Dear Believers in a Just Israel,
Many of us are concerned after the elections about the direction Israel is going. We hope that, like us, you are looking for a positive way to work for the Israel we believe in. Part of the answer is most definitely to support the organizations working on the ground for an Israel living up to the ideals of her own Megilat Atzmaut (Declaration of Independence).
We also believe that even those of us who have been supporting these efforts for many years as individuals must now be multipliers.While some of us have preferred to support human rights work in Israel privately and quietly, now is the time to bring in our congregations and communities.
Our suggestion for how to do this is to make Rabbi Arik Ascherman, and his human rights organization “Torat Tzedek-Torah of Justice” our “human rights shaliakh” (emissary) in Israel. Our proposal below is designed both to empower ourselves to more effectively work on behalf of our ideals, and to strengthen Torat Tzedek financially.
Many of us have known and followed Arik’s human rights work for many years. He has spoken in many of our communities, and some of us have brought our groups to meet or tour with him in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Arik and Torat Tzedek recently received the Rabbi David J. Forman Memorial Fund’s Human Rights Prize. David was one of Arik’s mentors. He continues David’s legacy and vision—a vision we need today more than ever.
For those of you who are less familiar with him, Arik led Rabbis For Human Rights for 21 years, and founded Torat Tzedek in 2017. While he has successfully worked for structural change in the Knesset and in the courtroom, and attempts to engage the Israeli public, he literally puts his body on the frontlines, even when this entails personal risk. Some of you may have seen the 2015 video of Arik being attacked by a knife wielding settler.
The mission of Torat Tzedek is to work for an Israel reflecting our belief that every human being is created in God’s Image.
Current project areas include:
- Palestinian human rights-particularly the right to safely access agricultural and grazing lands, and the right to have a fair chance to build a home legally.
- Socioeconomic justice for Israelis-particularly advocating for those in need of public housing.
- The rights of Israel’s Negev Bedouin citizens in “unrecognized” villages.
- The rights of African asylum seekers.
- Opposition to Israeli arms sales to rogue governments.
Please contact Rabbi David Shneyer at firstname.lastname@example.org if you and /or your congregation/community are willing to join our Human Rights Shaliakh in Israel program:
We wish we to contract with Rabbi Arik Ascherman and Torat Tzedek as our congregation/community’s human rights shaliakh in Israel.
We wish to support his efforts and the work of Torat Tzedek in affirming the human and civil rights of all citizens and peoples under the responsibility and domain of the State of Israel.
As Jews, we are deeply concerned about the erosion of Jewish and human values in Israel. While we are not able to directly influence those Israeli policies we consider to be undemocratic and unjust, we want to support those in Israel who are engaged in creating an Israel that is a “light unto the nations,” and lives up to our highest Jewish values ensconced in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
We commit to:
- Providing a retainer of $1000/year for communities of under 100 households and $2000 for communities of over 100 households. For tax purposes, donor advised donations can be made through the New Israel Fund, or American Support For Israel.
- In addition, we commit to sponsoring two seminars per year with Rabbi Arik, either on line or in person.
- If Rabbi Arik visits our communities we promise to provide other opportunities for fundraising and media exposure. He will also be compensated for travel, room and board.
- We will attempt to participate in letter writing campaigns and other action items that Torat Tzedekwill request from us from time to time.
Rabbi Arik and Torat Tzedek commit to:
- Provide shaliakh sponsors with monthly reports for publication in congregational newsletters or websites.
- Provide seminars or webinars as the congregations feel are best suited for their needs.
- Convene an annual meeting of the leaders of these sponsoring communities
- Advise sponsoring communities on forms of advocacy and actions they may take in their communities, with other Jewish organizations and in US government offices.
- Wave usual fees for speaking or leading tours for our groups visiting Israel.
In Hope and Blessing,
Rabbi David Shneyer
Rabbi Victor Reinstein
Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak
Rabbi Joshua Lesser