Monday, July 26, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - July 26, 2010 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

July 26, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Shas, UTJ reject conversion bill freeze

By Jonah Mandel July 25, 2010

The agreement for an all-around moratorium on the legal actions that could change the status quo of conversions in Israel seems to be accepted only by liberal Jewish groups, while the Haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, which supported Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem’s conversion bill in its recent Knesset Law Committee vote, were not part of such a deal.

Rotem told The Jerusalem Post that he was not party to the understandings, and did not know if he would participate in the planned talks. The Knesset was on a recess until October, and no legislation could be advanced anyway, Rotem said.

US Jews protest arrest of woman at Kotel

By Hilary Leila Krieger July 23, 2010

WASHINGTON – Close to 50 protesters, among them a dozen rabbis, warned the Israeli government on Thursday that the recent arrest of a woman carrying a Torah at the Kotel risked alienating American Jewry.

The arrest of Hoffman, a leader of the Reform Movement in Israel, comes at a delicate time in Israeli-Diaspora relations, as members of the American community have mobilized to oppose a conversion bill in the Knesset that would anchor in law Orthodox rabbis’ control over the process in Israel.

It was an Orthodox rabbi, however, who organized Thursday’s protest, in part to show that many Orthodox Jews embrace the right of women to hold Torah scrolls, and oppose Hoffman’s arrest.

Hassidim invite Sephardi girls to school

By Jonah Mandel July 23, 2010

Slonimer Hassidim who removed their daughters from the Emmanuel Beit Ya’acov school are apparently trying to talk certain Sephardi parents into sending their children to the new school they are planning to open in the town, though the motives behind the move are not entirely clear.

...While the Slonimers have claimed all along that the separation was a result of religious stringency and not racial discrimination, the Yediot report said that the recent outreach was most probably due to the fact that the hassidim needed a certain quota of students to get the partial state funding for their planned school.

Rabbi Yitzhak Weinberg, one of the Emmanuel fathers who spent just over a week in prison, stressed that while the new school was indeed short a few heads, money was not behind the appeal to the Sephardi parents.

'Haredi unemployment unsustainable'

By Arieh O'Sullivan, The Media Line News Agency July 22, 2010

“By the time you are up to 10 percent of the population of whom 70 percent of the male part of the population doesn’t work, you are getting to a macroeconomic issue,” he said at a media conference.
“What is more of concern is the rate of growth of this community, this population relative to the rest of the population.”

Haredi unemployment costs billions annually

By Jonathan Golan July 22, 2010

The Israeli economy stands to lose more than NIS 6 billion ($1.55 billion) annually as result of low haredi participation in the workforce, a new report found.

The report was commissioned by the Treasury at the request of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense sub-committee, headed by Knesset Member Yohanan Plesner (Kadima).

Israel Bank Chief Warns Ultra-Orthodox: Get a Job

By Matthew Kalman July 21, 2010

Dan Ben-David, director of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel:

"People say that the haredim don't work, that it's a religious or a cultural thing, but that isn't true." "Thirty years ago they did work. Then, the rate of nonemployment was 21 percent. Now it's 65 percent. It grew threefold."

"It is still possible to change direction," he added. "The government must understand the implications of these trends and adopt a comprehensive program to change them without delay."

Bank of Israel chief: Haredi unemployment is hurting Israel's economy

Agencies July 22, 2010

The rate of growth among the ultra-Orthodox, in which a majority of men don't work, is an economic problem, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said earlier this week.

Only in Israel: Torah-only education

By Amir Shoan Opinion July 22, 2010

Throughout history and throughout the world, Judaism's great spiritual thinkers have combined Torah study with a broad general education that served as a basis for their writings and the difficult questions with which they were confronted.

Today, too, the haredi public abroad runs advanced educational institutes that integrate Jewish studies and secular studies, training their graduates to join the job market.

Only in Israel do less than 9% of haredim hold high school matriculation certificates or an academic degree. Some 65% of haredi men, who are supposed to be the breadwinners for their families, do not work.

The cursed question

By Rachel Elboim-Dror 0pinion July 25, 2010

The critical and suspicious reception given to the Education Ministry's program for bolstering Jewish studies in educational institutions reveals some of the complexity and internal contradictions that characterize Israeli society.

...As for the concern that the program will create alienation and indoctrinate secular students, that depends on who will teach and how, and not on the content.

Are the ultra-Orthodox digging their own grave?

By Shay Fogelman July 25, 2010

The recent ultra-Orthodox demonstrations against the desecration of graves, caused by excavations adjacent to the Andromeda apartment complex in Jaffa, surprised many in the Tel Aviv District Police.

..."Atra Kadisha climbed too far out on a limb this time," said a senior ultra-Orthodox journalist who wishes to remain anonymous. "When they say that the main halakhic arbiters and most of the public are not behind them, they will have no choice. They will be the ones who come down, branch by branch."

Developer Aby Rosen unearths cemetery while building $600M hotel in Israel, angering Orthodox Jews

By Gatecrasher July 22, 2010

Aby Rosen's plans to build a $60 million hotel in the Holy Land have turned hellish.

The real estate developer and his partner Michael Fuchs have stoked the anger of Orthodox Jews after construction crews working for their company, RFR Holding, unearthed an ancient cemetery while building the luxury inn in Jaffa, Israel.

Daughter sues Nat'l Insurance for refusing to pay for mother's burial in Bnei Brak

By Dana Weiler-Polak July 22, 2010

A Bnei Brak resident who wanted to bury her dead mother in the city's cemetery was surprised to learn that the National Insurance Institute does not cover the costs for locals to be buried there. M. subsequently filed a suit against the NII at the Tel Aviv Labor Court, demanding the institute cover burial costs for Jewish residents at the city's cemetery.

Jerusalem Yeshiva students expelled over driver's licenses

By Ari Galahar July 19, 2010

Darchei Torah Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood expelled three of its students in the past two weeks, after discovering they have obtained driver's licenses.

The yeshiva students said the management feared that those dismissed might have a bad influence over the rest of the students.

Electra may halt service to Haredi areas July 20, 2010

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Electra Consumer Products Ltd. is considering halting services to haredi areas after violent attacks against the company's technicians. The company has hired private security guards at the homes of its executives.

Probing the roots of neglect

By Tamar Rotem July 23, 2010

The Chabad clinic serves "families that barely make it to the end of the month, in which the fathers study at a kollel" (a yeshiva for married men), according to Donat, a resident of the Betar Ilit community outside Jerusalem.

...Although [Deputy Health Minister Yaakov] Litzman's scheme is intended for the entire public, members of the ultra-Orthodox sector are among those that need it most. Donat believes the reform "will solve a great deal of problems," but adds that it is inadequate, as "there are children up to the age of 12 or 13 who also need treatment."

Notes on a scandal

By Yair Ettinger July 23, 2010

For the past 17 years, journalist Shmuel Chaim Pappenheim has been racking his brain, trying to figure out how to finish his biography of Rabbi Amram Blau (1894-1974), the legendary leader of the extremist, ultra-Orthodox group Neturei Karta.

The war against croutons

By Brian Blum July 22, 2010

In the war against croutons, Bamba, and cleaning products, the “Badatz Free” protest group is claiming its first victory: Massive food manufacturer Nestle has launched its new Joya line of gourmet ice creams without the controversial kosher certification of the Eda Haredit.

Several months ago, Badatz Free launched a campaign calling on the public to boycott products with the “Badatz Yerushalayim” sponsored by the Eda Haredit, a group that has been at the forefront of many of the more extreme conflicts between halacha (Jewish law) and the running of a modern state.

On the menu: Kosher guineafowl, locust

By Zvi Singer July 25, 2010

Kosher swordfish, buffalo meat, cow's udders and even locust – these are just some of the "delicacies" that were served Thursday night in an unusual feast held in Jerusalem.

The unusual event was attended by rabbis, professors, zoologists and chefs who were to feast on the meat of rare animals and birds.

Jerusalem 2111

By Amir Mizroch July 23, 2010

On July 15 an international sci-fi competition for a “Vision of Jerusalem 100 Years from Now” was launched...

At the Mamilla Western Wall PlazaTM itself, gender separation has long been replaced by a more scientific and equitable solution that has allowed complete unity at the holy site.

The second terminal a visitor to the Wall Plaza has to enter through is the “de-denominizer,” a walk-through device that temporarily removes a person’s religious denomination, storing it at an on-site, secure database for later retrieval when he/she walks through the “re-denominizer” machine.

Better Living Through Chemistry

Click here for VIDEO

Free The Hurva!!!

By Rabbi Barry Gelman Opinion July 19, 2010

I wonder who made this deal and how it is that a place that the government spent millions of dollars refurbishing is closed to the public and only open to yeshiva bochurim.

Maverick rabbi stirred religious left

By Anshel Pfeffer July 15, 2010

In numerical terms, Rabbi Amital failed to create a viable religious political alternative, but he gave legitimacy to those within the community who could not follow the consensus. He provided the inspiration for groups like Tzohar who are at the cutting edge of modern Orthodoxy.

In Yeshivat Har Etzion, or as it is more widely known, "Gush", he created the nucleus for a new generation of rabbis, determined to lead communities fully integrated in Israeli society. Perhaps more than his political activity, this ultimately will be his legacy.

Likud lawmaker: Jews should be allowed freer access to Temple Mount

Reuters July 20, 2010

A senior lawmaker of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing party on Tuesday visited a flashpoint religious site in Jerusalem revered by Jews and Muslims, a move that has sparked violence in the past.

"If Jews want to go and pray on the Temple Mount then they should be allowed to do it," [MK Danny Danon] added.

Mount for 2 peoples

By Yaki Hafstein July 20, 2010

God's Holy Mountain group, which offers a halachic solution to the disputed Temple Mount, will present on Tuesday a theatric display featuring Jewish and Muslim actors.

The presentation is meant to raise awareness to the universal nature of the Temple Mount and to the halachic possibility of operating the Temple and Mosque side by side.

Half the Public Wants to See Holy Temple Rebuilt

By Hillel Fendel July 18, 2010

Forty nine percent said they want the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, while 23% said they do not. The remainder said they were unsure.

The public is about evenly split on whether they believe it will happen, with a slight edge – 42% to 39% – to those who believe the Third Holy Temple will be rebuilt.

Should the State of Israel take active steps towards the reconstruction? Forty-eight percent said no, while 27% said yes.

Religion and State in Israel

July 26, 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.

Religion and State in Israel - July 26, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 26, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Alternative Tel Aviv wedding marks Tu Be'av

By Jonah Mandel July 25, 2010

“We are Jewish enough to serve in the army, pay taxes, and fulfill our civil obligations, but we are not Jewish enough to get married here,” says 28-year-old Granin, who made aliya from the FSU in the 1990s.

"Granin and Tagil stress ... that they are not opposed to the very existence of the rabbinate, just think that every individual in this democracy should be entitled to choose to way they marry."

VIDEO: Julia and Stas invite you to their civil wedding ceremony and party July 25, 2010

Yulia and Stas are marrying in a pluralistic Jewish wedding, on Tu B'Av (Jewish Valentines Day) next Sunday evening at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.

The wedding is being organized by NIF and a range of NIF grantees including Havaya, which is providing the pluralist Jewish content for the marriage ceremony.

U.S. Jews should help Israel redraft its immoral citizenship laws

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion July 23, 2010

"Who is a Jew" is an obsolete concept and fighting over it takes us again and again down a dead-end alley.

The only way of making any headway is to finally address the much wider issue of citizenship.

A call for state-sanctioned religious tolerance

By Rabbi David Ellenson Opinion July 21, 2010

The writer is president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

[T]he Western Wall is not actually the most potent historical symbol of the national sovereignty of the Jewish people in our historic homeland.

Rather, it is essentially a Haredi synagogue and all Jewish persons of religious conviction who do not share their ultra-Orthodox beliefs must be prepared to surrender their own as a pre-condition should they wish to worship there.

Rabbinate's new Jewish ID demands stymieing marriage plans, immigrants say

By Raphael Ahren July 23, 2010

Immigrants applying for marriage licenses are being asked by local rabbinical courts to produce ritual wedding contracts from their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents or other often unattainable documents to prove their Jewishness, Anglo File has learned.

One rabbi close to the affair called the new process "unprecedented humiliation," and said it was the direct consequence of new guidelines to prove Jewishness the Chief Rabbinate recently implemented.

What's in a birth certificate?

By Raphael Ahren July 23, 2010 (see bottom section)

Immigrants from Western countries have been hit especially hard by the Rabbinate's new guidelines, according to Rabbi Seth Farber, of the Itim organization.

As opposed to immigrants from the Former Soviet Union - where birth certificates indicated a person's religion - Western newcomers are often at a loss about what additional papers to give a rabbinical court to prove their claim.

It’s time for some gender equality

By Batya Kahane-Dror Opinion July 25, 2010

The writer is director of the Mavoi Satum organization for women denied a divorce.

A bill that will enable the appointment of women for the position of director of the rabbinic courts, which has been written under the initiative of the Na’amat and Mavoi Satum organizations, will be submitted to the Knesset this week by MKs Orit Zuaretz and Marina Solodkin from Kadima.

Still out, but no longer down

By Peggy Cidor July 23, 2010

Shortly after [Gehr-Leibowitz] assumed his position, a dialogue was opened between him, as the representative of the Open House, and a representative of Toldot Aharon, the most extreme sect within the haredi community. It was brokered through a local haredi personality who had good relations with both sides.

Zaka founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav:

"They wanted to protect the children and teenagers from being exposed to it, but in fact the kids in Mea She’arim talked only about that ‘parade’ and the ‘toeva.’ So at some point they understood that they had to radically change their strategy, and now that the city is no longer in haredi hands, it is easier for them.”

The Interview: Unorthodox Desires

By Nadja Spiegelman July 16, 2010

Click here for PODCAST

Miryam Kabakov, editor of a new essay collection about Orthodox lesbians,Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires,” visits the Forward podcast studio discuss coming out to her traditional parents, visiting a lesbian in the ultra-Orthodox enclave of B’nai Brak, Israel, and how she believes gays and lesbians can find their place in the Orthodox world.

Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with a Homosexual Orientation in Our Community July 22, 2010

For the last six months a number of Orthodox rabbis and educators have been preparing a statement of principles on the place of our brothers and sisters in our community who have a homosexual orientation.

Five Women Rabbis in Israel Making a Difference

By Gabrielle Birkner July 21, 2010

  • Tamar Elad-Appelbaum (Conservative)
  • Miri Gold (Reform)
  • Naamah Kelman (Reform)
  • Haviva Ner-David (Orthodox, Post-Denominational)
  • Einat Ramon (Conservative)

High Court petition aims to revoke extension of men's IDF service

By Aviad Glickman July 22, 2010

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel filed a petition with the High Court of Justice to revoke a Knesset decision prolonging men's active duty service by six months.

The group claims that the Knesset's decision was unconstitutional as it offends the basic rights of soldiers such as freedom and freedom of occupation. The petitioners also claim that such grievances can be prevented by revoking the Tal Law which exempts yeshiva students from IDF service.

'All Israeli teens should serve country' July 25, 2010

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday called for every 18-year-old who does not take up mandatory service in the IDF to serve in the police, Magen David Adom, the fire service or the organization Zaka through the national service model, Israel Radio reported.

At the IDF induction base speaking to August combat recruits, Ashekenazi stressed that every Israeli citizen aged 18, including Arabs and haredim, should participate in mandatory service.

Interview with Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau

By Chaim Levinson July 20, 2010

  • Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, do you still believe a Third Temple will be built?
  • Do you feel that the secular public's interest in Tisha B'Av has grown in recent years?
  • There is a trend, mainly among religious Zionist rabbis, to go the Temple Mount on Tisha B'Av. What do you think of that?
  • There is an unfortunate phenomenon in Tel Aviv of opening places of entertainment on Tisha B'Av eve. Why is that happening? What can be done about it?
  • What are you doing about the Hasidim from Chabad in Ramat Aviv and their conflict with the secular residents?

Poll: 74% follow Tisha B'Av tradition July 19, 2010

Fifty-two percent of the respondents said they would forego recreational activity on this day even though they do not fast, whereas 22% responded that they fast and therefore would not go out in any case.

Another 18% responded that they would go out on the eve of the fast day and labeled the current legal status "religious coercion." Another 8% declined to answer.

What, in your opinion, is the worst source of tension in Israeli society?" To this question, 42% indicated the religious-secular issue and 41% indicated the Jewish-Arab issue.

Nine percent believe that tension between settlers and the rest of the country is the largest source of tension, and 8% responded the tension between rich and poor.

Tisha Be’Av and the future of Zionism Editorial July 20, 2010

Zionism, more than any other Jewish movement in modern history, has succeeded in bringing together diverse Jewish streams and persuasions – from secular liberals to ultra-Orthodox pietists, from socialists to religious Zionist settlers.

Zionism’s future success is dependent upon its ability to uphold both a broad, inclusive Jewish identity as well as a healthy democracy.

The vast majority of Jews must continue to feel comfortable pledging allegiance to a Jewish and democratic State of Israel.

If they do not, how can we expect non-Jews to?

HOT cable co. forced to shut off its programming for Tisha B'Av

By Gili Izikovich July 21, 2010

Cable television provider HOT removed content deemed inappropriate from its lineup Monday night, in accordance with a law on the observance of Tisha B'Av.

A woman’s honor

By Elana Maryles Sztokman July 16, 2010

Book Review

The Hebrew word kavod has at least four English interpretations, writes Prof. Tamar Ross in the introduction to Women and Men in Communal Prayer: Halakhic Perspectives.

It can mean honor, respect, dignity and glory – and it can also imply weighty or important, when used as the opposite of kalut, or lightness.

Controversy or birthright?

By Dalia Sable July 21, 2010

Australian Birthright program organisers have rejected reports in the international media claiming a recent group visit to Hebron was “unprecedented”.

An article, first published in the New York Jewish Week last week, reported that the trip made by the Australian Chabad Campus Birthright group earlier this month also “raised questions about whether the program has shifted policy on visits to the West Bank”.

But Rabbi Yehudah deVries, who is responsible for the Australian Chavaya Taglit-Birthright Israel trips for Chabad Campus students, said that those undertaking the extended program for longer than the 10-day free trip have always visited Hebron, with the exception being the past two years.

Agriculture minister faces another obstacle in his quest to head JNF

By Jonathan Lis July 20, 2010

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon's intentions to head the Jewish National Fund were hit with another delay yesterday, after the Petah Tikva District Court issued another interim injunction against the appointment.

Relationship of Israel and World Jewry Depends on Meaning, Not Claims of Necessity

By Rabbi Donniel Hartman Opinion July 19, 2010

Jews in many places around the world, particularly in North America, have created a home and a vibrant and vital Judaism for themselves.

If Israel is to have a role in their lives, it must earn it. To earn it, Israel must be a place where religious pluralism and diversity reign. It must be a place where the various Judaisms of the Jews have footholds and a place of respect.

A different kind of Middle-Eastern summit

By Joanna Paraszczuk July 23, 2010

In a conference room at Kfar Maccabiah, Ramat Gan, 120 young Jews from around the globe are brainstorming the major challenges facing Israel today – and coming up with innovative solutions.

...This community brainstorm is just one session of the annual ROI Summit, a four-day collaborative think-in about the future of the Jewish people, organized and run by young Jewish innovators from over 20 different countries, including Israel.

Christian Hasbara

By Raphael Ahren July 23, 2010

A delegation of 12 college students that calls itself the "Christian Birthright" met MKs Yoel Hasson, Fania Kirshenbaum and Ayoob Kara in the Knesset Wednesday for what the organizers called an "educational encounter."

The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus hosted the ... participants from the Eagles' Wings Annual Israel Experience College Scholarship Program...

Environmentalists urge closure of Jordan River baptism site over poor water quality

DPA July 21, 2010

An environmental group Wednesday urged the Israeli government to close down a baptism site at the lower Jordan River until water quality standards for tourists and pilgrims bathing at the holy site were met.

Religion and State in Israel

July 26, 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.