Tag archive for "Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann"

Occupied Territories

Update on legal proceedings regarding the Jahalin Bedouin

No Comments 12 June 2017

The following update was provided by Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann of Rabbis for Human Rights. Rabbi Grenimann has worked with the Jahalin community for more than decade. 

Occupied Territories

Tomorrow: High Court to respond to demands to demolish Khan al Akhmar school

No Comments 11 June 2017


Tomorrow, Monday June 12th at 11:00am the High Court will respond to the demands of the settler organisation Regavim to carry out the army demolition order issued against the tire school at Khan Al Akhmar, which successfully provides education for one of the poorest and most marginalized communities in the West Bank. The government now actively supports this demand after repeatedly postponing until now because of international (and local) pressure. The outcome of this hearing could affect all of the Jahalin Bedouin communities in the Jerusalem periphery, especially as the State is supporting the settlers’ demand and seeking alternative sites for the school, which shows that the Civil Administration and the State are planning to go ahead with the demolition. Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Davar Torah For Parashat Naso – The Meaning of Peace in the Priestly Blessing

No Comments 01 June 2017

In the picture: Birkat Kohanim, from Wikipedia

This week’s parasha which is loaded with verses about the tabernacle and its dedication, in addition to the details of Sota (“the suspected wife” ritual) and the laws of the Nezir, also contains a very familiar and beautiful blessing : the priestly blessing. This is its wording:

“May G-d bless you and guard you.
May G-d shine His countenance upon you and be gracious to you.
May G-d turn His countenance toward you and grant you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26)

In the first verse of the blessing there are three words, in the second – five, in the third – seven. This is noted by many scholars and Biblical commentators, and there are those who also point to the gradual development in the realm of the letters (15, 20, 25 in that order). Does this formal phenomenon stand on its own, or perhaps it also expresses graduality of development of the content of the blessing as well?

Many commentators indeed also perceive development in the content: As an example we can bring the interpretation of Rabbi Ovadia of Sforno:

“’May G-d bless you’ with wealth and property, since ‘if there is no flour there is no Torah’; ‘And guard you’ from the thieves; ‘And shine..’ He will open your eyes to the light of His countenance to see the wonders of His Torah and works; after you achieve your needs through His blessing ‘May G-d turn His countenance toward you’ for eternal life…’and grant you peace,’ the serenity of peace that is eternity without the strife of punishment, as is appropriate for all who are at one with the eternal life.”

There is a well-known rabbinic saying about peace “there is no implement that carries blessing other than Peace (from the chapter “On Peace”) and similarly in Genesis Rabbah: Great is peace as it was given to Pinhas since the world is not ruled other than in peace, and the Torah is all of it peace, as it is said (Proverbs 3): “Its ways are ways of pleasantness, all its pathways are peace.” And when a person should come from his journey we ask after his well-being (“peace”). And so in the morning we greet others with “Peace”, and from the day before yesterday also then we ask after their well-being (peace). The Shema Yisrael (prayer) we end in the word “peace” “Let His tabernacle of Peace be spread above His people, The prayer (the Amida) concludes with “peace,” and the Priestly blessing concludes with “peace.” Rabbi Simon the son of Halifta says, “There is no vessel that carries blessing other than peace, as it is said (Psalms, 29) “G-d gives His people courage, G-d gives His people peace” (Genesis Rabbah, Parashat Pinchas, 21).

But here in this interpretation by Sforno, peace is not a vessel that is the source of blessing but rather it is the result of blessing. That is to say: as against the saying that sees in peace a basis for all that is good, Sforno understands peace as something achieved by a person when he is blessed economically. This approach reminds me of the words of those who claim that if we achieve “economic peace” we will eventually also reach a political peace between the nations here.

There is apparently a contradiction between these two approaches regarding the meaning of peace. They are expressed in the real world of action since there are those who believe that the material is the basis for all that is good in the world from which both material and spiritual peace will grow as, as against those who believe that the peace that is internal, within human beings, between one person and another, between peoples is the basis for all blessings both material and spiritual. I tend more towards this second position.

How do we resolve this apparent contradiction? One way is to argue that we are speaking of two different aspects of peace – one is basic and daily – even though it does also have a spiritual aspect – as against the second which is utopian-metaphysical, in the sense of a vision of the future to come.

Perhaps it is possible to claim that in fact there is no contradiction here since these two interpretations are intertwined. In my experience, “peace” that does not come from within is a fragile, passing thing, and sometimes not real at all. To resolve a conflict without real reconciliation is not possible over time, only after an awareness and recognition of the pain of the other, their rights and needs. This is true for both parties to every conflict and in any process of reconciliation, including that between a person and themselves, between couples, between different social groups, and between the individual and G-d.

In any case it is possible to perceive both these understandings of peace mentioned above in interpreting the priestly blessing: both the simple internal peace (though that too is difficult to achieve) that a person needs in the day to day of practical material life in this world but also beyond that,. The more profound blessing of peace as envisaged by our prophets from Moses on is a broader concept than that presented by Sforno.

In our work in RHR we strive to achieve peace between different social groups in Israeli society and between our people and other peoples, particularly the Palestinians, but it is not possible to do so without the element of personal inner peace.

Let it be the Divine Will that we be blessed with both kinds of peace.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann

Occupied Territories

Art exhibit and campaign kick-off for the El Bustan centre at Jabal al Jahalin

1 Comment 15 May 2017

On Thursday, May 11 2017 an event opening a campaign to help the El Bustan centre of the Jabal Al Jahalin next to Azaria become independent was held at the Willy Brandt Centre in Abu Tor.

Continue Reading


Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Memorial Day and Human Rights

No Comments 23 April 2017

By Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann

Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Weekly Dvar Torah: This too is G-d’s work

No Comments 13 April 2017

In this week’s Dvar Torah for Shabbat of Passover and seven of Passover, Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann lays out the calendar of Jewish and Israeli observances following in the weeks after Passover. Many  are commemorated by events with strong nationalistic and triumphalistic overtones. As Jews and Israelis, how can we mark these meaningful days while also remembering our past as former slaves and our responsibility to seek freedom and dignity for all those living in our midst?

Continue Reading

Occupied Territories

International Women’s Day: Supporting the right to an education for Bedouin girls

No Comments 08 March 2017

As we observe International Women’s Day today, Rabbis for Human Rights highlights the struggle to save the beloved ecological school at Khan al Akhmar, serving approximately 150 Jahalin Bedouin children living on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The school, currently slated for demolition due to Israel’s unjust planning policy, is the only viable formal educational option for the girls of the Khan al Akhmar community, and its destruction would signify a tremendous loss for the Jahalin women. Continue Reading


“Jerusalem Bedouin – to the Garbage Dump!”

1 Comment 23 February 2017

By Deborah Greniman

“Several years ago, we took a short drive into Kfar Adumim, a pleasant bedroom suburb of Jerusalem, on the well-traveled road linking Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim, Jericho and the Dead Sea. In a bid to attract young families, a huge sign over the settlement’s entrance read “Education is our highest priority!” Indeed, Kfar Adumim has a beautiful school. ” Please click here to read the full blog posted on the Times of Israel Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Weekly parasha: “Your own wives shall become widows…” Heaven Forbid!

No Comments 22 February 2017

“An eye for an eye” is one the most quoted phrases from the bible,  often used to justify harsh punishment. In his commentary to Parashat Mishpatim, Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann shows how these words can also teach us about honoring the rights of the vulnerable, and ensuring we work to do good in the world. 

Continue Reading

Occupied Territories, Refugees and asylum seekers

Rabbi Grenimann at Knesset: “The occupation is corrupting our Judaism”

No Comments 20 February 2017

As we face the news of a renewed demolition threat for the tire school of Khan al Akhmar, a Jahalin Bedouin community located on the outskirts of the Jerusalem,  along with forty other structures in in the village, this week we also worked to raise awareness of the village in the Knesset….

Khan al Ahmar school

Khan al Akhmar school

Continue Reading

© 2017 Rabbis for Human Rights. Powered by WordPress.