T’ruah builds bridges across cultures and religious traditions


T'ruahBy Ed Brayton

Foundation Beyond Belief is proud to be featuring T’ruah as our Challenge the Gap beneficiary during the second quarter of 2013. T’ruah was founded in 2002 as Rabbis for Human Rights – North America, a sister organization to an Israeli group of the same name. In January of this year, they officially split off from RHR but said that the two organizations “remain close allies.”

The name of the organization is the name of “one of the blasts of the shofar (ram’s horn),” which sounds to announce the Year of Jubilee, on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and to note other major events in Jewish history.

“We are Americans and Canadians with deep connections to Israel, and a commitment to making all three of the countries we love the most just, peaceful, and righteous places possible,” the group’s mission statement says.
T’ruah’s work for human rights includes a campaign to combat human trafficking in the produce industry in Florida. Working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), they convinced McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and nine other companies to only purchase tomatoes from suppliers that have strong policies to protect labor rights and prevent human trafficking in those who work the fields.

The organization has also worked inside Israel to fight against the placement of Jewish settlements that displace Palestinian families. They have worked to prevent the eviction of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem, which they argue is “the spiritual home of the Jewish people and a holy city for Christians and Muslims as well.”

T’ruah has also launched a campaign for Bedouin rights, working again to prevent the expulsion of thousands of Bedouins and to secure government services to several Bedouin villages in the Negev region of Israel. This has been a longstanding problem in that country, and T’ruah believes that the human rights of Bedouin tribes must be respected.

Because of their strong track record of supporting human rights and building bridges between Jews and Muslims both in North America and in Israel, along with many other actions that support and promote humanist principles, FBB will be giving T’ruah a grant for the second quarter of 2013. With more than 80% of their funds going directly to program activities, we are certain that grant will be put to good use.