In the picture: Lea Shemi holds a gas tank in case of being evicted from her public housing apartment. Her eviction was prevented due to the help of activists. Photo: Tamir Hajaj.
The Weekly Report of Rabbis for Human Rights
An Opening Word | Rabbi Arik Ascherman
The eve of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day). Our Torah readings areb “Acharei Mot” (After the deaths) and “Kedoshim” (You shall be holy). Many times I have commented that Yom HaAtzmaut almost always falls during the week we read Kedoshim, or the week after. Is that just a coincidence? My college dorm mate Daniel Cheren once noted that, in Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones that we read on Yom HaAtzmaut, the bones first need flesh and skin and sinews. Only after that do we receive God’s spirit. As Rabbi Idit Lev writes, achieving independence was one important milestone for the Jewish people. However, she explains that we must now achieve the holiness that God demands of us. That is at least as difficult. Please read Idit’s essay and tell us what you think Zionism needs to be in our day.
Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch’s commentary to Exodus 22:20 teaches us that the Torah warns us not to repeat the “Horrors of Egypt” when one day we have a state. History has taught us the dangers of powerlessness, and the Torah teaches us the dangers of power. Power makes so many things easily accessible to us. However, Rabbi Engelman teaches us that Akharei Mot/Kedoshim instructs us how to deal with those things that are temptingly accessible, but forbidden. We look around us and see all the positive ways we have used our newfound power, and we sing Hallel. However, when we read below of evictions and threatened evictions from public housing or the demolition of homes and cisterns in the Negev and OT, and when we watch the film clip Shalom Eisner, we understand in these days of counting the omer that we have left Egypt, but still need Mt. Sinai.
With the help of “Liberated Beer Sheva” activists and our own attorney Becky Keshet, Lea Shemi’s eviction was prevented. Now starts Lea’s real fight for her home. Please follow us on Facebook where we will update all our activities to prevent evictions from public housing (the next activity is to stop the Eviction of Rivka, 61 yeas old). Shabbat Shalom. Continue Reading