Within less than a month the olive harvest will begin. Every year at this time Palestinian farmers from a number of villages across the West Bank receive threats to their safety, are denied access to their land or have their olives stolen, their trees poisoned, or even cut down altogether. Continue Reading
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, director of the Rights in the Occupied Territories Department, summarizes the summer activities so far.
This summer, 80 children participated in the summer camp in this neglected area, where the children of the Jahalin tribe live. The camp was very successful and we even started a children’s library. A Canadian group accompanied us for the fourth year in a row. In addition, we engaged in special education in East Jerusalem and activities with Eritrean refugees. Thanks to our activities, we received a large grant from a group of Evangelical churches in Germany.
Soon we will start the olive and almond harvest activities and need your help. To sign up, send us a message on the website.
An urgent message: 4 years after the evacuation order was signed, security forces and the Civil Administration evacuated a large group of settlers who invaded the Palestinian village of Susya this morning.
We are concerned that extreme settlers will avenge this evacuation and warn the IDF to be prepared. To our regret the invasions to Palestinian land in the West Bank continue.
Each year Rabbis for Human Rights organizes a summer camp and provides economic and educational assistance to the children of the Jahalin tribe. The camp is run by Ibtisim Al-Chirsh of the Jahalin, and takes place on the tribe’s little hill overlooking the Abu Dis landfill in East Jerusalem. Rabbi Yechiel Greinman brings back his impressions of the summer camp and of building a library for the Jahalin children.This year we began employing Ibtisim part-time, as a local coordinator of educational activities. To our satisfaction, about 65 children participated in the camp, both boys and girls of elementary school ages.A Library for the JahalinWe have also begun a new project to establish a local library. You are more than welcome to donate books in Arabic, or English for beginners. To do so, please contact the office and we will arrange for the transfer of the books to the children.Our activities include:
- Involvement in the planning (especially Yehonatan Shefa of our department).
- Bringing volunteers on site (this year we had help from Yaguda, Izzy, and Zach).
- Buying refreshments each day.
- Funding a trip to a playground.
- An initial donation toward the construction of the library and purchase of books.The camp ends this week with a planned trip to Tul-Karm and the good feeling we have added to the lives and education of the Jahalin tribe children. The hope is that by the start of Ramadan this year the library will begin operating. Thanks to everyone: volunteers, donots, and our staff, and of course congratulations to Ibtisim herself and her local assistants.Photos from the summer camp in which Rabbis for Human Rights is active and for which it provides economic and educational assistance. The camp is run by Ibtisim Al-Chirsh of the Jahalin, and takes place each year on the Jahalin’s hillside near the Abu Dis landfill, East Jerusalem.
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Here are photos from the third annual “open day” at the Khan El Akhmar Bedouin school (85 children and expanding!), which we helped build years ago and have been supporting since. Every day the school functions is another victory but it is under threat of demolition, as are all the Bedouin tents, huts and hovels in the area. This is because of the demands of the very powerful and well-connected neighbouring settlers of Kfar Adumim to remove the Bedouin from the area, and the government interest in emptying area C of as many Palestinian Arabs as possible, as is the case in the South Hebron hills and the Jordan valley. Continue Reading
Rabbis for Human Rights has been in contact throughout the plowing season with Palestinian landowners from the villages Jit, Far’ata, Aimtan, Sara, Tel, Kufr Kadum, Burin, Madma, Hawara, ‘Urif, Ein Abus, Awarta, Beit Furik (above the Itamar settlement), Rujib, Salem, Dir Hatib, Azmut, Sinjil, Karyut, Mahms (near Migron) and Mureir. Despite our repeated requests of Israeli security forces to protect the Palestinian plowing, there is still tremendous disorder. There have been repeated attacks, such as: blocked access to agricultural lands but both settlers and soldiers; attacks by settlers; uprooting and cutting down of trees; attacks on herders; damage to equipment and more. A significant number of farmers are still waiting for approval to enter their lands to plow.
Rabbi Yehiel Greinman Continue Reading
Pesach is, as we all know, “family time”, a time for renewal of family ties. We, of course, renew our covenant with G-d as a people in remembering and celebrating the Divine redemption from Egyptian bondage. The way we do so is through “telling the story” in the family framework. The main commandment of the evening ritual feast is “Tell it to your child” (Literally: “And you should explain to your son on that day, this is because of what the Lord did for me when I went free from Egypt’” Exodus, 13, 8). This is done through the well-known ritual question “Ma Nishtana?” (“why is this night different than all other nights?”) which is followed by the telling of the story. A braita in the Talmud goes on to tell us that if we have no child who can ask the opening questions we should ask them ourselves, or ask each other so we can then go on to tell the story to our other family members, to friends, to each other. The many unusual customs of the seder night are explained there in Chapter ten of Tractate Pesachim of the Talmud as designed for one purpose – to stimulate questions in order to “tell the story” – the story of the redemption from Egypt, the story of G-d- given freedom.
Telling the story is a profoundly humanizing act – every family has its story, every individual has his or her personal narrative, but it is in the sharing act of telling that we reach out and connect with each other. It is in the telling that we see our commonality, as well as learning to wonder at and respect our differences. In the end we all have one basic story – that of our common humanity – though it is told and experienced in so many different and unique ways. The story of the exodus from Egypt has resonated with freedom-loving spiritual souls throughout the world. To be a part of this particular narrative of liberation, the national liberation of the ancient Hebrews, and of the contemporary Jews, implies a commitment to all human freedom, to the universal narrative of liberation. The Torah tells us that the source of that liberation is the G-d of all humanity, who through our “family” story is telling the story of freedom of all the human family. No one is fully free if others are still enslaved! Martin Luther King understood that, Mahatma Ghandi understood that, Abraham Joshua Heschel understood that. I believe that was Moses’ message in the Torah in telling this, in telling us to celebrate and pass on our story.
Our story here in the Land of Israel is also the story of the other residents of the Land, the ones who call it “Palestine” or “The Holy Land” or as the late rabbi Menahem Fruman often called it ”G-d’s Land”. We cannot truly tell our own story without hearing theirs. They are part of our story and we of theirs. Just as we value and celebrate our freedom from bondage, so they long to do the same. As long as we do not hear their call, turn a deaf ear to them, our redemption will not be complete, will be unfulfilled. The Land, though today torn and tortured, will only be whole when we are able to share it (however that is constructed politically) in mutual respect. Our broken hearts will only finally heal and become whole when we are able to hear each other and listen, deeply listen, to each others’ stories and hear in them , our common humanity, our shared story. That is what the telling of the story of redemption on Pesach should be about. We are all one family. Until we understand that we are still enslaved. Time to free ourselves!
Hag Herut Sameach!
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann
This Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m the “Tag Meir” coalition (to which we belong) has organized a demonstration opposite the Prime Minister’s residence protesting the latest wave of racist anti Arab violence in our streets and the lack of firm action on the part of the authorities to deal with it.
Whereas the despicable and cowardly “Tag Mehir” attacks have mainly been happening in the occupied Palestinian territories with a weak response on the part of the army and police, these latest attacks have been in the heart of our cities.
If we do not speak out and loudly they will continue and the lack of action on the part of the authorities will also continue. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said about what the U/S/A army was doing in the Vietnam war back in the 1960`s:
“Some are guilty, but we are all responsible!”
I will be there, what about you?
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann
Thursday, 20th February, Zakaria and I went to visit the village of Kusra on the way up to meeting some Bedouin in the Northern Jordan valley regarding demolition orders they had received. We expected it to be a short visit to pay our respects to the Mayor Abdel Adim and to inquire as to the fate of the olive trees we had planted there on Tu BeShvat. We were accompanied by three young Americans from the Michigan Peace Team who were interested in learning more about what we do.
By: Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann
In one of Yeshayahu Leibowitz’s books about the portion of the week he says of the portion of Beshalach: “It may be the portion of redemption… but it is also the portion of the reality following redemption.” After redemption there is singing, but there is also a return to dreary daily life. Dvar Torah to Parashat ‘Beshalach’ (Exodus 13:17-17:16)
By: Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann Continue Reading