General, Occupied Territories

Watering trees in Anata: A volunteer gives her impressions

No Comments 09 September 2014

On Friday, September 5th, Rabbi Arik Ascherman and Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann took a group of volunteers to assist a farmer in watering his trees in the Palestinian village of Anata. Although the group was concerned that they would be given a hard time by local extremists, it ended up being a quiet morning. One of the volunteers shares her impressions of the day.  Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories, Reflections from RHR Rabbis & Staff

On Rosh Khodesh & the Ceasefire: A meditation to open ourselves to the power of Elul

No Comments 26 August 2014

On Tuesday and Wednesday, August 26th and 27th,  we mark the new Jewish month of Elul, a month set apart from the others as a time of deep soul searching and repentance in preparation for the upcoming Jewish High Holidays. The marking of the new month, referred to as Rosh Khodesh Elul, this year has coincided with the announcing of a new ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, effectively (hopefully) ending  Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.  Continue Reading


His memory is most definitely a blessing: Rabbi Ascherman on the passing of Leonard Fein z”l

1 Comment 18 August 2014

Last week, Leonard Fein z”l passed away at eighty years old. Leonard was a great Jewish American thinker, doer and writer whose influence on progressive Judaism will echo for years and years to come.  Rabbi Ascherman, president and senior rabbi of RHR, remembers him as a supportive, insightful and inspiring influence: Continue Reading

General, Parasha / E-Letter

Weekly parasha: Examining the Birkat Hamazon

No Comments 13 August 2014

In this week’s parasha, Rabbi Dalia Marx breaks down the Birkat Hamazon (grace said after meals), and shows us how hidden within the prayer is an important lesson on moderation and respect. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

Why we oppose Capital Punishment

No Comments 07 August 2014

Capital punishment during peacetime was abolished by Israel in 1954. However, the use of the death penalty remains an option for particular crimes including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and treason. Military Courts in the territories also have the option of its use. However,  historically the courts are very hesitant to utilize capital punishment and there has not been an execution in Israel since Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi,  in 1962, and before that, there was only one other execution for a man (falsely) accused of treason in 1948. Continue Reading

General, Reflections from RHR Rabbis & Staff


1 Comment 05 August 2014

by: Rabbi Arik Ascherman

“From above God sent a fire

Down into my bones
God spread a net for my feet,
God hurled me backward
God has left me forlorn.
In constant misery” (Lamentations 1:13)

Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin, Occupied Territories, Press Releases

Urgent letter: Cellular warning service not available in Bedouin communities

No Comments 30 July 2014

Yesterday (July 29th 2014), Rabbis for Human Rights and other organizations promoting rights for Bedouins in the Negev sent an urgent letter to the Home Front Command, protesting that the cellular rocket fire warning service is not available in unrecognized Bedouin communities.

The disturbing situation in which communities lack both protected areas and sirens  is difficult to remedy in the immediate future, but it seems that the absence of a cellular warning is an easier matter to fix. Therefore,  it’s all the more puzzling to us that the system is not programmed to provide warnings to citizens of these communities. “Disputes over planning issues are no reason to disregard human life,” argue the signatories to the letter: Rabbis for Human Rights, the Forum for Unrecognized Villages in the Negev, and AJEEC-NISPED. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories, Reflections from RHR Rabbis & Staff

When justice blinds: by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

2 Comments 30 July 2014

I believe that we Israelis are justified in defending ourselves against Hamas rockets and tunnels, and I strongly suspect that in the process of doing so we have unnecessarily committed grave breaches of international law and my understanding of Jewish morality. I don’t see any contradiction between these two beliefs. I fervently hope I am wrong about the latter, but find that increasingly unlikely.

Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories, Reflections from RHR Rabbis & Staff

Whose Land is it? A year for us to get things right in the Holy Land

1 Comment 29 July 2014

As part of Rabbis for Human Rights’ series featuring the reflections, both human rights related and not,  of our staff and rabbis during Operation Protective Shield, Yonatan Shefa, RHR’s assistant director of human rights in the Occupied Territories, challenges us to see the Sabbatical year as an opportunity to achieve a deep, lasting and just peace.   Continue Reading

General, Parasha / E-Letter

Weekly Parasha: Which generation are we?

No Comments 29 July 2014

In the final reading before Tisha b’Av and in the midst of a brutal war in Gaza, Rabbi Miri Gold challenges us to consider which generation are we- are we one who takes the lessons we have learned, year after year, from our readings and faith and successfully applies them in the building of a nation created on justice and righteousness, or are we a generation living under the illusion of safety, caught in a holding pattern at Kadesh Barnea,  just outside The Promised Land,   for years upon years. Continue Reading

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