Monday, September 20, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - September 20, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

September 20, 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.

Hiddush Fall 2010 Israel Religion and State Index September 17, 2010

Key Findings:

· Significant increase in opposition to new religious legislation [80%, up from 70% in previous study]

· 76% of Israelis want Haredi educational institutions to implement the ‘liba’ national core curriculum including math, science, English and civics

· 75% [up from 68% in previous report] support reducing financial subsidies to yeshiva students and families with over 5 children in order to encourage Haredi men to join the work force

· 80% thinks the ethnic quota system for Sephardic and Ashkenazi students in Haredi schools constitutes racism; 73% thinks the government should withhold funding from such schools

· 61% say government should recognize civil and non-Orthodox marriages [up from 55% in previous study]

· 61% supports breaking the Orthodox monopoly on conversion to Judaism

· 73% view the conflict between secular and Haredi Israelis as the most acute domestic conflict [up from 65% in the previous study]. Other domestic conflicts lag considerably behind [44% - Left/Right tension; 29% - Rich/Poor; 23% - Sepharadi/Ashkenazi; 9% - Veteran Israelis/New Immigrants]

· 70% support eliminating or reducing gender-segregation in public places (the Kotel, public buses)

PHOTO Slideshow: Israel comes to a halt for Yom Kippur fasting and atonement

By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press September 17, 2010

Though most Israelis are not religious, Israel all but shuts down for the duration of the fast day.

There are no TV or radio broadcasts, businesses are shuttered and the streets are so devoid of cars that thousands of children take advantage of the day to ride their bicycles down highways.

55% of Yom Kippur vacationers will get there, fast, then take it slow

By Irit Rosenblum September 17, 2010

About 75,000 Israelis are expected to fly overseas for the Yom Kippur holiday.

...Of those flying, some 55% say they will fast on vacation and another 15% said they will drink but not eat, reports a survey conducted by Flying Carpet, a tour and charter operator.

'Every fourth secular Israeli fasts each Yom Kippur'

By Jonah Mandel September 14, 2010

Every fourth secular Israeli will be fasting this coming Yom Kippur, as in previous years, and a similar number said they will attend a synagogue service on either Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashana, according to new data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics at the beginning of the week.

61% of Israeli Jews to fast on Yom Kippur

By Kobi Nahshoni September 16, 2010

Asked whether they plan to fast on Yom Kippur, 61% of Israelis said yes and 28% said no. Six percent said they would fast only part of the day and 5% had yet to decide.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents answer that they would take part in the holiday's prayers (21% in all of them, 14% in some, and 16% only in Kol Nidrei and Ne'ilah), while 49% said they will not attend Yom Kippur services at all.

Tel Aviv: Haredim, seculars in chicken slaughter feud

By Yoav Zitun September 16, 2010

Over 2,000 people have signed a petition, led by Tel Aviv City Council Member Reuven Lediansky, calling on Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai to prohibit the ceremonial slaughtering of chickens, as part of the ritual ceremony performed prior to Yom Kippur.

Members of the "Free Ramat Aviv" group, which has been operating in recent years to counter the Haredi takeover of the northern Tel Aviv neighborhood, plans to take whatever legal steps necessary to prevent the slaughtering, if it indeed takes place in public.

Leading rabbi joins animal rights group's campaign against kaparot

By Yair Ettinger September 13, 2010

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of Jerusalem's Ateret Yeshiva and rabbi of the settlement of Beit El, has spoken out in the past against the contentious rite.

This time, however, he acceded to the SPCA's request and issued a religious ruling that, rather than slaughtering an animal, giving money to the poor is a better method of absolving oneself of transgressions.

Senior rabbi speaks out against using fowl in kapparot

By Jonah Mandel September 14, 2010

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger also responded to the SPCA Israel's request for rabbinic support, and issued orders to ensure that the chickens facing the ceremony will be treated in a way that would reduce the unnecessary suffering to a minimum, in accordance to the Jewish tradition that stresses the need to show compassion to animals.

Click here for VIDEO Rabbi Shlomo Aviner (Hebrew)

Is environmentalism boosting Jewish observance?

By Rachel Talshir September 13, 2010

On Yom Kippur, it is possible to say, without boasting and without exaggeration that for one day the state of Israel becomes a light unto environmentalists around the world.

For one day, almost everyone, or at least the Jewish majority, celebrates an entire day without shopping and without cars. The country can chalk up a green achievement of international magnitude.

Israel Breathes Easy On Yom Kippur Day September 15, 2010

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism and begins this Friday. For non-Jews in Israel it is a day when the streets are quiet, peaceful and vacant of anything but feet.

But beyond urban tranquility, green campaigners in Israel have noticed an unexpected benefit to the Jewish day of prayer and fasting: the country’s ecological footprint is significantly reduced.

Israel: Secular Kibbutz Members Welcome Torah Study, Prayer

By R. C. Berman September 13, 2010

In Kibbutz Beit Alfa’s Children’s House, director Anat Lev is busy planning High Holiday activities with the local Chabad rabbi.

Religious activity was once verboten on this kibbutz, as on many others. Performing basic Jewish rituals, like kindling Shabbat candles, was not permitted in the communal dining hall, and rabbis were barred from entering the kibbutz.

Today, thanks to a shifting trend toward more interest in and openness to religious expression, Kibbutz Beit Alfa owns a shofar. But there is nobody on-site who knows how to blow it.

Making Shofars on the Front Line

By David Yisrael September 15, 2010

Photo by Levik Hertzel, Chabad

Soldiers serving in Chevron were treated to an educational exhibition on the making of Shofars.
The exciting workshop was run by two Chabad boys from America who are now spending their time in the holy city of Chevron.

During their visit, Sadya Hershkop and Levi Hertzel have managed to help scores of soldiers with various religious affairs, from putting on Tefilin or installing a Mezuza, to assisting them observe the festival season of Tishrei.

Israel’s Two Wheel Yom Kippur Dilemma

By R. C. Berman September 15, 2010

Amir Karlinsky used to suffer from two headaches on Yom Kippur. One from caffeine withdrawal during the fast, and the other from running alongside his three daughters as they rode their bikes on Tel Aviv’s empty streets.

“Even though I did not keep other mitzvot, I would fast and take the children out to bike,” he said.

Israel bike sales surge as Yom Kippur approaches

By Adi Dovrat-Meseritz September 16, 2010

Sales usually increase 30% to 40% about two weeks before Yom Kippur, said Gadi Meents, one of the owners of the Rosen and Meents chain, which has 16 stores.

Sales are expected to peak today at 70% more than on a typical day, he added, meaning the stores will have sold thousands of bikes in a single week.

50,000 Secular Israelis Join Tzohar's Yom Kippur Initiative

By Gil Ronen September 16, 2010

Tens of thousands of secular Israeli Jews are scheduled to join in prayer services all around the country, as part of the Tzohar Rabbinic organization's Praying Together on Yom Kippur initiative.

The program is designed to provide Israelis who typically shy away from traditional prayer services with a welcoming and comforting environment in which to spend the holiest day in the Jewish year.

A Tale of Yom Kippur: With Eyes of Love

By Talya September 16, 2010

Yom Kippur had come around again and I was feeling spent, empty, lost. Religion, my own beliefs of reward and punishment, weighed down on me to the point where I didn’t know what to believe in anymore or how to escape my own oppression.

...Years later, I still remember her. The image is burned in my mind because I knew, somehow I knew, that it was a sign.

I had sat there that day at the kotel after a terrible divorce, not understanding yet that I was gay, and thought that God had punished me because prior to my marriage, I had been with a woman. I thought that I had suffered because I had sinned.

The species master

By Yair Ettinger September 19, 2010

Rabbi Yechiel Michel Stern who will turn 61 this Sukkot, has served as the rabbi of Jerusalem's Ezrat Torah neighborhood for nearly 40 years.

Considered both in and outside his neighborhood as the supreme authority on matters connected to the Four Species used on Sukkot, he has written over 80 books, one entitled "The Halachos of the Four Species."

Israeli Customs Officers Find Undeclared Etrogim

By Elad Benari September 16, 2010

Customs employees at Ben Gurion Airport were stunned last week when they found more than 300 Etrogim without a government permit and on which taxes hadn’t been paid.

The Etrogim were found in the possession of an Israeli couple who had arrived in Israel on a flight from Paris.

Israel Daylight Saving Time Change Starts Religion-State Debate

By Michele Chabin, Religion News Service September 13, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman September 6, 2010

"Winter, Jews, Winter"

Though not thrilled by the early arrival of sunset on warm sunny days, ultra-Orthodox Jews have stood behind their rabbis and elected officials.

"It's not ideal," said a fervently religious woman pushing a double stroller down a busy Jerusalem street, four other children in tow, "but there is more than one way to bring light to the Jewish people."

High-tech firms refuse clock switch until late October

By Guy Grimland September 13, 2010

The high-tech industry is taking a stand against the time change. The telecom firm 102 Smile said yesterday it would continue operating on daylight saving time through late October, and two venture capital firms, IHCV and Walden Israel, have announced they, too, would delay moving their clocks back to winter hours.

Shas Interior Minister Eli Yishai added:

"The fact that the entire world switches its clocks later doesn't obligate us. Not the entire world is Jewish."

Daylight savings for life — it can save lives, too

By Rabbi Danny Schiff Opinion September 16, 2010

Seemingly ignored in the whole discussion is a critical halachic issue, which, from a Jewish perspective, ought to be far more determinative than sociological or economic considerations: pikuakh nefesh — the saving of life.

...While it is impossible to calculate the numbers with precision, this much seems sure: unnecessary deaths and injuries do occur on Israeli roads during every year that we farewell daylight savings earlier than is absolutely necessary.

Haredi MK: We'll stop paying taxes September 16, 2010

Knesset Member Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) lashed out at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, saying it kept on ruling against Israel's ultra-Orthodox residents.

"We will stop paying taxes. What will happen? They'll throw us in jail. The money is ours, but if, God forbid, they try to hurt our children's education and stop the budgeting, there will be war. There are many ways to conduct a struggle. I suggest that no one test us."

Ya’acov Katz takes on the Sicarii

By Jonah Mandel September 16, 2010

A national-religious lawmaker has taken it upon himself to eradicate the extremist haredi group that rains terror on whomever it pleases, primarily on its Mea She’arim turf.

Many have been subject to verbal and physical intimidation by the so-called Sikrikim, primarily haredim who the radical anti-Zionist group decide, for various reasons, are out of line.

But none dared to take on the violent group – until Sunday, when MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) and his aide were accosted by Sikrikim when the two stopped in at a Mea She’arim synagogue for afternoon prayer.

Nude pictures used for extortion in Haredi concert conflict

By Yoav Zitun September 13, 2010

The conflict within haredi society between over whether or not to allow concerts before mixed-gender audiences has reached new heights. On Monday, the police arrested Shlomo Saklersky, a 40-year-old resident of Bnei Brak, on suspicions of extortion.

Saklersky is suspected of having shown nude pictures of the attorney associated with Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak in order to coerce him to withdraw his opposition to concerts before concerts with both men and women in attendance.

Three Years In Jail For Alleged Coordinator In Haredi Japanese Drug Smuggling Case September 15, 2010

Israeli news service Kikar Shabbat reports that a Tel Aviv court has sentenced Benzion Miller to three years behind bars today for his part in the drug smuggling episode that landed three chareidi yeshiva bochurim from Bnei Brak in a Japanese jail in April 2008.

No photos of Bar Refaeli allowed

By David Brinn September 19, 2010

Making the new mall attractive to secular Israelis yet palatable to haredi Israelis is going to be a tough task for the owners, Phoenix Holdings Ltd. of the Tshuva Group (70%) and Bayit Chadash Beyerushalaim Ltd. (30%).

...Next to the Malha Mall, it will be the biggest mall in the capitol. But with the haredi influence, will it become another white elephant like the dismal Center One at the entrance to the city? It depends which side of the tightrope the owners fall on.

Jerusalem's 2nd biggest mall to open in 2011

By Ofer Petersburg September 17, 2010

The Ramot neighborhood has some 50,000 residents, and another 13,000 live at Givon and Givat Ze'ev. Together with the other north Jerusalem neighborhoods, some 300,000 people living within 10 minutes' drive will be served by the new mall, including the secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox populations.

See Ramot Mall (Hebrew)

Study: Mental health needs of Haredim insufficiently addressed September 19, 2010

The mental health needs of the Orthodox Jewish community, particularly as they relate to substance abuse and family and marital problems, are perceived by the community’s mental health professionals as insufficiently addressed, much as they were a quarter-century ago.

Despite some improvement, there is an apparent paucity of service that is especially pronounced in the ultra-Orthodox and segments of the community.

Israeli Basketball Players Grow Closer to Yiddishkeit September 15, 2010

Today, the Yediot Acharonot daily newspaper reported on the “Jewish League.” in its “24 Hours” supplement. Journalist Arele Weisberg writes that Israeli basketball players are getting closer to Yiddishkeit.

Chabad Rabbi Glauberman added,

“We’ve managed to bring many players closer to Yiddishkeit. Israelis who go abroad to play ask us to help them put up mezuzos in their homes, find kosher food, and deal with halachic questions. We have a great relationship. They are hungering to learn and understand."

A Case For Shaping Civil Society With Jewish Law

By Rabbi Jill Jacobs Opinion September 15, 2010

Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the author of “There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice Through Jewish Law and Tradition” (Jewish Lights, 2009).

When people ask me whether I think that Halacha, or Jewish law, should govern civil law in the State of Israel, my response is “No, but —.” Given the current religious power structures in Israel, I shudder to think of the damage that might be done by Haredi authorities.

But — if Israelis were willing to open up space for a multi-vocal Jewish conversation about civil law, the result might be a state that cares more deeply for its citizens, and in which Jewish law is more alive, than at any other time in the past 2,000 years.

Using an old-new formula in the search for peace

By Raphael Ahren September 17, 2010

For Rabbi Daniel Roth, a U.S.-born Talmud instructor, the ancient wisdom of Judaism provides an ideal complement to contemporary conflict resolution theories.

"We [Jews] have so many incredible traditions and lots of them have been forgotten and are not always tapped into in our culture," says Roth, who last year created Israel's first academic track that analyzes peace and conflict issues from a religious point of view at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.

Meet the Bible Quiz Contestants: Scholars, Workmen and an Arab

By Yoni Kempinski September 19, 2010

Click here for VIDEO

The First Bible (Tanach) Contest for Adults is getting off the ground in Israel and contestants who have made it to the second stage gathered in Jerusalem recently. They included the winner of a television contest and an Israeli Arab.

Rabbi rolling in his grave

By Akiva Novick September 14, 2010

Hasidic followers are not the only ones making the annual pilgrimage to Rabbi Nachman of Breslov's gravesite in the Ukrainian city of Uman. The past few years have seen the site become a booming tourist attraction – and with tourists come the tourist attractions.

How Do You Say Shofar in Ukrainian?

By Menachem Kaiser September 13, 2010

Click here for PHOTO Slideshow

UMAN, Ukraine—Last week, approximately 35,000 Hasidim weren't home for Rosh Hashanah. Instead, they were in Uman, participating in the most intense Jewish pilgrimage since the times of the Second Temple.

Click here for Photos of Uman:

As Gush Dan cemeteries fill up, burial societies start charging for underground plots

By Dana Weiler-Polak September 13, 2010

Some months ago the Tel Aviv area burial society began charging a premium for in-ground burials, a practice that some experts consider illegal, and did so without announcing the changes.

The National Insurance Institute burial grant is insufficient to cover the new costs, leaving families without the means to pay extra with no choice but to choose above ground, multistory interment for their loved ones.

Chabad Loves the Soldiers

By David Yisrael September 16, 2010

Click here for PHOTO Slideshow

Chabad Rabbi Menachem Ofen of Jerusalem ran a number of tours and entertainment activities called "Light for the Soldiers" for soldiers serving in the Israeli Army.

...Rabbi Ofen also took the opportunity to enlighten the young protectors of the land about the deeper meaning of the festivals and their representations in our lives, as elucidated in the works of Chassidus.

Religion and State in Israel

September 20, 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.