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Together, we have done much, and we have much to do | Rabbi Arik Ascherman

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Rabbi Arik Ascherman is the president and senior rabbi of Rabbis for Human Rights. Follow him on Twitter: @RavArik

I have just returned from the second of two “Global Sukkot Against Demolitions” actions that Torat Tzedek’s intern Micah Friedman organized, in addition to activities he initiated in communities abroad. #sukkotagainstdemolitions. Last night young English speaking activists gathered in the Achvat Amim sukkah in Jerusalem to learn about the threat to communities in the Occupied Territories and in the Negev. Today, recognizing that the final day of Sukkot is seen as a Yom Kippur Katan (minor Yom Kippur), Israeli activists built a Sukkah in front of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv and called upon Defense Minister Lieberman to cancel his evil decrees regarding Susya and Khan Al Akhmar. The sukkah we have been living in takes on true meaning if it sensitizes us to the need of every human being to have a stable and dry roof over his or her head. Click here to see Micah’s op-ed in 972 Magazine.

Please find below my Sukkot thoughts on the meaning of the Sukkah, rain in the Sukkah, and a prayer meditation that can be included when we begin to pray for rain tomorrow. You can also find below the schedule for my U.S. speaking/fundraising tour beginning this Sunday, and donation information.

Yesterday I met with farmers from Beit Umar to begin planning how we are going to use the 2006 High Court decision I was instrumental in winning, to demand that the farmers be able to restore their lands inside the fence of a local settlement. It was heartwarming when one farmer we have done much to help in recent years got up when I walked into the roomful of farmers to greet me and told the mayor what we had done. And, it was heartbreaking to hear of his latest woes. Having succeeded in stopping settlers from coming to uproot his trees, threaten, and write graffiti on his land, I heard how soldiers were now saying he couldn’t enter his land without a permit, and even ripped open scattered ten bags of his olives on the ground.

On Monday, Israeli public housing activists met to discuss our next steps regarding sexual harassment of women in need of public housing, the demand that single parents choose between public housing and alimony, and other important issues. The Ma’abarah will be holding a conference on alimony versus public housing, and other eligibility issues, on November 5th.

Last week Micah and I participated in meetings with the army and with Israeli, Palestinian and international organizations regarding the olive harvest that has just begun. Torat Tzedek has been particularly focused on hot spots where there is olive theft year after year, but the army is not meeting its responsibilities to prevent this.

Sukkot is also the time to cherish our spiritual harvest-Having focused on Yom Kippur on what we need to improve in ourselves and the societies in which we live. If we have taken a hard look at ourselves and our societies, we now can focus on what is good about ourselves, our society, our country and our world, and what we have accomplished. Having spent many days with Ta’ayush accompanying shepherds from Uja, and having even suffered an attack there in April, I take satisfaction that we have made great progress. Shepherds are now safely grazing without harassment from settlers or the army, and without needing us, in many areas where this was not true a short while ago.

I am also aware of the revolution in public housing we have brought about in recent years.

It is much easier for me to look at myself in the mirror, and to set out on a trip to ask for your renewed support, aware that our spiritual harvest includes real successes that make a difference for real people.

Together, we have done much, and we have much to do.

October 15th
Pittsburgh Brunch Parlor Meeting.
For more information: moon.bern@verizon.net

October 16th
Brown University Program Co-sponsored
by Hillel and J Street U.
5:30 pm
The Underground 40-68 Waterman Street

For more information: daniel_satlow at brown dot edu

October 17th
Dartmouth Reed Hall Room 202

Newton Centre Parlor Meeting
7:30 pm
For more information: ravarik@gmail.com

October 18th
Rockville MD Parlor Meeting
7:30 pm.
For more information: katesugarman@hotmail.com

October 19th
Atlanta Fundraising Dinner
5:30 pm.

Congregation Bet Haverim. 2074 Lavista Road, Atlanta GA 30329
7:30 pm.
For more information on both events: 404-315-6446.

October 20th-21st (Shabbat)
Atlanta Congregation Or Hadash Study
after Kiddush on Shabbat

October 22nd
Berkeley Congregation Beth El.
10:30 am
Trees of Hope Fundraiser http://evite.me/xsegXXnau3

October 23rd OPEN

October 24th
Los Angeles Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Programs.
For More Information: haimbeliak@gmail.com

October 25th Open

October 26th Denver University 5 pm. Sie Complex – Room 1020 – Forum
For more information: mec@du.edu


October 27th-28th (Shabbat) New York Open.

October 29th
New York Parlor Meeting
4:00 pm.
For more information: ds210@columbia.edu

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