Apr 29, 2009

RHR-NA's "Planting Justice" Video In Honor of Yom H'Atzmaut

Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
View RHR-NA's Planting Justice Video in Honor of
Yom H'Atzmaut
Chag Sameach/Happy Holiday!
In honor of Yom H'Atzmaut/Israel Independence Day, we invite you to view our recently produced video, Planting Justice, at our website.  The video shows part of RHR-NA's November, 2008 human rights solidarity trip to Israel and the West Bank, and trip participants talk about why it was important to "see for themselves" the human rights situation there.  The video could be used for educational programs in your community.  We are in the process of producing copies of the video and hope to create an educational resource.   You can view the video online and /or pre-order a DVD copy for $18 by emailing office@rhr-na.org

Below we have copied a Yom Ha'Atzmaut greeting from Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel.  RHR continues to work toward a vision of Israel as articulated in Israel's Declaration of Independence, a state "based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the Prophets of Israel."

In these difficult economic times, our colleagues in Israel need your support.  Please consider making a gift to RHR in honor of Yom H'Atzmaut.  If you make a gift of $36 or more, we will send you a complimentary copy of Planting Justice.

Also on our website are Yom H'Atzmaut materials you can download and use for your community celebration or for your own study.  Masekhet H'Atzmaut:  A Talmudic-style Commentary on Israel's Declaration of Independence was created by RHR.  Each unit includes primary sources, commentary and questions for study.

May we do all we can to protect the human  rights of Israelis and Palestinians and to bring the time when all who share the Holy Land enjoy security and peace,

Rabbi Brian Walt
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America

                                                                                                                                                   Rabbi Ascherman's Greeting
Last Friday night in synagogue we were asked to bless the State of Israel on the occasion of Independence Day.  Still echoing in my ears was the last telephone call I received before Shabbat.  Fawzi Hussein from Ein Abus reported to me that settlers from Yizhar had descended to the village of Urif and were shooting people.  (The version of the settlers is somewhat different.)

I had stood with Fawzi just the day before, along with an Israeli TV crew working on a report about how the security forces have not answered the requests for protection from many farmers even as the plowing season is ending.  Fawzi said, as he has in some of his most difficult moments such as when he discovered in 2002 that 250 of his olive trees had been cut down, "Jews don't act this way.  I worked for 26 years in Tel Aviv and I know Jews."

My prayer and blessing on the eve of Independence Day, as we are about to pass another budget causing great harm to the weakest and poorest Israelis, as we don't want to know what really happened in Gaza, as only international pressure is preventing terrible things from happening in East Jerusalem, as security forces are retreating from their commitments to farmers, and as we send away Sudanese refugees who arrive at our borders:  May we succeed in seeing ourselves shoresh nishmateinu (our soul root) as one Palestinian man, of all people, is able to see us - and may we reconnect.
Chag Atzmaut Sameach,

Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
P.O. Box 1539
West Tisbury, Massachusetts 02575