November 2014- Rabbi Ascherman’s North America Speaking Tour Dates

No Comments 31 October 2014

Rabbi Ascherman, President and Senior Rabbi of RHR,  will be speaking at a number of events across the US East Coast, Midwest and Canada this November.  Check the schedule below and see if he will be in a city near you!


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ArikTourNov20142NOTE: As  more details become available, listings will be updated. Information is subject to change, so please check back closer to any scheduled event dates.

See schedule as PDF


Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman graduated from Harvard University in 1981 and from 1981-1983 worked for Interns For Peace, a community work program in which Israeli Jews and Arabs as well as Jews from around the world, worked together to bring Israeli Jews and Arabs together in positive interaction. For most of this time Rabbi Ascherman lived in the Israeli Arab village of Tamra. He studied in the Schwartz Program for community center directors at Hebrew University while a rabbinical student, and was ordained by HUC-JIR in New York in 1989. At HUC-JIR he helped set up a student-faculty soup kitchen, and worked on issues of advocacy for the homeless. Rabbi Ascherman served as the director of Hillel at U.C. Davis from 1989-1991, as the rabbi of Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond, CA from 1991-1994, Director of Congregation Mevakshei Derekh in Jerusalem from 1994-1997 and rabbi of Kibbutz Yahel from 1997-2000. While in Richmond, Rabbi Ascherman set up a homeless shelter rotating between Beth Hillel and local churches. He and his wife worked with nascent congregations as the Former Soviet Union was breaking up.

Beginning in 1995 Rabbi Ascherman served as co-director of Rabbis For Human Rights, serving as executive director from 1998-2010. He currently is President and Senior Rabbi. Rabbi Ascherman is internationally recognized as leading advocate for human rights and social justice as religious, Jewish and Zionist obligagion, and has several times stood trial for acts of civil disobedience. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his human rights work, as has Rabbis For Human Rights. He is frequently quoted in the press, is a sought after lecturer, and has contributed chapters to several books. Rabbi Ascherman is married to Dr. Einat Ramon. They have two children.



2005 Abraham Joshua Heschel Award of the “Jewish Peace Fellowship”
2006 Humanitarian Achievement Prize by the ” Wholistic Peace Institute”
2009 Keter Shem Tov Prize awarded by the Recontstructionist Rabbinical College
2010 Yeshayahu Liebowitz Prize awarded by “Yesh Gvul”
2011 Gandhi Peace Prize awarded by “Promoting Enduring Peace.” (Along with Rabbi Ehud Bandel on behalf of Rabbis For Human Rights)


1993 Speaker of the Knesset’s Prize for Contributions to Israeli Society
2006 Niwano Peace Prize


Prayers for Rabbi Yehuda ben Brenda v Shimon Glick

No Comments 30 October 2014

RHR calls for prayers for Rabbi Yehuda ben Brenda v’Shimon Glick, in what appears to have been a nationalist motivated assassination attempt. RHR is aware of the great tension over the last half a year because Israeli security forces have accompanied Jews to the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, but condemns the use of power and violence to solve conflicts. We aspire to the day that access to sites holy to all of us is not a source of tension.

Temple Mount as seen from the Mount of Olives

Temple Mount as seen from the Mount of Olives

Jpost: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount closes to all visitors after shooting of Yehuda Glick

General, Justice in Israel

New Report: Israel fourth in child poverty in the developed world

No Comments 29 October 2014

new report released by UNICEF shows that Israel is fourth in the developed world in child poverty, following Greece, Latvia, and Spain. Since 2008, child poverty in Israel has increased from 35.1 to 35.6 percent.

Rabbi Idit Lev of Rabbis for Human Rights

Rabbi Idit Lev of Rabbis for Human Rights

Haaretz: Israel is fourth in the developed world for child poverty, Unicef says

Rabbi Idit Lev, Director of RHR’s Social Justice in Israel department,  responds:

This new report is yet another reminder of how dire the situation is in Israel. Poverty is an on-going issue in our society, and if it continues to be ignored, it will explode in all of our faces.

In June 2014 the Alaluf Committee, tasked by the Welfare Ministry with tackling the issue of poverty in the country, gave a number of important recommendations which, if implemented, would fight poverty by cutting it in half. The government, however, has refused to implement the recommendations, citing the cost of 8 million NIS as too high. Instead, the Welfare Minister has announced that a total of 1.7 million NIS will be used towards the recommendations, an amount that is not nearly enough to even make a dent in the problem.

Until the government is willing to take poverty in Israel seriously enough to invest in solutions, these types of damning reports will continue.


NOV 5: Memorial event for Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with guest speaker Avraham Burg

No Comments 29 October 2014

You are invited to attend an evening in memory of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin z”l, with guest speaker Avraham Burg. Continue Reading


Weekly Parasha: The Courage to be in the Minority

No Comments 28 October 2014

In parshat Lech Lecha, Rabbi Dov Haiyun explores the journey of Abraham from Ur to Haran and finally to Canaan. What drives Abraham to pick up  despite the roots he puts down, and what does his story teach us about  alliance to our own truths over alliance to a nation?

"…every human being has a soul, made in the image of God, and therefore, is himself an end…" PHOTO: Abraham contemplates the stars, 1908, Ephraim Moses Lilien

“…every human being has a soul, made in the image of God, and therefore, is himself an end, not merely a means to satisfy the desires of the regimes of tyrants. ” PHOTO: Abraham contemplates the stars, 1908, Ephraim Moses Lilien

By: Rabbi Dov (Dubi) Haiyun

Without any prior notice, the spirit of Abraham received Hashem’s voice, commanding him:

“Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).

In those days, Abraham lived in Haran, where he had fled, with his father’s help, from Ur of the Chaldees. As it says in the end of the story of Noah:

“And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter in law, the wife of Abram his son, and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan, and they came as far as Haran and settled there” (Genesis 11:31).

 A Persecuted Man

Back there, he was persecuted fiercely due to his dissemination of the belief in one God. He had come to Haran with no other option, as a persecuted man. In Haran, though, he earned himself the status of a respected citizen, accumulating substantial wealth and even a growing influence on the population.

After his departure, we are told:

 “And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had acquired, and the souls they had acquired in Haran, and they went to go to the land of Canaan, and they came to the land of Canaan…” (Genesis 12:5).

And now, out of the blue, Abraham receives an order that will remove him from his brand new surroundings where he is trying to put down roots. Why?

It was not as if success welcomed him in during his first days in Haran. And Canaan is going to turn out better?

It ends up that this is not another story of migration in Abram’s life, but one of aliyah.

Go to yourself, on your own…on your path.

Go down a path that will take you away from your land, and your birthplace, and from your father’s house, from all the relationships you have known until now.

Emigrants leaving England. "The Last of England" by Ford Madox Brown

Emigrants leaving England. “The Last of England” by Ford Madox Brown

The first migration from Ur of the Chaldees was really a necessary escape, a rescue mission, whereas in this commandment, the journey is a goal unto itself.

Abraham’s Second Rebellion

Let’s imagine this scene:

Without any existential need, without any evident reason, Abraham gets up and announces to his many friends that he is leaving the city and his lofty status within it, to go live in a land completely foreign to him.

The departure of this exalted man from people left its mark, of course, on the city’s residents, wondering fruitlessly, not understanding, why he was leaving.

In effect, this wonderment itself was already an accomplishment of part of God’s goals. That is, Abraham’s journey constituted a defiant challenge, the results of which continue to echo from end of the world to the other.

This is Abraham’s second rebellion. The first declared itself in the struggle conducted against the pagan culture that dominated his early days. The rage of those regimes sent him to Haran. In his journeying from Haran, he expressed his opposition to the system itself, to the very concept of “regime” at that time.

His departure to Canaan was a protest march by one person, as an individual and not as a nation. In this hour, while everyone is rushing in their own lands to obtain citizenship and all it brings, Abraham stands up, with no man forcing him to, just obedience to the highest imperative, and sacrifices those very benefits.

The courage to stand on our own, apart from the regimes of man

In effect, this journey cries out to the people of that astonished city, and to every generation, as the greatest protest against the spiritual and physical enslavement to any form of regime. The journey on its own is a return on value.  It declares the clear truth that the individual is the basis of Judaism and of human society. And that a human being – every human being – has a soul, made in the image of God, and therefore, is himself an end, not merely a means to satisfy the desires of the regimes of tyrants.

African asylum seekers, who journeyed to Israel mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, protest their detainment in Israel's Holot facility deep in the Negev.

African asylum seekers, who journeyed to Israel mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, protest their detainment in Israel’s Holot facility deep in the Negev.

Singularly, Abraham struggled against the mainstream of his peers and towards his inner truth, and in so doing, bequeathed upon humanity the attribute of courage, courage to be in the minority and to not concede one’s inner truth. Shabbat shalom!

Rabbi Dov Haiyun

Rabbi Dov (Dubi) Haiyun is the leader of Kehilat Moriah in Haifa and a member of Rabbis for Human Rights

Previous weekly Torah portions

General, Occupied Territories

Friday, October 31: Olive Harvest Day for International Students

No Comments 28 October 2014

RHR invites study abroad students to join us on Friday, October 31st 2014 for a special day of harvesting in the Occupied Territories!

Additional information on the olive harvest

Additional information on volunteering for the harvest


Apply Now: Applications open for Feb semester of Solidarity of Nations-Achvat Amim

No Comments 27 October 2014

Applications are open for the February 2015 session of Solidarity of Nations-Achvat Amim. Achvat Amim is a new 5 month volunteer experience in Jerusalem that directly engages with the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the core value of self-determination for all peoples. Designed for young people between the ages of 21-28, the program partners with a number of regional NGOs including RHR in connecting participants to projects seeking to end racism, violence and inequality.  Continue Reading


RHR condemns the October 22 2014 terrorist attack in Jerusalem

No Comments 23 October 2014

RHR is shocked by and condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack yesterday in Jerusalem. We mourn the unimaginable loss of Chaya Zissel Braun, the 3 month old baby girl murdered in this horrific event. Our deepest prayers are with her family during this tragic time, and we wish for the refuah shelma (full recovery) of all those injured. Attacks against civilians are egregious crimes. Continue Reading

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.

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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International Student Programs & Study Tour Dates 5775

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