Tag archive for "Rabbi Arik Ascherman"

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

HaArakhim Hallalu– The Values With Which We Must Light Our World

No Comments 22 December 2014

As an NGO, RHR cannot endorse any political candidate or party over another. But what we can do is remind folks who are voting to bring our values with them into the voting booth. 

In this post originally posted on his blog on The Times of Israel site, Rabbi Ascherman wonders what kind a society will we choose to be. With elections coming in March, now is the time for all of us to recommit ourselves to our Jewish values, and to ask questions of our leaders and candidates so that we may vote in a way that honors those values.

Continue Reading

Legal Work, Occupied Territories

Same story over and over: Army forces farmer to wait until the 11th hour to plow

No Comments 19 December 2014

For years settlers from the Eish Kodesh and Akhia outposts had been expanding the “red zone” where Palestinians enter their own land at their own peril. Despite this, in 2012, our legal department was able to return Fawzi Ibrahim of the Palestinian village Jalud back to most of his land. Unfortunately, the situation is still uneccessarily difficult and reminiscent of a Kafka story for Fawzi everytime he needs to access this own lands, which is at least twice a year. Continue Reading

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

On Mountains, Caves and Empowerment: Hanukah Thoughts 5775

No Comments 16 December 2014

Hanukah Thoughts 5775

By: Rabbi Arik Ascherman Continue Reading

Legal Work, Occupied Territories

The question we haven’t asked about Ziad Abu Ein

No Comments 13 December 2014

On Wednesday December 10th, senior Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ein died during a tree planting for International Human Rights Day in the Occupied Territories. It is currently not clear if he died from cardiac arrest brought on  by the stress of a confrontation with Israeli authorities present at the event, of if he was killed from inhaling tear gas and being struck by an Israeli soldier. Many questions surround the incident, but there is another that must also be asked:  Why where the Israeli authorities were present in the first place?   Continue Reading


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

1 Comment 31 October 2014

ArikTourNov2014Rabbi 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!


Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 12.05.29 PM

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


ArikTourNov20142See 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

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

Continue Reading


Sukkot Thoughts 5775: How to make Sukkot the season of our joy

No Comments 08 October 2014

How to Make Sukkot the “Season of our Joy”

Sukkah in Jerusalem. Photo Gilabrand. CC-Wikipedia

Sukkah in Jerusalem. Photo Gilabrand. CC-Wikipedia

Sukkot Thoughts 5775
Rabbi Arik Ascherman

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Please find here the link to our annual assif rukhani-(spiritual harvest) and to our new ushpizin posters (PDF). Traditionally, we invite seven male guests from the Jewish tradition into our sukkah. Today, many are more creative, even inviting women guests. Our ushpizin are those who experience all year round what we experience living the seven days of Sukkot in the fragile sukkah.

I can hear some of you now, “But when we were struggling with the RHR vidui (Yom Kippur confession), you promised us that in Sukkot, zman simkhateinu (season of our joy) things would balance out. Now you are sending us something else depressing, and asking us to hang it in our sukkah?”

Firstly, take a look at our “assif rukhani.” We really do have a lot to be proud of as Israelis, and RHR had quite a few accomplishments this year. With all of the challenges to our democracy, it remains strong and lively inside the Green Line. In our hearts, most of us Israelis want peace and value human rights. Even if the reality is a often quite different, we truly aspire to be a good and moral society. We have a High Court that is willing to stand tall against pressure…See the whole list.

But, what about those ushpizin? The truth is, one of the reasons we have delayed posting the ushpizin is that we were discussing this very question. Should we be reminding ourselves of those in need of God’s sukkat shalom (God’s sheltering sukkah of peace) during zman simkhateinu? Here are my answers:

Firstly, our sages decided that we should read Ecclesiastes on the Shabbat of Sukkot precisely to balance out our joy, and this is also one of the reasons we dwell in the fragile sukkah. The self satisfied farmer who had just brought in his harvest in ancient times needed to be reminded that the blessings he enjoyed were dependent on God’s sheltering presence. We also temper our joy by removing drops of wine from our cup at the Passover seder, and break a glass at a wedding. When people ask me why we need to remember Jerusalem at a wedding, when we have already returned to Jerusalem, I remind them that there is the “Earthly Jerusalem” and the “Heavenly Jerusalem,” representing the ideal world we and God aspire to. The job of every couple, even at the peak of their joy, is to remember that, in a not yet ideal world, in which the gap between “Earthly Jerusalem” and “Heavenly Jerusalem” is still great, the home they will build together must contribute to the repair and healing of our world.

But, there is something else as well. Yes, our sages were worried that we not rejoice too much. However, for many of us it is difficult to rejoice when our world is in the state it is in. We add to our joy and are inspired by the possibility of connecting between our joy and our task in this world. The sukkah becomes more meaningful when we reflect on the spiritual message of the sukkah, and our role in emulating God’s example by providing shelter and protection. We see it as a great privilege to be able to do this, and our faith is that we can bring closer a world in which God’s sukkah (shelter) of peace is spread over the entire world and all humanity.

Khag Sameakh – For a Truly Joyous Sukkot,


Link to view and download Ushpizin posters

Link to read and download assif

Justice in Israel, Legal Work

His day in court: Legal victory marks step forward in the fight to save public housing

No Comments 06 October 2014

RHR Advocate Becky Cohen-Keshet specializes in public housing in Israel. On Thursday October 2nd, the day before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, where Jews atone for their sins and believe their fates for the coming year to be sealed, she achieved a victory for public housing at the High Court. It is our hope that this case will act as a stepping stone in our struggle to save public housing in Israel, so that all those in need of a stable, safe home will have one.   Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel, Legal Work, Occupied Territories, Parasha / E-Letter

Yom Kippur Thoughts 5775: Distinguishing between Masui and Ratsui

No Comments 03 October 2014

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Click here for RHR’s annual Yom Kippur vidui. The annual Assif Rukhani (Spiritual Harvest – The list of some of what is good and positive about Israel and Israelis, as well as some of RHR’s accomplishments in this past year) will be posted on our website (www.rhr.org.il/eng) on Sunday, along with beautiful ushpizin (Sukkah guests) posters featuring original artwork depicting some of those who we wish to welcome into our sukkah and into our hearts. Continue Reading

© 2014 Rabbis for Human Rights. Powered by WordPress.