Education, General, Justice in Israel, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin, Occupied Territories

International Student Programs and Study Tour Dates – 5775 (2014-2015)

No Comments 14 October 2014

RABBINICAL, CANTORIAL, AND EDUCATION STUDENTS: Get involved and learn how Israel can truly embody  our highest Jewish values! Join us this year in any number of ways and study the profound connection between human rights and Judaism. RHR offers student tours, service opportunities, and internship possibilities in a range of areas focusing on everything from socio-economic justice in Israel and the Negev Bedouin to African asylum seekers.

NOTE: While these programs are specially geared towards international students in rabbinical, cantorial, and Jewish education fields, they are open to all.

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Occupied Territories

Mosque burned in early hours in Palestinian village Aqrabah

No Comments 14 October 2014

Palestinian residents of the village Aqrabah discovered that the mosque had been overnight (early Tuesday morning, October 14t 2014) in an apparent “price tag” attack.  The first floor of the mosque was burned, with damage done to the carpet, the walls and to copies of the Koran. Continue Reading


RHR annual Sukkot assif rukhani-spiritual harvest 5775

1 Comment 08 October 2014

Please find here RHR’s annual assif rukhani, or annual harvest, for Sukkot. The assif is a place for us to celebrate our accomplishments, both as Israelis and as an organization. We hope you will find that we really do have a lot to be proud of as Israelis, and we invite you to celebrate the many accomplishments RHR achieved this year as an organization alongside us. Chag sameach!

Etrog, silver etrog box, and lulav. PHOTO: Gilabrand CC-wikipedia

Etrog, silver etrog box, and lulav. PHOTO: Gilabrand CC-wikipedia

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Sukkot Thoughts 5775: How to make Sukkot the season of our joy

No Comments 08 October 2014

How to Make Sukkot the “Season of our Joy”

Sukkah in Jerusalem. Photo Gilabrand. CC-Wikipedia

Sukkah in Jerusalem. Photo Gilabrand. CC-Wikipedia

Sukkot Thoughts 5775
Rabbi Arik Ascherman

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Please find here the link to our annual assif rukhani-(spiritual harvest) and to our new ushpizin posters (PDF). Traditionally, we invite seven male guests from the Jewish tradition into our sukkah. Today, many are more creative, even inviting women guests. Our ushpizin are those who experience all year round what we experience living the seven days of Sukkot in the fragile sukkah.

I can hear some of you now, “But when we were struggling with the RHR vidui (Yom Kippur confession), you promised us that in Sukkot, zman simkhateinu (season of our joy) things would balance out. Now you are sending us something else depressing, and asking us to hang it in our sukkah?”

Firstly, take a look at our “assif rukhani.” We really do have a lot to be proud of as Israelis, and RHR had quite a few accomplishments this year. With all of the challenges to our democracy, it remains strong and lively inside the Green Line. In our hearts, most of us Israelis want peace and value human rights. Even if the reality is a often quite different, we truly aspire to be a good and moral society. We have a High Court that is willing to stand tall against pressure…See the whole list.

But, what about those ushpizin? The truth is, one of the reasons we have delayed posting the ushpizin is that we were discussing this very question. Should we be reminding ourselves of those in need of God’s sukkat shalom (God’s sheltering sukkah of peace) during zman simkhateinu? Here are my answers:

Firstly, our sages decided that we should read Ecclesiastes on the Shabbat of Sukkot precisely to balance out our joy, and this is also one of the reasons we dwell in the fragile sukkah. The self satisfied farmer who had just brought in his harvest in ancient times needed to be reminded that the blessings he enjoyed were dependent on God’s sheltering presence. We also temper our joy by removing drops of wine from our cup at the Passover seder, and break a glass at a wedding. When people ask me why we need to remember Jerusalem at a wedding, when we have already returned to Jerusalem, I remind them that there is the “Earthly Jerusalem” and the “Heavenly Jerusalem,” representing the ideal world we and God aspire to. The job of every couple, even at the peak of their joy, is to remember that, in a not yet ideal world, in which the gap between “Earthly Jerusalem” and “Heavenly Jerusalem” is still great, the home they will build together must contribute to the repair and healing of our world.

But, there is something else as well. Yes, our sages were worried that we not rejoice too much. However, for many of us it is difficult to rejoice when our world is in the state it is in. We add to our joy and are inspired by the possibility of connecting between our joy and our task in this world. The sukkah becomes more meaningful when we reflect on the spiritual message of the sukkah, and our role in emulating God’s example by providing shelter and protection. We see it as a great privilege to be able to do this, and our faith is that we can bring closer a world in which God’s sukkah (shelter) of peace is spread over the entire world and all humanity.

Khag Sameakh – For a Truly Joyous Sukkot,


Link to view and download Ushpizin posters

Link to read and download assif

Occupied Territories, Press Releases

Olive Harvest in the Occupied Territories starts with a number of serious incidents

No Comments 07 October 2014

PRESS RELEASE | Oct 6th 2014

As the olive harvest begins, a number of serious incidents have been reported in the Occupied Territories. 

 Every fall, Rabbis for Human Rights brings hundreds of volunteers to work side-by-side with Palestinian farmers during our Olive Harvest campaign. 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.

Unfortunately, the start of the harvest season was marred by a number of incidents of vandalism and destruction, some on land that farmers do not visit regularly during the year, so it is difficult to know when the destruction occurred. A few dozen mature olive trees were discovered cut down in Yasuf; most where cut at the bark of the tree, causing severe harm to the tree that we have not seen for some time.

Additionally, 15 trees were cut in Burin, along with a similar number in Aqrabah, along the Detroit Road where it was reported that settlers attempted to disrupt the harvest by expelling Palestinian farmers and giving orders to soldiers.

The legal proceeding from these acts are being handled by Yesh Din, who add that:

“It is important to note that even though the Israeli army has publicly committed to having its forces ready and reinforced in the run-up to the harvest, with special focus on well known friction zones, the severe damage that was reported today occurred exactly in the most predictable spots.”

Rabbis for Human Rights also adds that there is a Biblical prohibition against the destruction of fruit trees. We continue to work against this wasteful, hateful violence.








RHR Field Worker Zakaria Sadah with DCO as they investigate trees cut down in Aqrabah

RHR Field Worker Zakaria Sadah with DCO as they investigate trees cut down in Aqrabah

More photos

For information on how to volunteer with RHR and assist Palestinian farmers safely harvest olives in the Occupied Territories click here.

Related media:

Dozens of olive trees destroyed in the West Bank in run-up to harvest, Ynet


DOWNLOAD NOW: Original human rights themed posters to decorate your Sukkah!

1 Comment 07 October 2014

Rabbis for Human Rights is pleased to invite you to download these original human-rights themed posters for your sukkah! With one for each day of the holiday, each poster features a different “ushpizin” or exalted guest — someone in need of the sheltering presence the sukkah provides year round.  Continue Reading

Justice in Israel, Legal Work

His day in court: Legal victory marks step forward in the fight to save public housing

No Comments 06 October 2014

RHR Advocate Becky Cohen-Keshet specializes in public housing in Israel. On Thursday October 2nd, the day before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, where Jews atone for their sins and believe their fates for the coming year to be sealed, she achieved a victory for public housing at the High Court. It is our hope that this case will act as a stepping stone in our struggle to save public housing in Israel, so that all those in need of a stable, safe home will have one.   Continue Reading

Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

El-Arakib in immediate danger- Call for activists in the coming days

No Comments 06 October 2014

El Arakib is once again being threatened with demolitions, this time during the Muslim holiday of Id el Adkha. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

JOIN US: RHR kicks off the olive harvest season of 5775

1 Comment 05 October 2014


Rabbis for Human Rights

is pleased to invite you to join us as we begin this year’s


cc: wikimedia


During the intermediate days of Sukkot

and in the weeks that follow

Call: 02 6482757 or email

Every fall, Rabbis for Human Rights brings hundreds of volunteers to work side-by-side with Palestinian farmers during our Olive Harvest campaign. 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.

If you would like to join us for a day of harvesting in the territories, please sign up by calling or emailing our office at or 02 648 2757. You can also email the director of RHR’s human rights activity in the Occupied Territories, Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, at

DEPARTURE: We will be leaving from Liberty Bell Gardens parking lot (Jerusalem) at 6:20 (actually the bus will leave at 6;30 precisely), with the possibility of a pick up at Binyanei HaUma (near the central bus station) at approx. 6:45 and a pick up at the Rosh HaAyin train station at 7:20am.

REGISTRATION: Registration at the office is until 16:30 the day before. Those wanting to go out on Sundays must register by 16:30 on Thursdays. If you have not registered on time you are not assured a place on the bus or being informed of last minute changes, cancellations, etc. Registration on time might sometimes impact on the decision to go out at all, if there are not enough volunteers. Our volunteers are invited to contribute to the cost of the bus according to their ability and generosity.

A NOTE ON SECURITY: We will not publish names of the places (all in area C) we are going to because of security concerns and the need for flexibility in our work.  We are in contact with 50 villages.

In general we will be working in places with scheduled army protection (this is for the Palestinians and settlers, not for us!) but not always. We would like to know who is and is not willing to pick in such places.

PLEASE BRING: All the volunteers are requested to bring valid current identification (Identity card, passport, driving license), food for the day, water, work clothes (and to be sensitive to traditional Moslem dress code for women) closed shoes and protection from the sun.

Wishing you all a Hag Sameach and a successful and peaceful Olive harvest! We hope to see you in the field!



General, Justice in Israel, Legal Work, Occupied Territories, Parasha / E-Letter

Yom Kippur Thoughts 5775: Distinguishing between Masui and Ratsui

No Comments 03 October 2014

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Click here for RHR’s annual Yom Kippur vidui. The annual Assif Rukhani (Spiritual Harvest – The list of some of what is good and positive about Israel and Israelis, as well as some of RHR’s accomplishments in this past year) will be posted on our website ( on Sunday, along with beautiful ushpizin (Sukkah guests) posters featuring original artwork depicting some of those who we wish to welcome into our sukkah and into our hearts. Continue Reading

International Student Programs & Study Tour Dates 5775

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