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 →
This coming Shabbat we read one of the shortest Torah readings of the year and one of the most powerful. Not only does it engage us in the renewal of the covenant with G-d as we hear the last words of Moshe Rabeinu and his demand for commitment but also it presents us with a profound paradox: On the one hand Continue reading →
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 →
After an intensive and persistent two-year struggle, led by RHR’s Adv. Becky Cohen Keshet, director of the social justice department, under difficult political circumstances Rabbis for Human Rights can now say that it has succeeded! Food Security is now part of the basic national budget. Continue reading →
Some people believe that the challenges, dilemmas and hopes that engage humanity are permanent and eternal, that “what was, will be” and that “there is nothing new under the sun”. This perspective is especially prevalent in the traditional world. The search for spiritual intentionality through the regular reading of the weekly portion, even through the lens of creative commentaries, can contribute to the sense of continuity and meaning but it might also paper over the burning issues that are present, the ones that are found outside of the traditional text. Continue reading →
The Olive Harvest is a unique opportunity for Israeli and overseas volunteers to learn about human rights in the occupied West Bank and stand/act in solidarity with Palestinian farmers who are under constant threats of violence and harassment by nearby settlers. Rabbis for Human Rights is now organizing the annual Olive Harvest for the 18th time. Continue reading →
One of the major focuses of Rabbis for Human Rights work in the Occupied Territories is ensuring Palestinian farmers are given full, safe access to their lands. This is especially relevant for farmers with land near settlements, unauthorised outposts, or near the Separation Barrier. We offer our assistance throughout the calendar, but the most concentrated time of year for this work comes in fall during the olive harvest.
During this time, we bring hundreds of volunteers to work side-by-side with Palestinian farmers. Our presence provides protection against possible settler intimidation, enables farmers to pick within the limited number of days that they can safely do so, and has also become an act of solidarity between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. In the fall of 2019, RHR brought out over 600 volunteers —both international and local — for more than thirty days of work in olive groves in the northern West Bank
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.
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 →