Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - July 13, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

July 13, 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.

Supreme Court: Decision not to convict yeshiva student is incomprehensible

By Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com July 14, 2009

Among [Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe] Drori’s explanations for his failure to convict was his desire not to hurt the defendant's chances for being appointed a rabbinical court judge.

…Justice Levy said yesterday that the defendant should not receive preferential treatment over other defendants who did not aspire to a rabbinical court appointment.

Among the character reference letters submitted to the court during the original trial was one from Shas party chairman Eli Yishai, who is now interior minister. Yishai requested that the court refrain from conviction in order not to damage the defendant's personal and professional future.

The defendant's father is the chief rabbi of a major Israeli city.

High Court to rule on yeshiva student's acquittal

By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com July 13, 2009

According to Channel 2, the Jerusalem District Court judge came under pressure from Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas), with the latter saying that a conviction would ruin the haredi student's rabbinic future.

…He also argued that it was wrong to hide the incident from a Dayanim Election Committee which would have to decide if the defendant were worthy of becoming a Dayan.

"Would the committee want to appoint such a person if they knew about his conduct in this case?" he asked.

Ethiopian victim of rabbi's road rage has conversion revoked

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com July 7, 2009

The wrath of the rabbis seems to be chasing N., an Ethiopian immigrant who converted to Judaism in 2003.

In recent weeks N. received a letter from the State Conversion Authority, which operates under the aegis of the Chief Rabbinate, informing her that her conversion and Jewish status had been revoked.

…MK Molla did not rule out the possibility that there was a connection between the court battle against the young rabbi and the annulment of N.'s conversion.

"Perhaps someone in the Rabbinate is angry with N. and wants revenge," the MK said.

Ethiopian woman used conversion to bring non-Jewish husband to Israel

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com July 7, 2009

The State Conversion Authority revoked an Ethiopian woman's conversion to Judaism after discovering the woman used her new Jewish status to secure automatic citizenship for her non-Jewish husband, a senior Conversion Authority source said Tuesday.

New Law Would Prevent Cancellation of Conversions

www.israelnationalnews.com July 11, 2009

A government ministerial committee will discuss Sunday a proposal to prevent the Rabbinate from canceling conversions.

The law proposed by MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima) says that the ease with which rabbinical courts can dispute conversions "causes thousands of families to live their lives in fear that their and their children's Jewishness will be challenged because they are not observant enough."

New rules have Diaspora converts waiting on Israel

By Dina Kraft www.jta.org July 7, 2009

According to the new regulations -- they have not been approved officially but already are being employed, according to advocates who deal with converts -- converts to Judaism from the Diaspora must remain for at least nine months before and after their conversions in the community where they converted before they can immigrate to Israel.

The rules also mandate 350 hours of classes and hands-on practice for converts in the Diaspora (modeled on standards set in Israel for its official conversion institute) and bar any convert who has a non-Jewish relative living in Israel and anyone whose stay in Israel was previously deemed illegal for any period of time.

The rules, proposed by the previous interior minister, Meir Sheetrit, are awaiting approval by the attorney general’s office and are being reviewed by the Justice Ministry.

Despite the ultra-Orthodox

By Alexander Yakobson www.haaretz.com Opinion July 9, 2009

The strict ultra-Orthodox rabbis are winning the debate over conversion, or so it seems. But this is a pyrrhic victory.

The more the ultra-Orthodox take control of conversion, the more conversion becomes irrelevant.

People who find the religious door to the Jewish people closed will come in through the civil and secular door, over which the rabbis have no control: The door to integration into Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israeli society.

This door is not mentioned in any law but exists in Israel's social and cultural reality. This reality is stronger than the High Rabbinical Court.

Gafni bill stumbles in education panel hearing

By Abe Selig www.jpost.com July 13, 2009

Despite its passing in the Knesset over two weeks ago by a wide margin, the so-called Gafni bill - an initiative led by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) which would require local authorities to provide full funding for most haredi schools - was dealt a serious setback during a Knesset Education Committee hearing on Monday, in which supporters of the bill were forced to retreat from their previous demands.

Einat Hurvitz, the director for the legal and public department of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC):

"The haredi institutions are still not implementing the core curriculum [including math, science and English] that would sufficiently prepare their pupils to enter the workforce," Hurvitz said.
"And within the next two to three years, 30% of the country's pupils are expected to be enrolled in haredi institutions.”

Educator: Gafni's proposed law would do untold damage to education, equality

By Or Kashti and Zvi Zrahiya www.haaretz.com July 14, 2009

Dr. Aviad Hacohen, the dean of Sha'arei Mishpat College in Hod Hasharon and head of the legislative committee of the education advocacy organization Hakol Hinuch:

"This bill is inappropriate because it further erodes the status of public education, contrary to the dictates of the law and accepted policy in the State of Israel."

The bill "strikes a heavy, disproportionate blow to equality," he said, referring to the other recognized but non-public educational networks.

Rabbi Shai Piron, the head of Hakol Hinuch, said

"The intention of receiving 100 percent from the state without giving anything in return is unethical and unacceptable anywhere in the world. This is a complete dismantling of the public education system."

IDF excluding Haredi rabbis

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

The Military Rabbinate was forced to cancel the participation of several cadets in a training course for military rabbis that opened at the IDF's officers training base on Sunday, after the base's commander refused to accept to the course people who had not completed full military service.

This decision effectively disqualifies almost all ultra-Orthodox candidates from becoming army rabbis, most of whom postpone their enlistment in order to study Torah and end up doing minimal service.

'Opt for prison over hearing girls sing'

www.jpost.com July 7, 2009

Former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu has called on religious IDF soldiers to choose imprisonment over hearing a woman singing during military events and ceremonies, an Israeli paper revealed on Tuesday.

Rabbi did nothing wrong

By Hagai Segal www.ynetnews.com Opinion July 12, 2009

But even if we assume that [IDF Chief Rabbi Ronsky] spoke out against the enlistment of women, so what?

The IDF chief rabbi is a sort of advisor to the army chief on Jewish affairs, and as such it is his duty to make his opinion heard even if it is incommensurate with the IDF’s official position.

…As long as the rabbi does not call for the persecution of religious female soldiers, but rather, merely expresses a principled Jewish law-based reservation over their enlistment, he is faithfully doing his job.

Or in other words, the IDF chief rabbi is not a rabbi on behalf of anyone.

Girlfriends, the time has come

By Merav Michaeli www.haaretz.com Opinion July 7, 2009

"A priori, women should not serve in the army," said Israel Defense Forces Chief Military Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Avichai Rontzki two weeks ago, and he was right.

Yes, yes, he was right. I'd like to back him up and call on the military establishment not to recruit females into the IDF, but not for the same reasons.

It's clear why the chief rabbi doesn't want females serving in the army. He wants them obedient to rabbis' authority, modest and pure for marriage, serving their husbands in sanctity and purity, with no one else having already made use of them.

In this the chief rabbi joins many other rabbis in the dispute over the question: Who do the women serve, rabbis or commanders?

…Indeed, my female friends, the time has come. I thus join the chief rabbi's call to the state: Don't draft women into the IDF.

Desperately Seeking a Chief Rabbi

Rabbi Andrew Sacks www.jpost.com Opinion July 6, 2009

The writer is Director of the Masorti [Conservative] Movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel

…The haredim have threatened to boycott the Chief Rabbinate if a non-haredi is elected (the rules of who votes are very complicated). You know what? Who cares? Let them boycott!

One haredi member of the City Council, Shlomo Rosenstein, said "If there's a rabbi whose level or Halachic views do not correspond with the haredi demands, the spiritual leaders will call on the community to shun the Jerusalem rabbinate."

Shun away!

Haaretz probe finds most gov't reports are gathering dust

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com July 7, 2009

Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi of Shas has inherited a pressing, complex issue: the paucity of burial sites in Israel, particularly in the greater Tel Aviv area.

A State Comptroller's report released in May warned that, "It is expected that no burial plots will remain in Yarkon Cemetery within only a few months."

A long sequence of professional reports released since the 1990s warned of the impending crisis, though none were heeded.

Last week the government took its first step in addressing the matter, reinstating the Ministerial Committee on Burial Affairs, headed by Margi himself.

Conflicting schools of thought

By Peggy Cidor www.jpost.com July 9, 2009

The issue of declining enrollment in state secular education and, for that matter, in the state religious stream, is not new to Jerusalem and its residents. The situation is one of the most troubling consequences of the demographic changes experienced by the city.

Quite often, the closing of a secular educational institution is, in fact, the first sign that a neighborhood is becoming more religious and eventually haredi. That's the way it happened in Ramot, in Ma'alot Dafna, and now it is happening in Rehavia and Baka and Kiryat Hayovel.

New BA Program Combines Business with Torah

By Yehudah Lev Kay www.israelnationalnews.com July 14, 2009

The Lander Institute in Jerusalem has announced a new BA program which will combine religious studies with a degree in business management.

Called Neshama, Hebrew for “soul” and an acronym for “Management, Marketing, Finance, and a Religious Atmosphere”, the program will combine regular studies for a BA while also teaching students business ethics according to Jewish law.

Litvaks Assault Chabad Rabbi in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Yovel Synagogue

www.theyeshivaworld.com July 13, 2009

[Rav Mordechai Asher, the Rav of the Chabad Shul in the Kiryat Yovel area of Yerushalayim] explained to Ladaat.net that about 2.5 years ago, a number of people decided to attempt to take over the shul, resulting in an ongoing legal action.

The opponents he explained damaged locks and at one point, event chained doors closed to prevent anyone from davening in the shul.

He went on to explain that a beis din of rabbonim in the area suggested a compromise solution last week, but the solution is not acceptable to him and his followers. Others however decided to act, and security cameras captured them in the act, breaking into the shul on Friday, prompting the rav to file a complaint with police.

This apparently angered some, resulting in the attack on Sunday, during which four Avreichim dragged the rav into the shul, bound his hands, beat him and then rolled him down the stairs.

Litvaks Assault Chabad Rabbi

Hat Tip: http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/

Click here for VIDEO

In Beit Shemesh, residents struggle to counter violent religious coercion

By Dina Kraft www.jta.org July 12, 2009

One haredi rabbi who lives in the neighborhood and spoke to JTA on condition of anonymity said that most of his neighbors, like him, oppose the behavior of the violent haredim, but they are too intimidated to act against them.

“Most rabbis definitely do not accept what is going on,” he said. “But as for coming out in public, I believe they are afraid to because if they do so, they, too, would be attacked.”

…Residents were “shocked that for the first time anyone stood up to the” fundamentalists, said Rabbi Dov Lipman, a Modern Orthodox immigrant from Maryland who has been at the forefront of both confronting and mediating with the more extreme haredi sects in Beit Shemesh.

“As much as we are protecting ourselves, we are also freeing those who live in the community who are under siege.”

The haredim causing trouble are mostly transplants from Neturei Karta and Satmar haredi communities in Jerusalem who migrated to Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, like many suburbanites, in search of more affordable housing.

Rabbi Eliyahu warns of rabbis who 'kowtow to women'

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 8, 2009

Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu warned this week of the rising prominence of the liberal stream in religious Zionism and slammed rabbis who "kowtow to women."

He commented on a recent statement by the chief education officer, who said religious soldiers must stay put during such ceremonies, despite the halachic problem.

"A person cannot be forced to go against the Torah. Today it's singing, tomorrow it's singing plus half naked women… a breach in such a question is like fire – you don't know where it's going to end."

J'lem fears Haredi win in housing tender will turn Kiryat Yovel ultra-Orthodox

By Yair Ettinger and Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com July 10, 2009

A group of ultra-Orthodox buyers is expected to win the tender issued by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for 64 apartments in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, municipal officials said yesterday.

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox families have moved to the largely secular neighborhood in recent years, and the secular residents fear an ultra-Orthodox take over if the university's apartments are also purchased by ultra-Orthodox families.

30% of Haredi teens - 'hidden dropouts'

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com July 11, 2009

More than 30 percent of junior high and high school-aged haredi youths are "hidden dropouts" who are technically registered in an educational framework but are dysfunctional students, according to a Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) - ASHELIM estimate released this week.

Dr. Uzi Rebhun and Gilad Malach pointed out in the their study that even students who succeed in the haredi school system are unprepared to entire the labor market, are discouraged from doing mandatory army service and are not educated to respect Zionist ideals.

If a large percentage of haredi students are also dysfunctional this complicates the problem of integrating this rapidly growing population into
mainstream Israeli society.

Most Haredim believe riots hurt Shabbat

www.ynetnews.com July 9 ,2009

A majority of the Israeli Jewish public believes that the protests surrounding the Carta parking lot in Jerusalem spur hatred and conflict between the sectors and do not promote Shabbat observing.

A breakdown of the respondents according to religious affiliation revealed that in all sectors the riots were perceived as a dividing factor: 71% of seculars, 53% of traditional Israelis, 52% of haredim and 42% of religious Jews viewed them as such.

Only 30% of haredim said the demonstrations helped protect the Shabbat, while 18% of them said these constitute Shabbat desecration.

Rioting Haredim try to block Carta lot

Thousands of Charedi Children Attend Prayer Protest against 'Chilul Shabbas'

Jerusalem: Thousands of Haredi kids march for Shabbat

Thousands turn out near Mea She'arim for peaceful prayer vigil

US Rabbi: Haredim should slam violence

By Etgar Lefkovits www.jpost.com July 8, 2009

This type of violence is against everything that the Torah stands for and is an ugly perversion of Torah values," Rabbi Yakov Horowitz told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, in a telephone interview from New York.

Horowitz said that by not speaking out publicly against the violence, even though they oppose it, haredi leaders are empowering extremists in the community.

"Our lack of speaking out and distancing ourselves is perpetuating this distorted view that this type of violence is somehow following the Torah's ways," he said. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

Re: The Jerusalem Post Column

By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz www.rabbihorowitz.com July 7, 2009

To sum up, I certainly stand by everything I wrote in the three columns I released and what I said in the interview that I gave on the Zev Brenner show.

However, the theme of the Jerusalem Post column that I criticized rabbinic leadership is a distortion of what I feel – and said.

Amid swine flu fears, Hassidic rabbi ditches communal cups

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com July 10, 2009

The swine flu scare has recently prompted one of the leading spiritual figures of the ultra-Orthodox world to change one of Judaism's time-honored traditions - that of drinking wine together from the same glass.

Yaakov Aryeh Alter, seventh and current rabbi of the Hasidic dynasty of Ger, instructed his disciples in Jerusalem a few weeks ago to toast with individual and disposable plastic cups containing a few drops of wine from the rabbi's own glass.

A Haredi rapprochement with Israel?

By Jonathan Rosenblum www.jpost.com Opinion July 11, 2009

The reasons for the change are many. One is the waning of Zionist ideology…The demise of Zionist ideologues is mirrored by the decline of anti-Zionist ideology.

…And finally, Israel is the center of an undreamed-of renaissance in Torah learning after the Holocaust. Government support has played a not-inconsiderable role in that rebirth.

Photos: Prayer Protest against Parking Lot Opening On Shabbos

www.theyeshivaworld.com July 12, 2009 Credits: Refael Ovadia/Topshot Images

Photos taken last week, when over a thousand people and children attended a prayer gathering in protest of the Shabbat desecration invoked by the opening of the Karta parking lot on Shabbos.

The event was organized by the Eidah HaCharedis and a police permit was granted for the event.

Enemies at the gate

By Peggy Cidor www.jpost.com July 9, 2009

...[Mayor Barkat's] adviser is a fine young man, known and appreciated by his haredi peers and by secular figures in the media. Until recently, a bright future was predicted for him by all.

Until, that is, the Kikar Safra parking-lot issue erupted and dimmed Uri Kroizer's prospects.

Whatever the reasons were that compelled him to act the way he did - naiveté or lack of deep understanding of the society he grew up in - the results, so far, are rather gloomy.

Last week Kroizer (and his family) were accused of desecrating Shabbat, causing blasphemy and, perhaps the worst accusation of all, having become a collaborator with evil forces.

Shulchan Aruch – Three Ring Binder Edition

By Dovid Landesman www.cross-currents.com Opinion July 12, 2009

Rabbi Landesman is a veteran mechanech and mechaber sefarim in Israel

…Or take the stone throwers and garbage burners of Jerusalem.

You can dismiss them as a fringe element, but I fear that they are a growing gang of young men who have discovered that force is an effective means of acquiring one’s ends.

Can any of us be sure that the violence that they employ against the police will not translate itself into violence within their families and communities?

Is it possible that the apparent increase in reports of abuse within the UO [ultra-Orthodox] community are the result of the increased levels of violence that this community uses to accomplish their goals?

Is there not a co-relation between the Va’adei ha-Tznist and the tactics that they use and the ever increasing numbers of kids who are off the derech inside these communities?

Haredi parties push to allow building over Green Line

By Mathew Wagner www.jpost.com July 13, 2009

There is now a shortage of between 25,000 to 30,000 housing units for the haredi population, United Torah Judaism Chairman Menachem Eliezer Moses said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post last week.

…Without a coherent government housing plan, construction rates will never keep up with haredi fertility rates, said Moses.

Rabbis to build haredi housing project in Jerusalem

By Dotan Levi, Calcalist www.ynetnews.com July 10, 2009

Anglo Saxon Realty Company holding talks to market key money housing to ultra-Orthodox population in capital's Bukharin Quarter; project to include 25 four-room apartments

The price of a similar apartment in the Bukharin Quarter could reach $400,000, while the price offered to haredi couples will stand at $210,000.

Religion and State in Israel

July 13, 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.

Religion and State in Israel - July 13, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 13, 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.

Orthodox women may be ordained in Israel

By Elana Sztokman http://blog.elanasztokman.com July 14, 2009

The rabbinic ordination of women – smicha – is one of the simplest items on the religious agenda today, according to Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun of Herzog College.

Speaking at the Sixth Annual Conference of Kolech in Jerusalem this week, Bin Nun argued that there is no problem whatsoever with women getting smicha, and that in fact, quite a few women have served as rabbis in Jewish history.

“The Orthodox community faces some serious halakhic challenges today, such as how to free agunot (chained wives) or how to fix the conversion crisis in the religious courts, in which religious judges are absurdly granting themselves the right to annul conversions,” Ben Nun argued.

“These are complex issues that demand a lot of attention and study. But women rabbis? That’s not a complex issue. That’s easy. Of course they can and should be rabbis. There is no issue”

Rabbi: Women can revive Jewish law

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 13, 2009

"The introduction of women into the field of halachic rulings could lead to renewed thinking in many areas and to a revival, expansion and rejuvenation of the world of Halacha," Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, head of the Maale Gilboa yeshiva and a Religious Kibbutz Movement rabbi said Monday.

He was speaking at the Kolech – Religious Women's Voice Sixth Annual Conference.

Justice Dorner: Broadening rabbinical courts' authorities detrimental

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 14, 2009

Retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner criticized Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman's suggestion to broaden the jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts, warning the religious courts "would persecute woman to death."

Dorner urged religious women to unite politically in order to thwart the move, warning that otherwise "all will be lost for you. There will be no hope."

Rabbinate refuses to marry couple over adoption suspicion

By Nissan Shtracuhler www.ynetnews.com July 7, 2009

"You are adopted and therefore your Jewishness cannot be verified," a rabbi at the Chief Rabbinate told Roman, who denies being adopted and says he has produced all the documents required by the Rabbinate to receive a wedding permit.

As a result of the rabbi's decision, Sharon and Roman's wedding was cancelled. One of the rabbis explained to Roman that his Jewishness was in doubt, and that in his opinion Sharon is Jewish, while he is not. "This was too much. It's clear to me I'm not adopted," he stated.

The distraught couple has meanwhile decided to get married in Prague in a civil wedding.

Rabbi offers unorthodox solution to marriage debate

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com July 8, 2009

A national-religious rabbi frustrated with the impasse in talks on easing Israeli marriage procedures is advocating an unorthodox solution: competition.

Rabbi David Stav proposed Tuesday that couples be allowed to register to get married at any Chief Rabbinate office they please, as opposed to being required to sign up at their municipal branch.

Breaking the chains

By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com July 14, 2009

Interview with Susan Weiss, founding director of the nonprofit Center for Women's Justice

"The goal of our center is to figure out how to unlock the secret of modernizing a patriarchal system," says Weiss.

As for her ideal situation, Weiss says:

"I would love to see complete freedom of religion, with people here having the choice to be whatever type of Jew they want to be. It might be a little fragmented, but at least there would be freedom from coercion.

We need to move closer to the system that exists in the rest of the world, which even though is not perfect, is much better than what we have here."

Dangerous religious radicalization

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com July 9, 2009

...[In] recent months, these reexaminations have led to the revocation of dozens of conversions, all of women, many of whom had married and had children after converting.

Now their children, too, are no longer registered as Jews, and their citizenship may even be revoked - not to mention the difficulties they will have getting married in the future.

Parents request for 16 year-old to marry

By Hillel Fendel www.israelnationalnews.com July 8, 2009

The parents explained their request:

“The girl wishes to establish a Jewish and kosher home, and as we are religious, it is desirable from a Halakhic standpoint to marry and not to push it off for no reason. The girl is more mature than others her age; she skipped a class in school and has even begun studying in a college… Financial backing exists, and both sets of parents agree.”

The judge turned down the request, noting that the request is based on the families’ religiosity, their desire for a wedding backed by the parents, and their fear of violating Halakhic prohibitions against pre-marital male-female contact.

Rabbi Eliyahu said, “It could be that the best approach would be for the judge to be religious himself, giving him the extra sensitivity to the community and their members' sensibilities that is needed to make the most appropriate ruling.”

Ariel Picard on ‘unorthodox’ marriage in Israel

http://hartmaninstitute.wordpress.com July 8, 2009

Haaretz reports on a conference on Judaism at Israel’s far north Kfar Blum, in which Shalom Hartman Institute scholar Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard, director of the Institute’s Be’eri program of Judaic studies for secular Israeli high schools, offered an innovative way to break the deadlock for those Israelis who cannot marry under current rabbinical law and standards:

"Picard proposed having marriages be carried out according to traditions associated with Noah in halakhic texts. Such partnerships, he says, would offer an alternative to partners who aren’t recognized as Jews."

Masorti necessary in Israel

By Rabbi Michael Graetz www.ynetnews.com Opinion July 12, 2009

Rabbi Michael Graetz, Rabbi Emeritus in the Masorti congregation 'Magen Avraham' in Omer, is one of the Founders of the Masorti Movement in Israel, its first director and past president of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel.

I am profoundly sad at the degeneration of the "religious establishment." If the old saying about power corrupting is true, and I think there is a lot of truth in it, then we see its application to the "power establishment" of religious Jewry in Israel.

Instead of having a vision of Jewish renewal, there is a definite tendency to keep the "old boys network" alive and well fed.

…We should publicly call on the Government of Israel to convene an international conference of all streams of Judaism, including the "hiloni" or secular, to reach agreed upon rules and procedures for conversion…

The Role of Religion in the Public Space in Israel and America

http://www.hartmaninstitute.com/ June 30, 2009

Annual Robert P. Kogod Lecture at Shalom Hartman Institute

Speakers: William Galston, Ruth Gavison: Role of Religion in the Public Space, Israeli and American Perspectives.

Click here for VIDEO

U.S. rabbi envisions pluralistic utopia in planned Negev town

By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com July 10, 2009

Rabbi Lopatin added he would also reach out to non-Orthodox streams and even non-believers.

"As long as people are committed to Judaism and Israel - let's open it up," he said. Yet, as an advocate of the strict separation of church and state, he said his community would not try to be accepted by the Israeli rabbinate.

"Whatever they want to do is their own business," he told Anglo File. "We'll be different; we'll be a marketplace of ideas."
He said he is not deterred by the fact that in Israel the rabbinate regulates weddings and other life-cycle events. "There are lots of ways of getting around that. I have friends who got married outside the system and they say they're fine."

He added: "We will reach out to the local rabbinic establishment in friendship. We don't want to push anyone away, but we won't be dependent or let trying to be part of that system get in the way of being as inclusive as we can be."

Israel Navy mashgichim must be combat ready too

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com July 12, 2009

Israel Navy officials reported in the IDF’s weekly BaMachaneh magazine that mashgichim operating on naval vessels will be combat certified, quite a change from the usual image of a kashrus professional.

Metzger to Abdullah: Allow Jewish ritual

www.jpost.com July 14, 2009

Israel's Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger sent a letter to Jordan's King Abdullah earlier this week, asking the monarch to personally ensure that Israeli tourists entering the kingdom be allowed to carry religious artifacts, Metzger's office said in a statement Tuesday.

Israel rabbi proposes 'virtual' kashrut supervision - via video cameras

By Yanir Yagna www.haaretz.com July 9, 2009

The extended hours at Be'er Sheva bars and restaurants have brought the proprietors an additional expense: paying kashrut supervisors.

So the city's chief rabbi, Yehuda Deri, proposed a solution: placing cameras in restaurant kitchens in order to send video feeds straight to the supervisors of Jewish dietary law.

Deri, the brother of former Shas leader Aryeh Deri, believes the idea will save businesses money while improving kashrut supervision.

Tzohar rabbis begin charging for services

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

A group of modern Orthodox rabbis that has earned the esteem of secular Israelis by offering free religious services such as weddings, counseling and High Holy Day prayers, is now being forced to start charging to fight financial demise.

Though not directly affected by the Bernard Madoff scandal, the Tzohar Rabbis, a group of about 600 religious Zionist, moderate-minded spiritual leaders, has seen nearly one-third of its NIS 6 million budget cut this year alone.

Why our kids are abandoning religion

By Rachel Yurovitz www.ynetnews.com Opinion July 7, 2009

Rachel Yurovitz is a member of the Realistic Religious Zionism movement.

Those in charge of the religious education system should address this problem and find a solution for this phenomenon within the schools.

They should provide real Torah education – one that not only says the Torah has 70 faces, but only accepts the face it sees in the mirror, but education that embraces the other 69 faces as well.

'Want to get married? Plan on having 12 kids'

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 10, 2009

Have at least 12 children, do not use birth control, and continue having children after 40.

This is the formula for overcoming sterility and long-term bachelorhood in the Religious Zionism movement put forth by renowned Rabbi David Batzri.

Chief Rabbi Metzger Opposes Israel Lands Administration Reforms

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com July 12, 2009

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Shlita has released a halachic ruling opposing planned reforms that will impact the Israel Lands Administration, fearing the suggested reforms will facilitate the process by which Arabs may buy areas of Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Dov Lior: Phones may be used on Shabbat to stop IDF evacuations

By Elan Miller www.jpost.com July 14, 2009

Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior has given permission to the residents of West Bank settlements to use their phones on Shabbat to report "suspicious IDF movements," according to settlement activists.

Is Sharansky Double-Dipping?

http://ejewishphilanthropy.com July 13, 2009

The Shalem Center Responds

“Natan Sharansky submitted his letter of resignation as the head of the Shalem Center’s Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies on June 30, 2009, after a week-long transition period in which he wrapped up his responsibilities as head of that Institute - a position he held since the Institute’s founding in late 2006.

Mr. Sharansky’s resignation went into effect the following day, and he officially joined the Jewish Agency as its head on July 1, so there was no overlap between his being employed by these two institutions.”

An Agency for the Jewish people

By Yehezkel Dror www.haaretz.com Opinion July 12, 2009

Only a complete revamping of the Jewish Agency into a "Jewish People Agency" can prepare it for its real 21st-century challenges. No partial reforms can meet the needs and prevent further decline. This is the critical task awaiting the Agency's new chairperson.

A Divorce in the Birthright Family

By Sharon Udasin www.thejewishweek.com July 8, 2009

“Momo” Lifshitz is a legendary figure among Birthright Israel participants, a larger-than-life symbol of the free 10-day trip that more than 200,000 diaspora Jews have used to jumpstart their Jewish identities.

…But Lifshitz’s “message” — alumni say he routinely pushes aliyah, pressures participants to date only Jews and stresses that they should “make Jewish babies” — has drawn criticism over the years.

Solomon urges behavioral changes in Jewish community

By Haviv Rettig Gur www.jpost.com July 9, 2009

Nearly all philanthropic giving to Israeli non-profits - between 88 and 92 percent, according to Solomon - "is imported," mostly from the United States.

"That's a huge risk" for a sector on which tens of thousands of Israelis increasingly depend.

Israelis have a role in closing that gap, according to Solomon. "Clearly, Israeli philanthropy has not grown at the same rate as the Israeli economy during the 1990's and the early part of this decade."

Jewish Tzedaka after Madoff

http://wejew.com July 9, 2009

Click here for VIDEO

Jeffrey Solomon, president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies and a former senior vice president of the New York Jewish federation.

Two new deans chosen for Schechter Rabbinical Seminary

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

The Conservative Movement chose two new deans - a man and a woman - for Israel's Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, Schechter announced Sunday.

At its June meeting in Jerusalem, the International Board of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary elected Rabbi Moshe Silberschein to serve as dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary and Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum to serve as associate dean.

Absorption Ministry woos Maccabiah athletes

By Yael Branovsky www.ynetnews.com July 13 ,2009

The Immigrant Absorption Ministry will try to persuade as many Maccabiah Games athletes arriving in Israel as possible to stay in the country and make it their home after the event ends.

Planeload of Latin American olim arrives for first time since 2000

By Daniela Feldman www.jpost.com July 12, 2009

An entire planeload of 150 immigrants from five South American countries will arrive on Thursday, evidence of the 15-20 percent increase in aliya from the region over past year.

"This is the first time that such a big group is coming together on aliya," said Silvina Sofna, the Jewish Agency's Latin American aliya director. The olim are from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, most aged 25-30, she said.

ORT America and ORT Israel Resolve Dispute in U.S. Court

http://ejewishphilanthropy.com July 13, 2009

Pursuant to the settlement, ORT Israel has dropped its action to cancel ORT America’s trademark registration of “ORT” in the U.S. and has agreed not to use the ORT mark for fundraising in the United States.

The parties have also agreed to clarify that contributions to ORT America are not being used to support ORT Israel, its schools and colleges or educational activities in Israel. ORT America intends to pursue its own programs in Israel and other countries.

No Longer in Exile: Overhaul of Diaspora Museum Reflects a New Zionist Narrative

By Nathan Jeffay http://forward.com July 8, 2009

It is not only the Israel-centric mindset that will be challenged in the new displays. Women and Sephardim, who were given short shrift in the old displays, will be given more prominence in the new designs — as will non-Orthodox religious movements.

Interior Ministry set to open gates for 8,700 more Falashmura

By Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com July 14, 2009

Two Interior Ministry delegates will leave for Ethiopia in the coming days to examine whether 3,000 Falashmura at a transit camp in the city of Gondar are eligible to immigrate to Israel, Haaretz has learned.

Sources close to Interior Minister Eli Yishai believe that all 8,700 Falashmura there will be examined eventually.

The decision signals a sharp reversal of policy from the previous government, which sought to end aliyah from Ethiopia.

What countermissionaries believe

By Penina Taylor www.jpost.com Opinion July 6, 2009

We are asking the Christian to exercise true friendship. The message we are sending to our Christian friends is this:

The Jewish people who live here would like to make a request of you. Please don't proselytize while you are here. If you are truly our friends, you won't.

Why? Because friends are friends with no strings attached. We understand that your faith and belief system compels you to share what you believe with all who do not, regardless of their own personal faith or lack thereof.

Pies for Jesus?

By Matt Beynon Rees www.globalpost.com July 12, 2009

The case looks set to provoke a battle between the more secular organs of the government and the state rabbinate.

It’s also a new point of conflict in the long battle between Israel — particularly its ultra-Orthodox community — and the Christian faith.

Religion and State in Israel

July 13, 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.