Jewish voices at Hebrew University Beit Midrash for Human Rights

0 Comments 20 February 2018

By Rabbi Ezra Ende, head of Rabbis for Human Rights Beit Midrash for Human Rights at Hebrew University

Students at Hebrew University Beit Midrash for Human Rights

The Beit Midrash for Human Rights of Rabbis for Human Rights has been operating for the past fourteen years in cooperation with the Hillel branch of Hebrew University at Mount Scopus. Every Monday evening, eleven students study human rights issues in light of Jewish sources. In addition, every student is committed to field work in a project for social change.

The projects that the students are working on this year include: ‘Family Unification’ – an organization for the aliya of Ethiopian Jewry that remained behind, the Jerusalem-African Community Center – an organization that assists families of asylum seekers in Jerusalem, Koah LaOvdim Democratic Workers’ Organization, and Mavoi Satum which assists women who have been refused a Jewish divorce.

Each weekly class focuses on an issue of human rights. The course varies from week to week in its structure and includes one or more of the following components: study in small groups (“chavruta“), whole class discussion, and guest lectures by social activists, rabbis, religious or other spiritual leaders. At the beginning of the each class, about fifteen minutes are allocated for spiritual-cultural activity led by one of the participants.

1. Raising student awareness and understanding of human rights values and human rights violations within Israeli society
2. Discussion of human rights in the light of Jewish sources leading to reflection on the meaning of personal, community and national Jewish identity.
3. The encouragement of social activism in the hope of ending human rights violations in our society.

One of the most significant experiences in the beit midrash is the bringing together of students from different backgrounds within Israeli society – Orthodox, liberal, secular, Ashkenazi, Mizrahim, etc. It is important for us to put we learn into practice because human rights are sacred to all of us and do not reflect one side or another of the political spectrum.



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