On Human Rights Shabbat, we celebrate the deep intersections between Judaism and human rights. Since 2008, nearly 500 communities have joined this celebration. In 2017 alone, our Human Rights Shabbat program reached over 12,000 people in 154 communities.
Human Rights Shabbat is observed on the Shabbat closest to International Human Rights Day, December 10, which is the anniversary of the UN’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Declaration.
Sign up here for Human Rights Shabbat 2018, on the Shabbat of December 7-8.
A variety of resources, including texts, sermon sparks, and ideas for action, are available on the Resources page. (Search either by Program or by Holiday.) By signing up, you will join a network of other communities throughout the U.S. and Canada to turn this Shabbat into a day of learning and commitment to action.
We appreciate your call to action and how easy you made it to be part of a nationwide effort. We enjoyed seeing Chizuk Amuno listed with other congregations throughout the U.S. and found it affirming during these challenging times for democracy in Israel and around the world.
– Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Baltimore, MD
Our middle school did a 20-minute presentation at our all-school Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony on Friday afternoon. The 6th graders did a dramatic choral reading of excerpts of the Declaration of Human Rights. The 7th graders did a presentation about how their Jewish values support working to restore human dignity through their philanthropy project. Our 8th graders did Power Point presentations about solitary confinement and human trafficking followed by prayers they created on each subject. Then we all sang the l’taken et ha’olam song.
– Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper, Yavneh Day School, Los Gatos, CA
I gave a sermon entitled “New Lynchings and Old Truths” beginning with human rights Shabbat and going into matters close to home. It packed a wallop… One 13-year-old girl kept turning to her mom during the sermon, saying, “Is that true?” and her mom kept replying, “Yes Anna, it is.”
We sent the text to the congregation at large, it was put on the WNYC bulletin board and I even spoke on the Brian Lehrer show for a brief minute about the sermon.
It was wonderful to have this recurring event to set the agenda for addressing such matters. Very meaningful to have a greater community considering human rights and know we are not the only ones with such vision.
– Cantor Jonathan Ben Gordon, Woodlands Community Temple, White Plains, NY
For me, the most meaningful thing has been to find Jewish roots for my social activism. I have been a secular humanist for most of my life. I did not particularly want to live as a Jew and in fact, had little idea what that meant until I married a rabbi’s daughter…Human Rights Shabbat gave meaning to my decision in my late 70s to join my wife’s synagogue.
– Martin Klein, Darchei Noam, Toronto