Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
By Rabbi Eric Yoffie Opinion www.jpost.com September 26, 2010
Rabbi Yoffie is the President of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, has no understanding of American politics, and his misconceptions are dangerous to the well-being of the State of Israel.
...I happen to agree that the involvement of Congressmen in Israel's religious affairs is troubling at any time and particularly now.
I suggest, however, that instead of issuing blistering attacks on Reform and Conservative Jews, Rabbi Amar should do two things: endorse the efforts of Natan Sharansky to find a compromise on the conversion bill acceptable to all, and consider promoting a democratic, "free-market" religious system that will restore the honor of Torah in the Jewish state and lead to a true flowering of Jewish life.
By Rabbi Uri Regev Opinion www.jpost.com September 24, 2010
The writer is a rabbi, and attorney and the executive director of Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality.
The state should be supporting religious services and choices of all Jews (and non-Jews), just as it supports cultural and educational services, but should not impose one religious school of thought over others, so long as they comply with the civil law and public order.
Israel should fully and equally recognize all conversions and marriages performed by the major religious streams as well as allow for civil marriage. There is no other worthy solution, and the sooner we recognize that, the better.
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com September 21, 2010
The mouthpiece for the Lithuanian-Ashkenazi-haredi rabbinic leadership slammed Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar on Monday for his recent statement that conversions conducted in the IDF are halachically valid.
“Rabbis and senior rabbinical judges in the Holy Land and Diaspora are openly and firmly protesting the severe breach in maintaining the pedigree and sanctity of the people of Israel, following the chief Sephardi rabbi’s declaration” on the validity of the military conversions, Yated Ne’eman’s Page 2 read.
By Gil Hoffman www.jpost.com September 22, 2010
Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein:
I will bring specific proposals to the committee that is working on reaching a compromise, in an effort to enable Russian immigrants and other potential converts to have more possibilities for Orthodox conversions without antagonizing and excluding non- Orthodox Jews.
Tzipi Livni Opinion www.jpost.com September 21, 2010
The writer is leader of the opposition and head of the Kadima party.
First, if Israel is to realize its mission as the national home of the Jewish people, it must act like one. It must find ways to welcome rather than alienate Jews regardless of their opinions or the stream of Judaism with which they are affiliated.
It must embrace an inclusive and pluralistic Jewish agenda that respects our traditions without denying the legitimacy of difference.
By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com September 24, 2010
"Not that I'm looking forward to having my freedom curtailed, but oftentimes you have to pay a personal price for your beliefs," said Anat Hoffman, who is also executive director of the Reform movement's Israel Religious Action Center, about the prospect of a prison sentence.
"I will find it extremely surprising if someone in the [prosecutor's office] will actually pursue this. But if they will pursue it, I am willing to pay the price," she added.
Hoffman insists her actions are anything but a provocation.
"We've been doing this for 22 years," she said about Women of the Wall's monthly prayer group. "We're there all the time. What has changed is not us, what changed is the powers that be, the power of the state behind the most fanatic Orthodoxy," she said, adding that over the last half decade many changes occurred at the Wall that seem to cement an Orthodox grip on the site. "It became an Ultra-Orthodox synagogue."
By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com September 21, 2010
Women are demanding the right to serve as director of the rabbinical courts. One of the would-be candidates is Atara Kenigsberg, executive director of the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women at Bar-Ilan University.
"The office is administrative - just as they would accept any new administrator. There's no reason to refuse to work for one who is a woman. They are employed by the civil service, and there's no excuse for inequality in the civil service."
By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com September 20, 2010
Three women are threatening to ask the High Court of Justice to declare unconstitutional a law requiring the director general of the rabbinical courts to be able to serve as a municipal rabbi or rabbinical court judge - titles awarded only to men.
Alternatively, the High Court petitioners want Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to seriously consider their candidacy for the director general job in spite of the law.
Jpost.com Editorial www.jpost.com September 21, 2010
In the coming days, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, in consultation with Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, will choose a new administrative head for the rabbinical court system.
A qualified woman should be given a fair chance at the job. But due to Israel’s problematic mixture of religion and politics, which often leads to appointments guided more by political efficacy than the better good, there is little hope of this happening.
By Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com September 21, 2010
The rabbinical courts' administration already has an arrangement to pay men who refuse to divorce their wives in certain cases, as an incentive to grant the divorce. The money is budgeted by the state. However, the verdict shows that in 2004-2005 an anonymous donor gave the rabbinical courts money to pay off dozens of men and even a few women, to divorce their spouses.
CWJ attorney Aviad Hacohen:
"They refuse to tell us who the donor is. We don't know the exact sums he donated in every case. Is it conceivable that a private donor give the courts' administration - the equivalent to the rabbinical courts' administration - funds to pay civil litigators with no supervision or follow-up?"
By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion www.ynetnews.com September 26, 2010
Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinic court pleader who works at The Center for Women’s Justice
For the past 13 years all sorts of figures in the Jewish world have been trying to convince Zevulun Siman Tov from Afghanistan, who refuses to divorce his wife, to give her a get.
Rivkah Lubitch thinks that the story reflects the powerlessness of the wife and the rabbinic court against a man who married a woman and refuses to divorce her. And when will we understand that this situation cannot be allowed to continue?
By Michele Chabin www.womensenews.org September 22, 2010
When Sarah presented the registrar with her late husband's death certificate, he asked if her deceased husband had any children. When she said no, he asked whether her late husband had any brothers. Sarah said yes.
"Then you need to do the halitza ceremony," the registrar told her, she said. "Otherwise you won't be able to marry, ever."
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com September 24, 2010
A petition against the planned disabling of online payments to the Interior Ministry on Shabbat and holidays is slowly gaining steam.
“Of course it is not hard to guess where this prohibition will lead: If you can’t make transactions on Shabbat, in the future we won’t be able to surf the Internet on Yom Kippur or enter Facebook on Shabbat – and I thought that we should at least protest. This is the only means [of action] I have, unlike Yishai,” Omer Barak added.
By Anshel Pfeffer www.thejc.com September 21, 2010
Interior Minister Eli Yishai has opened a new front in the battle between state and religion by ordering his ministry's website to close down its payment facilities on Shabbat.
Meanwhile Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of United Torah Judaism has also decided to close his ministry's online payment facilities on Shabbat, though it is unclear yet whether other ministries controlled by religious politicians will follow suit.
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com September 21, 2010
Head of Army Radio Yitzhak Tunik announced he would stop the formulation of a General Staff order which is to determine regulations for Shabbat and holiday broadcasting.
He also intends to gradually reduce the work of soldiers serving with the radio station so that eventually only civilians will be working on Shabbat.
By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com September 24, 2010
Inside the beit midrash - study hall - at the Israeli Academy for Leadership, Ein Prat, women and men sit hunched over rows of rectangular tables loaded with volumes of Talmud, Bibles and philosophy texts.
...There is one substantial aspect that sets the Ein Prat academy apart from other Jewish spiritual study programs. Despite the human diversity in the small study hall, everyone is between the ages of 22 and 28, a social stratum of "post-army, post-India, pre-university."
By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion www.haaretz.com September 24, 2010
You have by now probably reached the same conclusion I have, that all this business of labeling a person's religious persuasion is a mug's game. I don't have a survey to back me up on this but there are growing numbers of Israelis who simply will not be tied down to one category and in recent months it seems almost as if I have been meeting people like this every day.
By Alexander Yakobson Opinion www.haaretz.com September 20, 2010
How good that there is a large secular public in Israel and a strong, well-developed and confident secular culture.
With all its faults and weaknesses, it is a free society - not always free enough, but free compared to the alternative. Israel is a free country first and foremost because of this public and this culture. To appreciate freedom, one must only look at what happens when it is absent.
By Mark Rebacz www.jpost.com September 17, 2010
“When I started my involvement in Bema’aglei Tzedek, I didn’t know that Judaism could be pluralistic and humanistic and strive for justice.
I grew up thinking of Judaism as mostly restrictions. So I feel that what we are doing here is more than just workers’ rights, etc. It’s also about emphasizing the importance of justice within the Jewish tradition, which is something that I felt was absent while I was growing up.”
By Gil Shefler www.jpost.com September 21, 2010
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has unveiled a new design by Chyutin Architects for its planned Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, which will be built at an estimated cost of $100 million.
The Chyutin design replaces an earlier one by renowned architect Frank Gehry, whose estimated cost of $250m. dollars made it too expensive to build.
By David Ng http://latimesblogs.latimes.com September 21, 2010
The new design, which was created by the Israeli firm Chyutin Architects, calls for a six-story structure -- three stories below ground and three above -- with approximately 150,000 to 160,000 square feet of space. By comparison, the Center's main facilities in Los Angeles total about 110,000 square feet of space.
The front of the new museum will face a commercial area while the back faces Independence Park in Jerusalem. The Center said the back features glass walls from top to bottom, seen below, to create a warmer and more inviting atmosphere.
By Christopher Hawthorne http://latimesblogs.latimes.com September 22, 2010
Gehry added that he also produced a design for a smaller version for the museum -- one closer to the 150,000-square-foot proposal released Tuesday -- but that ultimately he and the Wiesenthal Center couldn't see eye to eye. "I'm glad I got out of it," he said.
By Greer Fay Cashman www.jpost.com September 22, 2010
Rabbi Ian Pear's dream is to have a community center that encompasses a kindergarten, a synagogue and other religious facilities with educational and cultural programs that are dedicated to bringing Jews closer to Judaism and closer to one another.
The laying of the [Shir Hadash] cornerstone is due to be held on September 27, with Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky as guest speaker.
By Gail Lichtman www.jpost.com September 26, 2010
The absence of a statutory building plan has Jewish Quarter residents battling extensive fines and even prison sentences for violations.
The land on which the Jewish Quarter lies is state land administered by the ILA. The land was leased en masse to the company in 1968 for restoring and developing the Jewish Quarter.
By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com September 24, 2010
Through her website, YourJewishSpeech.com, the 36-year-old offers to write talks for all Jewish lifecycle events, from naming ceremonies for girls through house warming parties to award speeches and eulogies.
www.ynetnews.com September 24, 2010
Some 72% of Israeli Jews over the age of 20 reported visiting a synagogue in 2009, while 21% said that they are now more religious than before, according to a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Meanwhile, 14% of poll respondents said they are now less religious than they were before.
By Marcy Oster www.jta.org September 21, 2010
It wasn't easy to pack up and leave our family and friends to come here, though we were greeted by both family and friends when we arrived. It was not easy to adjust to a new culture, a new language, a new way of life.
But we knew Israel would be the best place to raise our Jewish children, where they would learn about their Jewish past, participate in their Jewish present and prepare for their Jewish future, and where we would have a front-row seat to Jewish history.
By Jacob Berkman www.jta.org September 22, 2010
The Jewish Federations of North America and its two primary overseas partners have reached an agreement in principle over how to divide the money raised by local federations.
The Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee have been struggling with the JFNA for nearly two years over how to split the more than $100 million raised by the federation system for overseas needs.
The two overseas partners have traditionally split the money using a formula that gives 75 percent of the funds to the Jewish Agency and 25 percent to JDC.
http://www.shalomtv.org/ September 24, 2010
By Ron Friedman www.jpost.com September 21, 2010
Thousands of Christian pilgrims will visit Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles celebration later this week.
According to the Tourism Ministry, roughly 7,000 Christian from 100 countries will participate in the event, which is sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.
By Akiva Novick www.ynetnews.com September 19, 2010
They're Israel's best unofficial spokespeople around the world, creating monuments for Jews, aiding in bringing Jews to Israel and campaigning to defend Israel's international reputation after such events as the deadly raid on Gaza-bound flotilla.
They are some 600 million evangelical Christians who believe salvation will come only after the Jewish people return to their homeland – Greater Israel.
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
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