Author Archives: Henrietta Cohen

Parashat VaYishlah: Words of Peace

“And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, so they hated him, and they could not speak peacefully with him”. (Genesis, 37, 4)

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.

No doubt Joseph is an annoying younger brother. Continue reading

Be With Us: From the Harvest, To Planting and Accompanying Palestinian Shepherds

Following a successful harvest season, in which volunteers went out to harvest with Palestinian over 700 individual times in the Northern West Bank. There, on the ground and in the olive trees the truth of solidarity was revealed. Standing together for justice, peace and human rights is the only way that each olive harvested will grow again into another tree that can be harvested in peace and with equality.

Unfortunately, the harvest this year, while it was a success in terms of how many people we brought out, the solidarity and awareness we raised, we cannot help but be profoundly disturbed by the frustration, anger, pain of the farmers. Continue reading

Parashat VaYishlah: The Unheard Voice of Dinah

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

The Olive Harvest Continues: Over 500 Volunteers So Far!!

Dear Friends,

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

A Word of Torah: Chayei Sarah

Nothing came easy to our matriarch Sarah, whose death and burial occupy the first part of this week’s reading. We had previously read of her struggle with infertility, her ordeal with lecherous rulers (with Abraham’s acquiescence), and with his uppity concubine; when she’s finally blessed with her own son, her home life is far from idyllic. Now, right after the story of Isaac’s near death, we learn of her passing, which a midrash suggests was brought on by her fear for Isaac’s life. But her troubles aren’t over yet, because Abraham doesn’t have a place to bury her. Continue reading

Support the 2021 Olive Harvest!

The 2021 Olive Harvest is RHR’s way to move human rights forward! From the virtual world to the actual world, RHR is busy making human rights a reality. Struggling against violence and hate, planting seeds of solidarity with each olive harvested, RHR is Moving Forward for Human Rights!

Today we are changing the future together. We are out in the groves, harvesting in solidarity with Palestinian olive farmers. We stand for THE PALESTINIAN RIGHT TO FARM THEIR OLIVES in peace and in security, free of violence and free of oppression!”

Donate… Make each olive count for justice and for peace!
Thank you for your support and for Moving Human Rights Forward!

In its 19th year of working on the olive harvest, RHR volunteers were out in the occupied West Bank village of Awarta to help with the olive harvest. It was the first day of the season for our volunteers. We are proud to stand with our Palestinian partners who face violent harassment & restrictions under the occupation. You can continue this work from anywhere in the world by being a supporter.


If you would like to donate to BFRHR, you can find more information on the Donations page

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We Can Make 5782 a Turning Point: It is up to us!

Shana Tova!

Dear Friends and Partners,

The New Hebrew Year stands before us. After the Jewish month of Elul, a month in which we prepare our hearts we arrive at what is known as Judgment Day. Standing before God or facing ourselves, we are called to engage in serious soul searching. Who is to live and who is to die and what is to live and what is to die in our souls? How can we abandon our habits and our flaws and be just a little bit better in the coming year? Which of our curses will we leave behind in 5781 and which blessings will we carry forward and bring upon ourselves in the New Year? Continue reading

The 2021 Olive Harvest is fast approaching

The 2021 Olive Harvest with RHR and Palestinian Olive Farmers is fast approaching. We look forward to our 19th year leading volunteers into the West Bank to help Palestinian farmers harvest olives and to stand with them in solidarity against settler violence, against interference by the military and against the indifference that allows for their rights to be trampled year after year. Continue reading