Tag archive for "Rabbi Arik Ascherman"


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

No Comments 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!


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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.

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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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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

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

Is Hope Defensible? Rosh Hashana thoughts 5775 by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

1 Comment 23 September 2014

Is Hope Defensible?
Rosh HaShana Thoughts 5775 Continue Reading

Education, General, Justice in Israel, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin, Legal Work, Occupied Territories

“Come as Far as you Can”: RHR’s High Holiday Appeal

1 Comment 22 September 2014

An appeal by Rabbis for Human Rights Co-chairs Rabbi Amy Klein, and Rabbi Moshe Yehudai, and Rabbi Arik Ascherman, president and senior rabbi for RHR, on the upcoming High Holidays. Continue Reading

Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

El Arakib in court this Wednesday: The village needs your support!

1 Comment 11 September 2014

This Wednesday, September 17th, the court will finally hear a very important appeal from Al Arakib which could determine the future of the village. There are two ways the villagers are asking for support- one is by attending the weekly vigil on Sunday at 16:30, and the second is by coming to the Ramle Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday,  at 11:30. Details, transportation,  and background below.

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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

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