Monday, August 30, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - August 30, 2010 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

August 30, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Jerusalem light rail may have segregated men-only / women-only cars

By Nir Hasson August 23, 2010

CityPass CEO Yair Naveh said Monday that he supports segregated men only and women only cars on the Jerusalem light rail train, which reporters and officials were invited to ride in a celebratory ceremony on Monday.

"The train was built to serve everyone," Naveh said, in response to a question on segregated cars. "I think it is required to create alternatives for everyone, and that option exists because of the train's division into cars. It is not a problem to declare every third or fourth car a mehadrin (kosher) car."

Haredi prurience off the tracks Editorial August 25, 2010

The question is whether haredi prurience, disguised as meticulous adherence to the dictates of Judaism, should be allowed to dominate Jerusalem’s public spaces even when this prurience has the backing of market forces.

...In recent years, the haredi community has adopted increasingly zealous and extremist positions, especially with regard to questions of female modesty – tzniut.

...The cure, according to [Rabbi Moshe] Feinstein, was not to force women out of sight, but to go out and get an honest, productive job. How right he was.

Let the Haredim walk

By Neri Livneh Opinion August 26, 2010

Why do the same seating arrangements that seem so obvious to the Haredim getting on in Tel Aviv provoke such prolonged debates when they board in Jerusalem?

The riddle has two correct answers. First, natural selection reigns in Jerusalem, and the secular simply defer to the Haredim and their shows of strength. Second, in Jerusalem, nothing is sacred.

...Those who have a problem with men and women traveling together are the Haredim, and they are the ones who are kindly requested to run after the light rail.

Girls school in Emmanuel approved

By Dan Izenberg and Ben Hartman August 25, 2010

The children of the “Hassidic stream” who were enrolled last year in the mixed Ashkenazi- Sephardi Beit Ya’acov girls school in the haredi town of Emmanuel will be allowed to study in a separate school meant to preserve the religious strictures and customs observed by their parents, disciples of the Slonim rebbe, the Education Ministry informed the High Court of Justice on Wednesday.

However, unlike other schools that are exempt from the Compulsory Education Law and are not recognized by the ministry, the new school will not receive any state funding for the coming school year. Most exempted schools receive 55 percent funding.

Ashkenazi parents get okay for private school in Immanuel

By Or Kashti August 26, 2010

The Education Ministry told the court yesterday it would allow the Ashkenazi parents to open a new school that would receive no state funding, unlike similar schools run by ultra-Orthodox networks that receive 55 percent of their budget from the state.
...The Ministry also said that while the new school would not receive state funding during its first year of operation, the ministry would consider future funding requests.

‘Only threat of closure can justify secular studies’

By Jonah Mandel August 26, 2010

Nothing less than the threat of closure can justify a Talmud Torah teaching core curriculum subjects, a member of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages said.

According to Rabbi Shimon Ba’adani, head of the Torah VeChaim Kollel in Bnei Brak and one of three senior Sephardi sages, headed by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, comprising the highest authority in Shas, even elementary- level schools should refrain from secular studies, unless the fines they’d be subject to from the Education Ministry would cause the school to close.

Facing arrest, catcalls, Israeli women pray at Western Wall

By Sheera Frenkel, McClatchy Newspapers August 26, 2010

"We challenge them the moment we open our mouth to sing with our full voices," said Nofrat Frankel, who sings in a quiet but steady voice. The group sings with melodic timbre, and the women's voices carry across the stone plaza as they pray. They clap their hands, and close their eyes to the agitators who often gather around them.

"I refuse to give in, and I will continue to fight for my right to practice Judaism according to my beliefs," Frankel said. "Here in Israel, the Western Wall has become a place that is so religious, so extreme, that the average person doesn't feel like it could belong to them too."

Slideshow: Women of the Wall's Photo Campaign

By Elissa Strauss August 23, 2010

In an attempt to counter those who accuse them of being extremists, Women of the Wall — composed of women who gather once a month for a prayer service at the Western Wall — recently asked women around the world to send in photographs of themselves reading from or holding a Torah.

Click photo to forward slideshow

One-way mirror to replace Western Wall partition

By Ari Galahar August 23, 2010

One of the solutions suggested by the Western Wall administration was to place one-way mirrors that will enable women to look into the men's section, similar to the partitions currently in place at the Western Wall tunnels.

After inspecting the area, the administration realized the one-way mirrors lose their effectiveness when they are exposed to the sun, and become visible from both sides.

A Silenced Shofar on Rosh Chodesh Elul August 25, 2010

The silenced shofar is a symbol of the silenced voices of women at the Kotel. Though our picture is painted as one of women who keep provoking the ultra-Orthodox, we at Women of the Wall have practiced the same traditions month after month and year after year.

It is the police who change their ordinances and standards each month as they defend ultra-Orthodox control over the Kotel.

Multiple Community Standards

By Rabbi Daniel R. Allen Opinion August 25, 2010

The writer is Executive Director, Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA)

Perhaps the uproar over the conversion bill is the opportunity we have been waiting for to have truly decentralized religious authority in Israel, as we already do in the rest of the world, outside the boundaries of the government and the Chief Rabbinate.

Wrong Fight, Wrong Time

By Basil Herring Opinion August 25, 2010

The writer is Executive Vice President, Rabbinical Council of America

Gary Rosenblatt surely is to be commended for his courage and insight in publicly recognizing that the so-called Rotem Knesset bill on conversions should be recognized and appreciated by all American Jews, Orthodox or otherwise, for what it is, rather than be attacked for what it is not.

Forgiving Rav Ovadia, Rav Amar and myself

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion August 23, 2010

The writer is Director of the Masorti [Conservative] Movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel

The Masorti Movement, along with other non-Orthodox movements, has continued to make a major positive impact, not only on world Jewry, but on Israel too. This can be seen by the myriad of leaders, both rabbinic and political, who have sought us out for consultation. But it may also be seen by the many public figures who have spoken so derisively, so frequently, in so many public venues.

...Israel's official rabbinate has lost its way. It has become irrelevant. The haredi community has its own leaders and the non-haredi has little use for the Rabbinate. May this new year see a continued push for the privatizing of the rabbinate and a free market of Jewish ideas.

Substitute homeland

By Raphael Ahren August 27, 2010

When Daniel and Ian Chesir-Teran - a gay married couple that adopted three black children - came to Israel last year as part of Ian's rabbinic training, they were certain they could never make a life in the Holy Land.

"We fully intended to stay just for one year," Daniel Chesir-Teran, 40, told Anglo File this week.
"We said there's no chance that we're going to live in Israel, because Israeli society is so polarized - religious versus secular - so how could a mixed-race, gay, religious, Masorti and egalitarian family like ours find a place, a niche, a community? Where we would be able to send our kids to school, feel comfortable?"

Being a religious single mother

By Gilit Chomsky August 25, 2010

After years of loneliness and failed dates, as yearning for child becomes intolerable, an increasing number of national-religious women decide to take their fate in their hands, start a family as single mothers while maintaining a religious way of life. The new phenomenon is already dividing the sector, irking rabbis.

Rabbi Cherlow doesn't believe in discussions in utmost discretion, and meets with students at the seminary for girls at Bar-Ilan University.

"If this is Halacha, why hide it? A halachic debate must be public. The burden of proof lies on those seeking to hide. Beyond that, lack of publicity gives the Rabbinate a great amount of power. This is not a desired situation.
The right situation is an open debate, while dealing with the questions being raised. In addition, the absence of a clear statement sometimes generates urban legends, which have nothing to do with reality."

Winter is coming

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion August 29, 2010

Never mind that you think it's still hot. In two weeks, winter will arrive. In that, Israel is unique. Only here can a minority community of observant Jews bend the will of the majority and turn the height of summer into winter, at least officially. The sun refuses to obey.

...For years the Israeli majority has striven to achieve a normal daylight-saving regime here, too. But the political clout of the religious and Haredi parties has tipped the scale.

Voting with their feet

By Robert Rockaway Opinion August 27, 2010

Robert Rockaway is professor emeritus of American Jewish history at Tel Aviv University.

Only when Judaism in Israel is divorced from politics will it become more attractive to the populace and constitute a unifying, rather than divisive, force.

Unless this occurs, the monopoly exercised by a small, extreme group of rabbis over the population will continue to alienate Israelis from Judaism, and may lead them to eventually do what their European brethren did more than 100 years ago: vote with their feet.

New Family Organization

Dialogue: The Messianic movement

By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Opinion August 28, 2010

In Jewish-Evangelical Christian relations, a hot button issue is the Messianic movement.

It is easy to say the Messianic community is a monolith and all wish to bring the Gospel to every Jew. The truth is that many just want to practice their faith in private and have no active agenda in missionizing other Jews.

However, there is a minority who use deceptive proselytizing practices to win Jewish converts.

On Christian Zionists and the NYJewishWeek's James Besser

By Steven I. Weiss Opinion August 26, 2010

Responding to my recent Slate article on Christian Zionism, the New York Jewish Week’s Washington correspondent expresses concern over theology. I reply below.

Religion and State in Israel

August 30, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.