Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - August 17, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

August 17, 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.

Declaring bride's conversion treif, Rishon Letzion rabbi nixes marriage

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com August 12, 2009

Rishon Lezion Chief Rabbi Yehuda David Wolpe refused to issue a marriage license for a couple living in his city because the bride's conversion - performed under the auspices of the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate of Israel - was deemed to be unkosher.

This is the second time in less than a month that Wolpe has refused to honor a marriage after the wedding took place.

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern, a former head of the IDF's Human Resources Directorate, who was the driving force behind the creation of Nativ:

"A small but growing group of haredi rabbis have hijacked the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and they have created an absurd situation in which one state institution refuses to recognize the legitimacy of another state institution."

To hell with logic

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks www.jpost.com Opinion August 11, 2009

Let me ask for your help in following the logic behind the laws and policies by which conversions are accepted, or not, by the State of Israel.

If you are converted by a recognized Masorti/Conservative (or Reform) rabbi outside of Israel - you are entitled to Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

If you are converted by an Orthodox rabbi in the US who is a member of the leading Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), you will not be recognized - unless the conversion is performed by the limited list selected by Israel's Chief Rabbinate.

…So there you have it. Is there logic to all of this? Yes there is. But it is convoluted at best. So I invite you to take a stab at explaining it.

Rabbi: No Sperm Donation for Single Women

www.ynetnews.com August 17, 2009

Speaking during an event at the Ono Academic College, Rabbi Burstein claimed that Rabbi Yuval Cherlow has reconsidered an approval given in the past to a single woman approaching the age of 40 to get pregnant from a sperm donation.

Rabbi Burstein spoke during a conference held under the title, "Parenthood at any cost?" The rabbi presented the halachic problem in giving a sperm donation to a single woman.

"All the efforts we are making for treatments and insemination are aimed at starting a family, and here the framework of the family is damaged," he said.

Involve clientele in choosing Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi

By Rabbi Barry Schlesinger www.ynetnews.com Opinion August 18, 2009

Rabbi Barry Schlesinger is the president of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel and the rabbi of the Masorti Congregation 'Moreshet Avraham' in Jerusalem.

I would like to suggest that the commission formally include representatives of the "clientele" in the process.

Is it conceivable that in a country where the citizens have voted for the prime minister (at least once), vote for mayors and municipal council members, vote for their neighborhood leadership (as in Jerusalem), determine a good deal of the curriculum taught in their children's schools, the constituency, should be excluded from choosing their own chief rabbi?

…Involving people in the process will promote a deeper respect and understanding of the role of the rabbi in today's world and create the foundation for successful dialogue between the rabbi and the Jewish citizens of Jerusalem and Diaspora Jewry.

Agunah – A Chained Woman

Click here for VIDEO

http://www.maiamarinelli.com/ August 13, 2009

Rabbi Aviner: Non-Jews shouldn't serve in IDF

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com August 12, 2009

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a prominent rabbi in the Religious Zionism movement, ruled that according to the Halacha, non-Jews – "not just officers, but also soldiers" – have no place serving in the IDF.

He based his religious ruling on a statement made by Maimonides: "A person who is Jewish is connected to the nation. A person who is not Jewish does not have a connection like that of the Jew.

Rav Aviner on Studying Torah and IDF Service

www.ravaviner.com August 17, 2009

Q: Some hold that Torah learning protects more than the army?

Rav Aviner A: Both are needed. This one is not sufficient without that one. See Niddah 70b.

Chief Rabbi: We must thank Druze for their contribution

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com August 12, 2009

Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger told Ynet on Wednesday that the matter of Druze service in the Israel Defense Forces is a "security question" and said that "tangled halachic complexities" should not be involved in the decision.

His comments came after Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a prominent rabbi in the Religious Zionist movement, ruled that according to the Halacha, non-Jews – "not just officers, but also soldiers" – have no place serving in the IDF – this also in response to Fares' affair.

In Israeli army, rabbis deepen religious tone. Is that kosher?

By Josh Mitnick www.csmonitor.com August 14, 2009

To be sure, Israel is not the only country where military chaplains discuss battlefield morals and the justification of war.

In the United Kingdom, military clergy lead discussions about war crimes and international conventions on war, says Tel Aviv University professor Asa Kasher, author of "The IDF Spirit," a code of military ethics.

"Talking to the troops about the meaning of the war is a necessity," he says. "Meaning must be given."

Discussions of war ethics and courage can be framed in a humanist or a religious discussion, Mr. Kasher says.

But the anecdotes about the rabbinate's messages appear to undermine the IDF's political neutrality as well as its effort to avoid harm to noncombatants, he says.

"Talking to them about who owns what parts of the Land of Israel ... is way beyond the limits."

Whose Religion Is This, Anyway?

By Gershom Gorenberg www.prospect.org Opinion August 13, 2009

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem.

Being an Orthodox dove in Israel is a complicated business.

…I was also painfully aware of an irony: My own skullcap identifies me, correctly, as an Orthodox Jew. Countless times, my appearance has also caused people to assume, incorrectly, that I belong to the religious right.

…The tension of being an Orthodox dove is partly sociological. Most Israeli Jews with whom I could pray don't share my political views. Most Israelis who share my politics do not understand why I enter a synagogue.

Seal of approval - Bema'aglei Tzedek and the Tav Chevrati

By Akin Ajavi www.jpost.com August 13, 2009

Last year, Mona was approached by Bema'aglei Tzedek (Circles of Justice) and invited to join an initiative promoted by the charity called the Tav Chevrati.

The Tav is a "socially kosher" certification initiative for the restaurant trade; the foundation issues a seal of approval to restaurants that commit to respecting the legally mandated rights of their workforce, and that are accessible to people with disabilities.

Bema'aglei Tzedek was founded in 2004 by a group of social activists who hoped to introduce what they considered the missing component from the debate about the values of the modern State of Israel - inspiration from traditional Jewish sources.

…To date, more than 380 certificates have been issued to restaurants across the country; one estimate suggests that a third of all establishments in Jerusalem subscribe

An un-Jewish law

By Marc Pelavin www.haaretz.com Opinion August 14, 2009

Mark J. Pelavin is associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in Washington, D.C.

To those who would argue that Israel must preserve its Jewish character, I would respond that it is precisely this Jewish character that should compel a humane, just and sensitive means of dealing with those who arrive in need at its borders.

If a policy cannot pass the test of Rabbi Hillel's one-footed summation of the Torah, surely something is awry.

Jewish Life TV is ready to air, but needs a nod from IBA plenum

By Steve Linde www.jpost.com August 17, 2009

Galia Albin, who bought a controlling stake in the Los Angeles-based Jewish Life TV last month, said on Wednesday that she had struck a deal with the Israel Broadcasting Authority to air JLTV's English-language programs on Channel 33, with Hebrew and Arabic subtitles, and only bureaucracy was holding it up.

Asked why she had approached Channel 33 in the first place, Albin said, "Channel 33 is not the big picture. It's only a vehicle, a platform.

We're talking about satellite, and the mission is to get Jewish and Israeli content to English speakers here and across the Middle East using the Hotbird satellite.

Albin said she had committed to investing $250,000 of her own money a year, and that her target audience was over 100 million English-speakers in the Arab world, in Israel and in the Diaspora.

Who still wants to learn about Judaism?

By Mor Altshuler www.ynetnews.com Opinion August 16, 2009

The festive atmosphere at the 15th World Congress on Jewish Studies held last week at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem was accompanied by an air of sadness.

This was due to the sense that Israel perhaps is not the focal point of Diaspora Jewry, despite being home to the largest database in the world on Judaism and Jews.

One on One with Felix Posen: Secular scholarship

By Ruthie Blum Leibowitz www.jpost.com August 13, 2009

Posen Foundation

Q: Isn't it somewhat paradoxical that in the Diaspora - where there is greater Jewish pluralism than there is in Israel, due to the political power of the rabbinical establishment here - your programs do not flourish, while in Israel they do? How do you explain that?

A: Ignorance. Secular Jews in the Diaspora are ignorant of Jewish things. This is also why there are all kinds of secular Jewish billionaires in the Diaspora who only give money to religious institutions - part of it under the rubric: You pray, I pay.

Now, everybody has the right to give money to anybody or any cause he or she likes.

The tragedy, however, is that the majority of people who self-define as nonreligious or secular Jews have no place to send their kids to school to learn something about Jewish culture.

And that ought to be corrected. We hope we're on the way. But I think it will take decades to get it done.

Role of Religion in the Public Space, Israeli and American Perspectives

Speakers: William Galston and Prof. Ruth Gavison

Annual Kogod Series Lecture, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, Israel, June 30, 2009

http://hartmaninstitute.wordpress.com August 16, 2009

Click here for VIDEO

Yod Bet b'Heshvan Forum


The Yod Bet b'Heshvan Forum was founded in the month of Iyyar, May, 2007 by religious Zionist organizations, together with individuals representing a broad political spectrum, in order to encourage tolerance and openness

Settlers: Rabbis' support for dismantling of outpost homes not a precedent

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com August 17, 2009

Leading rabbis and settlement leaders have rejected the idea that a rabbi's decision to support voluntary evacuation of homes in an unauthorized West Bank outpost set a precedent for additional concessions by settlers.

"Halacha says that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people," Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Ya'acov Ariel said on Sunday.

"But that does not mean it is never prohibited to evacuate [some of it]. Sometimes it is advantageous to evacuate in one place and build in another place according to needs and strategic reasons," he said.

Settlers at odds over Bnei Adam outpost

By Efrat Weiss www.ynetnews.com August 13, 2009

"Rabbi Haim Druckman has no authority to make any decision concerning the settlement of the Land of Israel," said the flyers.

Right-wing activists and Bnei Adam residents, who refuse to leave the premises, said they would take any means necessary to stay.

Rabbis dragged into outpost dispute

By Tovah Lazaroff www.jpost.com August 14, 2009

A group of settlement activists have rejected a ruling by a leading religious Zionist rabbi who ordered them Thursday to honor an agreement with the IDF to voluntarily evacuate three modular homes on an unauthorized outpost.

Agency celebrates birthday with arrival of UK olim

By Elan Miller www.jpost.com August 11, 2009

The Jewish Agency celebrated its 80th birthday by bringing 107 British Jews "back home" late Tuesday night.

For some US Jews, recession is catalyst for aliya

By Gil Shefler www.jta.org August 11, 2009

Officials at the Jewish Agency for Israel say its figures show a likely 15 percent increase in the number of North American olim in 2009 compared to last year.

Nefesh B'Nefesh, the organization that handles North American aliyah, said its North American call center in New York handled 9,536 calls between January and July, up from 6,238 from the corresponding period in 2008.

"It's not been a trigger for making aliyah but rather an accelerator," Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, the founder of Nefesh B'Nefesh, said of the recession.

He spoke recently at a ceremony at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York celebrating the departure of a planeload of 238 immigrants to Israel from North America.

"There aren't that many opportunities in America right now, so people say, why not go now?" he said.

Yemen's last Jews set to flee country

By Haviv Rettig Gur www.jpost.com August 14, 2009

Israeli sources confirmed on Thursday Yemeni media reports that the overwhelming majority of the final remnant of Yemen's ancient Jewish community, numbering some 250 people, are looking to leave the country due to persecution and violence.

"About 120 of the Yemeni Jews want to move to Israel, 100 want to move to the US" - where there is a small Yemenite Jewish community - "and between 20 and 30 want to stay," the source said, citing information obtained from the community.

Christian Russian TV Station to Broadcast in Israel

By Hillel Fendel www.israelnationalnews.com August 12, 2009

A new Christian Russian-language TV network will be inaugurated next month, in the presence of [Yisrael Beiteinu] party leaders. The heads of the station say they hope to spread their message to over a million new-immigrant homes in Israel.

The inaugural event will take place at the Davidson Center, near the Western Wall plaza. Some 3,000 Christian pilgrims will be on hand for the occasion.

The name of the new station, Rodnoy, is a Russian word meaning “soon.” Rodnoy is owned mostly by TBN, one of the largest missionary networks in Russia.

Religion and State in Israel

August 17, 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.

All rights reserved.