Monday, September 1, 2008

Religion and State in Israel - September 1, 2008 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

September 1, 2008 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Use of shofar, guitar 'unreasonable'

By Matthew Wagner, September 1, 2008

Photos courtesy of Yosef Israel Abramowitz - The Uncensored Rants of Yossi Abramowitz

The secular head of a tourism site at Robinson's Arch, a location adjacent to the Western Wall designated for use by the Conservative Movement, has prohibited a prayer group from using a shofar and an acoustic guitar in a bar mitzva ceremony.

Moshe Michli, who manages tourism sites for the East Jerusalem Development Company (EJDC), including the archaeological site at Robinson's Arch, told the prayer group use of a shofar and a guitar was "unreasonable," according to Jacob Ner-David, whose son, Adin, celebrated his bar mitzva on Sunday.

"We tried to explain to him that there was a custom of starting to blow the shofar today, the first day of the month of Elul," said Ner-David.

"But he refused to allow us to blow it because he said it was unreasonable. In the end we snuck a shofar in and blew it anyway. But they did stop us from bringing in the guitar. It was a beautiful prayer anyway."

According to Jewish tradition, the shofar is blown every morning after prayers beginning one month before Rosh Hashana. Most congregations begin blowing the shofar on the first day of Elul. But some congregations begin one day before that, on the 30th day of Menahem-Av.

Moshe Begaon, spokesman for the EJDC, said the use of musical instruments on the site was disruptive.

"The EJDC allows groups from the Conservative Movement to use Robinson's Arch free of charge, even though it is not obligated to do so," he said. "Meanwhile, there are groups who pay to get into the site.

"Now we allow the Conservatives to come in and pray quietly and leave. But we cannot allow them to do things that are not part of the worship, such as playing music and dancing, when this bothers people who pay to hear about the history of the place."

Ner-David said the shofar was an integral part of the service.

Petition: Soldiers serving in Army Radio must not work on Shabbat

By Kobi Nahshoni, August 28, 2008

Almost 60 years have passed since Army Radio (Galatz) was opened, and now a petition to the High Court of Justice is threatening the continuance of its Shabbat broadcasts.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel has demanded that the High Court prevent the station from forcing soldiers in obligatory army service, career service or reservists from working on Shabbat and on Israel’s holidays, claiming that they are not broadcasting for security reasons and are negating General Staff orders.

The petitioners recommended that the Army Radio commander choose between employing civilian IDF workers or shutting the station down.

Ultra-Orthodox split over backing MK Meir Porush for Jerusalem mayoral candidate

By Yair Ettinger, August 29, 2008

The typical Litzman message is a good reflection of the Haredi paradox in advance of the Jerusalem mayoral elections:

Porush will be the Haredi candidate for mayor on November 11, but until the elections the cool-as-a-cucumber politician will drip gallons of sweat vis-a-vis the Haredim:

Those who will try to undermine his candidacy openly and clandestinely, and those Haredi groups that will simply sit on the fence, waiting to see what happens to him in the test of his life.

Secular people have their work done by Haredim. At least in Jerusalem. That doesn't mean that Porush will not be the next Jerusalem mayor, but if he loses - as predicted by surveys that are being published one after another in the local press - he will have someone to blame.

Yaakov Litzman won't interfere, but he is acting like a horse trader for the Gur Hasidim, trying to squeeze the lemon called Meir Porush for the sake of his group.

Yeruham in Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer, Opinion August 26, 2008

As things look right now, [MK Meir Porush’s] victory in November is almost guaranteed.

…Polls published in the local Jerusalem papers - almost all of them financed by either Barkat or Gaydamak - have no relevance. Only two unlikely scenarios, a rift in the Haredi camp or a doubling of the secular voter turnout, can deprive Porush of the 40 percent he needs to win.

…The only long-term solution for Jerusalem's ills is legislation that would expropriate substantial portions of the municipality's authority and transfer it to a special ministry or government department established for this purpose.

Jerusalem Affairs: Running religiously

Indeed, attaining the support of the vast majority of secular, traditional and modern Orthodox voters in a city where one-third of the Jewish voters are haredi is a sine qua non for a non-haredi candidate, since the city's demographics automatically propel the haredi candidate into the position of front-runner.

Barkat learned this the hard way in the last elections five years ago, when a turnout of only 32 percent of non-haredi voters paved the way for Lupolianski's victory.

Woman on Bnei Brak city council?

By Nir Arnon, September 1, 2008

Members of the Labor party branch in Bnei Brak have decided that in the upcoming municipal elections, the number two spot on their list would be a allotted to a woman; the branch has also decided to have their candidate run for mayor.

Can a woman serve on the city's council, who is compromised of 23 men, all of whom are ultra-Orthodox? Should Labor succeed in winning two extra seats in the next local elections that very well may be the case.

Yosef Dror, who is running for chairman of Bnei Brak's Labor party branch:

"Our aim is to change the perception of this city, and just like there are women in Jerusalem's city council, there will be a woman on this city council.

The rabbis will have to get used to the fact that there is a secular population in Bnei Brak that needs to be heard and needs to be attended to just like the Haredi population".

Second-class citizens?

By Peggy Cidor, August 31, 2008

Photo courtesy of Mirah Curzer

The latest episode in the saga of the lack of educational structures for haredim in the city is taking place in Kiryat Hayovel. About a week ago, the municipality placed two caravans in a public plot on Rehov Warburg to serve as kindergarten classes for haredi children.

It didn't take long for the area's largely secular residents to voice opposition, with the chairman of the neighborhood administration, Kobi Cohen, saying he felt "betrayed, humiliated and outraged" by the development.

According to a municipality-commissioned report drafted in 2006 by planning specialist Moshe Cohen, the process of taking over state school buildings is part of a systematic plan to entrench haredim in secular areas.

…This struggle is taking place "not only on Rehov Warburg in Kiryat Hayovel," says Alalu, who has searched for a suitable solution to the problem for years.

"It is also happening in the Katamonim neighborhood, on Rehov Ben-Zakai, but nobody has heard about it because there the residents are humble people, who are not connected to the media.

Vandalism against Jerusalem Eruv Continues

By Yechiel Spira, August 31, 2008

“Hooliganism” is the word used by one chareidi newspaper to describe the continued vandalism against the eruv in the Kiryat Yovel and Kiryat Menachem neighborhoods of the capital.

This past Shabbos, the attack against the eruv was expanded to additional areas of the capital as well.

There appears to be a growing momentum in the battle against chareidim moving into Kiryat Yovel.

This past week, there was a protest outside Jerusalem City Hall during a council meeting, with secularists expressing their opposition to a chareidi school in Kiryat Yovel.

Once again, the eruv was torn and poles damaged, and an inspection on motzei Shabbos revealed significant damage in the two neighborhoods as well as the mehadrin eruv in other areas including Armon HaNatziv, Givat Mordechai, Givat Shaul, and Bayit Vegan.

Most of the neighborhoods still had the religious council eruv, although there were actually areas without any eruv according to reports. Rabbonim lamented the fact that the acts of vandalism led to chilul Shabbos by some in areas that were left without an eruv as a result of the actions of the secularists.

…The eruv system in Yerushalayim is quite comprehensive, and in many areas, there is redundancy, a mehadrin eruv from one rabbinical authority, a religious council eruv, perhaps an Eida Chareidis eruv, and so-forth.

School opens, minds close

By Gershom Gorenberg, Opinion August 29, 2008

At the gates of the state religious schools, in many places in Israel, two cultures meet.

One, religious and modern, turns over its sons and daughters to the other, more insular, to educate them in its stead.

The parents live with their children alongside secular families in mixed neighborhoods.

A quick glance at a list of the teachers' phone numbers reveals that many live in settlements or in neighborhoods known as Haredi or Hardali - religiously ultra-Orthodox, politically ultra-nationalist.

48% of Jerusalem students attend Haredi schools

By Tzipi Malkov, September 1, 2008

The trend of growing numbers of ultra-Orthodox students in Jerusalem continues, with 48% of all students in the capital this year set to attend the haredi school system, according to a Jerusalem city hall press release.

Overall, 87,020 students will begin their studies at Orthodox institutions this year, in addition to roughly 13,000 who also attend haredi schools, albeit ones unrecognized by the state.

"These figures join the impressive rise in the number of students in the ultra-Orthodox education system in the past five years – roughly 11%," the press release said.

Petah Tikva: Ethiopians get their own synagogue

By Bruria Frid, August 26, 2008

A dispute between residents of the Petah Tikva Municipality and residents of the city's Yoseftal neighborhood regarding the location of a new synagogue for the local Ethiopian community has come to an end, and the project will be launched soon.

"The synagogue and a religious club for Ethiopian immigrants in Yoseftal, which was agreed upon in my meeting with Minister of Religious Affairs Yitzhak Cohen, is only the first stage in a broader plan for the establishment of a number of synagogues in the city for the Ethiopian community," said Acting Mayor Uriel Boso.

Lawsuit against Religious Councils and State of Israel

By Yechiel Spira, August 30, 2008

Rabbanim serving the Ethiopian community in Eretz Yisrael explain they have been left with no alternative and as such, they are turning to the judicial system with a lawsuit against the nation’s religious councils and the state.

The rabbanim explain that they, as former Ethiopian immigrants, are discriminated against and as such, they are paid less than other rabbis, receive less benefits and are not given the rights, pension fund and other amenities as per their job description.

They explain they have attempted working with the powers that be, but after realizing they have hit a stone wall, they made the decision to turn to the Supreme Court.

The suit not only seeks to grant them rights, but in some cases, demands the return of funds, payments demanded from them “illegally” as they put it.

Religious Zionism: The future of a lost movement

By Eli Kavon, August 31, 2008

The writer, based in Florida, is an adjunct lecturer on Jewish history at Broward Community College.

Religious Zionists need to ask questions about their movement's underlying theology and its relationship to Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora.

If the movement's adherents do not deal with these questions, Religious Zionism will be lost, slowly slipping into irrelevance as a force in Israeli and global Jewish life.

Religious Zionism must claim its rightful place as a movement promoting a new understanding of Jewish faith and the Jewish commitment to the State of Israel and its people through aliya and education.

We must purge ourselves of the Yigal Amirs, Baruch Goldsteins and other extremists of our movement. In this New Year, perhaps, the legacy of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook will provide a model for all Jews and will inspire them in their search for peace and truth.

Rabbi accuses Peace Now of grave sin

By Kobi Nahshoni, August 29, 2008

Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, head of the orthodox-affiliated, non-profit Zomet Institute, has expressed perhaps the most strident censure possible in Judaism for Peace Now activists, who are fighting to uproot settlers from the Migron settlement.

"Such tale-bearing is known in Hebrew as 'moser' (informer)… Individuals who have sunk to this lowest level of behavior were despised and shunned (in Jewish tradition).

They are considered worse than heretics or apostates," wrote the rabbi in an article published in "Shabbat BeShabbato", a leaflet distributed in Israeli synagogues weekly.

Reclaiming Judaism's holiest place

By Nadav Shragai, August 27, 2008

In the ultra-Orthodox world there is absolutely no tolerance for anyone who violates the prohibition against visiting the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Moshe Tendler, who openly visited the mount, has been roundly censured. About 20 years ago the Belz Hassidic Elboim family, which founded the Movement for Establishing the Temple faced similar responses, but continues to visit the Temple Mount every week.

…a new initiative on the Temple Mount is slowly taking form, and it, too, has ultra-Orthodox backers, mainly from the group that calls itself the Sanhedrin.

Prof. Hillel Weiss proposes reinstating the custom of Hakhel on the Temple Mount, with the participation of the heads of state and the nation's leaders.

Private Cars Allowed into Rachel's Tomb from Monday

By Gil Ronen, August 31, 2008

Private cars will be allowed into the Rachel's Tomb compound beginning Monday, after more than seven years in which none were allowed in.

After a month-long trial period, the authorities will assess whether or not to continue the new arrangement.

…The new arrangement was reached after efforts by the Rachel's Tomb Heritage Fund, the Rachel Imeinu Foundation, the Holy Sites Director Yossi Shvinger, MKs Uri Ariel and Meir Porush, and officials from the Public Security Ministry, Israel Police and Border Police.

Cars will be allowed into the compound in groups no larger than 50.

A deal with God

By Lily Galili, August 26, 2008

Dana Pulver's complex identity as a Russian-speaking, ultra-Orthodox/religious (depending on the time) immigrant makes it hard for her to find her place in Israeli society.

…Among religious Russians I didn't find people with sufficient religious flexibility; with the secular ones I don't have a common language. When all this is happening in two languages, the difficulty increases."

But she is here, dreaming of a state with a Jewish identity of her own unique sort.

This state, naturally, has no connection to a state of halakha (ruled by Jewish law), but more to a kind of collection of rebellious prophets or at least to those who are versed in Jewish texts that challenge them.

Their inclusion in a broad education, an important value among immigrants from the FSU, she says, could be Russian speakers' great contribution to the shaping of the state.

The state-religion relationship

Click here to VOTE

“The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition JPost is conducting an international online survey about the relationship between state and religion. will provide the results of this survey to major Jewish media in Israel and around the world, including Israel's leading television network - Channel 2.

Don't miss this opportunity to let your voice be heard! Many media outlets and national leaders are interested in your opinion.”

Which stream of Judaism should be recognized by the state when performing marriage ceremonies?

Should the state recognize civil marriage?

Which stream of Judaism should be recognized by the state when performing conversions to Judaism?

Should ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students be exempted from service in the IDF?

Should state and religion be separated in Israel?

Religion and State in Israel

September 1, 2008 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Religion and State in Israel - September 1, 2008 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

September 1, 2008 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Nefesh B'Nefesh takes over North American aliyah operations

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 1, 2008

Photo courtesy of Nefesh B'Nefesh

The Jewish Agency has ceded its immigration operations in North America to the private organization Nefesh B'Nefesh. The agency will continue to be in charge of vetting prospective immigrants.

Both sides expressed satisfaction with the deal.

It fits in with the new vision for the agency, as set out two months ago by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as the body responsible for nurturing Jewish identity and the connection between Israel and the Diaspora.

It will also allow the agency to divert $3 million a year from North American operations.

North American aliya officially ceded to Nefesh B'Nefesh

By Haviv Rettig, September 1, 2008

According to officials in the Jewish Agency, the shift will include largely dismantling the network of 12 aliya shlichim (emissaries) in North America, "redeploying" a few of them and focusing on Internet-based marketing and communications methods utilized by Nefesh B'Nefesh for aliya promotion

NBN will only accept olim who have visited Israel before deciding to immigrate to the country, those who are not fleeing financial or other sorts of "crises," and those whose personal situation - "on a case by case basis," according to an organization official - make a successful absorption more likely.

In the new agreement, those who are eligible for aliya but are not accepted by Nefesh B'Nefesh will register with the Jewish Agency but still be brought to Israel on NBN-organized flights.

Toward self-realization, and contribution

By Barbara Sofer, August 30, 2008

Indeed, the organization is an endless font of practical information: your rights as immigrants, where to go for Hebrew classes, how to arrange health insurance and register the kids for school, how to release your shipment from customs. It also provides financial aid.

But the greatest innovation is the warm welcome and encouragement; there's nothing ambivalent about its belief in aliya as the ultimate tool for self-realization and for building the State of Israel.

MK Erdan: Israel needs a 'mental shift' to bring olim, connect to Diaspora

By Haviv Rettig, August 29, 2008

Likud MK Gilad Erdan, co-chair with Kadima MK Yoel Hasson of the Knesset Caucus for Western Aliya:

"Israel's religious parties only take care of their own, and the media constantly shows [the Orthodox sector] as getting more than its share of the pie, so our young people are antagonistic toward anything that smells like Judaism.

Between that and the lack of Jewish studies in the education system, today a child growing up in a Jewish community in America knows more [about Judaism] than those being raised in the education system in Israel. This terrifies me. Without Judaism there won't be a state of Israel."

A traditional Jew, Erdan clarifies that "I'm not for adopting the Reform model, but [Israel should look at] the existence of other systems that allow people to connect to Judaism and study the beautiful sides of Jewish tradition.

This is a good thing. I can't rule out that we should be studying the American educational model."

Rabbis for Human Rights - the 20th anniversary

By Rabbi David Forman, Opinion August 29, 2008

In a country where Judaism is often associated with intolerant and uncompromising beliefs and actions, Rabbis for Human Rights teaches an alternative understanding of the Jewish tradition, one that emphasizes Judaism's humanistic and universal side.

The indifference of much of the country's religious leadership and religiously identified citizenry to breaches of human rights was a cause of great concern to RHR's organizers, and the raison d’être for its creation.

…Rabbis for Human Rights is the rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel - the only organization in the Jewish state concerned specifically with relating the Jewish religious tradition to matters of human rights.

Record yeshiva enrollment predicted to cost economy NIS 5 billion

By Shahar Ilan, August 29, 2008

Some 63,000 young men are expected to begin studying this week in kollels - yeshivas, or Talmudic academies for married men, the Education Ministry announced Wednesday.

The cost of funding this year's studies is estimated at NIS 5 billion.

The figure represents an all-time high in kollel registration, an increase of 4,500 from last year and 67 percent from 10 years ago.

The rate paid by the Education Ministry for every student is roughly NIS 720 per month, or NIS 8,640 annually.

Though funding tight, married yeshiva students study on

By Yair Ettinger, August 29, 2008

In recent months an acute financial crisis has struck the married students' yeshivas.

Only a small part of the crisis, which is being widely covered by the ultra-Orthodox media, has been caused by the government’s 25 percent planned cutbacks in the yeshivas' budgets.

…The monthly stipends in the married students' yeshivas range from NIS 1,000 to NIS 4,500, depending on each yeshiva's connections overseas.

The state contributes some NIS 700 toward each monthly stipend.

Jerusalem council member: Seculars only have child and dog

By Ronen Medzini, August 30, 2008

City councilman Rabbi Avraham Feiner of United Torah Judaism (UTJ) called towards Pepe Alallo, chairman of the local Meretz faction:

"We, thank God, have 10-12 children. Where are these children supposed to study if not in their kindergartens? And you, what do you have? One child and a dog?"

Alallo responded by saying,

"This dog pays more taxes than you do! Pays more property taxes than you!"

Pro-Shabbos Boycott Moving to Gas Companies

By Yechiel Spira, August 30, 2008

The pro-Shabbos Shefa Shuk boycott appears will be expanding, moving to target gas companies, beginning with Dor Gas, a subsidiary of Dor Energy.

Organizers of the protest predict the company may lose as many as 1,500 customers.

According to, 1,500 households have already signaled is the boycott is launched; they will leave and move to another firm.

Askanim are aware that dealing with gas companies is difficult for the end user and towards finding a solution, efforts are underway to form group which would negotiate with a gas company on behalf of hundreds of families, thereby obtaining a better price and eliminating some of the hardship involved in changing gas companies.

Such an effort is already in the works with 500 families united in Ashdod and other 1,000 joining nationwide.

Rabbis to ask Vázquez to help solve problem of 'treyf' gassy cows

By Matthew Wagner, August 26, 2008

Kosher beef may not be high up on the list of priorities set by Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez during his visit to Israel.

But a determined group of rabbis hopes to bring Vázquez's attention to their concerns regarding a veterinarian practice that they say makes thousands of Uruguayan cows treyf (inedible according to halachic standards).

Since Israel imports approximately 30 percent of its beef from Uruguay, the rabbis have been working to solve the problem or move operations elsewhere.

Jerusalem Kosher News - Policy statement, clarification and update

By Yechiel Spira, Jerusalem Kosher News August 25, 2008

Everyone will do as he/she sees fit, and the postings are not intended to serve as recommendation or condemnation of any restaurant, but the words “unauthorized”, “illegal”, and other such terms are used, as per the definition of the nation’s formal authority, the Chief Rabbinate.

Everyone has the option of accepting or rejecting the Rabbinate’s definition of kashrus, opting for more liberal or increasingly stringent observance. conclusion, I hope that this continued effort, and the increase in consumer awareness, will result in a national kashrus standard so words like “mehadrin”, “mehadrin min ha’mehadrin”, “chumra”, “glatt” and other kashrus ‘buzzwords’ will signal a minimum standard as per the criteria established by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

Luntz Street Mehadrin Survey – Part I - Ben-Tzion HaGadol

By Yechiel Spira, Jerusalem Kosher News August 26, 2008

Report on the six Jerusalem Rabbinate Mehadrin eateries located on Luntz Street, in the ‘Triangle’ area of the capital, between Jaffe Street and the Ben-Yehuda Pedestrian Mall.

A forum for those interested in the realities concerning kosher & eating out in Israel, with a focus on Jerusalem.

The list will address the alarming realities of the poor standard of kashrut in eateries in Jerusalem & provide a forum for an intelligent exchange of information on the topic.

Luntz Street Mehadrin Survey – Part II – ‘Rimon’ Meat & Dairy

By Yechiel Spira, Jerusalem Kosher News August 28, 2008

...Rav Bachor explains that some of the cooks are former immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, and he will not employ them until he receives the required Interior Ministry documentation assuring him they are Jewish.

He stressed this is not a policy of discrimination, but just his way of ensuring the man handling the food and lighting stoves is indeed a Jew.

Rabbis: New life-support tech 'murder'

By Matthew Wagner, August 31, 2008

A technology soon to be introduced in local hospitals that automatically turns off life-support systems at the request of terminally ill patients has been denounced by a prominent group of rabbis as a desecration of God's name.

The technology is "tantamount to murder," according to the rabbis, who are aligned with the Ashkenazi haredi community's most respected living halachic authority, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.

…Conspicuously absent from the conference, which took place in Jerusalem's Bayit Vagan neighborhood, were rabbis and religious doctors who support the use of the timer ventilator and had backed the Terminally Ill Patient Law.

Dr. Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, who was a member of the Steinberg Multi-Disciplinary Health Ministry committee that helped prepare the legislation, said many prominent rabbis supported the use of such ventilators. The committee was headed by Prof. Avraham Steinberg, a neurologist and halachic expert.

Police believe they've exposed Haredi modesty patrol

By Yair Ettinger, September 1, 2008

That is how the headquarters of the Committee for Preserving Our Camp's Purity works.

The Jerusalem-based committee is in charge of modesty issues among the ultra-Orthodox public. This is where questions about what is permitted and what is prohibited stream in; this is where pashkevils [posters] are produced against businesses that sell "unclean appliances" like MP4s, or anything else that could "cause many casualties" among the Haredi public.

This is also the address for complaints or informing against those who have strayed from the path: deviants, traitors and pedophiles.

…The police believe they have discovered the "modesty patrols" that terrorize the ultra-Orthodox public, and have even investigated the committee's head, Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Shpernovitz

Mishmeres Hatznius’ Claims Victory with the Prison Release of Its Members August 27, 2008

Joy erupted throughout Ohel Sarah as news Shmuel Veisfish’s release to his home spread Wednesday.

…Shmuel Veisfish had been arrest ten days ago on suspicion of being behind the acts of violence against the Space and Greentech stores fronting Shabbos Square.

…At the meeting between Av Beis Din Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss [Gave'd] head of the Edah Hachareidis and police representative held last weekend, the release of the arrestees was agreed upon in exchange for the restoration of calm and the stoppage of protests and garbage-can burnings. In return, police did not request an incarceration extension for Veisfish, and he was freed.

Haredi [modesty patrol] methods exposed

By Yifat Reuven, August 31, 2008

Former members describe a "military-like organization".

"I was pretty much into it", says Chess, who was active in the organization for four years. "We would meet in a regular meeting place and get our assignments. Every Thursday we would be on alert.

"I bought a club, so that I would have an easier time breaking bones. Some used irons. The job only get carried out after hard evidence was gathered. We would collect the evidence, and there was a hotline as well."

…"A lot of our guys would fly abroad and get donations for our cause and come back [with] a lot of dollars."

Jerusalem: Ultra-Orthodox riot in protest of [modesty patrol] arrest

By Neta Sela, August 26, 2008

Ultra-Orthodox Jews rioted in Jerusalem on Monday in protest of the recent arrest of Shmuel Weisfish, a member of the haredi community's [modesty patrol] who was allegedly involved in the torching of a store selling MP4 players in violation of a ruling of the Orthodox Court of Justice.

…Haredim hold demonstrations every evening opposite a store selling MP4 players at Shabbat Square, and also arrive unexpectedly at haredi neighborhoods, where they torch garbage cans, block streets and flee the scene before police arrive.

…The source further claimed that the extremists' actions are undermining the Orthodox rabbis' authority.

Ultra-Orthodox criminals

By Tali Farkash, Opinion August 26, 2008

The elimination of this criminal organization – yes, this is precisely what the [modesty patrol] is – depends only on the determination of the Orthodox community to reject the zealots and hand them over to the Israel Police, as one of Jerusalem’s most prominent rabbis openly requested.

Women locked inside Breslov synagogue

By Pnina Geffen, August 28, 2008

Guests that have recently stayed in cabins in Safed owned by the city's Hasidic Breslov community were surprised to discover that a new list of guidelines was being imposed: Women had to dress according to Meah Shearim standards (meaning long sleeves, long skirt, stockings, and a head cover for married women).

But apparently this was not enough for the community to meet its own modesty requirements, and recently a new rule was implemented, requiring different exit times from the synagogue following Shabbat prayers.

…The decision to separate between women and men exiting the synagogue stems from Safed's structure, known for its narrow alleyways and streets. The synagogue opens onto one such street, forcing the people coming out after services to crowd together, and forcing the men to restrict the women's exit.

Religion and State in Israel

September 1, 2008 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.