Rabbi Ezra Ende from the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism leads Kabbalat Shabbat
Parashat Hashavua “Devarim” | What Will Be | What Was | Torah Thoughts
To our Moslem supporters Ramadan Kareem.
Into | Rabbi Arik Acherman
On Monday Jews marked Rosh Khodesh Av (First day of the month of Av) and Muslims began the month of Ramadan, “Ramadan Kareem.” It seems so difficult and exhausting to fast for an entire month, especially in August heat. We are always being warned never to go outside without water, whereas Muslim farmers and laborers can be engaged in backbreaking physical work in the hot sun while keeping the fast. However, I have had Muslims tell me that they enjoy Ramadan more than the festivities of ‘Id El-Fiter af the end or Ramadan. They say that the fast purifies the body and the soul, and leaves them with a wonderful feeling, not to mention the gatherings of family and friends in the evenings. For us Jews, Rosh Khodesh Av is not a happy time. It is another stage in the increasing mourning which began on the seventeenth of Tamuz and culminates in the ‘Tisha Be Av’ fast, remembering our destroyed Temples and so many other tragedies in Jewish and human history. As Rabbi Shai Piron reminded the crowd at the Jerusalem demonstration on Saturday night, the second temple was destroyed because of internal divisions and causeless hatred. However, similar to the purifying experience of Muslims, the Haftarah for Shabbat Hazon (This coming Shabbat, the Shabbat preceding Tisha B’Av.), the prophet Isaiah teaches us that a genuine and meaningful fast must be inextricably bound to a purifying of our deeds, “Wash and purify (your deeds)” (1:16). From our fast we should “Learn to do good ; Devote yourselves to justice, Aid the wronged; Uphold the rights of the orphan; Defend the cause of the widow.” (1:17) . Thus, by the last hours of the Tisha B’Av fast when we recite the mincha (afternoon) service, our mourning turns toward uplift and optimism.
I am sure that some of those in the tent cities around the country are actually enjoying the atmosphere and the feeling of togetherness, despite the hardships. For the people we are most in touch with tin the “Eyn Breira” (No Alternative) camp and in beit Shean, there is nothing fun. It is a struggle for survival, oppressive heat and worrying about the children, even as economic resources dwindle. There are those who aren’t even in tent camps, but who are fighting for a roof over their heads in East Jerusalem or the “unrecognized” villages. Just as the differing Muslim and Jewish fasts with their different atmospheres lead to the same place of “tikun” (repair, restoration, cleansing, healing) God, may it be Your Will that our effors and struggles in tent camps and outside them bring us to a place of tikun, to the ‘Id El Fitr greeting of Kul ‘am u’intoo b’khir (May every year find you well) and “After that you shal be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City. Zion shal be redeemed through righteousness, her repentant ones through justice.” (Isaiah 1: 26-27)
Shabbat Shalom and a Meaningful, Purifying and Restorative Fast.
Parashat Hashavua “Devarim”
Where have you been when… – Rabbi Ofer Shabbat- Beit Halachmi asks what will we answer our children when, in the future, they will ask us where have you been during the big social protest of Summer 2011? Continue reading →
What Will Be
Lectures – RHR rabbis are being invited to the tent camps to speak about Judaism and housing rights. You can also arrange a lecture in congregations, community centers, parlor meetings, etc.
Public housing tenants in Jerusalem – RHR continues to especially support the tent camps of public housing tenants in Jerusalem, and now in Beit Shean. We need financial contributions, seeing as these camps do not have the same resources as the camps of those demanding affordable rent. You can donate on-line but be sure to let us know that this is a designated gift. In Jerusalem especially, we need volunteers to run children’s programs in the afternoon. Contributions of food, equipment, etc., are welcome, and also visits. Some activists are sleeping a night or more in the camp. For more information: Rabbi Kobi Weiss at [email protected], 050-2345251.
The Eyn Breira Tent Camp (Jerusalem) – The Eyn Breira tent camp is organizing a demonstration for public housing with an emphasis on single parent mothers that will take place in Jerusalem on Sunday. We will send more information as we receive it.
Gan HaAtzmaut camp in Jerusalem – RHR continues to engage in the huge task of supporting the Gan HaAtzmaut camp in Jerusalem of those harmed by the State’s policy regarding public housing. We are present in the cam on a daily basis, and are helping to obtain equipment and contributions, provide moral support and publicity, and help with organizational matters. We are especially working to integrate public housing tenants as full partners in local and national leadership. There is progress. The national tent camp leadership is showing much more willingness to include those harmed by public housing policy and their messages, but it is still a hierarchical relationship.
El-Arakib – The leadership in El-Arakib are wonderful speakers who can speak about the status of unrecognized villages, co-existence and joint Jewish Arab struggle for a common future. Invite them to your synagogues, community centers, parlor meetings. 02-6482757 or Rabbi Kobi Wiss at [email protected]; 050-234-5251.
El-Arakib – Last Wednesday, the anniversary of the first and largest of the 28 demolitions of El-Arakib over the last year, the residents and activists marked the day with a march from the Lehavim junction to the village, lighting torches on the final portion from the turnoff from Rte. 40 to the village cemetery. Up until the day before it was touch and go, as the police created many difficulties regarding a permit. Sheikh Siyakh, his son Aziz and others made a point of thanking the Jews who have been a part of the struggle for the rights of the village residents. Rabbi Ascherman said that it was the Jews who needed to thank the residents. After suffering so much violence, destruction, humiliation and damage to property, livelihood and dignity, they continue to believe in a joint struggle and have not given up their hope for a joint future.
“Unrecognized” Bedouin villages – Weekly Demonstration on behalf of the “unrecognized” Bedouin villages of the Negev every Sunday at 16:30 at the Lehavim Junction.
Public housing residents in Beit Shean – RHR is planning a training program for volunteers to accompany public housing residents in Beit Shean in their contacts with Amidar and other public officials. We also need volunteers to hand out flyers in front of Amidar. Rabbi Kobi Weiss: [email protected]; 050-2345251.
Beit Shean – Last week Amidar tenants from Beit Shean tried to set up a tent camp. However, the Beit Shean Municipality is one of the few municipalities around the entire country that chose to refuse to allow a camp. The camp has been dismantled three times. After the first time, RHR helped the tenants to obtain a police permit. However, the Municipality cancelled the section allowing tents, and again dismantled. As a result, tens of activists from local kibbutzim, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv demonstrated together with the residents on Sunday. Nevertheless, On Monday the Municipality removed the tents a third time. One resident was arrested. Video shows that he merely lost his balance, but the inspectors chose to interpret this as an intentional attack.He was kept over night, and today (Tuesday) there is to be an arraignment. Also on Monday RHR joined the inhabitants of the tent camp and ACRI to petition the High Court to allow the camp, as in most places around the country. The Municipality then gave a space next to the Municipality, but it is only large enough for 3 tents.
The Week that Was
RHR rabbis are visiting camps and participating in demonstrations around the country.
The crisis in public housing in Beit Shean – Something is happening here, but we can’t just demonstrate in the center of the country. A cry for help has come from Beit Shean, and we must not turn our heads. It isn’t easy to get to Beit Shean. It requires an effort. There won’t be 140,000 demonstrators. That makes your presence all the more critical, and we need to plan. There was a dismantling of the Beit Shean tent camp by the Municipality on Friday. Continue reading →
Wisconsin Plan Is Back – There is a new governmental bill on the Wisconsin Plan. We submitted our reference to this bill, and now we have asked to meet with the Industry, Trade and Labor Minister. To remind you’ the Wisconsin plan was canceled due to a public protest and organizational activity during a long period of time. Continue reading →
Monitoring human rights – Rabbis for Human , active in monitoring human rights violations responds to the announcement today that some individuals have been given an order to stay away from areas close to the settlement of Itzhar. Continue reading →
Jahalin Summer Camps End – The five camps organised by the coalition of organisations for the Jahalin (Vienta Deterra, the Combini sisters, Rabbis For Human Rights and the Jerusalem Bedouin Cooperative) have just finished, as Ramadan starts todayContinue reading →
An attack and theft in Toamin – This week there was an attack and theft in Toamin Continue reading →
RHR Media Coverage
- The Neshamah Center: The Nation Demands Social Justice, Reb Barry Leff
Messeges from Other Organization
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