General, Parasha / E-Letter

WEEKLY PARASHA: Speaking about the Future

No Comments 01 September 2015

At this season of teshuva, Rabbi Gail Diamond examines the explanations of Radak and Ibn Ezra that serve to remind us that it is up to us to create the world that Isaiah promised. 

The Haftarah for Parshat “Ki Tavo” is Isaiah 60:1-22.  Near the end it contains the well-known verse:

And your people, all of them righteous, shall possess the land for all time; they are the shoot that I planted, my handiwork in which I glory.

(Isaiah 60:21)

As we seek to understand this verse, it is important to keep in mind that Isaiah is speaking about a future, messianic time, a time when, “Your sun shall set no more, your moon no more withdraw; For the Lord shall be a light to you forever, and your days of mourning shall be ended. (verse 20)”   Sun and moon, and thus seasons and time, will no longer be as they have been – the world will be of a wholly different order.

Some beautiful explanations of verse 21 can help us consider the deeds to which we should aspire.  On the words, “נצר מטעי – the shoot that I planted”, Radak comments,

That it will be seen by their actions that I am the one who planted them

Radak’s point is that the actions of the returning people will be so pure and good that it will be clear that they have returned to the land because of G-d’s intention that they be there.  This notion of the way in which our deeds bring honor to G-d is found in the traditional notions of Kiddush Hashem and Hillul Hashem.  We can be “G-d’s planting” only when we act in righteous ways.  Radak moves the focus of our thinking about the verse – we are no longer passively planted.  Rather we will only be considered G-d’s plantings when our actions are godly.

Ibn Ezra makes a similar point on the words “מעשי ידי להתפאר – my handiwork in which I glory”:

As a person who is happy with his deeds when they are correct

Children as an example

We can think here of children as an example – when our children behave or excel, we tend to feel good, and when they misbehave, we tend to feel badly.  G-d is glorified, or happy, when it seems correct to have made us, that is, when we are righteous.  And we can infer from this explanation that the Holy One will be glorified by us only when our deeds are correct, metukanim.  While the verse speaks of us as the works of G-d’s hands, the explanation of Ibn Ezra, written for us not G-d, reminds us that we need to examine and evaluate our own works and deeds, to be sure that we are living our lives in ways that glorify G-d.

At this season of teshuva, the explanations of Radak and Ibn Ezra serve to remind us that it is up to us to create the world that Isaiah promised.  We will be a righteous people pleasing to G-d only through our deeds.  May all our deeds be such that they bring glory to G-d. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gail Diamond is a member of RHR


General, Occupied Territories

August demolitions in the Jordan Valley/E1 leave 167 homeless

1 Comment 30 August 2015

Even in terms of the West Bank, the living situation of the clan of Obyait is a particularly difficult one.

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Weekly Parasha: Respecting Human rights amidst military victory

1 Comment 27 August 2015

The tension between security, the honouring of human rights, and military triumph is one that has been with humanity for generations. How does the Torah encourage us to remember that people  - especially women of a vanquished foreign nation  - are human beings too, who must be regarded as such? Continue Reading


Condemnations of recent wave of demolitions in Jordan valley and E1/Maale Adumim area

1 Comment 25 August 2015

A recent wave of demolitions of Palestinian property by the Israeli authorities in the Jordan valley and the E1/Maale Adumim region of Area C since August 5th has resulted in condemnations from the United Nations, the US State Department, and the European Union in addition to various Israeli and Palestinian NGOs and over thirty international aid, faith and development organisations. As of August 20th, a total of 167 people have lost their homes in these actions, including 101 minors. Continue Reading


79 Bedouin, including 49 children made homeless by administrative demolitions

1 Comment 20 August 2015

On Monday August 17 2015,  79 Bedouin, including 49 children, living outside of the settlement Maale Adumim were made homeless by the Israeli authorities in a day that saw the most Palestinians lose their homes since 2012.  Continue Reading

General, ICCI, العربية

Year course- Healing hatred: Spiritual Counseling in Situations of Conflict

1 Comment 18 August 2015

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, The Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, and The Holy Land Trust are now recruiting participants for their next Healing Hatred course – a year-long program training participants to use skills of spiritual counseling to address the fear and trauma underlying the ongoing conflict. Continue Reading



No Comments 13 August 2015


In an apparent “price tag” arson attack in the West Bank community of Ein Samia, a Bedouin tent was set on fire and completely burned. Inside the tend was only animal feed; however, it is extremely fortunate that no people were present, as the children usually sleep in the corner of the tent but were elsewhere due the heat. Nearby the burnt tent graffiti was scrawled reading “administrative revenge” – implying a revenge attack following the administrative detention of some right wing Israeli extremists by the Israeli authorities.
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General, Occupied Territories

Media round-up: “Viral” photo of our field worker Zakaria Sadah

No Comments 09 August 2015

A photograph taken by Israeli photographer Shaul Golan showing Rabbis for Human Rights’ Palestinian field worker, Zakaria Sadah, the mayor of the Palestinian village Kusra, and an Israeli policewoman has been shared thousands of time online, and been featured in a number of media publications.

Image by Shaul Golan

Image by Shaul Golan

The photo shows Zakaria and the mayor of Kusra protecting the frightened Israeli policewoman during a conflict between Palestinians from Kusra and settlers from the outpost of Esh Kodesh.  The video of the incident can be seen below, while the full story can be read here (as some of the news outlets did not report the specifics correctly). 


Below is a (non-comprehensive) round-up of English media covering this incident. 

Two Palestinian men called “traitors” after they protected a female Israeli police officer during a violent confrontation
The Blaze, Sharona Schwartz, August 3 2015

A picture of hope and courage
Times of Israel blog, Roi Ben- Yehuda, August 4 2015

Were Palestinians really protecting Israeli policewoman from settlers?
Israellycool, Aussie Dave, August 5th 2015

Israeli policewoman protected by Palestinians as settlers throw rocks at authorities
The Independent, Michael Segalov, August 6 2015

Here’s why these Palestinians protected an Israeli policewoman
The Huffington Post, Katie Sola, August 7 2015

Photo of Palestinian men protecting Israeli policewoman goes viral
Al Arabiya News, August 7 2015

Photo of Palestinians protecting Israeli policewoman goes viral
I24 news, August 8 2015

Photo of Palestinian men protecting Israeli policewoman goes viral
Middle East Monitor, August 8th 2015 (From Al Arabiya news)



Full explanation from Rabbis for Human Rights on the context of the photo

Full details on the incident near Kusra 


General, Occupied Territories

Rabbis for Human Rights mourns the murder of Sa’ad Dawabshe

No Comments 09 August 2015

Rabbis for Human Rights mourns the murder of Sa’ad Dawabshe one week after sustaining serious injuries in an arson attack that killed his 18 month old son, and seriously injured his wife and other son. We continue to pray for the recovery of his wife and son, still in serious condition in the hospital. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

The story behind the photo

19 Comments 03 August 2015

The following photo of RHR Palestinian field worker Zakaria Sadah (blue checkered shirt) went “viral” and was shared widely online (mostly Hebrew) without proper context or understanding.  This situation has resulted in the vilification of our worker by settlers and some Palestinians. Please see below for the story and video behind the  photo. Continue Reading

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