Our Special guest this week is Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Director of North American Programs for T'ruah. Ordained in 2008 from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she was a student activist and leader, she is a noted speaker and writer on Judaism and human rights, including speaking internationally on behalf of the U.S. State Department on the issue of human trafficking. Her writing has appeared on CNN.com, the Forward, the New York Daily News, the Huffington Post, and many other publications. Rabbi Kahn-Troster was named to the Jewish Week's 2011 "36 under 36" for her human rights activism. She also serves on the board of the National Religious Campaign against Torture.
This week's Torah Portion- Parashat Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9)- begins with instructions concerning the appointment of Judges and law enforcement officers. Moses commands the people of Israel to pursue Justice and to avoid corruption and favoritism. He states that at least two credible witnesses are needed in order to convict someone of a crime and demands that a thorough investigation always takes place before a verdict is reached. The portion also includes prohibitions of sorcery and Idolatry; rules concerning the appointment and the behavior of Kings; and many laws of war, including the demand to offer terms of peace before going out to war.