Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
By Aviad Glickman www.ynetnews.com February 2, 2010
The Attorney General's Office filed its High Court rebuttal on the matter of conversion annulment Monday, stating that the rabbinical courts' decision to retroactively annul conversions should be made null and void.
The State alleges that "fundamental faults" can be found in the regional rabbinical courts' ruling, as well as in the Great Rabbinical Court's decision to deny several appeals on the conversions' annulment.
The State's brief named lack of due process as one of the main reasons the decision must be overturned.
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com February 2, 2010
Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar signed over the weekend new measures stipulating that rabbinical courts will no longer deliberate misgivings regarding the validity of conversions, and instead will transfer such files to a special panel chosen by the rabbi himself, Ynet learned.
As part of his role as chief rabbi, Rabbi Amar serves as president of the Great Rabbinical Court and as the supreme rabbinical authority on the State conversion layout.
The new measures are the fruit of a joint initiative between the rabbi and the Justice Ministry in preparation for the High Court hearing on the petition against rabbinical judge Avraham Sherman's conversion nullifications.
By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion www.ynetnews.com February 4, 2010
Rivkah Lubitch works at the Center for Women's Justice
If you converted to Judaism and also got divorced, check the divorce documents that you received from the rabbinic courts.
If it says 'the son of our forefather Abraham'? You're not in bad shape.
If it says 'convert'? You're on your way to a repealed conversion.
Rivkah Lubitch studied the opinion paper submitted by the Rabbinic Court to the High Court of Justice and discloses how converts are being marked.
By Nathan Jeffay www.forward.com February 3, 2010
In Tel Aviv, where she works, Alina Serjukov is Jewish. In Ashkelon, where she lives, she’s considered a gentile.
Alina discovered her strange predicament in the run-up to her January 14 wedding, when she and her husband attempted to register their upcoming marriage with the local rabbinate.
But the official rabbi in Ashkelon refused to accept that she is Jewish, even though a regional rabbinic court, part of a network of such courts headed by Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, had written to confirm that she had a valid conversion to Judaism and should be considered Jewish.
Her husband, Maxim Serjukov, called the situation “ridiculous.”
“My wife is Jewish in every place except for in Ashkelon — in the army, in the Chief Rabbinate and in the rest of Israel, just not in Ashkelon,” he told the Forward.
By Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet Opinion www.thejc.com February 4, 2010
The writer is rabbi of Mill Hill United Synagogue.
I believe it imperative for the Jewish world to desist engaging in conversions altogether for the foreseeable future (except perhaps in special circumstances such as adoptions).
…Conversion is the single biggest issue ripping at the fabric of Jewish society. If we persist in our current trend, we will self-destruct.
Even if the whole Jewish world will not accept a change in approach, at the very least I call on my Orthodox colleagues, in the absence of all conversion authorities pulling together, to consider it.
By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com February 1, 2010
Regarding giyur [conversion], they discussed the alarming situation of goyim who possess a teudah, a state recognized certificate of conversion while never undertaking to keep Torah and mitzvos.
The rabbonim insisted such a certificate may never be recognized. They added some of these so-called giyurim openly admit they believe in Yeshu.
By: Tzivia Traube www.kolhamevaser.com Kol Hamevaser Volume III, Issue 4 February 1, 2010
Tzivia Traube is a senior at SCW majoring in English Literature.
Kol Hamevaser is The Jewish Thought Magazine of the Yeshiva University Student Body
It is strange to think that a democratic, westernized country in the twenty-first century lacks civil marriage and coerces the secular majority to comply with religious traditions. Although Israel is a Jewish state, it is not a religious state.
By Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com February 3, 2010
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided yesterday to postpone discussion for two weeks on a controversial bill to expand the rabbinical courts' power to handle civil cases.
The postponement stemmed from disagreements among the coalition's various factions, according to sources involved in the committee's work. Specifically, ministers from both Labor and Yisrael Beiteinu said they would not support the bill.
By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com February 1, 2010
Calls by MK Moshe Gafni (Yahadut HaTorah) to expand the authority of the nation’s rabbinical courts have resulted in sharp criticism from many who oppose the move, including the Rackman Center – The Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of Women’s Status, affiliated with Bar Ilan University’s Faculty of Law.
The center’s leaders fear that such a move would lead to “further trampling the rights of women” in the rabbinical courts, and therefore, such a move must be avoided.
Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, the director-general of the nation’s rabbinical courts joined MK (Labor) Prof, Yuli Tamir on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) Monday morning, speaking with host Razi Barkai. [See article for transcript]
By Aluf Benn www.haaretz.com February 3, 2010
Lapid is marketing himself as a representative of the authentic Israeli: He respects the Bible and combat soldiers, opposes religious coercion and loves Hebrew songs.
He appeals to the nonreligious who pretend they want change but are really clinging to the Israel of old, before Shas appeared on the scene.
…Mani Mazuz's intentions are not clear, but like Lapid, he talks like a political wannabe. In an interview with Ari Shavit, the former attorney general surprised us with a call for same-sex marriages in Israel - which puts him squarely on Lapid's side, "the secular rabbi," and against the religious parties.
By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion www.jpost.com February2, 2010
Rabbi Sacks is Director of the Masorti [Conservative] Movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel
We have so very much in which we can take pride here in Israel. But one dark spot is our failure to actualize the message of Pesach.
As observant Jews, we in the Masorti Movement see the ethical commandments as no less important than the ritual Mitzvot.
…I call upon the political parties in the Knesset to address the so-called "Matzah law." I too would like to see Hametz removed from the stores on Pesach. But I want this done not by the enactment of still more legislation forcing observance. I want this to come through education.
By Esther Kustanowitz http://blog.beliefnet.com February 4, 2010
By Yoni Kempinski www.israelnationalnews.com February 1, 2010
The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem hosted an international conference January 30 through February 1, called: Living the Lunar Calendar: Time, Text and Tradition.
Leading international scholars presented three days of lectures, sessions and events, including a fully-guided tour to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden for centuries.
Includes a VIDEO interview with Prof. Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University.
By Elan Miller www.jpost.com February 5, 2010
Once a month, nearly 200 lone soldiers eat Friday night dinner at the Great Synagogue.
Schapiro is at pains to point out that, “Although we are a traditional synagogue run in accordance with Halacha, we ask no questions of the soldiers. They come, and we provide. There is no coercion, no attempt to impress any particular approach – we absolutely respect our guests.”
By Yair Sheleg www.idi.org.il February 1, 2010
Yair Sheleg is a Senior Researcher at IDI and a regular Op-Ed contributor to the Israeli daily Haaretz.
It would be advisable to try to reach as broad an agreement as possible on as many issues as possible - a social treaty of sorts in which reciprocal concessions would be made simultaneously, enabling each side to accept more readily the possibility of compromise.
A sector that is still prepared to make concessions of this kind should not be allowed to capitulate to hardliners who object to any and all accommodations.
The willing parties must shape their own agreements and enact them in binding form, acting on the assumption that although the ideological extremes will disagree and cast aspersions, nonetheless - in their heart of hearts - many of them will be glad that someone has come along to take the chestnuts out of the fire.
By Rabbi Donniel Hartman Opinion www.hartman.org.il February 2, 2010
In Israel, however, the vast majority of Jews have rejected the notion of separation of state and religion.
As a Jewish state, we have chosen that the Jewish religion should have a dominant role and place within the culture, language, and policy of the State.
When we came home to Israel we came to a place where we did not need the separation of state and religion in order to grant us legitimacy and basic rights.
…the fact that we haven’t developed a way to balance our desire that Judaism be a part of the public life and domain, and at the same time enable religious difference, is an oht kayin (the Mark of Cain - a stigma or disgrace).
That which was so essential in defining Israel as a Jewish home is now itself undermining the sense of home.
By Abe Selig www.jpost.com February 3, 2010
While haredi protests over the Shabbat operation of Jerusalem’s Karta parking lot and Intel factory have ebbed, a new front in the so-called “Shabbat wars” may be opening up, and this time it appears to be coming from the capital’s secular residents.
An online petition launched last Friday calls on Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to open the Jerusalem Theater – a long-cherished municipal establishment – on the Jewish day of rest, and in five short days, it has already garnered more than 3,400 signatures.
By Nir Hasson and Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com February 4, 2010
"The supply of culture in Jerusalem on Friday and Saturday is very limited. There is no reason that this institution is not open, movie theaters operate in Jerusalem," said Bigelman.
"The theater may be a municipal institution but Teddy Stadium is such an institution and is open on Saturdays. The theater is also not near ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods."
By Hilary Leila Krieger www.jpost.com February 4, 2010
Minister of [Diaspora Affairs] Yuli Edelstein received an earful from American Jewish leaders concerned about how Israel is treating non-Orthodox Jews during a trip this week to the US.
By Nathan Guttman www.forward.com February 3, 2010
According to Edelstein, the frustration of the Jewish community over rights of Conservative and Reform Jews in Israel has created a potential disconnect between the community and Israel and could dampen relations in the long run.
By Ron Kampeas www.jta.org February 4, 2010
One of the topics that arose in New York, Philadelphia and Washington was the topic of the recent events in Israel, Jewish pluralism, if you will, including Women at the Wall and the buses (the segregated buses for the fervently Orthodox) and other topics.
By Natasha Mozgovaya www.haaretz.com February 4, 2010
The Israeli minister also said that as far as he was concerted the issue didn't end with recognizing of the Reform and Conservative movements, adding that "an official recognition, some signed document, isn't going to automatically make problems like those that arose with "Women of the Wall" go away. There are issues to be dealt with beyond this or that legislation."
By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com February 5, 2010
The Jewish Agency canceled a board meeting planned for St. Petersburg, Russia, later this month, after Moscow yesterday told the Israeli embassy that it would not allow it to take place.
Agency sources attributed the diplomatic row to the presence on the board of businessman Leonid Nevzlin, who is a political enemy of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
http://ejewishphilanthropy.com February 3, 2010
The Jewish Agency had planned to hold their February Board of Governors Meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. Apparently the Russian government was not in agreement. Here’s the letter that just went out to those attending.
http://ejewishphilanthropy.com February 3, 2010
By Eli Bardenstein Maariv [translation]
Jewish oligarchs, most of whom had refused up till now to work with the Jewish Agency, are expected to take part for the first time in a public event identifying with Israel, Zionism and aliyah.
This will take place in three weeks in St. Petersburg. The person who succeeded in bringing the oligarchs together with the divided Jewish community of Russia and the Ukraine was the Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky.
By Dan Brown http://ejewishphilanthropy.com February 4, 2010
This is mostly political – the global kind. It’s about philanthropist and Jewish Agency Board member Leonid Nevzlin and the fact the Russian government considers him a fugitive. It’s about Sharansky, quite properly, not being able to assure the powers that be in Russia that Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment would not be discussed in the public dialogue.
But this is also a serious management failure by the Jewish Agency. It is clear they did not obtain the necessary permissions for this meeting. Whether through bungling, chutzpah, internal politics or just plain ego they announced this historic event without all their ducks in order.
By Rabbi Natan Grossman http://matzav.com Yated Ne’eman-Israel February 1, 2010
The widespread controversy following Shas’ decision to join the World Zionist Organization reflects the astonishment at efforts to legitimize cooperation of the chareidi community with the secular nationalist establishment.
The underlying worldview of chareidi Jews is that there can be no coming to terms with heresy. The shock with which the recent move of Shas was received points to the trepidation truly G-d-fearing Jews feel toward any undermining of the foundations of our beliefs.
By Yechiel Sever http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com February 4, 2010
Rabbonim who head cities and congregations in Eretz Yisroel and abroad have been voicing disappointment and protest against the great chilul Hashem that has resulted from the Shas Party's decision to join the World Zionist Organization, noting the exultant response among Reform and Conservative figures to what they call Shas' "historical precedent."
By M Shotland Opinion http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com January 4, 2010
As Rabbi Gafni said, we have no intention of ceasing, even for a minute, our battle against the militant secularists.
We will never recognize the Reform as a legitimate Jewish group, no matter what. We will also protest and criticize anyone else who weakens the chareidi position, and these critical principles.
By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com February 2, 2010
Former Young Judaea Year Course director Keith Berman, who announced his resignation from the organization last month, has launched a new “year in Israel program” for teens Monday aimed at stirring up competition for long-term programs here and making such experiences more affordable to young Diaspora Jews.
By Benji Lovitt www.whatwarzone.com February 2, 2010
Some questions: Is competition, choice, and change a good thing or are consumers now choosing between two of the same product?
If Aardvark Israel "only" brings young people to Israel but does so in potentially large numbers, does it matter or mean any less that it lacks the backing and framework of Hadassah, Young Judaea, or another established parent organization?
Is it more important to "save" Young Judaea or to develop new and alternative Israel program options? Is it one or the other? Is there a conflict of interest here?
By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com February 5, 2010
The incoming director of Young Judaea's Year Course expressed "outrage" over learning his predecessor launched a rival gap year program merely one day after officially leaving the organization.
Young Judaea's Israel director, Dan Krakow, said everyone at his organization was "totally taken by surprise" by Aardvark's sudden launch.
While he emphasized Young Judaea "feels in no way threatened, harmed or disturbed," he added it would have been "inappropriate" if staff had indeed created a competing program while working for Young Judaea and using its resources.
By Cnaan Liphshiz www.haaretz.com February 5, 2010
Israel's state-funded Hebrew enrichment system for new immigrants may be reformed, following the recent release of a critical report which speaks of deep dissatisfaction with the system among students.
By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com February 3, 2010
The Immigrant Absorption Ministry is looking to overhaul Hebrew language instruction program for new immigrants, following the publication last month of a report that shows the current system has failed most of those arriving in the country, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
By Gil Hoffman January 27, 2010
The leaders of the Jewish community in South Africa wrote Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a desperate letter this week, pleading with him to prevent the cancellation of El Al Israel’s Tel Aviv-Johannesburg route, the only direct flight between Israel and South Africa.
By Zohar Blumenkrantz www.haaretz.com February 2, 2010
Due to a spat with El Al over its prices, the Jewish Agency has taken to flying new immigrants from South Africa to Israel via Ethiopian Airlines, with a stop in Addis Ababa.
El Al has direct flights between Tel Aviv and South Africa and will continue to do so three times a week, even though it was supposed to stop as of yesterday.
By Melissa Zalkin Stollman http://jpeoplehood.com/ February 2010
To make the notion of Jewish Peoplehood compelling and meaningful to the life of the congregation and its members.
To integrate a sense of Am Yisrael into the synagogue curriculum of each stage of Jewish learning in congregations, from pre-school, through religious school and into adult education.
To provide congregational leaders who are committed to the Jewish people resources for thinking about Jewish peoplehood in creative ways.
To generate models for Jewish peoplehood education that serve as an inspirational vision for congregants.
To build a cadre of trained and passionate congregational leaders committed to ensuring a common destiny for the Jewish people.
To chronicle, analyze and evaluate Jewish peoplehood research and resources in a free and accessible platform.
By Elaine Durbach http://njjewishnews.com February 3, 2010
The Jewish Agency for Israel has been engaged primarily in reaching out to Diaspora Jews, but now it is also seeking to connect with Israelis living abroad by way of the Internet, and the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey is joining that effort.
www.jpost.com February 2, 2010
“Following consultations and lengthy consideration by Guma Aguiar and his family, I was asked to work to stop professional and financial proceedings regarding Guma Aguiar’s future ownership of the Betar Jerusalem Football Club and Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.
This means Guma Aguiar will not be the owner, or the sponsor, of either Betar or Hapoel Jerusalem starting next season,” Aguiar’s lawyer, Eitan Gabai, said in a press statement Tuesday evening.
By Moshe Boker and Vered Cohen www.haaretz.com February 4, 2010
Yesterday's announcement by Guma Aguiar's attorney, Eitan Gabay, that the billionaire energy industrialist would be withdrawing his patronage from the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club and the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball club came as no surprise to the clubs' respective managements.
By Nicole Neroulias www.religionnews.com February 2, 2010
The Williamses, now settled in Washington, D.C., represent a growing number of newlyweds who found love with fellow travelers or people they met through Taglit-Birthright Israel, a free program that has sent some 215,000 18- to 26-year-olds to Israel from around the world.
Click here for Digital version February 2010
http://finchannel.com February 3, 2010
A course in the history of Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union has been introduced in Israeli high schools, a spokesperson for the education ministry said on February 3.
The new course coincides with the 20th anniversary of the "Great Aliyah," the name for the 1-million-strong wave of Soviet Jews who moved to Israel during the disintegration of the world's first socialist state.
By Dan Ernst Ewha Woman’s University
Israel Law Review, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 564-603, 2010
January 31, 2010
The Article argues for a new assessment of the significance of Israel’s Law of Return - that the Law of Return reflects not the sovereign prerogative of a state to control immigration, but the right of every Jew to settle in the Land of Israel.
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
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