Rabbis for Human Rights is the only rabbinic organization in Israel today that speaks about human rights in the voice of the Jewish tradition. The organization was founded in 1988, and today has over 100 members- ordained rabbis and rabbinical students.
Rabbis for Human Rights as an organization is not aligned with any specific political party.
Rabbis for Human Rights is the only rabbinical organization in Israel in which Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Renewal rabbis work together. Many of its rabbinical members hold senior positions in public, educational and communal contexts, and thus are able to bring about change both on the ground and in outlook.
Rabbis for Human Rights serves as a shofar for the distribution of information about human rights in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Rabbis for Human Rights works in cooperation with human rights organizations in Israel and around the world.
Rabbis for Human Rights has been active, since its foundation, in advocating for the rights of marginalized members of society, in defending the rights of minorities in Israel and of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, and in the prevention of flagrant violations of the basic human rights of foreign workers. The organization puts pressure on policy-makers in Israel to protect the human rights of weak groups, including the right to medical care, shelter, education and minimal living standards. From RHR’s inception, thousand of volunteers have participated in hundreds of actions towards achieving justice in the State and society.
The work of Rabbis for Human Rights expresses the view of its members that as Jews, we are obligated to protest against every injustice enacted against any other person, a view based on the belief that man was created in God’s image. We believe that it is our obligation to inform the Israeli public about human rights violations, and that it is our role to pressure the State institutions to fix these injustices.
We at Rabbis for Human Rights derive our authority from two main sources- from the humanistic Jewish tradition and from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In parallel to our efforts to prevent violations of human rights, Rabbis for Human Rights brings a humanistic understanding of Jewish sources to the Israeli public discourse. In a time in which a nationalist and isolationist understanding of Jewish tradition is heard frequently and loudly, Rabbis for Human Rights give expression to the traditional Jewish responsibility for the safety and welfare of the stranger, the different and the weak, the convert, the widow and the orphan.
Rabbis for Human Rights is supported by Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Rabbinical organizations in North America and the UK.
- In 1993 RHR received “The Speaker of the Knesset’s Award for the Quality of Life in the Field of Enhancing the Rule of Law and Democratic Values, Protecting Human Rights, and Encouraging Tolerance and Mutual Respect.”
- In 2006, RHR was awarded the prestigious Niwano Peace Prize for its efforts to promote peace in an interfaith context.
- In 2011 Gandhi Peace Award honored RHR’s Rabbi Arik Ascherman & Rabbi Ehud Bandel.
- Chairperson Rabbi Barry Leff
- Rabbi Yehoshua Engelman
- Rabbi Ofer Beit Halahmi
- Rabbi Michael Klien-Katz
- Rabbi Miri Gold
- Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kalman
- Rabbi Herbert Weinberg
- Rabbi Ma’ayan Turner
- Rabbi Prof. Yehudai Mosh’e
- Rabbi Susan Silverman
- Rabbi Paul Feinberg
- Rabbi Jonathan Chipman
- Rabbi Uri Regev
- Rabbi Anita Steiner
- Ayala Levy – Executive Director
- Rabbi Arik Ascherman – Director of Special Projects and External Relations
- Adena Ben-Reuven – Grants Director
- Rivka Shohat – Office Manager
- Ela Greenberg – Development Director
- Rabbi Idit Lev – Head of the Social Justice Department
- Adv. Quamar Mishirqi – Head of the Legal Department
- Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann – Head of Human Rights in the OT Department
- Rabbi Nava Hefetz – Head of the Education Department
- Yariv Mohar – Spokesperson
- Mati Shemoelof – Director of Online Communications