Monday, May 31, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - May 31, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

May 31, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

New marriage license guidelines

By Jonah Mandel May 26, 2010

New directives issued by the Chief Rabbinate demand that marriage registrars send any person whose parents’ wedding was not performed by a rabbinate-recognized body to a full-fledged “inquiry into their Judaism” at a rabbinical court.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism:

“This is an attempt by the Chief Rabbinate to strengthen its grip over the rabbis conducting weddings.”

“If the extremist and haredi rabbinate thinks the Israeli public will let them conduct a massive operation of inquiry into the Judaism of a quarter of the population, they are wrong. These new directives will not pass.”

New directives issued by Israel's Chief Rabbinate may do more harm than good

By Rabbi Seth Farber Opinion May 25, 2010

Rabbi Seth (Shaul) Farber received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University and his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University. He is the founder of ITIM: The Jewish Life Information Center and rabbi of Kehillat Netivot in Ra'anana.

There are major innovations in the new directives that are of major concern.

First of all, the directives give maximum latitude to marriage registrars, allowing them to question the Jewishness of anyone and refer them to a rabbinical court, even if their parents were married in Israel through the rabbinate.

...Secondly, the directives state clearly that anyone whose parents were not married by the rabbinate must go to a rabbinical court for a hearing to certify their Jewishness. Does this include converts (who obviously meet this criterion)?

Rabbi bans women from public office

By Shmulik Grossman May 26, 2010

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, chief rabbi of the Elon Moreh settlement in Samaria, has prohibited female residents from running for the office of community secretary.

"The first problem is giving women authority, and being a Secretary [administrative executive] means having authority," he wrote.

"The second problem is mixing men and women. Secretary meetings are held at night and sometimes end very late. It is not proper to be in mixed company in such situations."

How Modern Orthodoxy Is Losing Touch With Modernity

By Elana Sztokman Opinion May 27, 2010

What strikes me as particularly interesting is that these are voices of religious Zionism in Israel, presumably modern or “centrist” Orthodox and not Haredi.

In fact, I would say that no Haredi rabbi today would dare suggest that women should not work outside the home.

After all, if Haredi women were to stop working, the entire community may collapse. So this is really quite an interesting twist: In the Modern Orthodox community, where men are encouraged to work rather than sit and learn Torah all day, women are being shoved back to pre-Seneca Falls roles.

By contrast, in the Haredi community, where the less men work the more they are revered, women are economically empowered. It’s possible that Haredi women are better off than modern Orthodox women.

Synagogue shuts counseling center due to ‘immodesty’

By Ben Hartman May 25, 2010

A counseling center for lone soldiers at a Jerusalem synagogue was closed recently by the synagogue’s board of directors because it was deemed “immodest,” The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Yissachar Pollack, executive director of a body that oversees the operations of the synagogue, confirmed that modesty was the issue, and said the synagogue had not agreed to allow the office to be used as a place for male and female soldiers to fraternize.

Ex-chief rabbi changes versions in fake certificates trial

By Aviad Glickman May 25, 2010

Former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron testified in the Jerusalem District Court on Monday regarding a case involving security forces personnel who received forged religious education certificates.

During the court hearing the Attorney Erez Padan of the prosecution said that according to Rabbi Ohana's testimony Bakshi-Doron had instructed the former to compile a list of institutes attended by the security elements in order to issue them higher religious education certificates.

Vandalism of non-Orthodox shuls divides leaders over proper response

By Cnaan Liphshiz May 28, 2010

Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Masorti Movement in Israel, said it was "difficult to shake the feeling that in the past few months extreme factions have raised the level of violence and harassment towards non-Orthodox religious streams in Israel."

PODCAST: Interview with Anat Hoffman May 27, 2010

Click here for PODCAST

Israel: Women’s Religious Rights and the Reform Movement

Anat Hoffman is a founding member of “Women of the Wall,” a group who pray monthly at the Wall. She is also Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, an advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel.

And (religion and) justice for all?

By Peggy Cidor May 28, 2010

The observant Jewish Left is a rather new phenomenon in Israel – whether Reform, Conservative or modern Orthodox.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, reiterates the Reform movement’s commitment to the ideals of justice.

“According to our surveys, Israelis identify Reform Judaism with the ideals of equality, social justice, openness, defense of human rights and mitzvot bein adam lehavero [ethical mitzvot] between, which lie at the center of Jewish life,” he says.

Rabbi for human rights

By Peggy Cidor May 28, 2010

Interview with Rabbi Arik Ascherman

Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Arik Ascherman is a Reform rabbi, married to Einat Ramon, who was the first Israeli-born Conservative woman to be ordained as a rabbi.

They live in Jerusalem in the Katamonim and have two children. From 2005 to 2009, Ramon was the dean of the Schechter College for Jewish Studies.

Zach Emanuel celebrates Bar Mitzvah

By Ronen Medzini May 30, 2010

Zach Emanuel, the son of the White House's chief of staff, celebrated his bar mitzvah Sunday at the Davidson Center in Jerusalem's Old City.

The Emanuel family held the ceremony [at] Robinson's Arch, through which it was possible to ascend to the Temple Mount during the time of the Second Temple.

Emanuel visits Old City, sheds tear at Western Wall

By Yair Ettinger May 28, 2010

A handful of people in that single square kilometer recognized the White House Chief of Staff, who may affect the situation here too. There were those who welcomed him and tried to shake his hand, and there was at least one person left wondering: "Who is this Rabbi Emanuel?" And why is such an important rabbi looking like a tourist, wearing short khakis and sneakers.

The gift of Mishael Adar Binyamin

By Haviv Ner-David Opinion May 28, 2010

The road toward adopting Mishael was not seamless. We had to deal with the Chief Rabbinate (to convert him, as his non-Jewish biological mother requested that he be converted), as well as the general bureaucracy.

It took a whole year to be called to the Beit Din. We were worried, because adoption is only through the Chief Rabbinate, which is Orthodox. And my being a woman rabbi would not be a point in my favor in that system.

Soul Jew

By Raphael Ahren May 28, 2010

Matisyahu, the Hasidic reggae star, created a small sensation when he conquered the world's music charts a few years ago. This year, the budding career of Yehuda Menashe Patterson - dubbed by Channel 2 as "the first black Hasidic music star" - seems to be no less of an achievement.

Major Jewish Agency reform begins to take shape

By Haviv Rettig Gur May 26, 2010

One month after the Jewish Agency announced a new strategic process to rethink its purpose in the Jewish world, details are emerging of a plan to transform the ailing organization into a transnational educational platform whose task will be nothing short of reacquainting the fractured Jewish world with itself.

New PR head aims to rebrand Jewish Agency

By Raphael Ahren May 28, 2010

"The Jewish Agency suffers not from a bad image or being a bad brand but it's an amorphous brand," Weinberg told Anglo File in his Jerusalem office.

Jewish Agency will move marketing operations from Israel to New York

By Jacob Berkman May 24, 2010

The Jewish Agency for Israel has announced yet another major personnel move: Larry Weinberg, the former executive director of the de facto PR firm for Israel, ISRAEL21c, has been named as JAFI’s chief communications officer.

Bringing them back

By Faina Kirshenbaum Opinion May 26, 2010

The writer is a member of Knesset and Director General of the Israel Beiteinu party.

I, as a Jew from the FSU, will tell my young audience that Israel is the one Jewish state in the world, and that all Jews have a place and a role to play here.

I hope they see me as an example of an immigrant from the FSU who succeeded. I hope they see in me a face of Israel that welcomes them and understands where they are coming from.

Consternation surrounds Shas joining Zionist group

By Haviv Rettig Gur May 28, 2010

World Zionist Organization officials and leaders have expressed concern in recent days over the coming membership of the Shas Party in the committees and agencies staffed the WZO.

Shas currently plans to present two proposals at the upcoming congress, one that will remove words celebrating Jewish pluralism from the organization’s ideological “Jerusalem program” and another that will lessen the proportional representation in the organization of Diaspora Zionist movements and religious strains.

Israel, Vatican nearing financial agreement May 25, 2010

Israel and the Vatican are making progress toward finalizing an agreement on unresolved financial issues clouding relations between the two states.

Rabbi honored for special contribution to Israel May 30, 2010

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), was the first person ever to receive an award by the Israeli Ministry of Welfare honoring him for his Special Contribution to the Welfare of the People of Israel.

Gender and Jewish Identity Conference

The Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism - Bar- Ilan University

Conference dates: June 2-3, 2010

Religion and State in Israel

May 31, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.