Human Rights Thought for the Week

Posted on Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Welcome to the René Cassin Parashot Project. We are proud to have brought together 54 leading Jewish thinkers, Rabbis and educators from across the UK to each write a ’human rights thought for the week’, creatively connecting each portion of the Torah to a distinct human rights theme.

Our ambition is that this page will be used as a tangible resource for Rabbis, Jewish educators, youth movements and schools, to engage and inspire the Jewish community at large on a range of human rights topics. Through greater education and discussion within the community, we seek to raise awareness of a number of issues which are explored in this pack – such as the extent of modern-day slavery, discrimination and the current global refugee crisis.

We would like to extend our thanks to all those who have made this project possible. This includes all those who have taken the time and care to write these wonderful words, those who have proofread, volunteered and those who have helped with the design. We sincerely hope that this resource can be used as widely as possible, so please feel free to share it online and in person. If any of the readings spark questions or a desire to get involved in our work please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at info@renecassin.org

By studying both our religious texts and our history, it is clear that there is a profound and powerful relationship between Judaism and human rights that must be continued. It is through education, cooperation and activism that British Jewry can work to protect human rights and truly commit to the ideals of Tikkun Olam (healing the world).

  1. “Am I my Brother’s Keeper?”, Bereshit, Rev. Alexander Goldberg
  2. ‘Diversity and Ethics: principles of a modern society’, Noach, Joe Boxer
  3. ‘The World’s First Refugee’, Lech-Lecha, Mia Hasenson-Gross
  4. ‘The Story of an Argument’, Vayeira, Joseph Grabiner
  5. ‘Rebecca and the Origin of Chesed’, Chayei Sarah, Dan Jacobs
  6. ‘The Inspiration for Human Rights and Morality’, Toledot, Rabbi Ari Faust
  7. ‘Cheat, Trick, Deceive’. Vayetze, Sam Rodin
  8. ‘Defending the Family’, Vayishlach, Rabbi Raphael Zarum
  9. ‘The Essence of the Jewish Soul’, Vayeshev, Rabbi Oli Joseph
  10. ‘Human Rights Advocates Walk in Joseph’s Footsteps’, Miketz, Gabriel Webber
  11. ‘The True Value of Freedom and Reconciliation’, Vayigash, Rabbi Alex Wright
  12. ‘What’s Jewish About Human Rights’, Vayechi, Anthony Silkoff
  13. ‘Giving Voice to the Voiceless’, Shemot, Abigail Morris
  14. ‘Choices’, Va’eira, Olivia Marks-Woldman
  15. ‘Breaking the Yoke of Slavery’, Bo, Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah
  16. The Legacy of Freedom’, Beshalach, Esmond Rosen
  17. ‘International Law and Torah Law’, Yitro, Dr Shaiya Rothberg
  18. ‘Human Rights for All’, Mishpatim, Michael Goldin
  19. ‘A World Fit for God’s and Humanity’s Presence’, Terumah, Rabbi Mark Goldsmith
  20. ‘A Lesson in Community’, Tetzaveh, Emma Dorman
  21. ‘The Commitment of Human Rights’, Ki Tissa, Rabbi Danny Smith
  22. ‘Community Building’, Vayakhel, Leonie Lewis
  23. ‘The Notion of Collective Responsibility’, Pekudei, Sammy Lee
  24. ‘Rituals’, Vayikra, Keith Kahn-Harris
  25. ‘Leadership and Populism’, Tzav, Hannah Weisfeld
  26. ‘Positive and Negative Liberty’, Shemini, Rabbi David Mason
  27. ‘A Right to Healthcare’, Tazria, Rabbi Danny Rich
  28. ‘Breaking Up the Plague of Ethical Impunity Upon All Our Houses’, Metzora, David Brown
  29. ‘Agunot’, Goats and Divorce, Acharei Mot, Shelley Marsh
  30. ‘Religion, Modernity and Morality’, Kedoshim, Michael Wegier
  31. ‘Blaspheming and Human Rights’, Emor, Hannah Swirsky
  32. ‘Supporting Those Whose Hands Have Faltered’, Behar, Rebecca Singer
  33. ‘Legality and Morality’, Bechukotai, Sam Grant
  34. ‘Overwhelming Numbers and What to Do With Them’, Bemidbar, Dr Edie Friedman
  35. ‘Violence Against Women’, Naso, Rabbi Benji Stanley
  36. ‘With Crisis Comes Hunger’, Behaalotecha, Laura Marks
  37. ‘A Right to Life’, Sh’lach, Rabbi Lea Mühlstein
  38. ‘Looking Behind the Power of Words’, Korach, Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild
  39. Running Away From Snakes’, Chukat, Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen
  40. ‘Speak Up and Speak Out’, Balak, Gideon Leibowitz
  41. ‘Vigilant(E)’, Pinchas, Rabbi Richard Jacobi
  42. ‘Between Rights and Responsibilities’, Matot, Robin Moss
  43. ‘Cities of Refuge and Human Rights’, Masei, Rabbi Roni Tabick
  44. ‘Hearing Out High and Low Alike’, Devarim, Matt Plen
  45. ‘The Right to Rest’, Va’etchanan, Rabbi Deborah Kahn-Harris
  46. ‘A Paradox of Human Rights’, Eikev, Sam Alston
  47. ‘Seeing With Our Hearts’, Re’eh, Rabbi Janet Darley
  48. ‘Justice Doesn’t Come Cheap’, Shoftim, Micah Smith
  49. ‘Who are the Widow, Orphan and Stranger?’, Ki Teitzei, Georgina Bye
  50. ‘There But For the Grace of G-D, Go We…’, Ki Tavo, Rabbi Sybil Sheridan
  51. ‘Gender Policing’, Nitzavim, Dalia Fleming
  52. ‘Be Strong, Be of Good Courage’, Vayeilech, Maureen Kendler
  53. ‘Torah and Human Rights’, Haazinu, Norman Solomon
  54. ‘The Invisibility of Modern Slavery’, V’Zot HaBerachah, Elliot Steinberg

You can download all 54 collated pieces here.