Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
By Natasha Mozgovaya and Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com July 11, 2010
The Reform and Conservative movements were up in arms on Sunday, a day before the Knesset plenum was to stage its first vote on a proposal that would grant the chief rabbinate exclusive authority to oversee conversions in Israel.
The head of the Reform Movement, Rabbi Gilad Kariv told Haaretz on Sunday that "this bill, in its own words, clearly shows that the cat is out of the bag: MK Rotem cut a deal with the Haredim according to which the Orthodox establishment in Israel will, for the first time, have a monopoly on conversion, in direct contravention of Supreme Court decisions, and promises that were given by political leaders, and contrary to the absolute interest of the immigrants."
www.ynetnews.com July 11, 2010
Kadima representatives at the Knesset's Constitution Committee have sent a letter to committee chairman MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) requesting he prevent a vote on the conversion bill scheduled to be held on Monday. The bill acknowledges the Chief Rabbinate's monopoly on conversions in Israel.
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com July 5, 2010
The Israel Institute for Conversion Policy was launched in the capital on Sunday evening, in an effort to “retrieve the keys to the gateway” into Judaism and Israel for their “rightful Zionist owners.”
The new institute, headed by Arik Elman, will function under the auspices of the Beit Morasha’s Center for Judaism and Society, which focused on conversion and welfare policy in its annual conference, at which the launch was announced.
Shmuel Jesselsohn, who heads the conversion department in the Prime Minister’s Office, welcomed the institute initiative, and spoke of the complexity of modern conversion, in which a convert must define what it means to be Jewish, something the State of Israel does not do in a definitive way.
By Rivka Lubitch Opinion www.ynetnews.com July 6, 2010
Rivka Lubitch is a rabbinic pleader who works at the Center for Women’s Justice
What should have been the happiest time of Sagit’s life turned into a nightmare. According to their documents, her mother and grandmother are Jewish and her parents were married by a Chabad rabbi, but even so, she’s being asked to convert in order to marry. The new regulations provide that this can happen to you too.
By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com July 11, 2010
The Nokdim secretariat ruled two weeks ago to bar non-Jewish Russian-Israelis from buying homes in the small Bethlehem-area settlement where Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman makes his home.
The decision came after a frenzied debate between residents over whether the entry of individuals not considered Jewish by religious law would lead to "assimilation" or improper behavior on the part of veteran residents and their children.
By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion www.haaretz.com July 9, 2010
Ten years ago, the then-commander of the IDF Personnel Directorate, Maj. Gen. Elazar Stern, decided he could do something to alleviate the crisis in the conversion system, which is not allowing over 300,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who are not recognized by the rabbinate as Jews, to integrate fully.
By Naomi Ragen Opinion www.momentmag.com July/August 2010
Naomi Ragen is a novelist and playwright. Her latest book, The Tenth Song, will be out in October.
Back in 2003 I took a bus from downtown Jerusalem to my home in the northern suburb of Ramot, a mixed secular and modern Orthodox neighborhood. One stop into the ride, a large, sweating haredi man hung over me threateningly, demanding that I move to the back of the bus. My astonished refusal was met with a fusillade of disgusting verbal abuse almost the entire ride.
Soon after, I described my experience in a Jerusalem Post article, including the disrespectful and dismissive response of the Egged bus company, which sent me a form letter insisting no such buses existed and that all seating on public buses was “voluntary.” I called it “Egged and the Taliban.”
By Anat Tzruya Opinion http://acheret.co.il July 8, 2010
While doing research for a new movie, Anat Tzruya learned the intimate details of a lynch that took place on a "mehadrin" bus in Beit Shemesh against a young 18-year-old religious woman, Oriyah Ferdheim, whose heinous sin was sitting in the men's section of the bus. To this day, the perpetrators of the assault have not been brought to justice.
...What prevented the media from asking, documenting and investigating? Did the fact Oriyah was marked as ultra-Orthodox give the impression that the story was an internal ultra-Orthodox matter? Why are the police refraining from opening an investigation?
By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion www.haaretz.com July 11, 2010
Despite the admiration he attracted, [Rabbi Yehuda Amital] never managed to get his views accepted among the central stream of religious Zionism.
The moderate Meimad political movement which he established in 1988 never managed on its own to cross the threshold needed for Knesset representation.
And the nearly complete identification between the religious Zionist knitted skullcap and right-wing nationalism was to become something taken for granted.
By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com July 11, 2010
The thousands at his funeral included students and graduates of Yeshivat Har Etzion, which he set up and headed, rabbis, MKs and men and women who viewed themselves as his students and followers of his political path in the Meimad movement.
By Jonah Mandel and Daniel Clinton www.jpost.com July 11, 2010
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday eulogized the founder of the dovish Meimad movement and the Har Etzion Hesder Yeshiva, Rabbi Yehuda Amital, as a lover of peace who should serve as “an example to all of us.”
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 9, 2010
The Har Etzion yeshiva is affiliated with a political and religious viewpoint that is an antithesis to the doctrine of Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Kook, which most religious Zionists follow. While the yeshiva's rabbis include prominent rightists, it is considered to have Left-wing tendencies, and many of its students are young Americans, including members of the Modern Orthodox movement, who spend a few years studying in Israel.
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com July 9, 2010
Rabbi Yehuda Amital, founder and former head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, passed away overnight Thursday at the age of 85. Amital was one of religious Zionism's foremost leaders and educators, whose moderate political approach led him to found the Meimad movement in 1988.
By Or Kashti www.haaretz.com July 6, 2010
The National Labor Court overturned a ruling Sunday that would have allowed a religious college to dismiss a lecturer whose courses were largely avoided by students due to her well-known feminist views.
In an unusual move, the judge accepted a compromise agreement by which the lecturer, Dr. Chana Kehat, would be transferred to teach at other institutions of higher learning.
By Itamar Eichner www.ynetnews.com July 7, 2010
Some 4,000 residents of a remote village called Bani Israel in Senegal are claiming they are of Jewish descent, according to an article published by the official Senegalese news agency, APS.
Two years ago, Israel's Ambassador to Senegal Gideon Behar visited the village and inquired about the villagers' origins. However, the villagers did not cooperate.
http://icar.org.il/en/ June 27, 2010
The International Coalition for Agunah Rights (ICAR) is a coalition of 28 organizations working to promote solutions to the problem of agunot and mesoravot get, in accordance with Halacha and to ultimately eliminate the problem.
By Dr. Misha Galperin http://ejewishphilanthropy.com July 5, 2010
Dr. Misha Galperin is head of External Affairs for the Jewish Agency.
Jewish Peoplehood is not the notion that “we are all united purely by dint of being members of the Jewish people” as Michaelson defines it. Building on Mordechai Kaplan’s original use of the term, Erica Brown and I defined peoplehood in our recent book, The Case for Jewish Peoplehood, as a sense of belonging to an extended family with a collective purpose.
By Yehudah Mirsky Opinion www.jewishideasdaily.com July 9, 2010
Today, too, a disciplining frame for any discussion of the meaning of peoplehood must surely be the physical and cultural survival of what is now the world's largest Jewish community, comprising millions of individual Jews living in a mind-bending thicket of geopolitical danger and moral complexity. With that commitment in place, debate can freely proceed. Without it, there is little point.
The Jewish Agency has always been committed to Jewish identity-building activities. However, they are now making it their priority to Inspire, Connect, and Empower Jewish youth around the world. This video presentation discusses the new strategic direction of the organization.
By Ben Hartman www.jpost.com July 8, 2010
On a clear sunny day, 223 new North American immigrants landed outside Tel Aviv on Wednesday and were met by a celebration to mark their arrival in their new home.
eJewish Philanthropy’s Dan Brown sat with Alan Hoffmann, Director-General and Dr. Misha Galperin, head of External Affairs, Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), to discuss the updated direction the organization is moving towards.
www.ynetnews.com July 8, 2010
Some 400 Religious Zionist emissaries gathered last week at the Judean Guest House in Jerusalem for the annual "Religious Zionist Shlichim Convention".
The convention was organized by the Jewish National Fund, the Department for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora of the World Zionist Congress and the World Mizrachi Movement. The new emissaries will represent Israel in more than 40 countries around the world and will educate towards Judaism and aliyah.
By Sam Cross www.jpost.com July 8, 2010
What happens when 500 leading Jewish innovators come from all over world to think up creative solutions to the challenges that face the Jewish people?
On Wednesday at Hotel Kfar Maccabiah, participants in the ROI Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators embarked on an ambitious two-day journey to do just that.
At its annual leadership conference, ROI hosted their first-ever “Community Brainstorm & Action Planning” experiment with the goal of generating potential project ideas and then putting them into action.
By Lynn Schusterman Opinion http://ejewishphilanthropy.com July 9, 2010
We’ve learned some important lessons that might help others in their search for the Jewish leaders and activists of tomorrow.
- The network empowers.
- Unexpected partnerships produce extraordinary results.
- Widening our circle of discourse lends perspective.
- Virtual reality is nice, but it pales beside the real thing.
- Don’t just believe in young Jews – invest in their ideas.
By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com July 9, 2010
Each year, 120 young entrepreneurs who apply to and are accepted into ROI - which is mainly funded by U.S. philanthropist Lynn Schusterman - attend the annual summit, which first ran in 2006.
By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com July 9, 2010
After a year of steep decline in numbers, blamed on the global financial crisis, Israel gap year program officials report across the board report that registration is on the upswing.
By Cnaan Liphshiz www.haaretz.com July 9, 2010
Immigrants from the Beit Shemesh area voiced strong objection this week to what they term the "use of Zionist rhetoric" by Jewish American businessman Michael Steinhardt to promote a controversial oil extraction project in the area. Steinhardt's Israeli associates said Zionism was the only reason he was involved in the project.
By Leah Molayem Opinion www.haaretz.com July 9, 2010
What Birthright-Taglit fails to include in the tours, and what is arguably one of the most commonly exercised practices within the Middle East, is the push...without that very real experience, a trip to Israel is not complete.
By Noah Rayman www.jpost.com July 9, 2010
This summer, 21,000 Jews will travel across Israel with the program, which matches a handful of Israeli soldiers with groups of around 40 foreigners from all over the world to experience Israel.
By Tamar Zmora www.ynetnews.com July 7, 2010
The B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism in Memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf for 2010 conferred at the event upon Anshel Pfeffer (Haaretz) for the print media category.
Television producer and director Shaul Meislish accepted an award for two documentary films, "Embrace Me" and "Rabbinate in Stormy Days" that aired on Channel 1 TV. "Rabbinate in Stormy Days" is a portrait of Israel's first Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Halevi Herzog.
By Yoaz Hendel www.ynetnews.com July 6, 2010
The secular yeshiva students occasionally attend classes with students from religious yeshivas, who support bridging gaps. Gal and Omer speak of the praise they have won for their ability to learn. They still have far to go in order to close gaps vis-à-vis the other students, but now they already know what they have yet to learn.
The yeshiva's head, Eran Baruch, is a proud redheaded secular who found himself somewhere on the spectrum between the kibbutz he grew up in and Jewish studies.
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com July 11, 2010
The annual Bible-learning conference at Herzog College in Alon Shvut opens on Sunday, bringing thousands of people from all over the country for a five-day festival of multi-faceted study.
More than a hundred leading scholars and teachers will teach over 150 lessons, as well as 11 Bible-themed field trips.
By Hannah Brown www.jpost.com July 9, 2010
Over the past few years, religiously observant directors and movies on religious themes have claimed an increasing share of the limelight and have become part of mainstream local cinema.
In decades past, religious characters could often be seen as the butt of jokes in silly comedies, a.k.a. sirtei burekas. But these new films take their religious characters seriously. They have also sold tickets both here and abroad, and have won prizes at festivals around the world.
The Ma'aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts aims to build bridges between Jewish tradition and social experience, as well as between the religious and secular worlds.
By Shoshana Chen www.ynetnews.com July 11, 2010
The bar mitzvah celebrated by the son and nephew of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Jerusalem in May shines a light on a trend that has been going on for quite a few years now, but has recently been receiving a different and more colorful character – Diaspora Jews celebrating their children's coming of age in Israel.
By Barry Davis www.jpost.com July 9, 2010
An exhibition focused on the Ba’al Shem Tov draws attention to both the iconic rabbi and the Jewish National and University Library.
By Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com July 7, 2010
"My fear is that this ugly structure - which starkly contrasts Ein Karem's unique character and its magnetism for pilgrims - will be turned into a restaurant or shopping mall or worse, an event hall," says Ben Ofarim, a member of the neighborhood committee.
By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com July 6, 2010
The Interior Ministry will examine the applications of some 1,000 Falash Mura seeking to come to Israel, a government official informed the High Court of Justice on Monday.
The process will thereby complete the implementation of a cabinet decision from 2003 to bring home the remaining members of the community who were descended on their mother’s side from a Jewish female.
By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com July 9, 2010
Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver will make her maiden voyage to Ethiopia on Saturday night, where she will be the first minister of immigrant absorption to visit the East African country and grapple with the ongoing aliya controversy surrounding the Falash Mura community, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
In an interview with the Post before her departure, Landver said that she wanted to see the situation on the ground for herself and “formulate a professional opinion.”
By Rebecca Anna Stoil www.jpost.com July 5, 2010
Shabbat evacuations of settler encampments, illegal outposts and closed military zones are only permissible if they are done in order to save lives, Chief Chaplain Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz emphasized, during a meeting Sunday of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Peretz said that it is the local commander who is responsible for determining whether or not a Shabbat evacuation is necessary.
www.jta.org July 7, 2010
ROME (JTA) -- Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum, the former chief rabbi of Uruguay, has taken the same post in the Italian city of Turin.
Birnbaum, a director of the Israel-based outreach organization Shavei Israel, officially took up his post July 1.
...Birnbaum was chief rabbi of Uruguay from 1992 to 1997 and is the director of Machon Amiel, which trains rabbis and spiritual leaders for work in Diaspora communities. He also is a judge on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Conversion Court.
At least initially, Birnbaum will remain in Israel and visit Turin at least once a month.
www.gojerusalem.com June 27, 2010
A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew walk into a café. What sounds like the opening line of a joke could just as well describe the opening moments of one of the Interfaith Encounter Association's monthly meetings.
The group, which aims to foster mutual respect and friendship between the tribes, while still giving props to the unique identities of each, organizes monthly study sessions throughout Israel, at which members of the country's different faiths come together to talk, learn, teach and socialize.
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
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