Human Rights Day 2000

Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 08:32:46 -0500 (EST)

Dear All,

Today is Human Rights Day. If you are interested in learning about and responding to human rights violations that are taking place throughout the world (by sending letters/e-mails to the relevant government officials), take a look at If you would like to subscribe to an e-mail list that sends you action alerts on pressing human rights situations (that you can respond to by letter/e-mail to the relevant government officials), you can send an empty message to, or see
In honor of this day and its aspirations, I offer you the following parable. I heard it in a speech that Shimon Peres gave several months ago. Shimon Peres, in turn, heard it for the first time from a Muslim man in South Africa:

A Rabbi was meeting with his students when someone posed the question: "How do you know when the night is over and the day has begun?" Several students offered answers to the question.

One student said, "When you can tell a lamb from a goat, then it is day." Said another student, "When you can distinguish a fig tree from an olive tree, then the day has begun."

"What do you think?" the students asked the Rabbi. The Rabbi thought for some time, mulling over the question of when the night ends and the day begins. He then spoke in a deliberate voice:

"When you see a woman, and whether she is black or white, you call her `my sister,' when you see a man, and whether he is rich or poor, you call him `my brother,' then the night is over and the day has begun."



"I have only dreams: to build a better world, a world of harmony and understanding, a world in which it is a joy to live. This is not asking for too much." -- Yitzhak Rabin "Don't say the day will come. Bring the day! Because it's not a dream." -- Shir LaShalom, Song for Peace

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