Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
www.jpost.com October 22, 2010
Head of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) has said that he will propose a law that would dissolve the Chief Rabbinate Council and allow the creation of a new one, as well as officially recognize conversions by IDF rabbis in an announcement on Friday.
According to the new proposal, military rabbis will also be empowered to marry those who joined the Jewish people in the military-sponsored conversion process.
By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com October 22, 2010
The Chief Rabbinate has steered clear from making a decision on the validity of thousands of conversions carried out in an IDF-sponsored program, setting up a committee to look into all conversions in Israel.
Yizhar Hess, director of the Conservative movement, said "the hostile takeover by the ultra-Orthodox on the Chief Rabbinate suggests that the historical function of the Chief Rabbinate has come to an end."
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com October 21, 2010
MK David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu), whose efforts to pass a law aimed at making the orthodox conversion process more accessible failed last Knesset session, was furious at the council's decision.
“The very existence of a Rabbinical Council hearing on the topic is a scandal, that proves there are rabbis who do not understand the importance of conversion. The IDF conversions are in full accordance with Halacha, and have been going on for years.
The fact that there are factors pressuring rabbis raises the notion that it would be a good idea to disperse the Chief Rabbinical Council,” Rotem said, adding that he would promote legislation to that end.
Head of ITIM Rabbi Seth Farber expressed his disappointment over the decision, and his expectation of “the Chief Rabbinical Council to act in a statesmanlike manner, and not to succumb to pressure applied by go-getters, who misinform the senior haredi rabbis.”
“All of the IDF conversions are conducted with full acceptance of mitzvot, and adhere to all of the necessary halachic criteria,” Farber said.
By Shmuel Rosner Opinion www.jpost.com October 21, 2010
Shmuel Rosner is a fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute and a Jerusalem Post blogger.
The first question that must be raised in every discussion related to conversion is whether to take a fundamental or practical approach.
...The practical reflects a priority of fundamentals, and therefore does not ensure a solution. The question whether to choose local, limited solutions – whose success is also not assured – over an attempt to resolve at least some of the fundamental problems is still open.
By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com October 20, 2010
An aliya application from a Swiss woman whose grandmother was murdered by Nazis is expected to be denied in the coming days.
Officials at the Interior Ministry have indicated that proof she provided documenting her grandmother’s Jewishness is questionable, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Monique Martinek found out only two years ago that her grandmother – her father’s mother – had been murdered for being a Jew; before then, she and her family had no idea of their Jewish roots or the fate of the grandmother during World War II.
Jpost.com Editorial www.jpost.com October 21, 2010
This selfless, evocative declaration of allegiance sufficed for welcoming Ruth into the fold of ancient Israel. But were Ruth’s story transported to our day, Israel’s Ministry of the Interior would disdainfully reject her application under the Law of Return.
This is precisely what is befalling a latter-day Ruth who altruistically left comfortable and peaceful Switzerland to live a likely less comfortable life in not-always- peaceful Israel.
By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com October 20, 2010
During the discussion, Leah Uziel, of the State Comptroller’s Office, informed the committee that a large number of haredi volunteers were working in education, even though the law specifically excluded that field from the types of public service activities they could fulfill.
She also found that a portion of those signed up for the civic service in the welfare field, invited wards to their homes for Shabbat and then recorded that they had worked for 24 or 36 straight hours. The quota for a week’s work is 40 hours.
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com October 19, 2010
The government will rethink its July decision to make it much easier for haredi men to obtain exemptions from military service, following High Court petitions submitted by Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality, and the Movement for Quality Government.
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com October 19, 2010
After the extreme Right called on teens not to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces if Major-General (res.) Yair Naveh becomes Deputy Chief of Staff, the designated deputy received support from an unexpected source – Beit El's Rabbi Zalman Melamed, who sent Naveh his good wishes on the appointment.
By Maayana Miskin www.israelnationalnews.com October 20, 2010
Seventy-five new IDF recruits are the first to take part in a special program, Shiluvim that allows soldiers to split their time equally between active military duty and Torah study. Last week, they began preparing for their active service.
The new program, whose name translates roughly to “integration,” makes it possible for young religious-Zionist soldiers to serve in a religious framework for two full years. They will learn Torah for two years, instead of the more than three years required by the hesder program.
By Elad Benari www.israelnationalnews.com October 21, 2010
On Wednesday, the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) and the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region (IYIM) donate a Sefer Torah to the IDF for the 187th time.
This was done as part of a project which has been running for the past 12 years and was initiated by NCYI Executive Vice President Rabbi Pesach Lerner and Rabbi Yedidya Atlas of the IDF Rabbinate.
The unique project allows for IDF soldiers in bases throughout Israel to fulfill their spiritual needs, while connecting them with synagogues in the United States.
By Maayana Miskin www.israelnationalnews.com October 22, 2010
As part of an initiative to help hareidi-religious soldiers integrate their religious practices with their IDF service, the army is working with a group of rabbis to provide a professional matchmaker for soldiers in the Netzach Yehuda battalion – a primarily hareidi-religious battalion that has been given the nickname “Nachal Hareidi.”
By Michele Chabin http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com October 23, 2010
Israel, like the United States, is a largely secular society with deep religious roots. And Israel, like the United States, is home to vocal religious conservatives who frown on homosexuality.
But Israel, unlike the United States, has allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for 17 years. In fact, they are required to.
By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion www.ynetnews.com October 24, 2010
Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinic court pleader who works at The Center for Women’s Justice
Recently I was the guest of an Orthodox Jewish community that makes a point of being open and accepting to homosexuals and lesbians.
In spite of the fact that the issue is familiar to me on a theoretical level, the encounter during one Shabbat with so many religious people with various sexual orientations, and with families that operate in such different ways from what I am accustomed to, gives me a lot of food for thought.
By Amanda Pazornik www.jweekly.com October 21, 2010
An online campaign to support women who want to pray aloud at the Western Wall has its epicenter in the Bay Area.
Rabbis Menachem Creditor of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, and Pamela Frydman Baugh, who served at Or Shalom Jewish Community in San Francisco, are the international co-chairs of Rabbis for Women of the Wall, a group that launched this week with the sending of a letter.
By Dina Kraft JTA www.jewishexponent.com October 21, 2010
Ariella Dadon still marvels at being free.
For more than 21/2 years, she was married to a man she describes as unfaithful, physically violent and emotionally abusive. For four years, she struggled to get a divorce. But the rabbinical court ruled repeatedly that she needed to bring in "proof" of her husband's infidelities.
By Yaakov Lappin and Ron Friedman www.jpost.com October 24, 2010
Ashkelon police confirmed Thursday that it was conducting a mutual investigation into the complaint by Trina Woodcox against Oz Unit immigration inspectors, who she claimed beat her and her family members during a wrongful arrest in her home in Ashkelon Tuesday evening, and the inspectors’ claim that they were the ones attacked.
...Meanwhile the family’s lawyer, Nicole Maor, who acts as legal counsel for the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement, filed a complaint with the police internal affairs unit, requesting that an investigation be conducted immediately into the actions of the Ashkelon police force.
By Bradley Burston www.haaretz.com October 21, 2010
The Interior Ministry's controversial Oz immigration police unit has been accused of beating and verbally abusing members of an African-American family from Kansas City whose members converted to Judaism several years ago, and are living in Ashkelon pending a decision on their citizenship request.
...Wilcox wrote Kansas City Reform Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff, who had converted the family to Judaism, "My heart is breaking right now.
"We have so much love for Israel. But it seems like Israel does not love us back."
By Ron Friedman www.jpost.com October 21, 2010
The Masorti Movement has written a letter to Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch, demanding that they investigate the event and bring to justice the “violent officers.”
“The family decided to immigrate to Israel and is active in the Netsach Israel congregation in Ashkelon. Their dream is to live a full Jewish life here in Israel,” the letter stated. “However, their skin color is not white, but black."
By Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com October 20, 2010
The revised version is likely to be particularly problematic for Shas, which, like UTJ, is an ultra-Orthodox party. UTJ MK Moshe Gafni told Haaretz on Monday that he opposes the bill, in part because of the religious objection to Jews swearing any kind of oath. That reason would presumably apply to Shas as well.
By Jack Khoury, Yair Ettinger, Chaim Levinson and Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com October 19, 2010
[B]ecause applying the oath to non-Jews requires amending the Citizenship Law, while applying it to Jews requires amending the Law of Return, the proposals will be legislated on different tracks and apparently even go to different Knesset committees.
Thus it is theoretically possible that one could pass while the other failed.
Gafni said the ultra-Orthodox object in principle to loyalty oaths, and he therefore opposed the bill even when it applied only to non-Jews.
By Gil Ronen www.israelnationalnews.com October 19, 2010
According to Makor Rishon, Netanyahu will find it hard to overcome the objections of the hareidi religious parties in his coalition, which are not interested in requiring hareidi Olim to pledge allegiance to a “Jewish and democratic” Israel.
Generally speaking, many, if not most, hareidi religious streams do not see themselves as Zionist and have a problem with the establishment of a Jewish state that does not follow Torah Law. The concept of democracy is also not necessarily popular in some religious streams, where it is seen as a western concept foreign to Judaism.
By Yehuda Ben Meir Opinion www.haaretz.com October 19, 2010
The amendment to the citizenship law upon which the government has decided is not a racist law; there is not an iota of racism in it.
...None of this, however, detracts from the stupidity in the government's decision.
By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com October 22, 2010
After months of debates and vague statements about the Jewish Agency's future, the 80-year-old organization's leaders will vote this Monday on implementing its new strategic plan, which many officials expect to constitute a wide-ranging overhaul, including the dismantling of its aliyah department.
http://ejewishphilanthropy.com October 22, 2010
Based on the unique added value of our core expertise, we will focus all our efforts on the following two global strategic drivers, both of which are highly effective in strengthening Jewish identity and a sense of connection.
A fully-integrated range of continually-expanding and deepening Israel experiences to enrich Jewish life and create aliya opportunities;
A range of identity-building social activism opportunities for all young Jews to help vulnerable populations and bridge social gaps in Israeli society.
By Jacob Berkman http://blogs.jta.org October 20, 2010
So how exactly did Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel -- two organizations with a long-running rocky relationship -- manage to make common cause and work together (as I reported last week)?
Fundermentalist’s take: In our conversation, it became clear that Gelbart believes the two organizations could not have coalesced without Sharansky at the Jewish Agency’s helm.
By Yehuda Mirsky Opinion www.jpost.com October 21, 2010
The challenge of managing and deepening relationships between Israel and world Jewry has been with us for decades. Today far-reaching changes are being rung on these familiar questions.
For Diaspora Jews, Israel is one possible element of their Jewishness; for Israeli Jews, Jewishness is one possible element of their Israeliness.
What has changed?
By Tamar Morad www.haaretz.com October 22, 2010
The number of families from North America settling in the Galilee through an immigrant assistance program will be approximately 300 by the end of 2010, nearly double the number of immigrants in 2009, the year the program began.
By David Breakstone Opinion http://ejewishphilanthropy.com October 24, 2010
This week, its international Board of Governors convenes in Jerusalem to confront changing realities that require JAFI to refocus if it is to continue serving as a global Jewish partnership of purpose, ensuring the future of our people with a strong and vibrant Israel at its center.
Big words, but I would like to believe not too big for who we are. Which is what? Often asked, I’ve decided to lay it all out in a lexicon from A to Z.
By Gil Hoffman www.jpost.com October 24, 2010
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) took revenge against Labor rebel MK Daniel Ben-Simon on Saturday night, announcing that he would prevent the latter from taking over the chairmanship of the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee.
www.ynetnews.com October 22, 2010
In an effort to make North American Jews more aware of the wide range of opportunities that the strong Israeli job market has to offer new immigrants to Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel are conducting career-focused Aliyah Fairs in four major cities across North America.
By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com October 19, 2010
As soon as he walks through the doors of Jerusalem soup kitchen Carmei Ha’ir, Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein is greeted with the reverence due a king.
...“I believe that Evangelical Christians can be strategic partners for the Jewish people and in securing the State of Israel. There are millions of Christians out there and if we reach out to them, they will stand with us and fight against anti-Semitism.”
By David Suissa Opinion www.jewishjournal.com October 13, 2010
David Suissa is the founder of OLAM magazine and OLAM.org
What is it about Evangelical Christians and their support for Israel that really gets to me? I understand what makes some Jews — especially liberal Jews — nervous about this group: their conservative values (on issues such as abortion and separation of church and state); an uncompromising stance on the Middle East peace process; the theological slant to their support for Israel; and a propensity among some of them to proselytize to Jews.
By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com October 21, 2010
The second Annual Interfaith Ethics and Tolerance symposium took place in Jerusalem on Tuesday, and local religious leaders benignly grappled with the loaded topic of the meaning holy sites bear for the various creeds.
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.