Founded in 2002, Rabbis for Human Rights – North America (RHR-NA) is an organization of rabbis from all streams of Judaism that acts on the Jewish imperative to respect and protect the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we advocate for human rights in Israel and North America. We are proud to partner with Rabbis for Human Rights-Israel in our efforts to protect the human rights of Jews, Palestinians, and all others living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. In our North American work, we are proud to partner with a range of Jewish, interfaith, and secular organizations that share our commitment to human rights.
RHR-NA mobilizes rabbis, Jewish communities and activists around key human rights issues including its Honor the Image of God: Stop Torture Now, a Jewish Campaign to End U.S.-Sponsored Torture, its Jewish Campaign Against Slavery and Human Trafficking, its Stand Together Against Islamophobia Campaign and its “We Are Rabbis for Human Rights” Campaign. These campaigns include educational, programming and advocacy resources for rabbis and Jewish communities nationwide and organize Jews in local communities to participate in Jewish and interfaith efforts to end human rights abuses.
In 2006, RHR-NA hosted its first North American Rabbinic Conference on Judaism and Human Rights. In 2008, RHR-NA hosted 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. The Third North American Conference on Judaism and Human Rights was held in New York City in December 2010.
In December 2007, RHR-NA began its annual Human Rights Shabbat to recognize Human Rights Day, which marks the anniversary of the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights Shabbat commemorates the intersection of Jewish values and universal human rights. Programs are available for both adults and children. Now, approximately 100 Jewish communities from around the globe participate in Human Rights Shabbat each year.