May 1: Canadian Friends of RHR “Partners for Peace” event & potluck in Montreal

No Comments 26 April 2016

Together with the Unitarian Church of Montreal, Canadian Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights invites you to “Partners for Peace.” Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin, Legal Work, Occupied Territories, Parasha / E-Letter, Refugees rights - UNHCR

Passover Thoughts 5776: Where is God’s Glory?

No Comments 26 April 2016

As we near the final days of Passover, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, president and senior rabbi for Rabbis for Human Rights, shares his thoughts on the holiday. Continue Reading


Who sits with us at our seder? Passover Haggadah supplements for 5776

No Comments 19 April 2016

As in years past, please find below RHR’s special human rights themed Passover haggadah supplements. They are: “Who sits with us at our seder” and “Commentary to the Torah by Rabbi Samson Rapael Hirsch.” Please note that Rabbi Ma’ayan Turner’s popular “Four Children at the Seder – Which Child am I?” is included this year in our refugee haggadah. Both supplements are copied below as well as available for download.  Please feel free to cut and paste as you see necessary in order to make your seder meaningful for you.  Continue Reading


Passover Dvar Torah: Choose to be free

No Comments 19 April 2016

Passover is a celebration of freedom. This Passover, what songs are the people of Israel singing? Which songs must we be singing?  Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

UN Human Rights Council’s Israel bias hurts human rights struggle

No Comments 18 April 2016

Rabbis for Human Right’s has recently called to the attention of the UN Secretary General our concern regarding the anti- Israel bias of the Human Rights Council of the UN to the detriment of state. This bias hurts not only Israel but also any criticism of the state’s policy vis a vis human rights. This damage to the integrity of human rights discourse and the international organisations that protect human rights results in harm to the cause itself. Continue Reading


RHR now accepting chametz for donation to non-Jews

No Comments 17 April 2016

Donate your chametz to non-Jews in need!

Through the morning of Thursday, April 21st, we can accept chametz in our office in unopened packages and bottles.  If you are outside of Jerusalem, please contact us and we will try to connect you to others collecting in different regions of the country. Email:[email protected]; telephone: 02-6482757 Continue Reading

General, Refugees rights - UNHCR

Refugee freedom seder haggadah

No Comments 15 April 2016

Below please find a modified version of the Passover haggadah used on April 15 2016 to lead a seder with African asylum seekers at the Holot “Open” Detention Facility in the Negev where they are currently detained.

We encourage you to download the haggadah and use it or parts of it as you see appropriate in your own Passover seder.

Special thanks to the New Israel Fund for sponsoring the Holot seder. 

Download the PDF file .

Download as word document here (which you can alter as you see fit)

View/download as PDF document here

freedom matza - cropped 2

Photos from the seder here

General, Justice in Israel

Correspondence between RHR and the UN regarding UNHRC

1 Comment 13 April 2016

First letter from Rabbis for Human Rights to UN’s S.G Ban Ki Moon

October 19, 2015


Mr. Ban Ki Moon

Secretary General

The United Nations


Your Excellency,


For a quarter century Rabbis for Human Rights has served on the front lines of the human rights struggles in Israel and the Occupied Territories. We have had the honor to protect the Palestinian olive harvest year after year. We run a welfare and human rights office inside the Green Line in the city of Hadera that protects the rights of Israeli workers and the poor. We promote democracy and educate toward equality. We engage in interfaith dialogue and support fair treatment of minorities in our country. Our central guiding light is the Jewish religious concept of humanity created in the Divine Image, and therefore of infinite inherent worth.


We write to Your Excellency to ask for review of the modes of operation of international human rights institutions responsible for the protection of human rights in inhabited combat zones. We think this reflection is crucial in order to restore the credibility of the global and local human rights network. In that regard, we wish to call attention, in particular, to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. It is hard to find objective criteria that can justify the the record of condemnation of Israel: Since 2006 the UNHRC has issued 62 condemnations of our country. The next most reprimanded country, Syria, has faced 16. This policy portrays the UNHRC criticism on Israel as biased and unprofessional and renders it ineffective. The dysfunctions of the UNHRC impact broadly on the credibility of the work of the human rights community worldwide.  In short: by hurting the credibility of the human rights network of organizations, it hurts the struggle for human rights.



We seek dialogue with Your Excellency so as to move forward in terms of rectifying this situation that has done so much harm to the discourse of international human rights law in our time. Our task is to address Israeli society, but when the institutions of the International Community so profoundly line up in ways that are unacceptable to any fair minded person, it is understandable that the discourse within our country becomes attenuated and difficult. That is our challenge. We respectfully suggest that the promulgation of equal, universal and universally applied criteria of intervention is a primary responsibility of the family of nations. You can play a key role in bringing that about by taking action to call the UNHRC to order.



We look forward to further dialogue at your nearest convenience.





Rabbi Amy Klein                                              



Rabbi Ed Rettig

Board Member



The UN’s response to RHR’s letter:

Download the PDF file .


UNs responds



Rabbis for Human Rights second letter to the UN


Mohammad Ali Ansour


The Middle East and North Africa Section,


Dear Sir,


Thank you for your letter of 3 November 1015, addressed originally to His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. We take this correspondence seriously and have devoted significant time and energy to consider our response.


We wish to point out that your letter did not address our core query. We noted that “It is hard to find objective criteria that can justify record of condemnation of Israel: Since 2006, the UNHRC has issued 62 condemnations of our country. The next most reprimanded country, Syria, has faced 16.”  


We then pointed out that this imbalance “portrays UNHRC criticism on Israel as biased and unprofessional and renders it ineffective.”


Most important, in the absence of explicit criteria that can determine when to focus a resolution on the perceived dysfunctions of a particular country, the imbalance in the UNHRC focus on Israel “impact broadly on the credibility of the work of the human rights community worldwide. In short: by hurting the credibility of the human rights network of organizations it hurts the struggle for human rights.”


We congratulate you on the numerous processes you delineated for us, including over 1000 resolutions and decisions. However, the UNHRC’s perceived dysfunctions regarding our region force us to focus our discussion. We look forward to dialogue with the UNHRC on the issues we raise.


In closing, we thank you for your kind comments on our work with the Palestinian olive harvest.





Rabbi Amy Klein                                            Rabbi Edward Rettig

Chair                                                                Board Member

General, Occupied Territories

COGAT admits Palestinians subjected to more severe enforcement of planning laws

No Comments 11 April 2016

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Major General Yoav Mordechai, was quoted in Reuters (among other news sources) admitting  the enforcement of planning laws in the Area C is stricter against Palestinians than settlers, and that most of the planning-related demolitions are on private Palestinians lands.  This statement is in direct contradiction to the position of the state was well as the High Court. Continue Reading


RHR is now collecting Kimkha d’Peskha

No Comments 10 April 2016

Rabbis for Human Rights is once again collecting funds to help Jews living in poverty joyfully celebrate the Passover Seder. Please click here to make an on-line donation (be sure to designate it), or send your donation by check to “Rabbis For Human Rights; Rehov HaRehavim 9, . Jerusalem 9346209. Please click here for information about how to make a bank transfer. 

If you contact Adena Ben-Reuven at [email protected], we will be sure to properly designate your donation and can use it before it arrives.

Thank you!

By SoulSkorpion - English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Photo By SoulSkorpion – English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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