates such a harsh feeling? Is it jealousy that causes hatred? Perhaps it is the difference or specialness of the other, that I lack, that arouses the hatred. Is it the absence or neglect of a significant person who arouses love that causes hatred? Perhaps the past difficulties and memories of the father are reflected in the relationships of his children. We are referring to hatred amongst brothers.
The spiritual and practical world of women in the Bible (and post-Biblical literature) is relatively unexplored. Their mention is disproportionate to their percentage of the population, and when mentioned it is usually as a component of a male narrative, as an object of male actions and desires rather than as a subject.
The story of Dinah in this week’s Torah reading VaYishlah is an extreme case of this. We don’t know how Dinah felt. Did she scream for help when Shechem, son of Hamor, raped her? Or was she perhaps silent in her great surprise and horror? What did she say when her brothers Simon and Levi abducted her and led her out of the city, strewn with corpses, back to her mother and father’s tent? Dinah’s voice is not heard throughout the incident. The victim has turned into an object.Continue reading →
At the BFRHR’s AGM Thursday 3 November 2020, Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild spoke about the relationship between Judaism, Human Rights and Human Dignity. She has kindly provided her speak notes and the source materials referenced in it which can be accessed here. Continue reading →
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, 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 →
As part of her course of study, Reut Schwartz, student at RHR’s Beit Midrash for Human Rights – operated jointly with Hillel: The Center for Jewish Life on the Hebrew University Campus in Jerusalem, is conducting her field work at Koach La Ovdim – Democratic Workers’ Organization. She has taken over the work of last year’s Beit Midrash student Noa Regev as an organizer for afternoon day-care workers in Jerusalem. Soon, the workers will elect a representative committee, which will begin negotiations with the employers (the Jerusalem Municipality and the Israel Association of Community Centers)
“Today, I am doing all I can to make sure that there will be democratic and accessible elections for all the workers,” Reut reported excitedly.
Reut is helping prepare the logistics and content for the elections conference. She is meeting workers in the various neighborhoods, writing letters to voters and making sure that all the workers receive the letters and are aware of the coming elections. Reut is in contact with the workers’ leadership, and at the same time is making sure to mobilize and empower more workers to take on leadership roles. Today, there are two important positions that must be filled: representatives on the elections committee and representatives willing to run as candidates for the workers’ committee. Making the elections accessible to all of them means making sure that each worker has the opportunity to go to the polling place on a day and at a time convenient for her. In addition, Reut is working with the guidance team to ensure that each neighborhood has a representative on the committee because each neighborhood needs its own representative and it is important that each neighborhood is heard in the negotiations with the employers. The success of the elections – regardless of which women will be elected to the committee – will guarantee the livelihood for the women and their ability to have power and influence over their working conditions.
For more information on the work of RHR’s education department click here.
A great deal of effort is made by RHR in Israel to offer teaching on Jewish ethics to young men and women about to start their military service. One important source for their studies is the Israeli Declaration of Independence with detailed references to the traditional Jewish teachings on which it is based. We reproduce below one page from their specially created “Tractate of Independence – Massekhet Atzma’ut” – anyone who would be interested to see more and possibly run some teaching sessions in their own communities should contact Rabbi Nava Hefetz at RHR Israel for more information.