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!
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 →
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 →
Read RHR’s most recent newsletter HERE. Former Knesset Member and friend of all those fighting for social justice, Ilan Gilon, is remembered by Rabbis for Human Rights and Rabbi Ruti Baidatz. Also read about RHR’s support of the Hebrew Israelite Community who are currently facing deportation orders and RHR’s involvement in the Alternative Independence Day Torch Lighting, with Becky Cohen Keshet representing their commitment to economic justice.
If you would like to donate to BFRHR, you can find more information on the Donations page
This column was written before the demonstrations by Bedouin and their supporters in the Negev began, and before right-wing Knesset members turned from their parliamentary work in order to, in an unprecedented fashion, “devote themselves” to agricultural work with the aim of setting the Negev on fire. The article was written about our work in the OPT, but the words in it are doubly relevant after seeing how JNF tree planting has become a symbol of violence and hatred in the Negev.
Jewish supremacy and Jewish terrorism are disgusting and shocking, especially when one remembers that Judaism is rooted in standing up to power. The culture of violence found in Jewish rioting gangs is dangerous and requires us to correct it.Continue reading →
The Olive Harvest continues and this week, as we reported, has been one of excitement, pain and success. As we reported to you earlier in the week, on Monday our staff and volunteers were attacked as they participated in the harvest near Awarta. However, even in the face of violence, threats and indifference we continue and are proud of the over 500 volunteers who have joined us thus far, where we all work to show that justice and solidarity can overcome violence and oppression. Continue reading →
Volunteers and employees from Rabbis For Human Rights were attacked not long ago by settlers from the Itamar settlement, while the volunteers were assisting Palestinian farmers harvesting their olives in the village of Awarta in the West Bank.
The attackers who arrived on foot and on “tractoronim” (small tractors used for racing) sprayed pepper gas at the harvesters. One of the employees of RHR was hurt and needed medical assistance. Volunteers with RHR reported that there was an army presence at the time but that the soldiers barely intervened. 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 →