Monday, July 19, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - July 19, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 19, 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.

*Articles on the Conversion bill and Women of the Wall will be included in an upcoming special edition.

Treasury cancels proposal to lower draft exemptions for Haredim to 22

By Moti Bassok and Zvi Zrahiya July 15, 2010

The Finance Ministry has given up on its proposal to lower the age for permanently exempting ultra-Orthodox men from military service from 35 to 22.

The proposal was included in an earlier version of next year's Economic Arrangements Law.

The IDF and Defense Ministry also objected to the treasury's original proposal, claiming it would encourage the religious to avoid the draft.

Click here for VIDEO: Blue Dawn - Haredim in Israel Air Force

Orthodox MK makes landmark visit to Tel Aviv gay center

By Noah Kosharek July 14, 2010

MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) visited a gay youth center in Tel Aviv on Tuesday to meet with members of the gay community. The club welcomed the visit, saying he is the first Orthodox Knesset member it has ever hosted and hopes he won't be the last.

MK Otniel Schneller, is Religious Zionism obligated to fight for the rights of the gay community?

By Jonathan Lis July 14, 2010

Q: MK Otniel Schneller, is religious Zionism obligated to fight for the rights of the gay community?

MK Otniel Schneller:

Sodomy is forbidden according to Halakha. Period. But should this prohibition affect a gay person's rights? I think the situation is just the opposite.

Tel Aviv synagogue reconsiders invitation to Rabbi Elon

By Yair Ettinger July 15, 2010

The Heichal Meir synagogue in Tel Aviv is considering backtracking on its plan to host classes given by Rabbi Mordechai Elon, who has been accused of sexually exploiting his students, the synagogue's rabbi said yesterday.

Heichal Meir could face a confrontation with Takana, a watchdog group that aims to prevent sexual exploitation by authority figures in the religious world, if it doesn't withdraw its invitation to Elon.

Rabbi suspected of sexual exploitation to return to educators role

By Yair Ettinger July 14, 2010

Last week...Elon won the backing of Rabbi Shlomo Dichovsky, a leading ultra-Orthodox figure, widely viewed as a bridge between that community and the religious Zionist camp.

Dichovsky said he had acceded to a request from Elon's students to let him teach at Heichal Meir, his expansive synagogue in central Tel Aviv.

Who is (and is Not) teaching in "Modern Orthodox" Schools: A View from Israel

By Esther Lapian Opinion July 14, 2010

Esther Lapian is a teacher and teacher educator in the field of Bible studies and the teaching of Jewish texts. She works extensively in Israel and abroad as a consultant to Jewish educational organizations from every religious sector.

Most of the religiously observant student teachers whom I have met are not at all interested in teaching in the mamlakhti-dati school system (the religious public school system in Israel).

...Why is this true? Why are these bright, highly motivated, religiously observant young people, who are extremely knowledgeable in both Jewish and general studies, opting out of the mamlakhti-dati school system? And if they are opting out, then who is teaching our children?

The rabbi of intellectual openness Editorial July 12, 2010

From his own experiences with narrow mindedness, (Rabbi Yehuda) Amital – and Amital’s students – learned to more fully appreciate the importance of tolerance for the diverse opinions of others.

Amital embraced liberal democracy as the best form of government in a contentious Jewish state and entered into dialogue with secular and non-Orthodox Jews.

Amital’s political endeavors with Meimad may not have resulted in electoral windfalls, but his impact on what could have been a very monolithic religious Zionist society is undeniable. Thankfully, Amital’s legacy is alive in hundreds of students.

“A Simple Jew”

By Yehudah Mirsky July 13, 2010

Amital never ceased regarding the world of religious Zionism as the community to which he most closely belonged. The educational philosophy he developed over the decades cultivated traditional yeshiva scholarship while also placing a rare premium on independent thinking.

In the hasidic and mystical side of his character he prefigured the neo-hasidic revival of recent years—of which, however, he was also a genuine critic.

While encouraging his students to strive for authenticity in their religious lives, he urged them not to fetishize this at the expense of ethical values or of their identification with Jewry at large.

Interview with Rabbi Benny Lau on Conversion July 16, 2010

Q: But according to the halakhah, a pilot cadet whose father is Jewish and mother is Christian is not Jewish.

A: I don’t agree.

I can show you halakhic responsa from one hundred and one hundred and fifty years ago that state that if a person sacrifices himself for the sake of Israel, he is designated first and foremost as someone who has chosen the people of Israel.

If a person becomes a combat soldier and is prepared to lie down night after night waiting in ambush, his entry certificate to conversion is different from someone who comes for other reasons, since he has already chosen the people of Israel and is ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of the people of Israel.

India's 'Lost' Jews Seek a Place in Israel

By Lourdes Garcia-Navarro July 16, 2010

Click here for PODCAST

Every year, Jews from around the world migrate to Israel, a process known as aliyah, a Hebrew word meaning "ascent."

But for the Bnei Menashe community of India, who believe they are descendents of one of the 10 lost tribes of ancient Israel, the road has been long and fraught with difficulty.

Tel Aviv prayer

By Rani Jaeger Opinion July 15, 2010

Rani Jaeger is a fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute.

It is difficult to breathe in Jerusalem, and difficult to pray, and that's why I travel to Tel Aviv: not to escape from the sanctity but to achieve a moment when there is holiness that emanates from the person rather than the place.

Rani Jaeger, among the founders of the “Israeli Prayer House” in Tel Aviv explains why on the Sabbath eve, he goes down to Tel Aviv to pray.

Café Café promoting religion?

By Meirav Crystal July 15, 2010

A customer who dined recently at a Café Café branch in Rishon Lezion was surprised to receive a booklet of prayers along with his bill.

"As I finished my breakfast, I received a booklet with the bill inside," he says. "It also included two colorful pamphlets on chromo paper, filled with prayers and blessings.

There were prayers for good health, rulings of Chief Sephardic Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, a prayer offered upon embarking on a journey, and a special prayer one should say after going to the bathroom."

A Jew, a Christian and a Muslim climb into a tank

By Raphael Ahren July 16, 2010

It takes a good eye and decent coordination to drive a tank for the Israel Defense Forces. A knowledge of world religions? Not so much.

Yet that's exactly the skill set that Korey Bronson, who has been a Jew, Christian, Muslim and now Jew again, brings to the IDF.

Family Affair / The Ner-Davids

By Avner Avrahami and Reli Avrahami July 15, 2010

Haviva Ner-David: Rabbi and social activist. Ordained by Rabbi Aryeh Strikovsky (“who is Orthodox”) in Jerusalem.

She herself loathes labels and says she is a “rabah [female form of rav, or rabbi] of Jews” no matter from which community or stream (“I grew up Orthodox, but today I am egalitarian”).

Manages a mikveh , where she also give seminars on relationships for secular and religious people; is involved in gender issues, has a Ph.D. in halakha from Bar-Ilan University.

She is the author of “Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination(in English), is now writing a new book (“when Mishael is at the nursery”)...

One Thousand Young Russian-Speaking Israelis Expected at Limmud FSU Jerusalem July 18, 2010

A unique event for Russian-speaking Israelis will take place this week in Jerusalem at the Kiryat Moriah Campus of the Jewish Agency, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and the Shai Agnon House.

Rabbis fight ban on renting to illegal aliens

By Yoav Zitun July 19, 2010

Fifty-one Conservative, Reform, and Orthodox rabbis submitted a signed manifesto Sunday rejecting a ban by Tel Aviv rabbis on renting homes to illegal aliens.

How to create a new status quo

By Gilad Malach July 15, 2010

Gilad Malach is a Ph.D. student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is writing his dissertation on “Strategies of public policy regarding ultra-Orthodox Jews.”

The Gavison-Medan Covenant authored by Rabbi Yaakov Medan and Professor Ruth Gavison, is the most important covenant that has been written in this generation and it has not yet said its final word.

Gilad Malach writes about the creation of this unexpected document, which was produced when a jurist and a Hebrew University law professor who founded the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) collaborated with the head of Yeshivat Har Etzion.

The threat of fundamentalism

By Rabbi Michael Graetz Opinion July 18, 2010

It is clear that certain sectors of the Israeli Jewish population also do not want the vision of Israel representing all Jewish approaches.

The actions of the Israeli rabbinate and the haredi rabbinical leadership are clear. They want a state that reflects only their brand of Judaism, and everything else, including, by the way, modern Orthodoxy, has immense obstacles placed before it.

It is wrong to fast on Tisha B'Av

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion July 16, 2010

Mourning on the Ninth of Av in this day and age flies in the face of both secular Zionism and religious Zionism. It contradicts the right of Jews around the world to decide where they prefer to live. The exile is over, and the temple has not been rebuilt because we don't want to do it.

The only ideologies that can justify continuing this observance are those that see democratic Israel as a heretic entity defying the majesty of God on earth. But if you are not a member of the Eda Haredit or a settler from Yitzhar, how can you mourn on Tisha B'Av in good conscience?

Scholar urges Law of Return changes

By Haviv Rettig Gur June 30, 2010

One of Israel’s best-known legal scholars, Prof. Ruth Gavison, is urging a rethink of the provisions of the Law of Return that could lead to eliminating automatic citizenship for new olim.

In a paper titled “The Law of Return at 60 Years,” Gavison, a professor at the Hebrew University, writes that citizenship would best be granted not automatically to every oleh, but “according to sensible conditions, such as a length of stay in the country, integration in it, and a declaration of loyalty toward [the state] as is practiced in the case of other candidates for citizenship.”

Career Paths Take A Detour To Israel

By Rivka Oppenheim July 14, 2010

In this third installment of “Aliyah Journal,” a report on three New Yorkers — one married couple and one single woman — who are leaving successful careers to start over in Israel.

New face of American aliyah

By Aaron Howard July 15, 2010

They used to come by ship or over land. Historically, Jews who wanted to reach Israel to make aliyah had to overcome many hardships to reach their homeland.

Today, it’s simple: You board an airplane and arrive 11 hours later.

Campaign to bring thousands more Falash Mura gains steam

By Uriel Heilman July 13, 2010

After months of fits and starts, advocates for Ethiopian aliyah are hoping that a visit to the African country this week by Israel’s minister of immigrant absorption will help set in motion a process that will bring some 7,500 additional Ethiopians to Israel.

So far, the Israeli government has committed to checking only 1,800 of them for aliyah eligibility and bringing those who qualify to Israel.

Likud supports continued Ethiopian aliya

By Ruth Eglash July 12, 2010

The overwhelming majority of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party supports the continued aliya of the Falash Mura community from Ethiopia and a lesser majority believes that delays to their immigration over the past few years stem from discrimination and racism, according to a report received by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Commissioned by the Public Committee on Ethiopian Jewry, which is headed by former Supreme Court judge Meir Shamgar and includes high profile members such as Canadian parliamentarian Irwin Cotler and Chief Rabbi of Ethiopian Jews in Israel Yosef Adaneh, the study is the first of its kind to focus exclusively on the ruling Likud party’s attitudes toward the controversial aliya.

Religion and State in Israel

July 19, 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.