Tag archive for "Israel"


Extreme Rambling with Mark Thomas

3 Comments 05 November 2011

Rabbis for Human Rights welcome Mark Thomas, one of Britain’s most outstanding comedian with a special benefit performance of his show about walking the Separation Barrier between Israel and the West Bank. 

Extreme Rambling with Mark Thomas, 16th November 2011, 7pm-10.30pm at North Western Reform Synagogue. Alyth Gardens, London, NW11 7EN


Compassion and mercy

1 Comment 09 August 2011

“Situation in the OPT is a reality without pity and without mercy.” Picture:  Hundreds of thousands of Israelis took part in protests held in cities across the country on Saturday night, the largest collaborative protest yet in a popular movement over social issues that has swept the country in the past two weeks.

The meaning of “and thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord” is  to live your life with kindness for others and, as Rashi and Ramban said, to “imply a compromise beyond the letter of the law” There is a well-known midrash which teaches us that the destruction of the second temple was a result of the heartlessness of the judges of that time who were devoted to the letter of the law but did not find room in their hearts for any generosity beyond it. Continue Reading


Where have you been when…

No Comments 02 August 2011

150000 ppl by avivi. cc: flickr.
Rabbi Ofer Shabbat- Beit Halachmi asks what will we answer our children when, in the future, they will ask us where have you been during the big social protest of Summer 2011? Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Restoring security to the southern Hebron mountain | Tour of East Jerusalem

No Comments 01 June 2011

Parashat Hashavua “Naso”: What Will Be, What Was and Tora Thoughts

An extraordinary woman visited us last week – Dr. Laila Abu Rabu. Dr. Abu Rabu overcame her blindness and finished her PhD on the subject of Women’s Rights in the Shari Courts. She also became the first woman advocate in the Sharia court. May we draw strength, hope and inspiration from the struggle of a woman who  overcame such obstacles and created enormous change. In this spirit of hope we are excited to tell you about the South Hebron Hills Campaign that has begun, and we hope to achieve regional change via the internet.  With the cooperation of all the departments and with the agreement with Adv. Quamar Mishirqui Asad, we have decided to write an internet letter that will be sent to the highest- ranking personality in the area and with this appeal:: Minister of Defense,  please return security to the South Hebron Hills. We will be grateful if you will distribute the facebook campaign in three languages to your family and friends. Please sign the letter.

Parashat Hashavua “Naso”

Rabbi Mira Raz shows how the “The festival of giving of the Torah” is the day of the covenant between God and the People of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, who promised to be God’s allies in His world. Continue reading

What Will Be

  • Beit Midrash – We are happy to announce  the completion of the school year of the Beit Midrash in Jerusalem.
  • Correction – On 6 Sivan, June 7th you are invited to Tikun Leil Shavuot in Haifa   (We will have a Tikun Leil Shavuot in Jerusalem also, details to follow).
  • Plowing problems – We still have problems with plowing in Jamal. We are trying to find out if the army will honor the understandings, so that the Awarta farmers will be able to finish their plowing near Itamar settlement and the outposts around, and also if A-Sawia farmers can finish their plowing near the settlement Rechelim.
  • Volunteers needed: Rabbi Kobbi Weis writes: In Parashat Hashavua we read that God   differentiated the Levi tribe from the others in order to serve him. The Levi tribe is an inspiration to all generations of a special group of people who were dedicated to public activities. Please see yourselves as following this special group; people who care and are willing to pay with their time and effort in order to correct society’s injustices. We need you now in two places:
  • 1. El Arakib – The JNF intends to start planting in the coming autumn. We are trying, in different ways, to prevent it:
  • a. Invite the residents’ representative to speak to your community.
  • b. Sign onto the letter campaign.
  • c. Join, every Sunday at 16:30, the weekly demonstration at Lehavim Junction. To sign up, please call the office.
  • 2. Beit Shean – more than a third of the town’s residents live in public housing. The number of people whose rights were violated is unbelievable, especially on the issue of regular maintenance. We need you to help in distributing civil rights pages to the residents and talking with the people who come to the Amidar offices. We would like to establish a group of activists who would be trained and will help the tenants (omitto) get their rights. To sign up please call the office.

The Week that Was

Education Department

Our Beit Midrash for Human Rights spends many hours in the classroom studying sources and meeting rabbis and activists to learn about Judaism’s understanding of Human Rights and how it can be out into practice. Continue reading

How much can one woman be a role model and a symbol for the struggle for life of people that are permanently persecuted? Dr Lila Abu Rabu is this role model. Her feminine power does not give up; she must achieve her goals. Continue reading

Legal Department

Here is a Summary of the Legal Department’s Work Continue reading →

RHR Media Coverage

  • Le Monde 18 5 2011 – attached ,-1-, –2-, –3

Messages from Other Organization

We publish these media links as a service to the community, but they are not our activities and we are not responsible for their content.  The links are a mixture of English and Hebrew articles

shabbat shalom  and Chag Shavuot Sameach


One Woman With a Vision can Change Reality

No Comments 31 May 2011

How much can one woman be a role model and a symbol for the struggle for life of people that are permanently persecuted? Dr Lila Abu Rabu is this role model. Her feminine power does not give up; she must achieve her goals.

The women students who participated in “Women Citizens for Equality – the Woman’s Status in the Religious and Public Life” course, presented  by Rabbis for Human Rights in Sapir College, hosted Dr. Lila Abu Rabu, a blind woman, who succeeded in overcoming all the boundaries and limitations in her life.  She astonished the program participants with her life experience and her untiring power. She shared with us her huge and independent effort on her way to success and even to excellence. Her disability did not prevent her from fulfilling a dream, and despite her blindness she succeeded in getting a first degree at Bir Zeit University.  Later she moved to the Hebrew University where she received her MA and PhD. She was not satisfied with academic success but also struggled for rights of women in the Arab-Moslem society. What makes her unique as an activist strong woman who acts for herself and for the society she lives in, is the fact that she succeeded in doing it by herself. As students who want to work for social change, especially for women’s rights, we learned from her that no limitation, social or physical, can prevent us from achieving our goals.


Saria Tribunal building in Haifa cc: wikipedia

Most of Dr. Abu Rabu’s lecture was about the findings of her PhD thesis, that dealt with women who turn to the Shari Courts in Israel. Her test cases were in Jerusalem and Taibe. She showed that (omitthe problem) the problem was not the Qur’an or the Sharia, but the patriarchal tendency to interpret religion in a way that reinforces women’s oppression. These women do not come to the Shaia courts to demand divorce, but to get help and treatment after severe damages to them and their children, damages that come from the reality of a marriage that is far from the original idea of the sacred bond between a man and a woman. Dr Abu Rabu, in her lecture, raised issues that are very important for women. Society is not interested in helping women in their struggle to better their status, and women are not aware of their legal rights. The issues she pointed out as damaging are: violence towards women, the husband’s family’s intervention in the couple’s life, bigamy, marriage for gain (men from the territories marrying women from Israel in order to receive Israeli citizenship) and exchange marriages (families exchanging daughters to marry their sons in order to save the bride price).

Dr. Abu Rabu described how her becoming a researcher for women in the Shari court brought her to the decision to become the first woman in Israel to be ordained as an advocate for women in the Shari court. Despite all her troubles as a woman, especially a blind woman, she has fulfilled her goal.

The issues Dr. Abu Rabu dealt with during the lecture stimulated the participants.  They wanted to find out if women can actually get rights in a patriarchal society that always puts them in an inferior position to men, who always demand conditions and limitations. At the end of the lecture Dr. Abu Rabu encouraged the participants to prove themselves, to make the effort and not to give up. She said that with hope we can achieve everything and bring a positive change to our lifes and throughout all the society.

To conclude,  I and all the other participants would like to thank Rabbi Nava Hefetz for her efforts that allowed us to meet the unique and the important Dr. Abu Rabu from whom we learned so much.

Justice in Israel

Dialogue Initiative

No Comments 25 May 2011

Last week I participated in a conference called, Dialogue Initiative,  that took place in the Isabella Friedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut, USA. Human Rights and environmental organizations and people from the USA, Israel and Europe were invited to this conference. 120 people participated in the conference, 40% from the USA, 40% from Israel and 20% from Europe. The Israeli delegation was large and varied, many of them I knew from my activity in RHR. The conference was fascinating and a mixture of youth movement and professionalism.  There were some fascinating lectures and important discussions on human rights issues in different places in the world.  We also had trips in the beautiful neighbourhood, a bonfire on Motzaei Shabbat etc. Continue Reading


Rewards and Punishments

1 Comment 17 May 2011


This week I have many more questions than answers.

Parashat BeKhukotai closes out the book of Leviticus.  It contains a list of the good things that will befall us if we obey God’s commandments, and the punishments that will come about if we are not faithful.  The portion continues with rules for various vows and regulations for consecrating a house to God.  There are a number of disturbing and difficult questions that arise from this portion: Continue Reading

Justice in Israel

The Right to Strike

4 Comments 03 May 2011

The State of Israel relates to the rights of its citizens as mere luxuries. We see this in the remarks made against the doctors’ strike.  Ilan Levin, who is in charge of wages in the Finance Office made comments despite the doctors’ responsible behavior, who even when they strike continue to treat urgent cases.

The right to strike is relative and is under the supervision of the Labor Court, and it also enables the workers to deal with the employer’s power [(Here you can read about the right to strike in Israel (Hebrew) and about the connection between the Halacha and the right to strike (Hebrew)].

Ilan Levin called on the doctors to agree to arbitration. This call is not fair as for eight years the State was very slow with the arbitration that was determined at the end of the former labor dispute with the doctors. From the beginning the State’s definition of the arbitration was not accepted by the doctors (the State referred only to the wages and not to the problems in the medical system). Here is an article about the strike’s background.

A senior civil service person in a democratic country should defend the wide interests of the country. These interests should reflect our countries morals. In a democracy the right to strike concept is an integral part of our lives, Rabbi Kook and Rabbi Tchorsh give us the Jewish concept that is almost identical to democratic concept on the right to strike under the control of the courts.

Ilan Levin and all the other clerks who serve us, should remember that the State of Israel’s interests are not only to save money but also to run an ethical and moral country.


Educate each person in their own way

No Comments 01 January 2011

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27

“Rabbi Akiva commented that anyone who spills blood is considered to have lessened the image [of God], because it is written: ‘He who spills human blood, his blood shall be spilt.’  Why is this so?  Because God created man in his own image.”       Bereshit Rabba, 34:14

RHR is involved in diverse educational activities in both formal and informal frameworks. The activities are run by rabbis from all the Jewish streams.  Our educational goal is to present a religious Jewish voice that promotes human rights for all in Israel.  The activities are intended for educators, students, and other groups of people interested in these issues.  Human rights in general are ignored by all the education systems in Israel, and all the more so when these rights are perceived as rooted in Jewish tradition. Continue Reading

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