Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - September 7, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

September 7, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

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.

Religious Services Minister calls to fund international Chabad

By Matthew Wagner September 8, 2009

Religious Services Minister Ya'acov Margi of Shas recommended during a cabinet meeting on Monday that the state fund Chabad Houses around the world, to "strengthen Jewish identity and the connection with the Land of Israel and the State of Israel."

"Their role is sometimes even more important than the Jewish Agency's in these matters. Therefore, we should consider funding Chabad Houses around the world," Margi said.

Religion wars

By Shmuel Rosner September 3, 2009

Bottom line: the Minister of Religious Affairs has no good reason to pick a fight with Reform and Conservative Jews.

He is also needs to be educated on legal matters and learn that in Israel there's no law permitting him not to fund the activities of Jewish branches to which he doesn't belong.

Click here for Hebrew article

A strategic threat

By Yizhar Hess Opinion September 7, 2009

Attorney Yizhar Hess is the director of the Conservative Movement in Israel. This op-ed does not necessarily reflect the Movement’s views.

At this time already, among other reasons because of this systematic discrimination, American Jews are slowly losing interest in the State of Israel. Because if Israel rejects their Jewishness, why should they feel any sympathy for or attachment to it?

In this respect, Shas’ Minister of Religious Affairs is a strategic threat to the State of Israel; no less.

…Israel is the only democracy in the Western world that doesn’t offer freedom of worship to Jews. This absurdity must be brought to an end.

Adoptee with Jewish father who was denied citizenship petitions High Court

By Ruth Eglash September 8, 2009

A US-born adoptee who has been attempting to obtain Israeli citizenship for more than two years finally petitioned the High Court of Justice on Monday to force the Interior Ministry to accept his immigration petition.

Timothy Nicholas Steger, whose birth father was Jewish but who was adopted as an infant by a devout Catholic family, arrived in Israel in February 2007 and subsequently requested to make aliya.

His request was turned down last August when the Interior Ministry deemed that the connection with his biological parents had been severed the moment he was adopted.

However, citing the Law of Return, which states anyone with at least one Jewish parent or grandparent, is entitled to immigrate to Israel, and with the help of a recent legal opinion presented to the Supreme Court by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, Steger persevered and his dream to live in Israel might finally be recognized.

Reform Movement petitions on 'brit mila'costs

By Tomer Zarchin September 8, 2009

The Movement for Progressive Judaism, the Israeli branch of the Reform movement, has petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding the state pay for circumcisions for converts under Reform and Conservative auspices.

Today the state only pays for circumcising those undergoing Orthodox conversions. Such procedures cost thousands of shekels.

Reform rabbis convert about 200 people a year and the Conservative movement about another 100.

Doctors perform the procedure for all those over six months old, and above 10 the procedure is done with local anesthetic.

In May, the High Court ruled that the state must also fund Reform conversion institutes and not just Orthodox ones.

We’re coming back soon

By Yair Lapid Opinion September 8, 2009

The average secular does not hate haredim.

…The haredim came out of the Jewish closet and decided to run our lives.

Yeshiva and religious services budgets kept on growing, time and again we discovered cases of corruption and bribery, haredi protests became violent, they made pretenses of telling us where we’re allowed to park, when we’re allowed to shop, and what we’re allowed to eat.

Their blatant contempt for us became increasingly blunter, until the seculars got sick and tired of it, and Shinui was established.

5770: The Year of Carmit, with Rabbi Asher Lopatin

By Rabbi Asher Lopatin Opinion September 7, 2009

The vision for Carmit is that it should be a diverse, pluralistic town eventually growing to over 10,000 people, with affordable, quality, environmentally sensitive housing.

We want to attract Americans, Anglos and Israelis, dati’im of all stripes and chilonim of all stripes – just as long as people are willing to live happily in an open-minded and non-judgmental community.

We hope that Carmit becomes a cultural, educational and religious destination in Israel – perhaps the pluralism capital of the Holy Land.

Modern Orthodoxy's Allies: Haredim or the Non-Orthodox Movements?

By Rabbi Marc D. Angel September 3, 2009

The current issue of "Deot", the Hebrew-language magazine of Ne'emanei Torah vaAvodah, includes an article by Yuval Yavneh of the New Israel Fund's office in Jerusalem.

He argues that Modern Orthodoxy needs to think about who its real allies are. Does Modern Orthodoxy have more in common with the Hareidi world, or with the non-Orthodox movements?

Yuval suggests that Modern Orthodoxy make up its mind, and cast its lot with those who share our human, democratic values.

Yet, many in the Modern Orthodox community are extremely uneasy making alliances with the non-Orthodox, feeling that this ultimately undermines our religious credibility and seriousness of purpose.

Original article by Yuval Yavneh of the New Israel Fund (Hebrew)

Heritage, not coercion

By Shahar Ilan Opinion September 7, 2009

The author is deputy director general for research and public relations of Hidush, an association promoting equality and freedom of religion.

In recent years, the Reform and Conservative movements - as well as secular Jews - have developed many curricula that instill Jewish values without trying to make people "find God." This is the well from which the education ministry should draw its Judaism and Zionism programs.

The issue is a highly sensitive one. Two or three attempts to instill fanatic Judaism in state schools would be enough to portray the whole program as a hostile move. Therefore, to succeed Sa'ar must coordinate his actions with pluralistic Jewish organizations.

Trying to ignore the parents and to force Orthodox Judaism on students will only serve to harm this crucial reform. This must not be allowed to happen.

In praise of ‘social Judaism’

By Ariana Melamed Opinion September 3, 2009

Social Judaism – if someone will show interest in it – can have an integral and organic place at secular schools, rather than a forced episode once a week.

Jewish holidays do not need to remain in the notebook when they can become Passover or Tu B’Shvat Seders at school that are held here and there with great success.

Meanwhile, the annals of Jewish heritage are not supposed to be a collection of wise statements uttered by sages who died a long time ago;

Adapting law to life

By Reuven Hammer Opinion September 6, 2009

Rabbi Reuven Hammer is the head of the Rabbinical Court of Israel's Masorti (Conservative) Movement and a former president of the movement's International Rabbinical Assembly.

We may not need a Sanhedrin, but we do need religious leaders who are committed to Jewish law and recognize the way in which it grows and changes to meet the needs of the times.

We need leaders who will seriously tackle the question of adopting halakha to the conditions of statehood and sovereignty.

Things you see from here – Mayor Barkat

By Peggy Cidor September 4, 2009

[Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is trying to reach some understanding with the haredi community] … through a decision to increase the amount of municipal funding for some haredi schools.

Barkat is very cautious to approve such gestures only in cases where the schools can prove they include the Education Ministry's curriculum; but still, we're talking about schools that belong to the private stream.

Airlines: Stop 'impurity of Kohanim' procedure

By Arie Egozi September 7, 2009

A number of airlines demanded last week that the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) stop the "impurity of Kohanim" procedure.

According to this procedure, if a plane landing at Ben-Gurion Airport is carrying in its cargo area a body flown in from abroad, its passengers can only get off the plane after the body is removed from the aircraft, even if it takes a long time.

This procedure was adopted by Ben-Gurion Airport following pressure by haredi elements, in order to prevent the impurity of people waiting inside the terminal.

One law for all

Haaretz Editorial September 6, 2009

But what has happened in Jerusalem in recent weeks is far from coexistence by mutual consent.

It is organized rioting that endangers lives, and whose purpose is to undermine the symbols of government and take over yet another chunk of secular residents' living space in the city.

This is not a war over Shabbat, but against the state's monopoly on the rule of law.

Judge in 'starving mother' case receives alarming booklet

By Aviad Glickman September 6, 2009

Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Ravid, who is hearing the case of the mother charged with starving her toddler son, received a booklet with a drawing of a bleeding syringe and harsh accusations against the police and the State Prosecutor's Office, Ynet learned Sunday.

The booklet, which arrived over the weekend to the judge's home, was titled "Blood libel on the bench: The starving mother or haredi Judaism as a whole?"

Ultra-Orthodox 'explains' to Aussie journalist why she was spat on September 6, 2009

Anne, along with The Australian newspaper's correspondent in Jerusalem, John Lyons, invited two men from the ultra-Orthodox community to explain the protesters' actions.

Did they spit at her because she was a woman, or a journalist, or not Jewish, or not dressed modestly enough?

Yoel Weber, a rabbinical student, told her the ultra-Orthodox community feels a deep animosity towards any media it perceives does not understand it.

Mr. Weber told Anne a woman does not belong in a group of men.

"So when we have a demonstration, we see a woman just frolicking, walking around, the normal reaction would be 'lady, can you please, there's the men, the ladies' side, please walk on the other side' - that's the normal reaction," he said.

He says had it been a man reporting, things might have been very different.

Anne says while she was helped to clarify the attitudes of the ultra-Orthodox community, she is still troubled.

How, she asks, in a democratic, largely secular and supposedly egalitarian Israel, where ultra-Orthodox Jews are in the minority, can the rest of the community be expected to live and work by their rules?

200 Haredim protest outside home of UJT J'lem city council member September 8, 2009

Some 200 haredim demonstrated on Monday night outside the home of UJT Jerusalem city council member Shlomo Rosenstein in protest over the operation of the Carta parking lot during Shabbat.

The protesters chanted "murderer" and "Shabbat desecrater" against Rosenstein, claiming Rosenstein was not making efforts to close the parking lot.

J'lem Haredim hold non-violent Shabbat protest, first in months

Jerusalem haredim scale back Shabbat violence

Jerusalem rabbis call on protestors to avoid violence

Haredi protestor's remand extended

Haredi leader: Keep protest to Mea Shearim

Haredim attack cab driver

Haredi youths attack Palestinian taxi driver in Jerusalem

Eda Haredit calls to tone down protests

Judge in 'starving mom' case: Boy looked like he just left Auschwitz

Will ultra-Orthodox be on the front lines of war against crime?

By Jonathan Lis September 8, 2009

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced on Wednesday that he will work to enlist ultra-Orthodox youths into the ranks of uniformed police officers.

Aharonovitch says the religious youths will aid the police as part of their national service obligations.

Rabbi slams Bat Yam girls' 'immodesty'

By Naama Friedman September 2, 2009

Rabbi Yaakov Rojza, one of Bat Yam's prominent rabbis, is unhappy with what he sees as the immodest clothing of female school pupils in the central city.

Religious-Secular Divide, Tugging at Israel’s Heart

By Isabel Kershner September 2, 2009

The ultra-Orthodox make up about a third of Jerusalem’s Jewish population, and the adherents of the Eda Haredit are only a fraction of that. But with an average of 10 children per family, Mr. Kraus said, the community is growing fast.

…In a modest counterstrike on a recent weekday morning, eight non-Orthodox Jewish activists — six women and two men — got on a No. 40 bus heading from the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot D into town. The women sat down in the front rows. The men went to the back.

Ramot D is an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood where rigid religious rules are applied. The No. 40 is one of several public bus lines designated as “mehadrin,” or strictly kosher, where the men sit in the front and the women behind.


By Larry Derfner September 3, 2009

The haredim are outgrowing their old neighborhoods; their young families don't have the money to buy apartments in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak near their parents; haredi settlements such as Modi'in Illit, Betar Illit and Elad can't absorb all the newcomers, so they're spreading little by little into poorer, non-haredi neighborhoods around the country. And the result, often, is tension.

"The haredim look for cheap neighborhoods to move into. When secular people in a poor neighborhood find the means to move out, haredim move in.
This, in turn, drives more secular people out and brings the property values further down, allowing more haredim to move in," says Friedman.

He compares it to the "white flight" from America's inner cities in the 1960s and 1970s.

Modi’in Illit Continues to Grow

By Yechiel Spira September 6, 2009

The community of Modi’in Illit continues to lead the country in new classrooms, the result of it remaining the community with the highest birthrate in Eretz Yisrael. This year, 180 classrooms were added as part of the effort to ensure the community’s 27,000 children receive the proper chinuch.

The children make up over 60% of the population, which numbers 45,000, municipality officials report at the start of the 5770 school year.

Swine Flu: Haredim forgo their communal wine

By Yair Ettinger and Adi Dovrat-Meseritz September 8, 2009

The ultra-Orthodox community is no less worried about what it calls Mexican flu - to avoid mentioning the name of unkosher animals - than the public at large.

However, despite the large number of infections in yeshivas, there are no plans to cut back on mass learning, public prayers or holiday meals.

Creative solutions have appeared to avoid infection and increase public awareness. For example, ritual baths now have signs calling on the public to avoid infection.

Even the Gerer Hassidim have given up their generations-old custom of sharing the rabbi's Shabbat wine, and now each Hasid gets his own disposable cup.

Haredi town planned where Arab construction banned

By Zafrir Rinat September 8, 2009

The plan calls for building a large Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) city for approximately 150,000 residents.

It is being promoted by Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias (Shas), with help from former Shas MK Nissim Dahan, who is currently the Interior Ministry-appointed head of the Katzir-Harish Local Council.

Arabs, kibbutzniks forge unlikely alliance against proposed haredi city east of Hadera

By Matthew Wagner September 8, 2009

While the US and Israel bicker over new building in Judea and Samaria that allows for "natural growth," the average woman in Beitar Ilit and Modi'in Ilit has over 7 children, compared to the national average of 2.8 in 2007.

According to Micha Rothchild, a member of the Haredi Building Council, a lobbying group for haredi housing interests, this year 6,500 new haredi couples will marry and need a house.

"Next year there will be 6,800 new haredi couples, and the year after, 7,350," said Rothchild. "And there already is a shortage.

Rabbis make peace with 'X-ray rabbi' following election fallout

By Yair Ettinger September 8, 2009

The leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who less than a year ago accused Kabbalist Rabbi Yaakov Israel Ifergan of paganism and called him a "fiend," have decided to make peace with him.

During the stormy election campaign in Netivot, the Ashkenazi rabbis warned that anyone associated with Ifergan, who is known as the "X-ray rabbi," would have no part in the hereafter.

Wiessman folds as Haredim press, agrees to close AM:PM on Shabbat

By Adi Dovrat-Meseritz and Nati Toker September 4, 2009

Dudi Wiessman seems to be folding under the pressure.

At least some of the branches of the seven-day-a-week supermarket chain AM:PM will be closing on Shabbat, following an accord quietly reached between the rabbis and representatives of Wiessman's businesses.

The ultra-Orthodox community has largely been boycotting his businesses for a year and a half because of Sabbath violations.

Alef grads to reenter the retail fray

By Adi Dovrat-Meseritz and Nati Toker September 3, 2009

Three Haredi partners who sold the Alef chain of stores to Super-Sol a year ago will soon be exiting their "cooling-off" period - think, non-compete - and are staging a comeback in retail to the ultra-Orthodox sector.

Bnei Akiva - then & now

By David Newman Opinion September 7, 2009

A movement which used to be characterized by religious moderation and an attempt to reach out beyond the religious-secular and Right-Left divide has transformed itself into a right-wing, Land of Israel, pro-settler movement.

Many of its youthful adherents have also adopted more stringently Orthodox lifestyles which, were it not for the differences in outward appearance and dress codes, would place much of their daily behavior within the world of the haredi communities.

Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Taken Off Respirator

By Yair Alpert September 2, 2009

Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sefardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, has been taken off the respirator which he was connected to and is now breathing on his own.

Spreading the kosher word

By Barry Davis September 4, 2009

If Chef Yochanan Lambiase had to place his culinary philosophy in a verbal nutshell, it probably would run something like: "Kosher doesn't have to boring."

London, UK-born, of southern Italian descent, Lambiase is founder of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute (JCI) located at Moshav Messilat Zion near Beit Shemesh.

Kosher News – Hebron Wines

By Yechiel Spira September 3, 2009

There is quite a stir in the kashrus community over announcements circulating from R’ Rafi Yochai of the Chief Rabbinate Kashrus Fraud Unit as well as the Hebron Religious Council, informing the public that Hebron Wineries lost their supervision from Rav Dov Lior Shlita, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Rabbinical Council.

'Jews who sell to Arabs are enemies'

By Matthew Wagner September 2, 2009

A Jew who sells land to an Arab in Israel should not be allowed to lead prayers in synagogue, should not be given the right to make a blessing during the Torah reading, should not be counted among the quorum needed for public prayers and is considered an abettor to the enemies of Israel, according to a halachic decision issued on Monday night by a group of rabbis calling themselves "The New Sanhedrin."

Religion and State in Israel

September 7, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

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.