Monday, November 15, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - November 15, 2010 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

November 15, 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.

'Chief Rabbinate acknowledges validity of IDF conversions' November 14, 2010

State authorities acknowledged that they recognize the validity of IDF-sponsored conversions to Judaism, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.

...The Itim petition requested that the High Court issue a ruling to prevent rabbis from impeding anyone who successfully passed through army conversion program to register their marriage or to ask for further proof regarding the validity of their conversion to Judaism.

Four dayanim appointed to register converts' marriages

By Dan Izenberg and Jonah Mandel November 14, 2010

The state informed the High Court of Justice on Sunday that it had appointed four dayanim from the state administered conversion courts to serve as marriage registrars with the power to register anyone who had converted to Judaism according to a ruling by the state-appointed courts.

[Rabbi Seth] Farber expressed concern that the state refused to order the marriage registrars to register the marriages. He said the state regards the state-administered conversion courts as being of extreme importance but “the declaration is not being implemented de facto since it does not force the registrars to recognize these conversions.

IDF Conversion Courts Bill

By Dan Izenberg and Jonah Mandel November 14, 2010

[The] Ministerial Committee for Legislation is due on Monday to discuss a bill initiated by Knesset Law Committee Chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beitenu) and Robert Ilatuv (Yisrael Beitenu) officially establishing army conversion courts. According to the bill, “The conversion court’s decision to convert a soldier is decisive proof of his Jewishness.”

The Conversion Crisis Must Be Resolved Now!

By Rabbi Marc Angel Opinion November 8, 2010

It has been reported that the Chief Rabbinate in Israel is now calling for a review of the validity of conversions performed in Israel under the auspices of Israel's military rabbis--going back ten years and more! Thousands of lives are affected by this short sighted and extreme position.

The current Hareidi dominated Orthodox rabbinate in Israel is doing a vast disservice not only to converts, but to the State of Israel and the entire Jewish people everywhere.

It is well past time when the Hareidi stranglehold over conversions should be removed, and when the loving, inclusive and compassionate views of mainstream halakha once again are put in place.

The state of the State of Israel: Rabbi Shalom Hammer

By Janis Siegel November 9, 2010

“Yes, the Orthodox rabbinate has a monopoly on religious service in Israel,” said

[Rabbi Shalom] Hammer, “but at the end of the day, the fact is that they were given those auspices as representatives of the Israeli people. As far as conversions go, it’s run by the Orthodox rabbinate. As far as kashrut symbols in Israel, it’s run by the Orthodox rabbinate.

“Perhaps the Orthodox rabbinate could be a little more open understanding, and conversant with other denominations of Judaism,” he added.

“I believe that if the Orthodox rabbinate in Israel was more patient, understanding, and tolerant, people would not have any objection to the Orthodox rabbinate running things. The problem is the way that Jews handle each other. That’s what it comes down to.”

Memo to Gideon Sa'ar

By Rabbi Eric Yoffie Opinion November 8, 2010

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism

While the issue of stipends for yeshiva students has received more intention, the core-curriculum question is much more important.

The number of children in the ultra-Orthodox schools is growing. If they are not taught at a young age the fundamental skills that they need to support their families and be productive citizens of the Jewish state, what happens when they are older will be of little consequence.
There will be tremendous pressure on [Education Minister] Sa’ar to come up with a “compromise” that will be a codeword for surrender.

'Gender separation in public areas is growing'

By Rebecca Anna Stoil November 9, 2010

Gender separation in public areas is a growing and dangerous phenomenon in Israel, the Movement for Progressive Judaism warned Tuesday, as they issued its fourth report on gender separation during a Knesset meeting.

...The report that was published reflected 10 years of information-gathering by the Center for Progressive Judaism, with its writers arguing that the phenomenon of women being physically separated from men in public areas has been steadily growing.

The research demonstrated, said Sattath that the goal was not simply separation, but a gradual removal of women from the public space.

Rosh Chodesh Kislev at the Kotel, with Friends November 11, 2010

Photo: Women of the Wall (Nofrat Frenkel)

On Rosh Chodesh Kislev, November 8, 2010 Women of the Wall gathered at the Kotel for the monthly women’s prayer group, commemorating the anniversary of the arrest of Nofrat Frenkel. One year ago, Nofrat Frankel was arrested for wearing a tallit at the Kotel. Thankfully, her record has been expunged since the incident.

Praying alongside Nofrat at the Kotel was a large group of women from throughout Israel and the diaspora, including a tour group from Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area led by Rabbi Jonathan Singer of Temple Beth Am of Seattle, and co-founder of Rabbis for Women of the Wall Rabbi Pamela Frydman.

A Rosh Chodesh Kislev Testimonial

By Rabbi Sue Mauer Morningstar November 11, 2010

Click here for photo gallery

I have had an experience that was hardly describable in words. The gathering of the Women of the Wall (WOW) was intense, powerful and extremely beautiful.

Women of Vision Support 'Agunah' Advocacy Efforts

By Lynn B. Edelman November 11, 2010

Laura Shaw Frank predicts enormous social problems for Israel's observant families if the agunah issue is not resolved.

"Many Jews are leaving the Orthodox movement, disgusted and angered by unjust laws and corrupt courts," she says, adding that the only real resolution to this problem is to change the laws of halachah.

"Laws should promote justice," insists Frank. "Rabbinic law must be revised to ensure that a man does not have the legal right to wreck havoc on the lives of others."

חוק ברית הזוגיות לא משרת אף אחד

Returning citizens to get similar rights as immigrants

By Raphael Ahren November 12, 2010

Returning citizens will receive benefits "similar to those of new immigrants," the Absorption Ministry announced this week. Speaking about a "revolution" in the state's policy toward returnees, Minister Sofa Landver presented a new plan Wednesday at a session of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs to attract returnees by offering perks in taxation, customs, health, education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Are Israel and Young American Jews Growing Apart: Debating the Distancing Hypothesis

Editor’s Introduction to the Distancing Hypothesis Issue

We are devoting this special issue of Contemporary Jewry to a debate and commentaries about what has come to be called the “Distancing Hypothesis,” the suggestion that American Jews increasingly are socially, culturally, ethnically, and emotionally distant from the State of Israel.

This issue of the journal came out of a panel on the subject that was held at a session sponsored by the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry, the parent body of this journal.

Jewish Agency and Joint finally strike funding accord

By Jacob Berkman November 9, 2010

The deal stipulates that the two sides will keep the 75-25 split for the remainder of 2010 with the caveat that any dollars that the federations give overseas beyond what they gave in 2009 will be split 50-50 between the two organizations. In 2011 the partners will begin a new system.

Ninety percent of the total money raised will be split according to the 75-25 rule, but the remaining 10 percent will be given away to each group according to need. The new system calls for the groups to create four of what it is calling “buckets.”

Study: Israel experience strengthens Jewish affiliation November 11, 2010

Participation in semester or year programs in Israel is directly linked to stronger Jewish affiliation and leadership – regardless of the Jewish background growing up, a study commissioned by Masa Israel Journey finds.

South Africa immigrants to start flying with El Al again, say officials

By Raphael Ahren November 12, 2010

Future immigrants from South Africa will fly to Israel on El Al again, according to officials dealing with immigration from this country. For the last 12 months, the Jewish Agency brought more than 160 Southern African immigrants on Ethiopian Airlines flights, which had elicited complaints about bad food, tiresome travel arrangements and other inconveniences from newcomers and the organization representing them.

Sharansky leads new charge for Jewish Agency

By Douglas J. Guth November 11, 2010

“There are long lines for Birthright Israel and MASA and other projects bringing Jewish kids to Israel, and the lines are getting longer,” Sharansky recently told Ha’aretz. “There is no question that Israel is playing more of a central role in the identity of American Jewry.”

For JAFI, this means giving young Jews more of what they want, including the expansion of “identity-focused programming” like Taglit-Birthright Israel trips for young adults as well as joint foreign service programs between Diaspora and Israeli Jews.

Boosting Teen Trips to Israel

By Dan Zeller November 14, 2010

These words are inspiring, but what does all this support and goodwill really mean if we talk “tachlas”? Where’s the money going to come from? And more importantly, how is it going to be divided? Well, that’s what’s being discussed right now in meetings of Lapid members which span across Israel and the US.

...Lapid has set a goal of doubling the current number of annual high school-age participants on Israel programs within seven years. The ramifications of such an achievement for Israel-Diaspora ties are immense, according to Yehezkel.

Since participants on Lapid programs are usually “adopted” by host families during their stay in Israel, “try to imagine a quarter million [Israeli] households warmly connected to a quarter million Diaspora youth who have been to Israel. The potential is enormous.”

Taking a Shyne to Judaism

By David Brinn November 12, 2010

Shyne has become an ubiquitous presence in Jerusalem in recent weeks, whether working out at the David Citadel fitness center, studying at the Or Sameach, Belz or Mirs yeshivot or visiting the Gilad Schalit tent to talk with Noam and Aviva Schalit.

“I’m just a guy getting connected,” he said. “I met the head of a yeshiva who told me I should learn, but he understood I have to be in the world – I’m a businessman and an artist, but my intellect could always use some more refining and studying Talmud is a good thing, so I set some time aside.”

New school offers music training in a religious setting

By Jonah Mandel November 14, 2010

The Mizmor (hymn) School, established as part of the Givat Washington Campus of Education, near Kvutzat Yavne, recently began the first of its three-year program with fifty-odd men and women of varying degrees of religious observance, aging 20 to 35, all of whom sought a place where they could live out their passion for music and develop professional skills, without compromising in their lifestyle.

The Jewish Renaissance in Israeli Society: The Emergence of a New Jew by Yair Sheleg September 18, 2010

Yair Sheleg's new book The Jewish Renaissance in Israeli Society: The Emergence of a New Jew [Hebrew] deals with the rise of new cultural religious trends in Israel.

The chapters give us a kaleidoscope of the turns to kabbalah, Rebbe Nachman, Piyyut, and Eastern religion in Israeli society. He documents the rise of secular study of traditional texts and the rise of hiloni prayer communities. His conclusion is that these trends are part of the rise of the new age and spirituality in Israeli culture.

Poll: Seculars more anxious than Haredim November 14, 2010

Secular Israelis are five times more likely to suffer from anxiety attacks than haredim, a poll conducted by the Center for Academic Studies has found.

Religion and State in Israel

November 15, 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.