Monday, April 18, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - April 18, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

April 18, 2011 (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.

‘National religious rabbis have also annulled conversions'

By Jonah Mandel April 12, 2011

The dispute over the degree of leniency that Jewish law affords the conversion process is not one of halachic stringency, but one of nationalistic ideology, a prominent national religious educator said Monday.

“The State Conversion Authority has also annulled conversions,” said Rabbi Neria Gutel, speaking at a conference on religious educational attitudes toward Israeli non-Jews at the Rehovot campus of Orot Teachers’ College, which he heads.

“The question of whether to annul a conversion is not one that divides national religious and haredi rabbis.”

Passionately engaged, but not allowed to marry

By David Breakstone Opinion April 15, 2011

The writer is vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization and a member of The Jewish Agency Executive. The opinions expressed in this column are his own.

My own experience in working with rabbinical students from the Reform and Conservative movements suggests that the Jewish state’s treatment of their co-religionists has a far greater impact on their attitude toward Israel than does its treatment of the Palestinians.

These students know that should they move here after being ordained, it will be illegal for them to perform weddings, that the conversions over which they preside will not be recognized, that they will be prevented from officiating at funerals, and that they will be barred from applying for any of the hundreds of rabbinic positions funded by the state.

Israeli couple become first to be wed in civil union

By Jonah Mandel April 12, 2011

Svetlana Sadigursky and Gabby Liebeschitz become on Tuesday evening the first Israeli couple ever to be wed locally in a civil union, in a modest ceremony in Jerusalem.

The civil union law, initiated by Israel Beiteinu's MK David Rotem and passed last year, enables [... two] citizens defined by the state as lacking religious denomination, to have a civil marriage in Israel and be recognized as a married couple.

Russian-American Christians seek new life in Samaria

By Rebecca Anna Stoil April 14, 2011

A group of American Christians, mostly of Russian origin, plan to convert to Judaism and establish kibbutz- style communities in Samaria – and MK Lia Shemtov (Israel Beiteinu) is eager to help them.

The group’s leader, Russian-language radio host Baruch Avrahamovich of Portland, Oregon, said on Thursday that around 1,000 people are interested in coming to Israel and living as Jews in the northern West Bank.

The new Christian settlers

By Yair Altman April 14, 2011

Officials at the Samaria Regional council confirmed that they were approached about the initiative, but noted that according to the Law of Return, only Jews can move to Israel and receive citizenship.

"If families from this group undergo proper conversion and move to Israel in line with the Law of Return, we'll of course be happy to welcome them in Samaria," one official said.

Tel Mond parents don't want kids' school adopting religious classes

By Or Kashti April 11, 2011

A group of parents in the Shelanu elementary school in Tel Mond are campaigning against the decision to join the TALI Education Fund network of schools, which is closely identified with the Conservative movement.

The parents say the schools' shift from secular to traditional was done without their agreement, and that new Judaism related classes are being launched at the expense of core subjects.

Specter of Kashrut steers wedding venues away from same-sex ceremonies

By Gili Cohen and Yair Ettinger April 13, 2011

The Chief Rabbinate and local rabbis may not condition the granting of kashrut licenses on matters unrelated to whether Jewish dietary law has been met, according to the law on fraud.

This has become a hot potato issue with halls maintaining kosher facilities reportedly hesitant to serve as the venue for same-sex wedding celebrations. They fear their kashrut licenses will be revoked.

Vandals desecrate Ra'anana Reform synagogue for third time

By Gili Cohen April 15, 2011

Vandals smashed the windows of a Reform synagogue in Ra'anana and sprayed ominous graffiti on the wall before dawn yesterday.

"All the windows were shattered and broken glass filled the prayer hall and playground outside," said Yael Galor, community coordinator of the Ra'anan Reform Synagogue.

Reform Jewish synagogue vandalized in Ra'anana for 3rd time

By Jonah Mandel April 14, 2011

“This is the third time in the past year that the synagogue is vandalized,” Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Movement in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“In the past we refrained from drawing media attention to such attacks, which we thought were isolated incidents committed by wild adolescents.

There were also no security cameras on the site, but that will probably change now,” Kariv said.

World Reform movement condemns Ra’anana synagogue attack April 17, 2011

The World Union for Progressive Judaism said that it "condemns all violence that is motivated by hatred and religious extremism.

As we approach the season of Jewish freedom, we call on all government and NGO agencies to show their abhorrence of these wanton senseless acts, we are confident that government leaders will take the lead in this condemnation and we call on Orthodox leaders throughout Israel to also show their disgust at this destructive inter-Jewish hatred."

Netanya Masorti worshipers are stoned on Shabbat

By Jonah Mandel April 17, 2011

Masorti (Conservative) worshipers exiting their synagogue in Netanya on Friday night were stoned, just a few days after a Reform synagogue in Ra'anana was vandalized by unidentified assailants.

Executive Director and CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel Yizhar Hess said that “the vile wave of violence against non-Orthodox synagogues in Israel should be a warning signal to anyone who cares about democracy in Israel.

Survey on issues of religion and state

April 17, 2011

Fifty-seven percent of Israel's Jews are in favor of separating religion from the State. The supporters for this move among the religious (23%) and haredim (14%) is significantly lower than the supporters among the seculars (77%).

Israeli media separating country’s secular, religious groups: Study

ANI April 16, 2011

The Israeli media groups are using their ability to select and present information to divide religious and secular groups of the country, says a research conducted by a Penn State Altoona political scientist.

Since most Haredi avoid secular media, the newspapers are the primary sources for the group's members.

However, the Haredi press typically omits stories about religious public officials involved in crimes or scandals. Haredi reporters also use such phrases as "wonderful boys" or "brilliant young men," to sarcastically describe secular political figures.

Exclusive photos: Justin Bieber finally visits the Western Wall April 15, 2011

After days of hiding from the public in his Tel Aviv hotel room, 17-year-old pop star Justin Bieber performed at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park Thursday night, and then slipped away unnoticed to Jerusalem.

Following a visit to Yad Vashem, Bieber arrived at the Western Wall around 3 a.m. Friday morning with his mother and a posse of nearly 20, mostly body guards.

VIDEO: Guma Aguiar donates property overlooking Kotel for new Chabad Education Center

Who can pray at the Western Wall?

By Lois Goldrich April 15, 2011

For women who are used to being counted in a minyan, the ongoing struggle of Women of the Wall to gather and pray at the Kotel once each month is both powerful and poignant.

Reform Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson, director of the Women’s Rabbinic Network:

“The [Kotel] has basically been turned into an ultra-Orthodox synagogue,” she said. “There have been many examples of mixed groups coming down to the Wall singing and walking together, and of them being harassed and intimidated. It doesn’t only happen to the Women of the Wall.”

Construction of New Visitor Center to Begin at Jerusalem’s Western Wall

By Baila Olidort April 14, 2011

Perched on a bluff facing the Wall with a view of the Temple Mount, the center will provide guests a quiet space to reflect on their visit to Israel’s holiest site. Inside, permanent and changing exhibits on high-definition monitors will explore the Rebbe’s ideas about Jerusalem, Israel and related themes, helping visitors anchor the spiritual experience at the wall.

Unfinished Business

By Dr. Misha Galperin Opinion April 14, 2011

Dr. Misha Galperin is President and CEO of the Jewish Agency International Development.

The Jewish Agency is one of the few organizations which has tapped into these cultural strengths to connect Russian speaking Jews with other Jews, with our heritage and with a collective vision of a Jewish future.

'Russian Jews were free to emigrate as they wished'

By Gil Shefler April 15, 2011

Israel did not dupe Soviet Jewry into immigrating to Israel during the late 1980s and 1990s, an official involved in organizing the great immigration of Soviet Jewry to Israel has insisted.

Arnon Mantver, who was the head of the Jewish Agency’s aliya department in the 1990s, denied claims made by retired Israeli official Yaakov Kedmi that Israel misled Soviet Jews by making them believe they had no other choice if they wanted to leave the country.

Making Our Story Matter

By Avi Herring Opinion April 15, 2011

Avi Herring is a student in NYU graduate dual-degree program between the Wagner School of Public Service and the Skirball Department of Jewish Studies.

First, unlike the fear narrative which dominated the Jewish communal agenda in the latter half of the 20th century, the 21st century will not see one Jewish narrative, but many.

Second, attempts to re-imagine the Jewish narrative will be much more successful than attempts to exaggerate the fear narrative.

While remaining aware of the potential for anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism, we must also candidly acknowledge that fear, while a powerful identity builder in the short term, will not lead to sustainable expressions of Jewish identity in this century.

Students asked to make video clips for Herzl Day

By Or Kashti April 12, 2011

The Education Ministry is holding a video clip competition for secondary-school students "in the spirit of Theodor Herzl's vision." The contest is part of Zionist education.

Journey to the End of an Era

By Bambi Sheleg Opinion April 14, 2011

The writer is editor of Eretz Acheret Magazine

I recently came back from a lecture tour in various Jewish communities in the United States. Who would believe that I would have the opportunity of flying coast-to-coast in America and that people would actually come to hear my lectures? The world is an amazing place and the Jewish world is the most fascinating place of all.

...Our world is about to change dramatically. The writing is on the wall and it is part of every news broadcast; however, nobody wants to read it. New centers of power are about to emerge. A change is about to take place in value systems. Survival will become the central issue of the period on whose threshold we now find ourselves.

Sacti-Rashi Foundation Elie Elalouf awarded Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement

By Oren Majar April 12, 2011

Elie Elalouf, the director of the Sacta-Rashi Foundation, will receive the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement along with Vered Hulda-Gurevich, who was honored for her volunteer work.

Ford Foundation to cut funding for local NGOs

By Natasha Mozgovaya April 15, 2011

One of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States, the Ford Foundation, has announced it will not renew a five-year $20 million grant program for Israeli non-profit organizations when it runs out in 2013.

The move is expected to be a blow for groups focusing on human rights and aiding minorities in Israel.

Start up offers free real-time interpretation services to new immigrants in English, Spanish, Italian

By Raphael Ahren April 15, 2011

A new Israeli company recently started offering free real-time interpretation services to new immigrants. Clients just need to dial a landline number in order be connected to a translator fluent in Hebrew who can translate into English, Spanish or Italian, according to the company.

In unusual U.S. visit, Israeli Knesset members try listening

By Uriel Heilman April 10, 2011

[MK Carmel Shama, Likud] said that after listening to American Jews, he now has a completely different view of the debate surrounding the controversial Rotem bill -- proposed Knesset legislation that has upset an array of American Jewish groups for the way it would change how Israel handles converts from abroad and conversions at home.

...Perhaps more than anything else, the Knesset members said the trip showed them that Israel has much to learn from the liberalism, pluralism, diversity and tolerance that exists in the American Jewish community. Shama noted that it would be nice to have haredi Orthodox Knesset members go on such a trip.

“Talking About Israel, Educating for Israel: American Jewish Challenges and Opportunities” April 14, 2011

Chancellor Eisen and Dr. Ruskay will address the need for the creation of a new dialogue about Israel within the American Jewish community; a dialogue that is substantive, informed, and positive.

Ex-Shin Bet Head Wants To Double Birthright Quota

By Stewart Ain April 12, 2011

Avi Dichter: About 200,000 have come on Birthright but about double that register and cannot go. So the inevitable question is, why not double the project? Everybody agreed it should be doubled and it can be.

We are going to take that back to Israel and ask the government, because its contribution is about one-third [of the overall cost] — and it’s not that huge.

Why young US rabbis lean to the left on Israel

By Rabbi Scott Perlo Opinion April 16, 2011

The writer is a pulpit rabbi living in Los Angeles, and a graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.

We are not the generation of rabbis hoping to abandon Israel. We are the generation of rabbis who hope that God will give us the merit to be peacemakers.

There is a desperate need for peacemakers in the Jewish community, whether American or Israeli.

Shas rebel MK Chaim Amsellem founds new movement

By Kobi Nahshoni April 14, 2011

Five months after his expulsion from Shas, Rebellious Knesset Member Rabbi Chaim Amsellem confirmed Wednesday that it was his intention to run for the 19th Knesset with his new movement – Am Shalem (Whole Nation).

Amsellem was speaking at a launch party for the new movement held in Jerusalem. It is estimated that he will try to merge his new party with the united national-religious list ahead of the next elections.

Split in Shas Leads to Yet Another Religious Party

By Hillel Fendel April 14, 2011

“We will encourage Torah together with working for a living and academic education,” Rabbi Amsalem said.

“At the same time, we will strengthen full-time Torah study for those unique individuals who can do it.

We will encourage sharing the public burden for all, we will behave with tolerance and unity, and we will bring about an end to division.

We will endorse the controversial conversion issue according to the solutions that I suggested and that were agreed upon by our teacher Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.”

Former Shas head Aryeh Deri: Unity government in the interest of religious people

By Gil Ronen April 17, 2011

Deri added that a unity government is also in the interest of religious people because it will lower tensions between religious and secular Jews - a tension that he thinks hurts the religious more.

Religion and State in Israel

April 18, 2011 (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 - April 18, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

April 18, 2011 (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.

Education Minister Sa'ar: Part-time yeshiva students to also receive stipends

By Jonah Mandel April 12, 2011

Part-time kollel students will from now on be eligible for a government allowance, after Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Tuesday signed a new regulation to this effect.

Until now, only full-time kollel students met the criteria for the state funding.

...the Masorti (Conservative) Movement was supportive of Sa’ar’s new directive.

Yeshiva students to combine work, Torah studies

By Kobi Nahshoni April 12, 2011

The new regulation applies to yeshiva students who are exempt from military service alone. According to Education Ministry data half of yeshiva students are exempt.

Half-time yeshiva study brings state stipend

By Lior Dattel April 13, 2011

Until now, the [yeshiva students] had to study 35 hours a week to receive government financial support, worth NIS 819 a month. Now they can receive a reduced stipend - about NIS 410 a month - if they study 18 hours.

Thou shalt not work

By Nati Tucker April 13, 2011

Coverage of the ultra-Orthodox community in the general media includes penetrating criticism of their failure to do military service, their low employment rate, and religious coercion. The Haredi press presents the opposite picture: firm defense of the community's principles and a strict preservation of its lifestyle.

The ultra-Orthodox press is in effect the Haredi tribal campfire that fervently fulfills its role - to block reform and changes in the community's way of life.

Jobless ultra-Orthodox weigh on Israel's economy

By Maayan Lubell April 14, 2011

Professor Dan Ben-David, an economist at Tel-Aviv University and head of the Taub Center for Social Policy Research, has been studying for years the extent of Haredi benefits, such as child allowances, housing subsidies and scholarships.

"The true amount is concealed, veiled in misleading budget definitions. We are shocked each time we get an inkling of its magnitude, but it has to be huge if it allows one of the highest unemployment rates in the Western world," Ben-David said.

91.9% of Haredi students will not receive a matriculation diploma

Half of students won't receive diplomas

By Tomer Velmer April 12, 2011

According to data collected by the ministry, 51.7% of all students will not qualify for a diploma, 35.4% of these Jewish. Among non-Jews the situation is far direr, and of all haredi students, 91.9% will not receive a diploma.

Public thinks rabbis worsen Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By Jonah Mandel April 16, 2011

According to the findings, 42 percent of Israeli Jews surveyed maintained that rabbis worsened the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while 14% thought that rabbis improved things, and 29% believed they had no effect.

Of secular Jews, 63% believed rabbis only made things worse with the Palestinians, while 7% thought they played a positive role in resolving the conflict.

Regarding relations between Arabs and Jews within Israel, 45% of Israeli Jews believed religion distanced the sides, while only 6% thought it could bring the sides closer, and 38% thought it had no effect.

Religious school expels beauty queen

By Tomer Velmer April 13, 2011

A principal of a state religious school in central Israel has expelled a student for taking part in a local beauty pageant and winning the contest.

Maayan Mader, an outstanding student and a representative of the school's student council, decided to sign up for a beauty pageant in the city of Gedera about two months ago, after ensuring that the contest did not include swimsuits or provocative clothing.

When Religious Girls Become Beauty Queens

By Elana Maryles Sztokman Opinion April 15, 2011

Maayan Madar’s principal should not see Madar’s clothing as a rejection of religion but should see Madar’s beauty queen aspiration as a failure of her own educational system.

Rather than expel a student for succeeding in what she set out to do, the school should be asking itself why this was her goal, why this is the best value system she came out with in terms of girls’ roles in society, why her teachers were unable to transmit an image of religious womanhood that was more attractive than becoming a beauty queen.

This is a failure of the religious education system — and actually the entire Israeli education system — and a victory for superficiality, for the reality television-high fashion culture from which the religious community is hardly immune or exempt.

300 Goats and Sheep, 20 Slaughterers, One Willful Rabbi

By Nathan Jeffay April 13, 2011

Making Seder for the extended family seems like child’s play compared with Rabbi Yehudah Glick’s Passover preparations. The New York-born Glick is getting ready to lead world Jewry in a Paschal sacrifice April 18, the first night of Passover.

...So with the backing of some influential rabbis, he has contracted farmers to provide him with 300 sheep and goats for the sacrifice, should the Messiah arrive.

He also put 20 slaughterers on standby; and, for those who wish to take part, but who live outside Jerusalem, he made Seder-night accommodations within walking distance of the Old City.

Rabbinic Dispute over Temple Mount April 12, 2011

Advertisements in several of the weekly Torah pamphlets distributed in the religious-Zionist community on the Sabbath called on readers not to ascend the Temple Mount. Ascending the mount is forbidden by Torah law at this time, the ads said.

Poll: 82% of secular Israelis conduct Seder April 17, 2011

According to a social survey, 82% of seculars conduct the Seder, as do 93% of those who define themselves as "traditional but not so religious" and 98% of those who define themselves as "religious traditional."

Akko Chief Rabbi asks Arabs not to sell chametz

By Yaffa Baranes April 15, 2011

Akko's Chief Rabbi Yosef Yashar has asked the imam of the al-Jazar Mosque, Sheikh Samir Asi, to instruct Arab business owners in the Old City to avoid selling chametz (leavened food) to Jews during the Passover holiday. The sheikh has agreed to do so.

PODCAST: Against the Grain

By Sarah Ivri April 15, 2011

In Israel, milk and eggs are kosher for Passover only when produced by livestock that ischametz-free. A dairy farmer explains how the holiday alters his routine.

Click here for PODCAST

PODCAST: Reporter Daniel Estrin went on a tour of a dairy farm outside Jerusalem to find just what this entails.

Efrat rabbi tilts against Passover food restrictions for Ashkenazi Jews

By Raphael Ahren April 15, 2011

Trying to ease the life of Ashkenazi Jews who observe the dietary laws of the upcoming Passover holiday, an American-born Orthodox rabbi recently issued a halakhic ruling expanding the menu of permitted food products during the weeklong holiday.

U.S. immigrants in Israeli Army find Passover homes away from home

By Michele Chabin, Religion News Service April 16, 2011

When Passover begins on Monday at sundown, Roxanne Fogelman, a 22-year-old Israeli combat medic, won't be attending a seder at her family's home in Oregon.

Instead Fogelman, who moved to Israel on her own in 2009 after visiting the country on a Birthright Israel youth program, will join 600 other "lone soldiers" for a communal holiday meal.

Holon Seder for 1,300 Ethiopian olim shoots for record

By Ruth Eglash April 14, 2011

The Immigrant Absorption Ministry will try to set a Guinness World Record on Monday night by organizing – together with charity Aviv Hatorah – the world’s largest Pessah Seder for some 1,300 recently arrived Ethiopian immigrants living in Tel Aviv.

Ethiopian immigrants set to celebrate their first Seder

By Ruth Eglash April 15, 2011

Gearing up to spend their first-ever Pessah in the Land of Israel, some 100 recently arrived Ethiopian immigrants gathered at the Jewish Agency-run absorption center in Mevaseret Zion, west of Jerusalem, on Thursday for a “mock” Seder to learn and understand some of the religious and cultural traditions of the festival of freedom.

Secular Jerusalemites pick up tips at seder workshop April 11, 2011

Late last week, around 40 secular Jerusalemites gathered at the Beit Avi Chai cultural center in the capital for a workshop on the seder.

"Passover has become a burdensome holiday for Israelis, the workshop's leader, Prof. Avigdor Shinan, told the group. "The time has come to bring back the spirit of freedom," said Shinan, a Bible expert at Hebrew University.

Foreign workers' kids hold Seder April 14, 2011

Hillel Israel is marking this Passover in a special manner, highlighting the issues of freedom and liberty with those for whom these issues are relevant everyday.

The Biggest Seder in the World - in Israel

By David Lev April 13, 2011

What does it take to organize “the world's biggest Passover seder?” 130 kilos of matza, 3,000 hard boiled eggs, 100 kilos of haroset (the apple/date/wine concoction used in the seder) – and 2,000 portions of gefilte fish.

That, at least, is what the Absorption Ministry thinks it needs in order to throw a seder for 1,300 members of Israel's Ethiopian immigrant community, who live in the Tel Aviv area.

The Ministry is sponsoring the seder along with the “Aviv Hatorah” educational organization that operates in the Ethiopian community.

The festival of freedom? Not when you have a house to clean

By Tamar Rotem April 17, 2011

Neria-Ben Shahar is a granddaughter of Rabbi Moshe Neria, a major figure in religious Zionism, and with a pedigree like that - noblesse oblige. All her life she has alternately rebelled and submitted to him. For example, as a declared religious feminist who worships at an egalitarian synagogue, she wears ultra-Orthodox Zionist style clothing and head-coverings.

"I'm the first-born in the family. When I was a child, I never left the house during the Passover vacation. This was absolutely clear. I had to do nearly everything."

VIDEO: In Israel, even the cows eat “Kosher for Pesach”

April 17, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

Arabs take care not to offend Jews with pitas over Pessah

By Jonah Mandel April 17, 2011

Arab pita bakers from around the Sea of Galilee and Israel's northern Mediterranean coast will make every effort to not sell leavened bread (hametz) over Passover, following a meeting on Sunday with Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee Ayoub Kara (Likud) during which he asked that they be sensitive to the religious feelings of the Jews on their holiday of redemption and freedom.

Rabbinate sells chametz to Abu Ghosh resident April 17, 2011

The chametz of the State of Israel will legally belong to Ismail Abu Jabber Hussein of Abu Ghosh for the next week or so, after Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger. along with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, sold the chametz that was transferred to rabbis all over the country by Israelis who signed contracts with their local rabbinates, in a ceremony Sunday afternoon.

The Truth Unleavened: 90 Years of Passover Reporting Archives

Sharp drop seen in Israel matzah exports

By Tani Goldstein April 15, 2011

Are Diaspora Jews buying less matzot? Israel's matzah exports totaled some $13 million in 2010 – an 18.5% drop compared to 2009, according to figures released by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEICI).

Strong shekel hits matza exports

By Yuval Azulai April 12, 2011

The Export Institute director Avi Hefetz said, "It turns out that the erosion in the shekel-dollar exchange rate has not passed over matza. Higher prices for flour and the fall in the shekel-dollar exchange rate affected matza exports to the US and the industry as a whole."

Audio & Photo Essay: Bar Ilan University unveils rare Haggadot

By Mordechai I. Twersky April 13, 2011

Bar Ilan University's has granted “Inside Israel” exclusive access to four, rare Haggadot among its Rare Book and Manuscript Collection.

The Haggadot, presented in the following audio slideshow, were chosen by David Benayem, the collection's curator.

New book details how some kibbutz haggadot are different from all others

By Eli Ashkenazi April 14, 2011

The Passover haggadot compiled by the various kibbutzim make up the most important project of Jewish culture in Israel in the past 100 years

Religious Services Minister: Burn chametz in paper bags

By Kobi Nahshoni April 14, 2011

Minister of Religious Services Yakov Margi (Shas) is calling on the public to reduce to minimum the air pollution caused during the removal of chametz (leavened food) on the eve of Passover, and to avoid burning it in ways which are not environmentally friendly.

New at Kotel for Pesach: Mobility Scooter

By Gil Ronen April 15, 2011

This year, the Kotel Heritage Fund has decided to place an electric mobility scooter next to the bus station, to make it easier for the elderly and disabled to reach the Plaza.

Flight numbers up as Passover exodus begins

By Zohar Blumenkrantz April 15, 2011

The annual Passover holiday exodus commenced yesterday, with Ben Gurion International Airport experiencing twice the normal number of passengers.

Israel's plan for next year's school curriculum: Reinforcing Jewish and Zionist values

By Or Kashti April 14, 2011

The Education Ministry's plan for the coming school year does not include civics, democratic values or Jewish-Arab coexistence, according to copies circulated among principals.

It states schools' two main objectives are to reinforce Jewish and Zionist values, and to improve scholastic achievements, and instructs principals how to fulfill these goals.

Court rejects petition of 14-year-old wannabe rabbi

By Jonah Mandel April 14, 2011

The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected the petition of Moshe Raziel Sharifi that the Chief Rabbinate be forced to check his ordination exam, so that he may be able to be ordained as a rabbi.

Chief Rabbi Metzger: Stop rabbi letters 'trend'

By Kobi Nahshoni April 13, 2011

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has come out against the growing number of public letters signed by rabbis, saying they lead to disrespect towards rabbis.

Sarkozy awards Legion of Honor to former Israel Chief Rabbi Lau

By Gil Shefler April 14, 2011

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday awarded the Legion of Honor – the country’s highest accolade – to Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Meir Lau for his efforts to promote interfaith dialogue, at a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Israel Chief Rabbi Metzger says Obama must free Pollard if he wants another term April 17, 2011

The Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, told congregants in a Sabbath sermon that if U.S. President Barack Obama seeks reelection, he must release Jonathan Pollard, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.

How Women’s Talmud Study Is Unique

By Michal Tukochinsky April 12, 2011

Michal Tukochinsky leads the Moshe Green Beit Midrash for Women at Beit Morasha of Jerusalem.

A quiet revolution is taking place in the second generation of women's Torah study.

...When I recently sensed the need to reach for greater heights and start a women's Halacha program, we established it at Beit Morasha of Jerusalem.

We did this not because of a feminist demand for women poskot (decisors), but because there were women who thirsted for this program in order to build a more complete Torah world for themselves. And with God's help, there will be poskot, because the world needs them.

Bar-Ilan U. to offer B.A. in English

By Raphael Ahren April 15, 2011

Bar-Ilan University is launching a B.A. program taught entirely in English, thus becoming Israel's first state university to offer an English-only undergraduate program, the Ramat Gan-based school announced yesterday.

Students will also be required to complete the equivalent of a minor in basic Jewish heritage courses, the university spokeswoman said.

Survey: Israeli Ethiopian students lag far behind other Jewish counterparts

By Or Kashti April 15, 2011

Significant gaps exist in achievement between students of Ethiopian origin and those of all students in the Jewish sector in standardized tests, a recent Education Ministry report revealed.

Rabbi Dov Lior: Recycle weekly Torah sheets

By Jonah Mandel April 15, 2011

Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior has ruled that the pages distributed in synagogues on Friday nights, dealing with the weekly Torah portion and other religious and social topics, should be recycled instead of buried in a repository (geniza).

Rabbi indicted for sexual assault

By Aviad Glickman April 12, 2011

An indictment was filed Tuesday by the Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office against a well-known rabbi accused of sodomizing and performing an indecent act on his friend's wife who was seeking his professional counseling.

Filmmaker-journalist says nails used to crucify Jesus discovered

By Nir Hasson April 13, 2011

And if Jacobovici is to be believed, these nails have the potential to cause a revolution in the way we view early Christianity, the Jewish religion from which Christianity emanated and the relationship between the two faiths.

Bahais unveil renovated shrine in Israel

By Matti Friedman AP April 12, 2011

Followers of the Bahai faith unveiled their newly renovated holy site on the coast of Israel on Tuesday, drawing attention to one of the Holy Land's lesser-known religions.

The renovation of the Shrine of the Bab, a U.N.-designated World Heritage site, lasted two-and-a-half-years and cost $6 million dollars, according to the Bahai leadership.

Religion and State in Israel

April 18, 2011 (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.