Sunday, July 4, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - July 5, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 5, 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.

Contrary to popular belief?

By Barry Davis July 2, 2010

Out religious lesbians may sound like a contradiction in terms, but according to 27-year-old, American-born Talya Lev, there are hundreds of Orthodox women who have come out of the closet and many more who have yet to come out and are afraid to do so.

Nikia Brown proceeds in Kochav Nolad [A Star is Born]

By David Brinn July 2, 2010

Photo: Courtesy

One of the 18 finalists in the eighth season of the popular Channel 2 singing competition series Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born), Brown, who lives in Holon, barely knew a word of Hebrew two months ago when she decided on a whim to try out for the show.

That and her intriguing back-end story. Brown and her husband, Terry, converted to Judaism after getting married and making their home in Kansas City, Missouri.

“We loved it here, and have started the aliya process, which is still in process,” said Brown, likely referring to frequent problems that black American convert immigrants encounter from the Interior Ministry before they receive citizenship.

Healing Jewish rifts in the ‘three weeks’ Editorial June 29, 2010

Still, the gulf between Israeli and American Jews remains. Thankfully, steps are being taken to bridge it.

Just last week the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, meeting in Jerusalem, unanimously approved a new, broader mission that will focus on strengthening Diaspora Jewry’s ties with Israel.

Jewish Agency names its new spokesman

By Raphael Ahren June 29, 2010

The Jewish Agency's new spokesman will be Haviv Rettig Gur, Haaretz has learned.

The 29-year-old Tel Aviv resident and Jewish world correspondent for the Jerusalem Post will be the first native English speaker to head the agency's spokesperson's office in over 50 years, officials said yesterday immediately after his nomination, which followed a two-week tender process.

Jumping from hack to flack…

By Jacob Berkman June 29, 2010

Haviv Rettig Gur:

Once upon a time, there were a few big Jewish machers, who put together a group that built a state," he added, referencing the early days of the Jewish Agency.

"It takes a lot to turn an air craft carrier around. But if you do, then you have an aircraft carrier on your side.”

The Great Reset: The Jewish Agency and the Pursuit of an ‘Exemplary Society’

By Seth A. Cohen Opinion June 30, 2010

Seth A. Cohen, Esq. is a partner with the US-based international law firm of Holland & Knight and is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Jewish Agency for Israel and member of the Board of Directors of Joshua Venture Group.

Are the strategies to be pursued by the Agency, especially with respect to Jewish identity in the Diaspora, the proper strategies for what many people view as an organization that is a relic of political Zionism?

Creativity and Connectedness

By Bob Goldfarb Opinion June 29, 2010

Bob Goldfarb, the president of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, is a blogger for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal as well as a regular contributor to He lives in Jerusalem.

In parallel to its Israel experiences, education programs, and the opportunities for social action it offers, a network of Israel Houses could coordinate cultural programs that showcase Israeli and Jewish creativity.

They would sustain the feelings of people who have been transformed by visiting Israel, provide a new means for Jews to shape their own identities, and arouse the interest of others as well.

If we touch the hearts of the next generation through our shared culture, their hearts will turn to their heritage, their people, and their future.

Aliyah Journal: Two Second Acts In Full Swing In Israel

By Rivka Oppenheim June29, 2010

A musician and a tour guide, both with N.Y. ties, are overcoming odds to rewrite their life scripts in Jewish state.

Leading innovators gather to strengthen Jewish future

By Sam Cross July 2, 2010

Top minds from the international Jewish community will converge on Kfar Maccabiah this Sunday to strategize how to build a stronger future for the Jewish people.

Hailing from San Salvador to Beijing, these Jewish entrepreneurs, innovators, thinkers and artists will come from all over the world to attend the ROI Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators.

Young innovators discuss Jewish future July 4, 2010

What’s the best way to build and strengthen the Jewish future?

The answers are coming to Israel in early July, when 120 Jewish business and social entrepreneurs, innovators, thinkers and artists from all over the world — from San Salvador and Beijing, Los Angeles and Copenhagen and beyond — converge on Kfar Maccabiah, in Ramat Gan, for the ROI Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators.

Initiative puts recent arrivals on NGO career track

By Raphael Ahren July 2, 2010

A small group of Western immigrants this week moved one step closer to pursuing careers in Israel's nonprofit world. The 10 participants - half of them from the U.S. - completed the "Olim B'Amutot" (Immigrants in nonprofit organizations) course, run by Nefesh B'Nefesh and Gvahim, the two immigration assistance groups who initiated the program.

Absorption professionals scorn extra NIS 600 for immigrants moving north

By Cnaan Liphshiz July 2, 2010

Absorption professionals disagreed over the potential effectiveness of a new government program designed to draw recent arrivals to the Galilee and Negev by partially subsidizing their rent.

High School Israel Trips Regain Foothold

By Ramie Arian July 2, 2010

Ramie Arian is a consultant who works with agencies concerned with building Jewish identity and commitment, such as Israel trip sponsors, Jewish summer camps and youth movements.

In the midst of the recent Jewish Agency board meetings, a small but significant policy shift was announced, one that was barely reported in the media, but which may produce a significant change in the way in which young American Jews experience Israel.

This news was the announcement of a grant of $2 million to Lapid, to complement Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) support of Birthright and MASA, in order to determine how to structure what will eventually be a program budgeted at $20 million per year.


By Yehudah Mirsky Opinion June 28, 2010

Among the issues brought to the fore by the recent crisis in Israel over ultra-Orthodox (haredi) schools is the unresolved role of the state's judiciary. Israel has no written constitution.

To some, the absence invites disaster. To others, it is what holds Israel together as a Jewish and democratic state.

Religion, Politics and Gender Equality among Jews in Israel

By Ruth Halperin-Kaddari and Yaacov Yadgar July 2, 2010

This paper first presents a history of this political context, as well as a discussion of the sociocultural background against which issues of women, religion and state should be considered.

This is followed by a review of the Israeli political system and its influence on women’s status, including some background information on gender and politics in the country.

It then provides a more detailed review and legal analysis of women’s status in Israeli society. The paper concludes with a discussion of women’s organizations within Israeli civil society, highlighting the emergence of religious feminism.

If you keep kosher, the Israel-Turkey crisis may affect your dinner

By Nati Toker and Adi Dovrat-Meseritz July 1, 2010

The diplomacy crisis between Israel and Turkey may reach your dinner table. Israel's major kashrut agencies have stopped sending inspectors to Turkey, reportedly fearing for their safety, and manufacturers of foods that would normally have been marked "kasher lemehadrin" are not sending their products to Israel.

Israeli pig-farming kibbutz draws religious ire

By Heather Sharp June 30, 2010

Photo: Courtesy of Jeffrey Yoskowitz

Staff in blue medical scrubs crowd around her, examining an image of the inside of her colon, shown on a computer screen above the bed.

Unusually in the pig world, Barbie was raised by Jews.

Researcher Sharon Goldfarb-Albak strokes the animal's head tenderly.

"I love pigs! The Bible says don't eat pig, so I don't eat pig, but that doesn't mean I can't pet them and make them my friends," she says.

High Court Rules in Favor of Chief Rabbinate against Importer

By Yechiel Spira June 28, 2010

The High Court of Justice ruled in favor of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel against a food importer, who was seeking to override the Rabbinate’s rulings regarding food imports, insisting that any foreign hechsher is acceptable under the nation’s kosher law.

Bedouin teacher dreams of winning Bible Contest

By Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad June 29, 2010

Shadi Abu Arar, a Hebrew literature teacher, has a dream - to win the International Bible Contest. Abu Arar was among the first to enroll in the National Bible Contest for adults to be held for the first time since 1981.

Abu Arar noted that he also incorporates Bible studies in his Hebrew literature classes for Arab children. "The final exam includes questions on such books as Proverbs, Ruth, Pirkei Avot ans Genesis."

Ba’al Shem Tov exhibit to open at National Library in J’lem

By Jonah Mandel June 28, 2010

The entrance to the Jewish National and University Library, on the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus in Jerusalem has been transformed into a real-life setting straight from an 18th-century Eastern European shtetl.

The reconstructions are part of a unique exhibition marking the 250th anniversary of the death of the Ba’al Shem Tov (Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer), the founder of Hassidut, as well as 200 years since the death of his great-grandson, Rabbi Nahman of Breslov, founder of the Breslover Hassidic dynasty.

Justice Minister Visits Safed Yeshiva June 28, 2010

Israel's Justice Minister, Prof. Yaakov Ne'eman, paid a visit to the largest Chabad Yeshiva in the world - Yeshivas Chasidei Chabad Tzfas.

The Minister expressed his delight at finding the Zal full with Torah study, and even joined in the learning by finding a study partner and siting down over a Blatt Gemora.

A New Song

By Rabbi Marc Rosenstein Opinion June 30, 2010

Perhaps it's just a passing fad, a product of the ongoing transition of Israeli identity from communal to individual, a stepping back from the secular Zionist rejection of the religious tradition.

Or perhaps it is evidence of the impossibility of decoupling Jewish culture from Jewish religion in the long run.

Vatican appoints new head of Jewish relations office

By Jonah Mandel July 2, 2010

Bishop Kurt Koch of Switzerland will soon be appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to head the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Christian Unity – the office that oversees relations with Jews and non-Catholic Christians.

Ancient site near Nablus 'too problematic' to open

By Chaim Levinson July 2, 2010

Behind the rusty iron fence surrounding the archaeological work on Mount Gerizim lies one of Israel's most impressive antiquities sites. But the Civil Administration is keeping the compound closed despite its huge tourism potential. It says planning at the site near Nablus in the West Bank is "too problematic."

Mount Gerizim is sacred to the Samaritans who regard it, rather than Jerusalem's Temple Mount, as the location chosen by God for a holy temple.

Religion and State in Israel

July 5, 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.