Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
By Aviad Glickman www.ynetnews.com May 16, 2010
The High Court of Justice was presented with a petition Sunday demanding that it order the Knesset and the Education Ministry to explain why ultra-Orthodox schools are not being forced to teach basic subjects, such as Mathematics and English.
They add that the law harms the legal rights of students attending the small yeshivas, and that it "perpetuates their economic dependence on the community and welfare payments from the state".
No democratic state, they conclude, agrees to fund a school system devoid of governmental inspection.
By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com May 14, 2010
Two new and separate petitions challenging the refusal of the haredi educational system to teach core curriculum subjects essential for the modern workforce are currently afoot in the High Court of Justice.
One was filed last week by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). The other, due to be submitted in the next day or two, was prepared by Uriel Reichmann, president of the Interdisciplinary Center – Herzliya, former Education Minister Amnon Rubinstein, and four men who left the haredi community into which they were born.
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com May 14, 2010
Seventy-nine percent of Israeli Jews think all haredi schools should be forced to teach the core curriculum subjects, according to a poll conducted this week by the Smith Institute on behalf of Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality in Israel.
Seventy-seven percent of the poll’s respondents said civics must also be a mandatory subject in haredi schools, and 57% favored stopping all funding to educational institutions that do not teach the core curriculum subjects.
By Avirama Golan Opinion www.haaretz.com May 12, 2010
Now, with the so-called Nahari Law allowing local governments to fund "recognized but unofficial" institutions (such as Haredi-run schools), they have become an oversized engine around which the wheels of privatization spin.
Ultra-Orthodox politicians apply pressure, the government recoils and the already-diluted state education system is enlisted into funding the Haredi school apparatus.
The Israeli public left paying the price has had its fill and is growing increasingly incensed with the Haredim.
By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com May 14, 2010
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon yesterday pledged not to proceed with a controversial conversion bill before consulting with Reform and Conservative leaders in the U.S.
According to Nicole Maor, who directs the Israel Religious Action Center's legal aid center for new immigrants, the intent of the article related to the Law of Return is "to make life more difficult for non-Orthodox converts," as experience has shown that Orthodox converts are often more readily accepted by Israeli authorities than those belonging to other streams.
Furthermore, she argued the section is entirely superfluous. "There is no one in Israel today who is converting anyone who is [an] illegal [migrant]," she said.
By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com May 14, 2010
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says he personally familiar with the conversion issue, thanks to his Ohio-born wife Anne, who comes from a Christian-Zionist family. She converted in the U.S. after meeting him in the late 1970s.
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com May 11, 2010
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Movement in Israel, called the letter “testimony to the strong bond between Reform and Conservative Judaism, and the State of Israel and its citizens” and “evidence of the true concern that aggressive, unilateral legislation on conversions will bring about feelings of alienation and insult among millions of Jews in the Diaspora.”
Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Masorti (Conservative) Movement in Israel, said that “the prime minister must listen carefully to the voices emanating from North American Jewry. Reform and conservative Jews are the core leadership of all the organizations aiding Israel – AIPAC, Hadassah, the Jewish Federations.
By Jacob Berkman http://blogs.jta.org May 10, 2010
“By legislatively granting the power of conversion to the Chief Rabbinate exclusively, this bill explicitly connects conversion to a single religious stream,” Silverman wrote.
“It does not recognize conversion via the streams that represent 85% of Diaspora Jewry. This message is inconsistent with the democratic ideals on which the State of Israel was founded.”
By David H. Lissy www.thejewishweek.com May 11, 2010
The writer is Executive Director and CEO, Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
The sad part of Rotem’s visit was not that we failed to agree, but that it became clear he simply does not understand diaspora Jewry.
Thus, when he says we should not care about his bill because it does not affect conversions here (a statement which is not clearly certain) he fails to understand our link to and deep concern for the Masorti and Reform movements in Israel as well as our commitment to pluralism in Israel.
(original text here: The mitzvah and its “punishment”)
By Noa Raz Opinion http://blogs.rj.org May 14, 2010
This is not a story about a man attacking someone at a bus station. It's not even a story about violence against women. It's a story about religious violence. It's a story about attacking a person due to his/her faith, due to his/her will to serve God in his/her own way, in private, according to his/her outlook, according to his/her understanding of the Holy Torah.
The problem does not only lie with that man, the attacker. It lies with those who educated him, with his leaders who shamelessly and violently talk out against any religious practice that is not Haredi.
By Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik Opinion www.thejewishweek.com May 14, 2010
What we’re talking about now is not just equal rights, or equity in government funding.
This is now about the basic responsibility of a state to guarantee the safety of its citizens, and to insure that its culture does not become one of lawlessness.
Israel is perilously close to lawlessness, at least in regard to Haredi Jews feeling that violence against Jews who are different from them is not only understandable, but also warranted.
By Anne Barker www.abc.net.au May 17, 2010
Anat Hoffman from the Israel Religious Action Centre says there should be room at the wall for every Jew, regardless of their practice.
"What we're doing is according to Halacha, according to Jewish law. It's just changing the custom a bit," she said.
By ck www.jewlicious.com May 1, 2010
"Bat Kol is an Israel-based religious lesbian group. It’s meant to provide a path of love and acceptance for Orthodox and religious lesbians to express both their sexual orientation and their religious beliefs without sacrificing either identity.
It’s a very diverse group. Some were brought up Orthodox and left the community, others are very Orthodox but for the most part, they are all seeking greater spirituality within the confines of a sympathetic, non-judgmental community of peers who share and understand each others experiences."
By Michele Chabin www.thejewishweek.com May 11, 2010
Their exit highlights the differences between American and Israeli Conservative rabbinical schools — the former, which does ordain openly gay rabbinical students, the latter, which does not — and the students caught between them.
By Rabbi Marc Rosenstein Opinion http://blogs.rj.org May 11, 2010
He is presently the director of the Israeli Rabbinic Program of HUC-JIR, as well as the director of the Makom ba-Galil
If there is one place in the world where we Reform Jews have the opportunity and the obligation to translate our universalistic ethical principles into the messy reality of the political world, it is here, in the country that purports to be the Jewish state, the one place in the world where we are sovereign, where the buck stops with us.
If we don't lead the way to building a state that is a Jewish state worthy of the name (and I don't just mean that Reform rabbis will have equal rights to marry), then, ultimately, Zionism will have failed, and Reform Judaism will be exposed as irrelevant to Jewish history.
By Josh Tapper http://coveringreligion.org May 10, 2010
“I think it’s the best place for a Masorti Jew in Israel,” Gliksman, who was born in Jerusalem, said of Hanaton in an email. “It’s important to have Conservative, Reform, and other ways of expressing Judaism, so this diversity will reach all the Jewish citizens of Israel.”
Unlike the United States, where the Conservative and Reform movements dominate the religious landscape, Israel’s rabbinical authority is dogmatically Orthodox. With little political or religious capital, the kibbutz, Epstein said, can be a place for Masorti Jews to foster their own identity.
By Meredith Ross www.ynetnews.com May 10, 2010
The historical building Beit Lorenz in Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek area was dedicated Wednesday evening as a center for pluralistic Jewish culture for the residents of Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
The project is the vision of Rabbi Roberto Arbib of congregation Kehillat Sinai.
“My idea was ready fifteen years ago. I began to plan this center where Israelis from all streams, whether secular or religious, will find a place and create a dialogue with spiritual and cultural issues within the state of Israel.”
By Asaf Shtull-Trauring www.haaretz.com May 17, 2010
Just 42 percent of the Jewish population defines itself as secular, according to a socioeconomic poll commissioned by the Central Bureau of Statistic in 2009.
The findings, which were released yesterday, show that 8 percent of Israeli Jews view themselves as ultra-Orthodox, 12 percent characterize themselves as religious, 13 percent are religiously observant, and 25 percent adhere to traditional custom but are not religiously observant.
- 18% Haredi
- 12% "Dati"
- 13% "Masorti Dati"
- 25% "Masorti, not so Dati"
- 42% "Hiloni"
By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 13, 2010
The plan to affix a mezuzah in the Meva’ot I’ron School near Kibbutz Ein Shemmer should be cause for celebration, but instead, it has resulted in a bitter conflict, with some students and parents yelling “religious coercion”.
By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com May 14, 2010
Dr. Micah Goodman, a lecturer on Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and director of the Ein Prat Academy:
"It is clear to me that the religious have lost their monopoly on Shavuot. A decade or so ago, Shavuot night study took place almost exclusively in synagogues, but now nearly every community and cultural center in the city has a full plate of pluralistic lecturers on offer.”
Beneath the radar, though, something more fundamental may be happening. Through inattention, occupation and sheer laziness, we have got the Jerusalem we deserve.
It may be wishful thinking, but for one night a year, the dual-monopoly that the Haredi community seems to have, both over the cultural identity of Jerusalem and over Torah study, seems to crack.
By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com May 12, 2010
An investigation by the State Comptroller's Office has found that the small percentage of yeshiva students who choose to do national service via the Tal Law encounter a range of obstacles.
By Hillel Fendel www.israelnationalnews.com May 16, 2010
Hundreds of people took part in a post-Sabbath “Melave Malka” event at Prison Six, in solidarity with several hesder yeshiva soldiers imprisoned there.
The student-soldiers are being held there because they refuse to leave their yeshiva, Har Bracha, and sign up with another one. The army is demanding that they do so, following its breaking ties with yeshiva Dean Rabbi Eliezer Melamed because of his criticism of the army.
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com May 12, 2010
Twenty-two years after the initiation of the pre-military yeshiva preparatory course, Bnei David, that contributed to the integration of thousands of kippah-wearers into the highest IDF command posts, Rabbi Eli Sadan officially consecrated the continuation program that will see to the integration of its graduates into key positions in civilian life.
By Aviad Glickman www.ynetnews.com May 9, 2010
The state filed a response to a High Court petition against the nomination of Rafi Peretz to the office of chief IDF rabbi.
The petition demanded his nomination be removed because of an accident in which two soldiers fell from a helicopter he was piloting, but the state claimed that this was not a good enough reason.
By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 14, 2010
Rabbi Schwartz stress that it was never his intention to pull people out of the beis medrash, but to attract those who are not learning.
He points out that Rav Shach ZT”L always warned that “those who are not learning jeopardize the position of those who are learning as they should” and he agrees, stating that those committed to learning Torah should continue doing just that.
By Gabrielle Birkner http://online.wsj.com May 14, 2010
Gabrielle Birkner is Web editor of the Forward, and founding editor of its women's issues blog, The Sisterhood.
What does a Jewish child need most from a mother? Forget about the chicken soup—it's all about the eggs, say a growing number of prominent rabbis. Several recent rabbinic rulings on fertility treatment dictate that a child conceived in vitro is Jewish only if the egg came from a Jewish woman.
The issue is most pressing in Israel, in part because tight restrictions on egg donation have long compelled infertile women to procure eggs abroad, where most donors are not Jewish.
By Abe Selig www.jpost.com May 11, 2010
Forty-three years after Motta Gur’s 55th (reserve) Paratroopers Brigade stormed the Old City and recaptured the Temple Mount during the Six Day War, 43 rabbis made their way to the holy site on Monday – the largest such group to visit the Temple Mount in generations.
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com May 10, 2010
This is the third time in recent years that a group of rabbis gathers to visit the Temple Mount, and the event has become a tradition since the 40th anniversary of Jerusalem's liberation.
By Shlomo Avineri Opinion www.haaretz.com May 10, 2010
I would like to note that I'm not comfortable with a situation in which people who don't live in Israel and won't be bearing the possible repercussions of the policies they advocate give themselves license to intervene in the political process here.
This applies to figures on the right as well as on the left. For all of Diaspora Jewry's affinity to Israel, the tough political decisions must be ours - and ours alone - to make, and it isn't fitting for non-citizens to have any part or parcel in those decisions.
By Alex Sinclair Opinion www.haaretz.com May 13, 2010
One can point to many obvious examples of Israeli policies that have been carried out without taking into account Diaspora Jewish opinion: the laws on conversion, on state non-recognition of non-orthodox marriages, and the despicable situation at the Kotel (Western Wall), which is rapidly turning Judaism’s most ancient monument into one of the main forces for the disintegration of Jewish peoplehood.
http://ejewishphilanthropy.com May 11, 2010
The El-Israel events marking the 10th anniversary of Birthright-Israel commenced yesterday in eleven cities and sites throughout Israel.
The events created joint encounters between thousands of Taglit Birthright participants and Israelis, among them university students, soldiers and hi-tech employees.
By Jacob Berkman http://blogs.jta.org May 11, 2010
As day schools have become an overly expensive option for some in the Orthodox world, an Israeli program that has offered Diaspora Jews free high school education in Israel is beefing up its outreach to Orthodox Jews and pitching itself as a free alternative.
Na'ale is recruiting current high school freshmen to move to Israel for the next three years and be enrolled in Israeli high schools for their sophomore through senior years.
http://masaisrael.wordpress.com May 13, 2010
Masa Israel is excited to announce the launch of a new capacity-building initiative to encourage study abroad and academic exchange in Israel.
The program will provides $50,000 grants to U.S. universities wishing to develop and execute academic partnerships with institutions of higher learning in Israel.
By Itamar Eichner www.ynetnews.com May 16, 2010
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky is promoting a program that will grant a Nobel-style prize, worth $1 million, to be granted once a year to a Jew from Israel or the Diaspora for making a significant contribution to all of humanity.
By Itamar Eichner www.ynetnews.com May 13, 2010
The state is offering all expatriates a "new immigrant" status if they return to Israel, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced Wednesday. The status carries government benefits and large tax exemptions.
By Gil Hoffman www.jpost.com May 17, 2010
Labor chairman Ehud Barak emerged victorious in a battle over the world chairmanship of the Keren-Kayemet Le’Israel Jewish National Fund at Labor’s Executive Committee meeting Sunday night at Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum.
By Gil Hoffman www.jpost.com May 16, 2010
The Labor Party's Executive Committee will hold what is expected to be a stormy meeting at the Land of Israel Museum in Tel Aviv Sunday night after an internal party court ruled that Labor chairman Ehud Barak cannot appoint his ally, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, as world chairman of KKL-JNF.
Labor officials said it was premature to deal with the KKL-JNF chairmanship when it is still unclear whether Labor will even be given the post in coalition talks in the World Zionist Congress that will not begin before next month.
By Mazal Mualem www.haaretz.com May 14, 2010
The chairman of the Jewish National Fund is accusing Labor chairman Ehud Barak and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon of violating the Labor charter in attempting to have Simhon appointed to head the foundation.
By Pastor John C. Hagee Opinion www.forward.com May 12, 2010
Pastor John C. Hagee is founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel
Christian support for Israel starts with the Bible, is strengthened by an understanding of history and endures because of the Judeo-Christian commitment to democratic values. Everything that forms the Christian understanding of the world leads to the same conclusion: Christians should support Israel because it is simply the right thing to do.
By Roee Nahmias www.ynetnews.com May 11, 2010
A new scandal involving a senior cleric is rocking one of Israel's communities. Ynet has learned that according to the suspicions, a senior religious scholar was blackmailed on sexual grounds by two men.
According to several sources, the cleric had an intimate relationship with a 21-year-old Palestinian from east Jerusalem when the latter was renovating his house.
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.