Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - May 25, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

May 25, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Women's groups blast bill giving rabbinical courts more powers

By Dana Weiler-Polak www.haaretz.com May 26, 2009

Women's organizations and the Rabbinical Courts Administration squared off in the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women yesterday over a bill to expand the rabbinical courts' authority. 

"The proposal raised by the rabbinical courts is not a minor matter; it's an earthquake," said Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari of Bar-Ilan University.

"For years, we have witnessed an ongoing, deliberate offensive by the rabbinical courts in an effort to obtain blatantly civil powers for themselves.

If this proposal is accepted, it will deal a mortal blow to women's rights in Israel. The rabbinical courts have no authority to discuss property issues, which are clearly civil issues, unless they are part of a divorce suit."

Justice Min. bill enhances rabbinic court powers

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com May 22, 2009

The draft, which empowers rabbinical courts even more than previous proposals had, gives the rabbinical courts authority that had been denied them by the High Court of Justice. 

The bill would authorize the rabbinical courts to rule on suits against husbands who refuse to divorce their wives "on the basis of Torah laws." 

…The new proposal does not limit rabbinical courts' jurisdiction on disputes in which both sides agree to have their case heard by a rabbinical court. It stipulates that the issuing of a divorce settlement authorizes the rabbinical courts to debate any complaint or suit deriving from this settlement.

Unnecessary authority for the rabbinical courts

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com May 24, 2009

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman's conduct relating to a bill that would expand the authority of the rabbinical courts raises concerns that there exists a disparity between his own policies and that of his office. 

…The conflict within the judiciary, or between the state and the religious and orthodox communities, is flaring up on other fronts and represents the worrying deterioration of the state's jurisdiction.

Haredi chutzpah

By Yair Sheleg www.haaretz.com Opinion May 26, 2009

It is indeed necessary to alter the status of the rabbinical courts, but in the opposite direction of what the Haredim are demanding, and what the justice minister has promised to consider.

The proper direction is complete abolition of the rabbinical courts' monopoly over marriage and divorce, while instead legalizing any marriage procedure that reflects couples' free and genuine desires. 

…In short, the rabbinical courts' control over marriage and divorce must end.

IDF: Female Soldier cannot say kaddish in shul

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com May 22, 2009

Photo not connected to article

The Military Rabbinate denied a Masorti (Conservative) female soldier access to her army base's synagogue last week to recite the kaddish mourning prayer for her deceased grandmother.

Rabbi Eyal Krim, head of the IDF's Halacha Department, ruled in accordance with many Orthodox rabbis who forbid women from reciting kaddishin a synagogue, even when there are men reciting kaddish simultaneously.

Krim ruled instead that the soldier, who serves in a Nahal unit affiliated with the Masorti Movement's Noam youth organization, would be allowed to use a classroom on the base and assemble a quorum of women there.

However, the soldier, who initially abided by Krim's ruling and prayed in a classroom, opted instead to leave the base during the shiva for her grandmother and recite kaddish in a synagogue, Rabbi Barry Schlesinger, president of Masorti Movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel, said on Thursday.

Conservative Jews Decry Bias in IDF

By Nathan Jeffay www.forward.com May 20, 2009

Last September, the Conservative movement cast its attention on the army. In a letter to the IDF chief-of-staff, Masorti officials demanded that non-Orthodox rabbis be brought into the army rabbinate — a request that was turned down.

Stymied at changing the chaplaincy’s makeup, Masorti leaders sought, instead, to break the Orthodox monopoly over army synagogues, attempting to hold Conservative services in them, too. Pollack’s kaddish dispute, in fact, follows a disagreement last Yom Kippur, when Pollack tried to hold an egalitarian service in the synagogue only to be stopped by the chaplain.

“We are saying that Conservative soldiers should receive the same attitude from the army that Orthodox soldiers do,” Conservative movement spokesman Shmuel Dovrat told the Forward.

Liberalism has the right to defend itself

By Carlo Strenger www.haaretz.com Opinion May 25, 2009

If I thought that an influx of Haredim to Ramat Aviv would maintain the modus vivendi of peaceful coexistence (despite the stereotype that there are many religious inhabitants here), I wouldn't worry about it at all.

I like mixed neighborhoods, provided they are based on a shared value of respecting each other's lifestyle and non-interference. 

…Many liberals confuse this with the mistaken idea that liberalism cannot and must not defend itself, its values and its lifestyle. 

'Hands off our lifestyle'

By Peggy Cidor www.jpost.com May 21, 2009

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Itzhak Pindrus is a member of the Degel Hatorah part of the United Torah Judaism party.

"The Education Ministry has no say in our education system. It has no right to interfere. It is our way of life, it has been so for centuries, and nothing will change it - nothing should change it," he says.

"The secular population and the state in general have no right to tell us what to do. We feel threatened every time some minister decides to force on us some new programs, some different curriculum. 

We say loud and clear: 'Hands off our lifestyle.'"

Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai Fears Religious Coercion

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

Deputy Minister of Education (Yahadut HaTorah - UTJ) Rav Meir Porush told Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai that the ongoing discriminatory policies against chareidim in his city is unacceptable, also formally protesting the widespread chilul Shabbos that was associated with preparations for Tel Aviv’s gala 100 year celebration, which was held on a motzei Shabbos.

‘The Great Neck of Tel Aviv’ - Ra’anana

By Sharon Udasin www.thejewishweek.com May 20, 2009

The growth of the fervently Orthodox community there is sparking tensions between the newcomers and the secular and Modern Orthodox population that have lived in the city for years.

“With the influx of religious people from France, there’s a big argument between secular and religious about the character of the city,” Even said.

The fervently Orthodox have only begun to settle in Ra’anana in the past 10 years, and currently 3 percent of residents are “black hat.” In today’s city council, Even’s liberal Meretz party holds five of 19 seats, while a haredi faction holds four. “There’s always those two sides that fight each other,” he added.

Currently on Shabbat, the stores and restaurants in the outside ring of Ra’anana are allowed to remain open — including a supermarket that sells pork — yet stores in the center of the city are closed, a policy supported by secular residents who appreciate the peacefulness of Saturday quiet, Even explained.

But ultra-Orthodox groups are now attempting to influence the status quo that Ra’anana has enjoyed for so many years, Even said, noting that even this past weekend, a group of religious youngsters rioted during Shabbat, demanding that a street be closed. 

The street remained open, and so far, the secular population still has the strongest voice in Ra’anana.

More Frum-Secular Tensions in N’vei Yaakov, Jerusalem

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

Jerusalem is heating up, not just because of summer, but the formidable opposition to the demographic changes, primarily the city is becoming frummer and more chareidi.

This not only elicits the ire of many non-frum residents, but sadly, in many cases, the most outspoken opponents to the chareidim are members of the Shomer Shabbat dati leumi community.

This has been the case in Ramot, Ramat Eshkol and other areas, where dati leumi residents fear the chareidi influx will make them a minority and they prefer to act to halt the trend.

Secularists Planning Stepped-Up Opposition in Kiryat Menachem

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

The Kiryat Menachem area of Yerushalayim is indeed an up-and-coming chareidi neighborhood but the secular majority is not entirely pleased with the rapidly changing demographic realities.

Opponents the chareidi residents explain the same thing occurred in neighboring Kirya Yovel, and they do not plan to sit back while their lives are overrun by the new community residents.

Guide to the sexist groom

By Zvika Brot www.ynetnews.com May 21, 2009

An instructional brochure handed out to grooms-to-be by the Jerusalem Religious Council has infuriated many men, who found it to be extremely chauvinistic.

The brochure was distributed to future grooms, both religious and secular, as part of a compulsory class on marriage given at the council's offices.

In another section, the leaflet argues that "the woman is like clay. The husband can shape and mold her as he pleases, because it's in her nature to help the husband. All that's needed is a kind word."

Ultra-Orthodox employment in Jerusalem up 70%

By Ora Coren www.haaretz.com May 21, 2009

The number of ultra-Orthodox people employed in industry in Jerusalem increased by 70% in the last five years, to 2,800, says the Manufacturers Association's district office in the capital.

Most of those 2,800 are women working at 380 local industries, says the district office chairman, Yitzhak Reif, who is also a manager at Ophir Optica.

Most of the Haredim work as computer programmers at high-tech companies, where they comprise 2% to 10% of the workforce, Reif says.

Some of the companies have earmarked rooms for prayer and taken steps to ensure that the food served meets ultra-Orthodox standards of kashruth.

Court Slams Modiin City Hall for mishandling ‘Lemaan Achai’

ModiInfo Blog May 20, 2009

The Tel Aviv District Court ruled in a prolonged lawsuit by the Lemaan Achai against the Modiin municipality.

The court rejected the school’s claim that it is entitled to a land allocation, but instructed the municipality to find space for the independent school under haredi auspices and to lease it to the school at a reasonable rate, and to otherwise provide the conditions that it would need to continue operating.

The court also instructed the city to pay the school 25,000 NIS in legal fees. The verdict comes in the midst of a major overhaul within the school, which includes its probably joining the Shas school network, “HaMa’ayan HaChinuch HaTorani”.

Workshop: Preventing sexual harassment in yeshivot

By Tzofia Hirschfeld www.ynetnews.com May 20, 2009

New course will train yeshiva students to give workshops on sexual abuse prevention in ultra-Orthodox schools. 'Sexual assault is made much easier in haredi society, because kids are separated from their mothers at a younger age,' explains rape center manager.

Elad Service Center Inaugurated

By Yated Ne'eman Staff http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com May 21, 2009

The new project center run by Manpower Bereishit in Elad was opened with an inauguration and mezuzah-posting ceremony attended by the moro de'asra, HaRav Mordechai Malkah, Mayor Rabbi Yitzchok Eidan, city councilmen and VIP guests.

In the first phase the project center will employ dozens of chareidi women in a project managed for leading insurance company AIG Israel. Other commercial companies are expected to join in the near future, bringing employment for hundreds of Elad ladies.

"Setting up a place specially suited to the employees' needs for purity and sanctity is an act of chessed, and through the willingness to accommodate the uniqueness of the city of Elad may they merit seeing blessing in their handiwork, and may the facility expand besiyata deShmaya and bring more income for families in our city," said Rabbi Malkah.

Homefront Command Turns to Chief Rabbis

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

The Homefront Command turned to Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger Shlita and Rabbi Shlomo Amar Shlita, along with Migdal Ha’emek Chief Rabbi Dovid Grossman and Rechovot Chief Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook as the military tries to reach chareidi communities, seeking to persuade residents affiliated with this sector to take part in the drill, the size of which was never before undertaken in Israel.

Homefront Command Speaking Yiddish

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 20, 2009

Realizing many chareidim do not listen to radio or see television, the decision was made to alert them to the training event using pashkavilim (street posters) and vehicles announcing the event through public address systems.

The 10-minute Yiddish instructions will include information how one should act in the event of an attack, what food items to store and how to deal with the young and elderly. 

Unrecognized Charedi Schools Will Not Be Budgeted In Children's Allowances

By Ezra Reichman, Chedrei Chedorim www.vosizneias.com May 25, 2009

Treasury officials …have found a formula to cut back the allowances: by creating criteria which will disenfranchise a large part of chareidi children. Children learning in unrecognized schools will now be ineligible for children's allowances.

…children who were enrolled in a new school which did not yet receive Education Ministry approval will [also] not be eligible.

Orange Cellular Deal for Chareidi Community

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

Orange, one of Israel’s cellular telephone companies, is launching a major campaign targeting the chareidi community. The offer includes to ‘kosher units,’ the Samsung B510 without charge, the first kosher phone supporting Bluetooth technology.

The phone is certified by the Rabbinical Committee overseeing cell phones, and the SIM is locked to only work with a kosher package, closed to internet surfing and SMS text messages.

Haredi widow to become surrogate mother

By Nissan Shtrauchler www.ynetnews.com May 26, 2009

For the first time in Israel, an ultra-Orthodox woman will serve as a surrogate mother, after receiving authorization to do so from a rabbi.

But the woman was concerned of her neighbors' reactions should she become pregnant, and asked the Institute of Fertility and Medicine According to Halacha to arrange a halachic approval from a rabbi explaining her condition and guaranteeing she was not "promiscuous."

Rabbi Menachem Borshtein, head of the institute, said that such an approval was given by Rabbi Zalman Nehamia Goldberg, and this gave the woman the green light to continue with the procedure.

Recession, Haredi boycott depress Blue Square sales

www.globes.co.il May 25, 2009

Alon Israel Oil Company Ltd. subsidiary Blue Square Israel Ltd today published its financial report for the first quarter of 2009, two days after Standard & Poor's Maalot Ltd. downgraded the company's bonds.

Israel's second largest supermarket chain reported lower sales, mainly due to the recession and the Haredi (ultra-orthodox) boycott of the Shefa Shuk brand stores, which began in February 2008.

Chabadnik, Joseph Gutnick, considers purchase of Jerusalem basketball team

By Greer Fay Cashman www.jpost.com May 21, 2009

According to Yediot Aharonot, Australian philanthropist Joseph Gutnick is considering purchasing the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.

Gutnick, a Chabadnik who is best known in Israel for bankrolling Binyamin Netanyahu's first election campaign with the slogan "Bibi is good for the Jews," owns a house in Jerusalem and reportedly met with Hapoel Jerusalem chairman Danny Klein, who tried to persuade him to buy the financially ailing team.

Gutnick, who made most of his fortune in gold mining, is no stranger to sports. He is a former president of the Melbourne Football Club.

Currently, his main interest in Israel is providing religious, cultural and social facilities for Chabad and other religious communities in many parts of Israel, including several communities across the Green Line.

Vaad Kashrus Rabbonim Meet Israel’s Chief Veterinarian

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

Rabbonim of the Vaad HaKashrut met with Dr. Moshe Heimowitz, the chief veterinarian in the Ministry of Agriculture. The meeting was held secretively during recent days, successfully avoiding mainstream media reports towards reducing the raising of pork in Eretz Yisrael.

Vitamen Café – Hebrew U. Mt. Scopus Campus

By Yechiel Spira, List owner/moderator www.jerusalemkoshernews.com May 21, 2009

The ‘Zman Jerusalem’ Hebrew weekly reports the Vitamin Café and Vitamin Meat restaurant located on the Hebrew University Mount Scopus Campus is threatening the Jerusalem Religious Council with a NIS multi-million lawsuit, represented by attorney Ashri Dahan.

The article goes on to explain the NIS 2 million suit is based on the Jerusalem Religious Council publicizing on campus that it has revoked the kashrut certificate of the restaurants. 

Introducing 1st religious women's rock band

By Nissan Shtrauchler www.ynetnews.com May 25, 2009

Meet Ashira, a group of women who manage to combine between religious world, its tough rules and musical performances.

In modest clothes and head covers, they get on the stage and play strictly kosher female rock music; no men allowed.

Tell me - who's buried down there, anyway?

By Abe Selig www.jpost.com May 21, 2009

Shimon Hatzadik was one of the last surviving members of the Great Assembly, the high priest who replaced Ezra - who had led the Jews back to Israel from the Babylonian exile - and the man whom Alexander the Great is said to have prostrated himself in front of, explaining that that it was his image that he always saw leading him to victory in battle.

Stations of the cross

By Ayala Tsoref www.haaretz.com May 22, 2009

The production staff entrusted with handing practical arrangements for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel could not believe the situation facing them: 

In discussing matters related to the pontiff's security, high-ranking Israel Police officers referred to the number of protective plates that would be positioned within the altar to be placed on the stage during mass, so as to defend the pope in the event of a shooting attack. 

What Jews Saw in Benedict

By Michele Chabin www.ncregister.com May 22, 2009

Although some Jews, both in Israel and elsewhere, were disappointed by the Holy Father's remarks, they were honored that the Pope, an influential head of state and the leader of the Christian world, decided to spend the bulk of his visit on Israeli soil, visiting holy sites and meeting government officials and religious leaders.

Even before arriving at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport May 8, Pope Benedict was well aware that he might receive a mixed reception.

One step closer to peace

By Josh Lichtenstein www.ynetnews.com May 22, 2009

During Pope Benedict XVI's recent visit to Israel the Elijah Interfaith Institute organized a joint prayer with the pontiff and Muslim, Druze, Christian, and Jewish religious leaders. 'The symbolic gesture takes us one serious step further in interfaith relations,' says organization's head.

Religion and State in Israel

May 25, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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