ORDER YOUR YOVEL GUIDE HERE
Plus New Rabbinic Teachings on Video
The year 2017/5777 marked 50 years since the Six-Day War, when Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. This anniversary calls both for celebration of Jewish sovereignty over our holiest site, the Temple Mount, and a more somber commemoration of the 50 years of military occupation that followed this war.
In the biblical cycle, 50 is the yovel (jubilee) year, in which debts are released, slaves go free, the shofar of liberation is sounded, and each person returns to his or her family’s holdings. This year of release offers us the opportunity to get unstuck, to move beyond the pain of the past fifty years, and to find a new path toward liberation.
In this spirit, we offer you a guide that delves into seven concepts associated with yovel through biblical text, classical commentary, and Hasidic interpretations, and also looks at the complexities of Jerusalem. Each section includes questions for conversation and background information on texts. Videos of prominent rabbis teaching texts from the guide can be viewed here.
Also, check out the Sh’ma Now April 2017 issue on Yovel, examining the concept of the Jubilee year. We address this 50-year marker metaphorically as a time to reflect on how to reset debts and rethink our relationship to the Land of Israel, as we mark more than 50 years since the 1967 Six-Day War and its aftermath.
June 19, 2019
Read the letter T’ruah and nine other progressive pro-Israel organizations sent House leadership, calling on them to vote on and pass House Resolution 326, which reaffirms support for the two-state solution and opposes any US actions that would encourage or endorse unilateral Israeli annexations in the West Bank.
May 6, 2019
This Shabbat, as rockets rained down on Israel and the Israeli army responded with bombings of Gaza, we read Parshat Acharei Mot — the Torah portion that begins after the deaths of Aaron’s two sons. Much ink has been spilled by commentators trying to explain the reasons for these deaths. But in the Torah, Aaron responds to this tragedy with silence — no words can capture the pain of his enormous and incomprehensible loss. Today, we are also acharei mot — after the deaths of more Israelis and Palestinians, killed in another round of violence that will bring us no closer to a long-term solution. Like Aaron, we must focus not on justifying these deaths, but on mourning the loss of every human life, and on becoming rodfei shalom, pursuers of peace.
April 18, 2019
Israel’s actions put it in the unenviable company of countries like Syria, Egypt, and Bahrain that have prevented Omar Shakir and Human Rights Watch from documenting human rights abuses. We echo the words of Michael Sfard, the respected Israeli human rights attorney who is Shakir’s lawyer, in stating how deeply troubling it is that Israel’s judiciary has now joined the Netanyahu government in silencing dissent and targeting those who struggle to end the Occupation.