Monday, September 20, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - September 20, 2010 (Section 1)

September 20, 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.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi says IDF converts can marry

By Jonathan Lis September 17, 2010

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said yesterday the Israel Defense Forces conversion program was valid and soldier converts could marry as Jews in Israel.

Opposition head Tzipi Livni (Kadima) said during a visit Wednesday to the Nativ Institute, where IDF conversion studies take place, "a marriage registrar who is not prepared to recognize the conversion of soldiers who converted in the army should be dismissed."

C'tee gives state deadline to clarify IDF conversion stance

By Jonah Mandel September 14, 2010

The Knesset’s State Control Committee is demanding of all bodies involved in conversion in Israel to convene and issue a clear statement on the legal status of conversions conducted by the IDF, which have recently been called into question.

Rabbi Seth Farber, head of ITIM, said after the hearing that while there indeed “may be a technical legal lacuna in conversions being done in the army, the way to resolve that is not to bring it up in a court hearing. The damage is already done,” he said of the impact on the past and potential converts.

Prosecution denies questioning legitimacy of IDF conversions

By Jonathan Lis September 14, 2010

The State Prosecutor's Office yesterday denied having doubted the legal legitimacy of conversions to Judaism conducted by Israel Defense Forces rabbis.

Conversions by Israeli Military Called Into Question by Israeli State Attorney

By Nathan Jeffay September 15, 2010

Making matters more complicated, in this saga, [Chief Rabbi] Amar wears three hats here.

As well as serving as chief rabbi, Amar is one of the religious leaders who helped to establish Nativ. He is also the top religious figure in the Conversion Authority, the body that signs off on military conversions. That means that if he does not come out in the authority’s defense, he is de facto raising questions about conversions under his own supervision.

‘No one can challenge my Jewishness’

By Jordana Horn September 14, 2010

‘The Jerusalem Post’ speaks to three American converts about how they see the issue of "Who is a Jew?"

“Anything that makes the Orthodox rabbinate more powerful in Israel is not a good thing,” Dial said. “I think Israel’s future is going to have to be more based in pluralism. If the Jewish people are going to be together across the continents and together in support of the State of Israel, Israelis need to be a little more open-minded.

An Interview with Tzohar Rabbi Yuval Cherlow

By Sarit Bendavid September 15, 2010

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow is a Rosh Yeshivah at Yeshivat Hesder Petah Tikvah. He is also a member of the Governmental Ethical Committees and the Presidential Press Council of Israel.

  • Q: Do you think the Law of Return guaranteeing any Jew the right to become a citizen of Israel should be based on the halakhic definition of a Jew (matrilineal descent), based on the current requirement of having one Jewish grandparent, or based on some other criterion?
  • Q: What are your thoughts on the recent bill proposed by Knesset member David Rotem that would give the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate control over all conversions in Israel?
  • Q: Do you think that marriage in Israel should be under the auspices of the Rabbinate or under civil law? What are the main issues present in that debate?

Stop all Conversions!

Click here for Radio Interview (Hebrew) September 14, 2010

Rabbi Moshe Klein, former deputy head Chief Rabbinate conversion program, calls for a cessation of all conversions.

Rabbi Seth Farber (ITIM) calls on all rabbis who receive state salaries to either accept state conversions or resign.

An Interview with YU's Rabbi Hershel Schachter on Conversion Issue

By Jonathan Ziring September 15, 2010

Rabbi Hershel Schachter is a Rosh Yeshivah in MYP/RIETS, occupies YU’s Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud, and is the Rosh Kollel in RIETS’ Marcos and Adina Katz Kollel.

  • Q: Is there more room for pushing to convert people who have a Jewish father, despite the fact that this does not count for Jewish identity in the formal and halakhic sense?
  • Q: What is your opinion about the retroactive cancellation of conversion (bittul gerut), such as was done in Israel after a woman practiced as a Jew for 15 years? Is retroactive cancellation of conversions halakhically problematic?
  • Q: What do you believe Israel’s Law of Return should be based on? Should it be based on halakhic Jewishness, having some degree of Jewish blood, feeling connected o the Jewish nation or some combination of these options?

Ethiopian bride's fight for Jewish marriage

By Tova Dadon September 15, 2010

An Ethiopian woman fought for four years to be recognized as a Jew refusing rabbis' demands to undergo conversion procedures and was even forced to postpone her wedding.

Last week, the Great Rabbinical court in Jerusalem declared she will be able to bathe in a mikveh prior to her wedding and ruled there will be no record of her undergoing a procedure to return to Judaism.

Solution to illegitimacy problem

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion September 19, 2010

Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinic court pleader who works at The Center for Women’s Justice

Everyone wants to permit mamzerim to marry. No one likes the idea that there are people who are “banished” and cannot enter into the community.

But the rabbis prefer to deal with each case on its merits and not to create overall halachic solutions to the problem, because an overall solution would be a rebellion against one of the foundation stones of the Torah.

IDF to draft 30 percent of yeshiva students by 2015

By Amos Harel September 17, 2010

    The IDF and the National Economic Council have reached agreement on the future conscription of the ultra-Orthodox into the army.

    The plan likely to be brought before the Supreme Court will set a goal of conscripting 30 percent of ultra-Orthodox men in 2015, and 30 percent more will be assigned to alternative, civilian service, which combines work and national service.

    The court plans on commencing deliberations the validity of the Tal Law, which regulates Haredi conscription, in January.

    Study: About one-third of IDF officers are religious

    By Amos Harel September 15, 2010

    Around one-third of Israel Defense Forces infantry officers are religious, with the proportion jumping from only 2.5 percent in 1990 to 31.4 percent in 2007, a new study shows.

    The research was published in the military journal Ma'arachot.

    According to the extracts from B.'s research published in last week's issue of Ma'arachot, only 26 percent of those who graduated infantry officer courses in 2008 were religious. But throughout the last decade, the proportion of religious officers graduating from such courses has ranged from 22.5 percent to 31.4 percent.

    Draft-dodgers removed from Uman-bound planes

    By Yoav Zitun September 15, 2010

    During the Jewish New Year, police removed some 160 passengers from planes bound for Uman, Ynet learned Wednesday.

    Ninety-one of the passengers who were taken off the planes are wanted for questioning by Military Police for allegedly dodging army service.

    Yishai stops time

    Haaretz Editorial September 19, 2010

    Interior Minister Eli Yishai seems to be set on leaving a legacy as a lawmaker who led his electorate, and Israeli society itself, in taking a decisive step backward. Even before the uproar over his inane bid to suspend daylight saving time has died down, Yishai has already marked a new target.

    This is no theocracy

    By Jeff Barak Opinion September 19, 2010

    The writer is a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post

    Interior Minister Eli Yishai seems determined to antagonize these secular Israelis and drive them away from tradition.

    His recent decision to disable the ministry’s online payment service so that people will no longer be able to make payments to the ministry over the Internet on Shabbat or Jewish festivals is the height of high-handedness.

    Internet holy day blackout imposed in Israel

    By Amy Teibel, AP September 16, 2010

    Government offices have historically been closed to the public on Sabbath, noted Roi Lachmanovich, spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, which controls the Interior Ministry. Now that the computer is the public face of the state, "public service won't be available on the Internet," he said.

    "It shouldn't operate on the Sabbath, like no state office operates on the Sabbath," added Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman of the United Torah Judaism Party.

    Meretz MK wants Ministry websites active on Shabbat, holidays

    By Jonathan Lis September 17, 2010

    Meretz leader MK Haim Oron has drafted a bill stipulating that all the ministries' Internet sites be accessible on weekends and holidays.

    Health Ministry joins state bodies blocking online payments on Shabbat

    By Dana Weiler-Polak September 16, 2010

    The website that enables online payments to the Health Ministry will be blocked to the public on Shabbat and holidays, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman announced Wednesday

    "If such a service exists, it must be closed on Shabbat and holidays," his office said in a statement.

    Shas minister shuts down online payments on Shabbat, holidays

    By Dana Weiler-Polak September 14, 2010

    Rabbi Uri Regev, director of Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality, said that if the website operates automatically, with no need for ministry personnel to be working during those hours, "I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be available to the public throughout the week."

    Yishai to block online services on Shabbat

    By Nitzan Sadan September 14, 2010

    Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) intends to block all of his ministry's online payment services offered via the portal on Shabbat and religious holidays.

    The portal was set up as part of the "accessible government" project to enable Israeli citizens to access a range of ministry services via the internet, thereby reducing the burden of regional centers and improving citizens' convenience.

    At 90, Ovadia Yosef can still raise hackles, and politicians' hopes

    By Yair Ettinger September 17, 2010

    Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's close followers say that as time goes by, his halakhic project, intended to restore Sephardi rabbi Yosef Karo's title as the halakhic leader of all Sephardi Jews, has taken an increasingly important role in his life.

    Yosef wants his books to be in every library next to Maimonides' Mishneh Torah and Karo's Shulhan Aruch, his confidants say. He thinks history will forget everything but his rabbinic writings.

    Rabbi Ovadia Yosef atones to Mubarak after declaring Palestinians should die

    By Yair Ettinger September 16, 2010

    Three weeks after making hostile statements about the Palestinians, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is sending out a conciliatory message and is returning to his old positions in support of the peace process.

    Eli Yishai's request for forgiveness

    By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion September 17, 2010

    From this we can understand that the interior minister, Eli Yishai, will have an enormous task. He will have to ask forgiveness from seven and a half million citizens of Israel because of the injustice and damage he caused them this year. And it is not certain that they will agree to forgive him.

    High Court approves private school for Haredi girls involved in segregation row

    By Yair Ettinger September 15, 2010

    The High Court of Justice yesterday approved the Education Ministry's decision to permit a new private school for ultra-Orthodox girls to open in the West Bank settlement involved in a segregation row last year.

    The ruling will allow the settlement of Immanuel to erect a new "Hasidic" school in addition to the existing Beit Yaakov religious girls seminary.

    J'lem okays subsidies that favor Haredi schools

    By Ronen Medzini September 16, 2010

    New criteria schools must meet in order to receive funding were authorized by the Jerusalem Municipality on Wednesday, three weeks after they were initially drafted.

    The Jerusalem Municipality's legal counsel, Attorney Yossi Havilio, addressed these criteria in an opinion he wrote. He stated that they are liable "to result in a situation in which few haredi education networks, the rest of the unofficial recognized education institutions – both in the Jewish and certainly in the Arab sectors – will not be able to meet these conditions."

    Ra'anana parents net school deal after prolonged struggle

    By Raphael Ahren September 17, 2010

    Ra'anana parents whose children are getting a Jewish-pluralistic education celebrated a big victory earlier this month, when the mayor signed a deal to give them a building of their own. On September 2, Mayor Nahum Hofree and the TALI Ra'anana parents association agreed to terms for Ra'anana's first TALI school, ending a 14-year search for a permanent facility by the association.

    Judge rejects plan to enlarge Western Wall women's section

    By Nir Hasson September 13, 2010

    The Jerusalem District Court's president last week rejected a plan to expand the women's section of the Western Wall. The enlargement was planned as part of efforts to rebuild the ramp leading to the Mugrabi Gate, a centuries-old passageway between the Western Wall Plaza and the Temple Mount.

    Echoes of a Shofar, 80 years later Opinion September 16, 2010

    Click here for VIDEO

    Why do the Israeli government and Rabbi Rabinowitz, Head Rabbi of Holy Sites including the Kotel, enforce the exactly same religious oppression at the Kotel in 2010 as the British Mandate did in 1930?

    Watch the video [above] and think of the many images of Anat Hoffman and Nofrat Frankel’s 2010 arrests at the Kotel for carrying a Torah and wearing a Tallit. Think of the hundreds of women that come to the Kotel to pray Hallel on Rosh Chodesh and are yelled at and cursed, or have chairs thrown at them- all for praying aloud.

    The Curious Case of Jewish Democracy

    By Prof. Amnon Rubinstein Opinion

    Summer 5770 / 2010, no. 41

    Amnon Rubinstein is professor of law at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya and an Israel Prize laureate.

    Although the objections to Israel’s twofold identity are many and varied, they do nevertheless have one thing in common: They all presuppose that the state is Jewish in the religious sense of the word.

    As I will seek to demonstrate, however, if we were to define Israel’s Jewishness as essentially national or cultural rather than religious—thus returning to Herzl’s original Zionist vision—we would discover that many (if not all) of these objections are rendered null and void, and that, in the final analysis, a Jewish state is not at all at odds with the liberal-democratic ideal.

    Israel: Tourist Destination or Homeland

    By Rabbi Rhoda Silverman Opinion September 13, 2010

    Sermon Erev Rosh Hashanah 5771

    We must demand of her what we expect in our own country namely a fully democratic state that recognizes the validity of Progressive Judaism and the plurality of Jewish life. Religious pluralism has marked Jewish life since its inception and has enriched Judaism leading to the growth of a wealth of literature, differing point of views, and cultural expressions.

    Analysis of the Israeli High Court: Jewish Apostates and the Law of Return

    By Dani Lent Opinion September 15, 2010

    Kol Hamevaser: The Jewish Thought Magazine of the Yeshiva U. Student Body

    This legal case requires the evaluation of a variety of religious, cultural and national considerations. Should one who left the fold of Judaism be welcomed back with open arms the minute he or she reconsiders? Are there irrevocable consequences for one’s prior decisions to leave the faith?

    How does the Jewish ideal of teshuvah come into effect? On a related note, how much weight should the secular Israeli court have in halakhic determinations of who is Jewish enough to qualify for automatic Israeli citizenship?

    And The Word Shall Go Forth From Tel Aviv

    By Rabbi Joshua Hammerman Opinion September 15, 2010

    Rabbi Joshua Hammerman is spiritual leader of Temple Beth-El in Stamford, Conn.

    Non-Orthodox forms of Jewish expression are thriving in Israel and places like Beit Tefilah Israeli are not going to fade away. It reminds us that throughout Jewish history, great religious innovation could take place only at a safe distance from the watchful eyes of the Jerusalem elites. Places like Yavne, Tiberias and Safed gave rise to the Judaism we know today, while Jerusalem corroded and crumbled under the weight of its own ossified hubris.

    As we stand facing east over the coming days, toward all of Israel, recall that Torah is being renewed, with new eyes, in Tel Aviv.

    Religion and State in Israel

    September 20, 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 - September 20, 2010 (Section 2)

    Religion and State in Israel

    September 20, 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.

    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.

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