Monday, June 20, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - June 20, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

June 20, 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.

Jewish Agency to decide on Orthodox conversions for aliya

By Jonah Mandel June 15, 2011

“In the vast majority of conversions in which the rabbis are [known figures], the Jewish Agency’s recommendation will be relayed to the Israeli consul abroad... and if the convert meets the other conditions for granting the status... the aliya permit will be supplied,” Ben-Ami wrote.

“In isolated cases in which there arises a doubt regarding the identity of the converting rabbi and his status, the request will be transferred for consultation with the chief rabbi, who will provide a recommendation based on whether he acknowledges the conversion or not,” Ben-Ami wrote.

If the chief rabbi will not recognize the conversion, the letter continues, “the Jewish Agency will then be requested to provide clarifications regarding the community and its institutions.” This will take place “before the Population Authority, which has authority on this issue, makes its decision.”

State to automatically recognize overseas conversions

By Kobi Nahshoni June 16, 2011

ITIM Institute director Rabbi Shaul Farber welcomed the decision, but added: "The fact that there are no clear criteria for what is a community recognized by Israel, and no clear authority deciding when overseas conversions are questionable, allows the Chief Rabbinate to reject some of the Orthodox communities.

"We insist that any lawful conversion performed by a legitimate Orthodox court shall be automatically recognized without consultation with the Chief Rabbinate which has no jurisdiction in the matter."

Rabbi Seth Farber on Orthodox conversions for aliya

By Jonah Mandel June 15, 2011

Rabbi Seth Farber noted, however, the clause in the document determining that in case of doubt, the rabbinate will be consulted.

“This last clause worries me a bit,” he said. “It remains unclear who raises the doubt, and what role the chief rabbi plays.”

But Farber added that: “It is my understanding that the Chief Rabbinate would prefer not to be consulted in these areas, because it puts them in the predicament regarding the legitimacy of Orthodox communities around the world, in an area they realize they have no legal jurisdiction.”

Natan Sharansky's Statement on Agreement With Israel's Ministry of Interior Regarding Conversion June 16, 2011

"While there are only a handful of cases per year affected by this most recent understanding, the decision, which reflects a profound concern for the unity of the Jewish people on the part of all parties, has opened the door for important dialogue on further issues concerning identity."

Jewish Agency to approve Orthodox converts’ eligibility to immigrate to Israel

By Mairav Zonszein Opinion June 19, 2011

This new step has done nothing for freedom of religion and the status of one’s Jewishness once in Israel, which is still monopolized by the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate in Israel.

But I’m glad North American Jews can be a bit calmer about their connection to Israel – let’s see how many more band-aids can be put on before people start realizing that nothing will really change till the root of the problem – the lack of separation between religion and state in Israel – is addressed.

Who Is A Jew?

By Rabbi Gil Student Opinion June 16, 2011

Why should social and political problems be solved with a halakhic answer?

The proper resolutions lie in the social and political realm. Israeli society needs to acknowledge the correct identity of gentiles with Jewish ancestry and non-halakhic converts and create a proud role for such people. And the Israeli government must create space for them.

Certainly, the rabbinate must shed its entrenched bureaucracy and embrace properly motivated converts but the true solution to this dilemma lies not with Jewish law but with Israeli society and government.

Halakhah is not a weapon to be wielded against every inconvenient problem. Doing so trivializes religion in the eyes of the non-observant and divides the religious community itself. We need to recognize the complex problems of Jewish identity as they are and widen our toolboxes to properly handle them.

Rainbow Flags Aflutter, Orthodox Groups Enter a Float in Gay Pride Parade

By Nathan Jeffay June 15, 2011

Amid a sea of rainbow flags and equal-rights banners at Tel Aviv’s 18th annual Gay Pride parade, an unexpected soundtrack filled the air: Hasidic music.

Despite the suspicions of some marchers, it wasn’t an act of protest by Orthodox groups. Rather, the music was coming from a float designed by a group of Orthodox gay and lesbian Israelis.

The first-of-its-kind float, which made its debut at the June 10 parade, boasted the corporate sponsorship of Google, and carried members of the Bat Kol alliance of Orthodox lesbians; Havruta, an organization of Orthodox gay men, and Pride Minyan, a prayer group for Tel Aviv’s Orthodox gay and lesbian community.

These organizations promote the acceptance of Orthodox homosexuals — without taking a position on how their members should deal with the fact that gay sex is prohibited by almost all interpretations of Orthodox law.

Gay, observant - and sponsored by Google June 16, 2011

While Orthodox gay and lesbian groups have acquired large followings in the past five years - 150 people regularly attend Havura events, and Bat Kol has 400 members - he believes that many people still do not know about them or fear making contact.

"People sitting at home feeling alienated from their communities see us on TV, and it's an important way of letting them know that we're here for them," he said.

For the other marchers, "it's a way of saying that you can be gay and still have a relationship with Judaism, even with Orthodoxy".

Gay Orthodox Jews See Growing Acceptance In Israel

By Michele Chabin June 13, 2011

"Many religious people who realize they're gay feel rejected by the society they grew up in and decide to become secular," explained Talya Lev, a spokeswoman for Bat Kol, an Israeli-based Orthodox lesbian organization.

"Yet there is a growing number of gay religious people for whom religion is an integral part of who they are, and they won't give it up."

Rabbinic Court defeats Public 2-0

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion June 19, 2011

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

I wonder: How did the rabbinic judges manage to convince us all of a new law – that it is possible to undo a conversion?

How did they get the general public to cooperate with them and to hold our breath every time a convert walks into the four wall of a rabbinic court hoping to get out of there a Jew?

Two points for the court, 0 points for the people and the Halacha.

Israeli couples wed at mass civil ceremony in Cyprus

AP June 19, 2011

"I think it's more exciting, more special," Michael Lantsman said. The 32-year-old soundman said he and his 28-year-old bride Rose chose to get hitched in a civil ceremony because they are not religious and they wanted to avoid the "bureaucracy" involved with a religious wedding in Israel.

154 couples tie knot in Cyprus in attempt to break record June 18, 2011

One-hundred fifty-four Israeli and Russian couples were married in a mass-wedding ceremony in Lanarca, Cyprus on Saturday, according to a Cyprus Mail report. The Israeli organizers and newly-wed couples hoped to get into the Guinness Book of World Records category for mass-marriages.

Israelis try to set new mass wedding record

AFP June 18, 2011

It is estimated that 1,000 civil marriages involving Israelis take place in Cyprus each year, with many couples coming to the island because they are unable to have a religious ceremony back home.

Larnaca – Israelis' marriage capital?

By Itamar Eichner June 16, 2011

The southern Cypriot port city of Larnaca is about to host as many as 170 Israeli couples, who will take part in an unusual mass wedding on Friday.

On Friday they will be invited to sign the wedding certificates in a ceremony attended by the Larnaca mayor, which will be followed by a huge wedding party into the night on the deck of the cruise ship they arrived on.

Law School 101

By Ellyse Borghi June 13, 2011

In a course on family law we were not advised to sue recalcitrant husbands for damages when they refuse to give a get.

We were simply told to file for divorce as quickly as possible in the family law courts and hope for the best. If that doesn’t work and you are representing the woman, you can use your right to spousal maintenance as leverage for the Get. If that still doesn't work, you can use your custody of the kids to limit visitation rights of your spouse as leverage to receive your Get.

VIDEO: Interview with Irit Rosenblum, New Family June 13, 2011 New Family Israel

Click here for embedded VIDEO

Will Rabbinical Court get female director?

By Kobi Nahshoni June 17, 2011

The High Court of Justice on Monday held a hearing on a petition filed by the [Israel Religious Action Center], the Rackman Center for the advancement of the status of women and other women's groups against Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman.

The petitioners demanded to cancel the appointment procedure for the director of the Rabbinical Court, and allow women to contend for the role.

During the hearing, Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy expressed his support for the appointment of a woman to head of the Rabbinical Court.

Israeli investigated on his Jewish status after Haaretz interview

Disclosure to Haaretz may cost Israeli his Jewish nationality

By Nir Hasson June 16, 2011

An Israeli citizen may have his classification as "Jewish" withdrawn by the Interior Ministry in the wake of a newspaper interview he gave. In an interview for the Family Affair section of Haaretz Magazine, in May, Itai Bar, a resident of Kibbutz Shoval in the south of the country, disclosed he wasn't Jewish.

Israeli Women Get Politicised On Separation of Religion and State

By Natalie Wood June 18, 2011

Israel’s best-known feminist educator has called for women to join any political party to fight the monopoly of the Orthodox rabbinate on matters of personal status.

Professor Alice Shalvi, giving the opening address at Friday’s National Masorti Women’s Day Conference in Jerusalem, said:

“… because in Israel religion and politics are not separated as they are – and should be – in a true democracy, we must also be involved politically. The best way to do this is not just by voting in elections, but by joining a political party.
No matter what your views on, for example, the Israel-Palestine conflict or the economy, we – YOU – can influence the party’s stance on the separation of religion and state.”

My Daughter’s Period Party

By Rabbi Dr. Haviva Ner-David Opinion June 14, 2011

Rabbi Dr. Haviva Ner-David is a rabbi, teacher, and writer living on Kibbutz Hannaton in the Lower Galilee in Israel.

We now live in the Lower Galilee, where the population is more stratified between religious and secular, and is also more conservative in terms of spiritual and religious experimentation.

When my oldest daughter got her period for the first time, we were living in Jerusalem, and although I admit that only one other of her friends (whose mother is also a rabbi, like me, and a Jewish Renewal Rabbi at that!) had a period party after her (and her party was only with adult women, not the girl’s friends), I felt more comfortable inviting Michal’s friends to her party than I did inviting Meira’s friends to hers.

A.B. Yehoshua to speak at Jewish conference June 16, 2011

Renowned Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua will be speaking in the public portion of the Shalom Hartman Institute's International Philosophy Conference next week.

The lecture, which will be in English and is open to the public, will be held on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011, at 8 pm. In his lecture, Yehoshua will address the topics of Jewish Peoplehood and anti-Semitism.

Shavuot Tikkun Encompasses the Entire Spectrum of Israel Society June 16, 2011

In honor of the Jewish holiday now marked by serious study and learning, thousands of Israelis participated in 35 NIF-funded Shavuot study sessions last week.

The sessions, many of them sponsored by groups not previously associated with NIF, reflected the complex composition of Israeli society and the daunting range of moral issues confronting the country.

Click here for embedded VIDEO

Sharansky says Jewish Agency reforms will spur higher aliyah numbers over long run

By Raphael Ahren June 17, 2011

Despite charges to the contrary, Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky says reforms to the body are designed to bring "hundreds of thousands" of new immigrants from Western countries to Israel, mainly by supporting programs bringing young Jews to the country on short- and long-term programs.

Jewish Agency staffers to get workdays back

By Raphael Ahren June 17, 2011

The planned two-week furlough Jewish agency management and the organization's workers committee agreed on earlier this month to avoid the firings of 50 staffers in light of budgetary constraints was shortened to one week, and will not entail previously agreed upon pay cuts for 500-odd employees, Anglo File learned this week.

Survey: Olim immigrating after age 18 more bleak about economic prospects

Survey: Older newcomers more bleak about economic prospects

By David Sheen June 17, 2011

A recently conducted survey of young immigrants, the first of its kind, has revealed that less than half who move to Israel after age 18 are confident about their economic prospects here, and that immigrants who serve in the IDF feel more Israeli and less stigmatized by the label 'immigrant.'

Sabra-born Israelis becoming less supportive of aliya

By Ruth Eglash June 14, 2011

Young native Israelis are growing less supportive of continued immigration, and see the arrival of thousands of Jews each year as a burden on the state, a study published by the Immigrant Absorption Ministry on Tuesday reveals.

35% of new immigrants want to serve in combat units

By Yael Branovsky June 14, 2011

With regards to the IDF draft, 35% of immigrants expressed a desire to serve in combat units, 25% of them are debating whether to go into the army, and 25% of the soldiers, who are new immigrants themselves, have friends that are not serving in the army.

Although the definitive majority of the immigrants feel Israeli, 90% of the soldiers feel more Israeli and more connected than high school students.

Better late than never: Making aliyah at 70

By Itamar Eichner June 13, 2011

Rogg says that since that day [in 1971], not a day has gone by that he hasn't thought of making aliyah, but unfortunately it was never made possible.

In 1981 he met his wife Tzipora, a UN employee in New York and the two were married. He immigrated to New York where she has been working at the UN headquarters for the past 27 years.

Now, with only a "slight" delay, the two have decided to make aliyah. They will be arriving in Israel on August 16 on a special Nefesh B'Nefesh olim flight.

VIDEO: ROI Summit Brings Jewish Thinkers Together June 15, 2011

Click here for embedded VIDEO

The Schustermans: Making Change in the World Possible

By Dr. Andre Oboler Opinion June 19, 2011

Dr. Andre Oboler was an ROI Participant in 2008, 2010 and 2011. He is Director of the Community Internet Engagement Project at the Zionist Federation of Australia and an expert in Online Public Diplomacy, Combating Online Antisemitism, and engaging Jewish Community organisations with new Technology.

The more I reflect on the summit, the more I feel ROI is moving beyond community and it is becoming a closely knit family, despite its size.

The other idea was a Jewish / Israel Global Peace Crops. Lynn explained the difficulty in getting enough cooperation from enough stake holders to really make this happen, and then announced she would work to overcome those difficulties and try to make this project a reality. From the ROI Community, this is a moment not only of “yes we can”, but of “yes we will”.

Start-Up Summit

By Abigail Pickus June 20, 2011

The Summit – which is the pinnacle of the ROI Community, established by philanthropist Lynn Schusterman in 2005 – also served as a key incubator for a host of brand new start- ups that seem likely to transform the global Jewish world and beyond.

VIDEO: Thru Jerusalem

Presented at ROI Summit

“special tnx to the local musicians who create the sound of Jerusalem. In This piece I didn't browse YouTube, I actually wandered around Jerusalem , met with musicians and filmed them.”

Click here for embedded video

ROI summit on future of Jewish people concludes in J’lem

By Gil Shefler June 17, 2011

“Israelis sometimes don’t understand why they have to come to a conference on Judaism,” she said.

“Many are still held captive by the old paradigm of Israeli egocentricism, the old notions based on the rejection of the Diaspora, but the reality has changed. Peoplehood has become more important and conferences like these are more appealing to them.”

ROI Youth Magnet for Global Change

By Felice Friedson June 16, 2011

Jewish communal leaders have been agonizing over the younger generation’s perceived loss of interest in the Jewish state, an issue that is part-and-parcel of the transition Korda spoke about.

One reality permeating the ROI Summit was that the new generation does not necessarily reject its parents’ bonding with the modern state, but young Jews do insist on being allowed the ability to process the relevant facts and form independent, informed conclusions.

Landres quotes his organization’s research which, he says, demonstrates “a desire on the part of the younger generation to learn; to engage; to see the complexity of Israel from start to finish; to put everything in context and then be treated as adults who are capable of making up their own minds about what their relationship with Israel is going to look like.”

Teach Us to Build and Re-build Together

By Lynn Schusterman June 14, 2011

I believe that what we need now is strong leadership that will ensure Israel remains true to its goals and aspirations – to be a Jewish homeland for all of the Jewish people.

I believe that what we need now is the resolve to create a fully inclusive Jewish community that embraces every Jew seeking to lead an actively Jewish life as made in God’s image. I believe that what we need now is a Jewish Spring.

PresenTense Global Institute Welcomes its 5th, Most Diverse, Cohort June 14, 2011

Sixteen Fellows from six countries will be gathering in Jerusalem for the PresenTense Global Summer Institute’s fifth summer fellowship program.

The Global Summer Institute trains social entrepreneurs in the latest technology and business practices to launch ventures that upgrade the operating system of the Jewish people and benefit the world at large.

Life After Zionist Summer Camp

By Allison Benedikt Opinion June 14, 2011

Allison Benedikt is the film editor of the Village Voice.

My sister lives a full and happy life in Tel Aviv. She has two awesome kids who will both serve in the Israeli Army one day. I love them all very much.

All of us kids have had an impact on my mother—as has Jeffrey Goldberg. Mom turns out to be open-minded. She thinks she never got the full story either, and is now tortured over Israel, a torture that seems to occupy 80% of her brain. She is basically alone among her friends, most of them reflexively "pro"-Israel, one-issue voters who try to make her feel stupid when she is not.

My father is still a hawk. I don't care as much as either of them, but I do still care—and not just because it's a Major World Issue, and not just because my sister lives there.

John and I have two kids of our own and are raising them as Jews. Most of my Jewish friends are disgusted with Israel. It seems my trajectory is not at all unique. My best memories from childhood are from camp, and I will never, ever send my kids there.

New poll: Dialogue desirable even with Diaspora critics

By Gil Shefler June 20, 2011

According to a survey commissioned by B’nai B’rith, 71 percent of the Israeli-Jewish respondents said Israel should always be ready to meet and maintain contact with Jewish organizations – including those that question its decisions – while only 20 percent opposed.

Why Allison Benedikt is right

By Kung Fu Jew Opinion June 17, 2011

Allison Benedikt did us all a courageous favor by willingly weathering the inevitable accusations of stupidity, shallowness, disloyalty and self-hatred that comes with being conflicted about Israel.

I salute her and hope so many others will also tell their elders to shut up, sit down and listen for once. Their control of the Jewish community is waning and they can listen now, or they can listen when we’re in charge.

Refocusing the Conversation

By Jonah Geffen, Rabbinical Student and Kelly Cohen, Jewish Educator Opinion June 20, 2011

We believe this discourse to be fundamentally flawed. We note with dismay that this conversation about Diaspora Jews and our relationship to Israel has left out Israel, its choices and actions.

The dilemma of a Diaspora Jew at an Israeli peace rally

By Mira Sucharov Opinion June 19, 2011

...But something about my long and tortured love affair with Israel tells me that there must be some quasi-citizenship category that describes Diaspora Jews, a category that suggests a tangled and complex web of legitimate discourse when it comes to Israel.

Sarah Gliddens’ How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less

By Joseph Finlay June 14, 2011

Her journey takes her through the contemporary political landscape she came to explore and into a more complex landscape of culture, history and powerful emotions.

At every stage, her identity and her preconceptions are challenged by the confluence of these different forces and the book’s appeal lies in the honesty with which she confronts these.

Young Judaea to Become Independent Organization June 16, 2011

Young Judaea will launch as an independent organization under an initiative announced today by Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, which has supported the program for more than 70 years.

Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball coach David Blatt: 'Here I became more Jewish and more Zionist'

By Niv Raskin June 17, 2011

"My mother wanted me to continue studying law and not go to Israel," he said.

"I still came, and I was treated so warmly. I had an adoptive family, the Levys, who hosted me like only Israelis can. I felt so good about it. A year later I came with the U.S. national team for the Maccabiah, knowing I would join one of the Israeli teams. Because of sports and because of the people I felt connected to Israel."

Schechter management says solution to strike imminent

By Ruth Eglash June 17, 2011

“We have reached an understanding on most issues and I believe it will all be resolved in the next few days,” VP of development tells 'Post'.

Management at the Jerusalem-based Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies said Wednesday that a solution to end a five week strike by members of the college’s faculty should be reached in the coming days.

Strike at Schechter Institute drags on after mediation efforts break

By Asaf Shtull-Trauring June 13, 2011

A strike by 70 lecturers and the administrative staff of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and three affiliated organizations has now dragged on for more than five weeks, resulting in a halt to classes for nearly 400 master's students and pitting management against the institute's academic council.

Is Israel bright enough to become a renewable Light unto the Nations?

By Gil Troy June 14, 2011

Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University and a Shalom Hartman Research Fellow.

Arava Power Inc. is also a values clarification exercise gone wild, the ultimate Good Corporate Citizen, Zionist style, developing Israel’s neglected periphery, incorporating landscape art which will integrate Ben-Gurion’s profile into the solar field – using recycled materials and hosting educational tours of course – while donating the profits from their solar field’s four Biblical “peyot” (corners) to Jewish Heart for Africa, the Bedouin NGO Bustan, the Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center for disabled children, and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, “mixing the universal with the particular,” Yossi notes.

Turning on our Future Rabbis: Israel and Rabbinic Education

By Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann June 15, 2011

The writer is President, Hebrew College

Daniel Gordis, in his recent essay, “Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel?” published in Commentary, identifies a number of important challenges facing rabbinical education and Jewish communal life in North America.

However, the broad brush strokes he uses to paint a picture of our rabbinical students’ attitudes toward Israel and the teaching of thoughtful, committed faculty do not portray with adequate sophistication or nuance the complexity of our educational endeavor.

Battle over JNF leadership going back to court

By Gil Hoffman June 20, 2011

Labor secretary-general Hilik Bar sent a letter to Reform Movement leader Richard Jacobs signed by Labor MKs warning that if Artzenu does not stop trying to unseat Stenzler, the party would stop supporting the Reform Movement’s agenda in the Knesset.

Religion and State in Israel

June 20, 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 - June 20, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

June 20, 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.

IDF Chief of Staff Gantz sides with Almighty to settle 'Yizkor' dispute

By Amos Harel June 14, 2011

The prayer at military memorial ceremonies for Israel's fallen soldiers - Yizkor (Remember) - will open with the traditional "May God remember his sons and daughters," Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz ruled this week.

The statement followed an ongoing argument between religious and secular groups on whether the prayer at these memorials should open with "May God remember" or "May [Am Yisrael] remember."

Unified version of 'Yizkor' gets mixed response

By Aviel Magnezi June 20, 2011

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Yisrael Weiss said that "while orders state that the version that should be used is 'God remembers', every person did what they wanted to over the years". He stressed that the move to unify the prayer was an important one as "unity, especially on the issue of IDF soldiers, is of the first importance."

Israel needs to keep religion out of the army

Haaretz Editorial June 16, 2011

At first glance, this change seems to affect just one phrase. However, it is indicative of the major transformation taking place in the army and the entire country, which is turning from a secular country into a theocracy in which the rabbis set the rules.

Leave yizkor alone

By Naftali Rothenberg Opinion June 19, 2011

For 25 years I have been the rabbi of the community of Har Adar, most of whose residents are secular. Every year our young people organize a very moving ceremony on Memorial Day. It most certainly never occurred to me to change yizkor, which unites all the residents around…

The last secular jihad

By Yitzhak Laor Opinion June 17, 2011

If this affair did not affect so many bereaved families, who hear the official Yizkor recited each year on a very painful day, it could be turned into a parody of our political life.

See online petition:

Israel, FIBA reach compromise over Orthodox player's basketball uniform

AP June 18, 2011

Moti Aksmit, a spokesman for the Israel Basketball Association, says Israel has reached an agreement with FIBA that allows Shafir to wear skin-toned elastic sleeves.

IBA Europe spokesman Sakis Kontos confirmed that Shafir was given approval to play with the sleeves.

Against all hoop

By Araleh Weisberg June 17, 2011

Shafir believes that sport and faith can go hand in hand without any problems. She received rabbinical permission to play on the Sabbath, “because this is pleasure, but training is work, and therefore I was not permitted to train (on the Sabbath).” She always takes pains to explain: “I will never betray my faith.”

Basketball player loses modesty battle

AP June 18, 2011

European basketball's governing body will not make allowances for an Israeli player's religious observance in the upcoming European women's championship, a spokesman said last week.

[see update]

Israel Poland-bound basketball squad brings innovative attire for Orthodox player

By Arie Livnat June 16, 2011

Meanwhile, the team fashioned two special jerseys for Naama Shafir, who normally wears a T-shirt under her jersey out of religious modesty. FIBA rejected the team's petition to allow her to wear a T-shirt. She will don a jersey with a shooter's sleeve similar to the ones that David Blu and Moran Roth wear on their arms except that it will cover her shoulder.

[see update]

New bill to limit NGOs rejecting Israel's Jewishness

By Lahav Harkov June 13, 2011

MKs David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu), Uri Ariel (National Union), David Azoulay (Shas) and Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), proposed last week a bill to change the Non-Profit Organizations Law and “add to the reasons to revoke a non-profit organization’s status the rejection of the state’s Jewish nature.”

See also: Rightist MKs push new laws to crack down on NGOs deemed hostile to Israel

In Israel, a Call To End Anonymous Sperm Donation

By Elana Maryles Sztokman Opinion June 13, 2011

Rabbi Dr. Einat Ramon has gone to war against surrogate mothers, sperm donors and feminists. In a recent op-ed in Haaretz, Ramon calls for making illegal anonymous sperm donation and all forms of surrogacy, and replacing it with an exclusive Jewish sperm bank filled only with the seed of Jewish men who died childless. I am sure that mine is not the only jaw that needs lifting from the floor.

Rabbi Dr. Einat Ramon responds in comment section

‘Next year will determine success of haredim in work force’

By Jonah Mandel June 17, 2011

This upcoming year will make or break the growing phenomenon of haredim joining the labor force, depending on whether those leading the trend find suitable jobs, a leading force in haredi placement said on Thursday.

...Guggenheim later expanded on why the upcoming year is such a crucial time, explaining that it has been a few years since the major influx in the numbers of haredim who began studies or vocational training that would enable them to pursue more prestigious careers.

Now is when they are entering the labor market, and it is critical – for them and other haredim considering a career – that they find suitable jobs.

Education Minister Sa'ar on teaching core curriculum in Haredi schools

By Yochi Brandes June 15, 2011

Q: At the start of your term you fought to institute a core curriculum in Haredi schools, is this no longer important to you?

Education Minister Sa’ar:

...At first I got into confrontations with Haredi rabbis and politicians, and I even cut financial support to their schools. But I learned that it's better to come to quiet understandings with them, far from media scrutiny, and not try to impose educational issues on them by force.

Q: And because you don't want to fight, you're prepared to abandon Haredi boys to a life of ignorance?

A: I hope and believe that by the end of my term the situation in this area will improve as well.

Secular warriors against Haredi 'invasion' of neighborhoods taking fight to Internet

By Gili Cohen June 14, 2011

An organization that was created several months ago to stem what they call an organized ultra-Orthodox "invasion" of non-Haredi neighborhoods around the country says about a dozen members from previously uninvolved localities have joined in the past few months.

The new representatives to the national neighborhoods forum come from communities including Givat Shmuel, Bat Yam, Arad, Haifa's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood and the rural cooperative community of Harish.

19 kollel students join Traffic Police in pilot project

By Jonah Mandel June 13, 2011

The shortened IDF service for haredi men wishing to leave their yeshiva, lasting between 16 and 24 months and tailored to suit ultra-Orthodox religious and cultural sensitivities, served as a model for the police program.

At the end of their training, the 19 haredim will man the phones of the Traffic Police appeals center, located in the capital.

Following their mandatory service, they will be able to join the general labor force.

National planning body approves new city for ultra-Orthodox at Harish

By Zafrir Rinat June 13, 2011

The campaign by environmental organizations and Jewish and Arab communities in the Wadi Ara area against establishing an ultra-Orthodox city at Harish has suffered a setback. A National Planning and Building Council appeals committee rejected most of the objections they submitted against the planned city.

However, the committee did accept the position of the Menashe Regional Council, whose communities are in the area, and specifically stated that the planned city would be for 50,000 residents and not a city three times that size, as the Housing and Construction Ministry originally planned.

Haredi women bringing sexy back

By Tani Goldstein June 15, 2011

The Israeli textile company EvaShow holds the answer.

According to the women's intimate apparel company, 20% of its customer base comes from ultra-orthodox women's clothing shops.

"In recent years an interesting change has occurred among ultra-orthodox women," said company founder, Eva Ohana.

Not just a drain on society

By Jonathan Rosenblum Opinion June 17, 2011

The writer is the director of Jewish Media Resources, has written a regular column in The Jerusalem Post Magazine since 1997.

About a year ago, I was asked to participate in a Knesset symposium on what the haredi community had to contribute to broader Israeli society. That particular symposium never took place, but I was nonetheless buoyed by the fact that there were secular Knesset members who were prepared to consider the proposition that the haredi community is not just a drain on society.

...SHUVU is a network of schools in 25 cities across the country, and employs over 1,000 teachers. Originally established over 20 years ago at the urging of Rabbi Avraham Pam, z”l, a leading American rosh yeshiva, on behalf of new immigrant children from the former Soviet Union, SHUVU has in the last six or seven years begun to accept many children from native Israeli background as well.

Haredi 'Beit Din' sentenced dog to death by stoning

By Akiva Novick June 16, 2011

A Jerusalem [Haredi beit din] recently sentenced a wandering dog to death by stoning. The cruel sentence stemmed from the suspicion that the hound was the reincarnation of a famous secular lawyer, who insulted the court's judges 20 years ago.

Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv undergoes successful surgery at age 101

By Jonah Mandel June 20, 2011

While nobody from within the haredi world will openly discuss it, Elyashiv’s medical condition and advanced age raise the question of who will succeed him as leader of the haredi world. Though the haredi community can be very roughly divided into three – the hassidim, Sephardim and Lithuanians – the Lithuanian rabbinic leadership has a special status within it, “particularly in matters of policy and ideology,” as Dr. Benjamin Brown wrote.

Haredim pray for health of venerated spiritual leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv

By Yair Ettinger June 20, 2011

Mass prayers were being conducted last night by ultra-Orthodox in Israel and overseas as Lithuanian-Orthodox leader, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, 101 years old, entered an operating room in Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv undergoes vascular surgery at age 101

By Jonah Mandel June 20, 2011

Senior Ashkenazi adjudicator Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv underwent vascular surgery at Jerusalem’s Sha’arei Tzedek Medical Center on Sunday night, as thousands prayed for his speedy recovery around the world.

Senseless no-go zones

By Evelyn Gordon Opinion June 15, 2011

A police representative announced in court last month that Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood has become a no-go zone for the men in blue. Every time police enter, the official explained, they encounter violence from haredi extremists. And that is why they failed to arrest a criminal suspect for over a month despite knowing exactly where in the neighborhood he was.

...instead of declaring places like Mea She’arim no-go zones, what police ought to be doing is entering with massive force – enough not only to protect themselves, but to make widespread arrests of those responsible.

Haredi newspaper ad promises help with ducking the army

By Yair Ettinger June 14, 2011

The ultra-Orthodox newspaper "Hamevaser," published by the family of former Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush, last week published an ad of a charity organization "for advice on how to get an exemption from the army."

The last Bible

By Agur Schiff June 15, 2011

This week in Haaretz 2031.

The moment we’ve been awaiting with curiosity mixed with trepidation has arrived. It happened this morning, in the huge UF&B publishing house in the industrial area of the port city of Changzhou in eastern China: The last Hebrew Bible in the world, which to the best of our knowledge is also the last book to be printed in Hebrew, was published.

Criminals, remove your kippah!

By Aya Kremerman June 14, 2011

So criminals, do me a favor: Until you atone and cease and desist from destroying our communities with your poison, take the yarmulke off your heads. It isn't a fashion accessory; it's a way of life. It is a commitment, one which you have broken with your malicious acts.

Rabbi charged with raping 12-year-old girl

By Naama Cohen-Freidman June 13, 20113

According to the indictment, the girl asked Hafuta questions about religious matters. In response, he told her that he wants to "reveal her purpose in the world," and for that she has to meet him.

Glenn Beck's Jerusalem Rally: GOP Presidential Candidates Not Planning To Attend, Despite Report

By Michael Calderone and Sam Stein June 15, 2011

"There have been some inaccuracies about the event," the spokesperson said. "No one on the list below has been contacted or asked to appear. Senator Lieberman said he supports the event and if his schedule allows will be a guest at the event."

Glenn Beck's Jerusalem rally program unveiled

By Tzvika Brot June 15, 2011

The multi-million dollar production is expected to be attended by a convoy of American dignitaries, including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. US Senator Joe Lieberman, a independent, and Republicans Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Congresswoman Michelle Bachman are to join Beck at the rally as well.

[See update]

Professor Asher Cohen to head civics panel at Education Ministry

By Asaf Shtull-Trauring June 13, 2011

Cohen said the liberal supporters of democracy are trying to suppress the Jewishness of the state as part of an effort to force Israel to become a state of all its citizens.

"My approach is one of balance. If you present three concepts of a state - theocratic, ethnocratic or a state of all its citizens - I'm opposed to any of them. I want to combine and balance all of them," Cohen explained.

Revisiting Zionism – Can Israel Survive Without a Soul?

By Yosef Y. Jacobson Opinion June 19, 2011

A national homeland on its own cannot do the trick for us. It can’t “normalize” us, nor can give us the safety we crave for. We need G-d in our midst; we need the Torah at our side.

This is not to suggest that citizens of Israel should legally be coerced to follow Jewish law. This would create an even deeper animosity to Judaism and its laws.

In the world we live in, religion and spirituality must be a personal choice coming from within. What it is saying is that every nation needs a soul. Even Israel. And the soul of the Jewish people for 4,000 years has been the Torah.

Senior Retiring IDF Officers Leadership Program "Charging Into Israeli Leadership" Leadership Program for Senior IDF Officers June 2011

Beit Morasha will run an intensive eight day leadership seminar at Beit Morasha on the topic of Identity and Policy Making for 30 select retiring senior IDF officers in July of 2011. This program will grant the participants tools for critical analysis regarding the character of the Jewish state, and strengthen the motivation of the senior officers to choose a career path in leadership.

Anglos for Amsellem

By Raphael Ahren June 17, 2011

About two months after renegade Shas MK Rabbi Chaim Amsellem founded his own political movement called Am Shalem, a number of political activists, headed by Beit Shemesh-based educator Rabbi Dov Lipman and journalist Yishai Fleisher, Wednesday launched Anglos for Am Shalem.

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, have you given up on the Bible?

By Yochi Brandes June 15, 2011

Education Minister Sa’ar:

In recent years, more and more Israelis are seeking to study Jewish culture in all its varieties. The Culture of Israel curriculum tries to meet that need and provide children with the knowledge that was withheld from their parents.

Pisgat Ze’ev mikve to get recycled-water system in August

By Sharon Udasin June 17, 2011

Mikve Yair, in the northern Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem, will be the first among the city’s 36 ritual baths to be piloting a special recycled- water system, in which the water will no longer have to be changed at the conclusion of each day, according to Alex Weisman, CEO of Moriah Jerusalem Development Company, the firm responsible for overseeing the process.

Murky Mikveh June 14, 2011

A number of the women who visit the ritual bath (mikveh) in the center of Nes Tziona were shocked last week to discover that a camera had been installed at the entrance to the building. Women come to the mikveh to purify themselves after menstruation so that they will be "permissable" to their husbands. The implications of a camera are that the intimate details of their marital lives have been exposed.

Police arrest operators of extreme right website over calls for violence

By Chaim Levinson June 13, 2011

The three, students of extremist Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg, operate "The Jewish Voice" website, which reports news on settlements and outposts, criticizes the IDF, shows sympathy for "price tag" attacks and publishes articles by Rabbi Ginzburg. The site also reports on Shin Bet attempts to recruit agents.

'Police discriminating against religious Jews in J'lem'

By Melanie Lidman June 15, 2011

Right-wing Mks from Likud and National Union accused the Jerusalem police of discriminating against religious Jews who wish to enter the Temple Mount, in a charged meeting of the Interior Committee on Wednesday morning at the Knesset.

Chabad of Tel Aviv: New Awakenings in the City that Never Sleeps

By R. C. Berman June 17, 2011

Change is afoot in Israel's city that never sleeps. Founded as a bastion for secular Jews, Tel Aviv has none of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

But this city’s tempo, its openness and its metropolitan character are a draw for English speakers who choose to settle in Tel Aviv.
After years of losing young people to the burbs, Tel Aviv's parks are now filled with children again as parents discover city living equals less commuting.

“Family values have come back to Tel Aviv,” said Esther Piekarski, a lecturer and teacher who has been on of Chabad's representative in northern Tel Aviv for 30 years.

New Hasidic Radicals Bellow Down Tel Aviv Streets

By Benjamin Preston June 15, 2011

They are known as the Na Nach — a recently emerged subgroup of the 200-year-old Breslover Hasidic sect. Like other Breslover Hasidim, they follow the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, a kabbalist mystic who lived 200 years ago in what is today Ukraine.

More established Breslov groups were once seen as an eccentric, vaguely countercultural element in the Orthodox world. But members of the Na Nach sect now stand out as the new radicals, as the older tradition of Nachman study assumes a newfound respectability within the ultra-Orthodox world.

Rightist MKs visit Joseph's Tomb

By Yair Altman June 14, 2011

Eight Knesset Members held a daytime visit in Joseph's Tomb in Nablus on Tuesday, the first such visit since the year 2000. They were accompanied by IDF forces and hundreds of Palestinian officers.

King Hezekiah's inheritance - a cesspool of political garbage

By Nir Hasson June 16, 2011

After years of neglect, Hezekiah's Pool in the Old City of Jerusalem is finally being cleaned up. The work is being done by the Jerusalem Municipality, the Environmental Protection Ministry and Jerusalem Development Authority.

As with anything in Jerusalem, the cleanup may cause a diplomatic crisis with Egypt and Jordan - and a conflict with the Waqf Muslim religious trust and the Coptic Church.

Report: Security at Mt. Olives Cemetery slipping

By Kobi Nahshoni June 13, 2011

The "One Jerusalem" group published its security report of the Jewish cemeteries in Jerusalem Monday and the findings are disconcerting.

The group found that recent months have seen a 50% increase in incidents of desecration and hostile activity at the Mount of Olives cemetery in east Jerusalem, as well as on the roads leading to it; which led to a dramatic drop in the number of visitors.

Monster matzo marks kosher bakery opening in N.J.

By Joan Verdon June 14, 2011

On Tuesday, Rabbi Yona Metzger, the chief rabbi of Israel, blessed the new headquarters and installed a mezuza — small containers holding scrolls printed with a Jewish prayer — in three doorways of the company offices.

In recent years, Sarna said, Manischewitz has had competition from matzo made in Israel, but the company remains the leading kosher food manufacturer in America.

Manischewitz Opens Headquarters in Newark

By Joshua Wilwoh June 15, 2011

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said the company has helped transform the world of kosher food.
"The word 'Manischewitz' is like two words: money and sweat. So, if you want to [make] money, you have to sweat," he said. "They sweat a lot and they did it. And, now, the company became the biggest, the largest kosher company in the world."

Latin Patriarchate delegation visits President Peres June 17, 2011

The Patriarch spoke of the President's desire to have a spirit of interfaith dialogue with the three religions. The status of Jerusalem was also discussed for which the Patriarch expressed his desire that Jerusalem is open to all three religions and to give free access to holy sites.

The President for his part expressed concern about the few Christians who live in the Holy City. He asked for the official number of members of the Church for which the delegation replied that there are more than 10,000 Christians in Jerusalem.

Israel Police gets its first Muslim Lt.-Cmdr.

By Yaakov Lappin June 16, 2011

Israel’s first Muslim policeman to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant-commander, the equivalent of major general in the IDF, will take up his new position this week.

Religion and State in Israel

June 20, 2011 (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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