Founded in 2002, Rabbis for Human Rights – North America (RHR-NA) is an organization of rabbis from all streams of Judaism dedicated to expanding support for the mission and work of RHR in Israel, and to education and advocacy on human rights issues in North America.
RHR-NA promotes discussion of human rights issues in the Jewish community by bringing speakers from RHR into Jewish communities nation-wide, sends delegations to Israel to join our colleagues in protecting human rights in Israel, and supports the efforts of RHR to change Israeli policies that lead to human rights violations.
In North America, RHR-NA has launched Honor the Image of God: Stop Torture Now, a Jewish campaign to end U.S.-sponsored torture. The campaign includes developing educational resources and programming for rabbis and Jewish communities nation-wide and organizing Jews in local communities to participate in Jewish and interfaith efforts to end torture.
In 2006, RHR-NA hosted the first North American Rabbinic Conference on Judaism and Human Rights. In 2008, RHR-NA will host the Second North American Conference on Judaism and Human Rights for rabbis, cantors, rabbinic and cantorial students, and all Jews committed to the protection of human rights for all.
In 2007, RHR-NA launched K’vod Habriot: A Jewish Human Rights Network, the first Jewish Human Rights network of rabbis, communitites and individuals dedicated to the human rights of all.
On May 8, 2008, RHR-NA launched In Pursuit of Justice, a yearlong campaign to mark the 60th anniversary of Israel and the 20th anniversary of RHR and its work to promote justice, freedom and equality for all who live in Israel and under its jurisdiction – Jewish and Arab alike. There are five components to the campaign:
- Embracing Justice: An Alternative Yom Ha’Atzmaut Celebration and Learning,
- Planting Justice: Two Trees Initiative,
- Nurturing Justice: RHR’s Human Rights Trip to Israel and the West Bank,
- Preaching Justice: An Invitation to a Discussion About Israel at 60, and
- Teaching Justice: Masekhet Atzmaut, a Talmudic-style curriculum about Israel’s Declaration of Independence created by RHR, from which rabbis in Israel and in the U.S. have been teaching about the Declaration.