In a world where injustice is far too common, Human Rights Shabbat is an opportunity for reflection and celebration, a yom tov for human rights. Inspired by the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed on December 10, 1948, and nurtured by T’ruah, an organization of rabbis and other Jewish leaders who work tirelessly for human rights throughout the world, Human Rights Shabbat is observed by an ever-growing number of congregations. Jessica Shimberg, student rabbi and spiritual leader of the Little Minyan, has worked closely with T’ruah in their alliance with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to end human rights violations in the fields of Florida. She traveled to the
tomato fields last year to learn, first hand, of the abuses that occur in the agricultural industry because of corporate pressure exerted on growers who squeeze those who manage the harvests and who, in turn, exploit farmworkers in the fields who pay the ultimate price with inhumane conditions, sub-poverty wages and, in extreme cases, slavery and other abuse.
Recently, members of Little Minyan had the opportunity to learn directly from CIW farmworkers and allies in Columbus to encourage local corporations, Wendy’s and Kroger, to sign the Fair Food Agreement which institutes and monitors a code of conduct that forces those in power to comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other basic worker rights, garnered in other industries nearly 100 years ago. Little Minyan members then joined with hundreds of people seeking justice in an action in Columbus on November 16th
On Friday, December 13th, at 7:30 p.m. in our space at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Upper Arlington, help us bring light to the darkness of a December Erev Shabbat. Join Jessica Shimberg, Bill Cohen, and members of the Little Minyan as we and hundreds of Jewish communities around the world to recognize the connections between Jewish values and human rights, and pledge to manifest the value of k’vod habriot/human dignity in our communities. We will explore links between fair trade principles, Jewish values, and universal human rights, and delve into the ways Jewish tradition, our history and values inspire us to continue to work for universal human dignity.
Consider Pirkei Avot, in which Ben Zoma asks four rhetorical questions:
“Who is wise?” He said it is one who learns from everyone.
“Who is powerful?” One with self-control.
“Who is wealthy?” Wealthy is the one who appreciates what he has.
And “Who is honored?” The one who is honored honors God’s creations, specifically, honors other human beings. The one who is honored honors and affirms human dignity in another.