Sunday, August 14, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - August 15, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

August 15, 2011 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

'Tram ticket? We don't serve women here'

By Omri Efraim August 9, 2011

Last month, [a] 26-year-old [ultra-Orthodox] woman took a stroll with her husband on Yaakov Meir Street in the haredi neighborhood of Geula. They spotted two stands selling light rail tickets and decided to stand in line.

L.'s husband had no problem purchasing a ticket, she says, but "when I asked them to issue a ticket for me, the representative replied, 'We don't serve women. You can receive service in a different stand two-three blocks away.'"

...A CityPass official confirmed to Ynet on Monday that the company operates segregated stands in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, but claimed that women received the exact same service.

Haredi Gender Segregation Spreading Dangerously

By Elana Sztokman Opinion August 10, 2011

("Mixed Weddings: NO / Mixed Buses: YES?")

Just when we thought that gender segregation in Israel had become endemic, it spread further. In addition to the segregated business conference that my Sisterhood colleague Allison Kaplan Sommer reported on here, three new fronts for gender segregation have opened up in Israel, each one bringing a new version of extremism to life here.

Israel Prize laureate Dov Lautman on teaching core curriculum

Instant ratification

By Oren Majar August 10, 2011

What should the protesters be demanding in order to close the education gaps?

Dov Lautman, an Israel Prize laureate and Delta Galil's former chairman ... founded and chairs an education nonprofit called Hakol Hinuch (Movement for the Advancement of Education in Israel):

"First, core subjects should be mandatory - arithmetic, English, and the sciences. Without this you can't use a computer. I have no problem with a yeshiva teaching Torah most of the day, but it needs to teach the core subjects at the minimum. By the way, if I were education minister, I'd do this immediately."

Rachel is weeping

Haredi public radio station: Women barred from its programming

By Eli Pollak and Yisrael Medad Opinion August 10, 2011

Eli Pollak and Yisrael Medad are, respectively, chairman and vice-chairman of Israel’s Media Watch

“Kol Barama,” the Hebrew for “a voice in Rama,” is the name of a radio station that began broadcasting on January 1, 2009, and whose concession is supervised by the Second Authority for Television and Radio. It advertises itself as the only haredi radio station broadcasting nationally.

...What it doesn’t advertise is that women are barred from its programming. While Kol Hai Radio does not have women singing, in accordance with the accepted custom in haredi circles, Kol Barama outdoes it.

Women are not allowed to be program hosts or anchors, they cannot be interviewed, and they cannot call in to the station. They are allowed to work behind the scenes. This includes schoolchildren: Boys may express their responses on air, but girls are relegated to the fax machine or text messages.

Is this legal?

AG reverses gender-biased Haredi student elections clause

By Aviad Glickman August 8, 2011

In an unprecedented move, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced Monday that he had directed the Haredi campus of the Or Yehuda Academic Center to cancel changes in its student union election protocol.

According to the attorney general, the changes previously made to the election codes are damaging to equality between men and women as well as their rights to vote and be elected freely and equally.

Studying and Still Chareidi

By Jonathan Rosenblum Opinion Mishpacha Magazine August 12, 2011

...At one point, the vice-president of the Cleveland federation, formerly a top officer in the IDF, asked them whether they regretted having such a minimal secular education.

They each pointed out that with a one-year preparatory course, they had been able to enter a rigorous degree program in technical subjects.

Each, in his own words, stressed that the essence of a chareidi life is not material wealth, but closeness to Hashem, which requires the firm base in Torah learning they acquired from bar mitzvah through their years in kollel. In short, no regrets.

Heavy fine for ‘Beit Yaakov’ after firing pregnant teacher August 9, 2011

The ‘Beit Yaakov’ pedagogical center association will pay a fine of 45,000 NIS after laying off a pregnant teacher without the approval of the officer in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment.

Shefa Shuk no more: Boycotted chain renamed Zol B'Shefa

By Adi Dovrat-Meseritz August 11, 2011

Hoping to regain traction among the Haredi community, the Blue Square retail group is rebranding its Shefa Shuk chain of supermarkets. The Shefa Shuk outlets are being renamed Zol B'Shefa and will sport new colors - red and black - rather than red and green.

Still, if Blue Square executives hope to regain the custom of ultra-Orthodox shoppers, they may be in for a disappointment.

Haredim protest Jerusalem summer events

By Kobi Nahshoni August 11, 2011

Hundreds of haredim protested in Jerusalem Thursday evening to express their displeasure with summer events planned by the local municipality.

According to the organizers, the summer events held in the capital are inappropriate for a holy city, and in some cases even lead to Shabbat desecration. The protest was planned by the ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit faction.


By Michael Orbach August 11, 2011

“Why did the Israeli government protect a pedophile?” asked Shmarya Rosenberg, of the blog FailedMessiah, which has chronicled the case extensively.

“The answer is you have to look at Israeli politics. There was a political party called Agudath Israel that was controlled by the Ger Rebbe. It became the major part of the United Torah Judaism party,” an ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, Israeli political party.

“Each successive government needs these haredi politicians to be in or to vote with their coalition.” Just as Mondrowitz’s alleged victims had been denied justice in the United States, they would also be denied justice in Israel—and for the same reason, the intersection of politics with the judicial system.

Interview with Rav Nosson Kamenetzky on his banned book "The Making of a Gadol" August 8, 2011

Translated by Joshua Skootsky (Original Hebrew version here)

With his 2002 publication, Rav Kaminetsky stirred up a huge storm among the Hareidim: going against the grain of modern Hareidim, who relate to the greatest Rabbis as holy and pure from birth, referring to them as “Gedolei Yisrael” and “Gedolei HaTorah,” Rav Kaminetsky set out with a preference to tell the historical truth, to describe the life story of the leading [Hareidi] Rabbis after the Holocaust, with their flaws and less glorious sides.

For example, he described in his book the letters Rav Ahron Kotler, one of the great Rabbinic leaders in America after the Holocaust, to his fiancĂ©e, and the negative reaction of his father in law to those letters, and also he described the love of his father, Rav Ya’akov Kaminetsky, for foreign languages, which from a strict Hareidi point of view is an inappropriate field of interest.

Police arrest 4 Orthodox men on suspicion of paedophilia

By Melanie Lidman August 11, 2011

Four ultra-Orthodox men were arrested by Jerusalem police in the past week on suspicion of sexually abusing children in their neighborhood between the ages of three and 13 over the past two to three years.

When did Tisha B'Av become a national fast day?

By Neri Livneh Opinion August 11, 2011

Even during my first 10 years in Jerusalem, I cannot recall Tisha B'Av being a sort of mini-Yom Kippur, but I do remember exactly when that started to change.

It was 20-something years ago when then-Mayor Teddy Kollek was caught dining on Tisha B'Av in a luxury, non-kosher restaurant (which means that even restaurants were open then). He came under heavy fire for not taking the sensitivities of the capital's religious and Haredi population into account.

My heart aches with longing for such a mayor in Jerusalem. In Tel Aviv and Haifa, of course, they continued to eat on Tisha B'Av as usual. So what turned Tisha B'Av into a national day of mourning? Who needed that?

A Call for Social Justice on Tisha B'Av

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion August 8, 2011

Rabbi Andrew Sacks is the director of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel.

Israel is in the midst of an awakening, perhaps even a social revolution, but its official State Rabbinate and, indeed, virtually all religious officials, are silent. How can this be? Isn’t it the role of religious leaders to provide guidance?

...The leadership of the Masorti movement and of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel has designated Tisha B’Av as a day of solidarity with the “tent protest” movement.

MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem on Tisha B'Av: A call for unity

By MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem Opinion August 8, 2011

The writer is an MK, and the founder and chairman of the Am Shalem political movement.

The ingathering of exiles should have been the time for us to come together while continuing to discuss and even argue about our differences of opinion.

The State of Israel should have been the vehicle for a big family reunion – albeit with animated and lively debate – instead of a massive family feud.

Question: Nachamu, Answer: Nachamu Ami

By Rabbi Daniel Allen Opinion August 9, 2011

The writer is Executive Director, ARZA

Nachamu Ami; those who do not choose to live in Israel should and can participate in the ongoing unfolding of the modern Jewish narrative by supporting Israel, by being an activist for Israel, and for helping to build not only the land but also the kind of inclusive, democratic, pluralistic, Jewish Israel as voiced in the Declaration of Independence.

Tisha b’Av 5771 — Still Fasting

By Rabbi Barry Leff Opinion August 8, 2011

That's something horribly missing in Israel today. The Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) would like to blame Reform and Conservative Jews for "cutting us into factions" because of our different views of halacha.

But there have always been Jewish people who observed different norms, and for centuries at least there have been Jews who weren't observant of the commandments but still were Jewish. Even Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of Palestine, had nice things to say about the secular Jews who were coming from Eastern Europe to build the land.

Nowadays no one is willing to be tolerant of anyone else's approach. Everyone has to be the "mitzvah police," trying to enforce God's laws, according to their views, on everyone else.

Even the Israeli government goes along with this misguided approach, not allowing Reform or Conservative rabbis to perform legally recognized marriages in Israel, as if by ignoring the problem they can make it go away. It won't.

We should have three sections at the Western Wall Plaza, men, women and mixed, so everyone can worship according to their custom and their way without interference from anyone else.

Special: My Tisha B'Av

Dr. Zvi Zameret August 8, 2011

For me, Tisha B'Av is a day of self-examination on baseless hate and mutual respect. I am troubled by the fact that there are very stereotypical approaches within us, which are stuck to different parts of the public and different people. There are worrying generalizations, which divide the different parts of the population and cause them to drift apart.

As I have often dealt with settling arguments, I am very troubled by the issue of factionalism and arguments from within. Even today, as part of my role at the Education Ministry, one of the questions I deal with is how to connect to each other and care for each other.

(Dr. Zvi Zameret is a historian and a senior Education Ministry official)

See also: Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Yossi Sarid, Sarah Beck, Golan Azulai, Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, Dr. Aliza Lavi, Uzi Dayan.

Chief Rabbi Amar composes Tisha Be’av lamentation in memory of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira

By Jonah Mandel August 7, 2011

“Since the killing of Zechariah the prophet, we haven’t had such a horror among Jews, that a priest or prophet should be killed in the house of the lord, by a scoundrel from our people,” Amar wrote in the letter accompanying the poem.

“Our rabbis have taught us that the righteous ones are taken to undo a harsh decree, wrote the chief rabbi, “and if we needed such a great sacrifice, who knows how severe that decree would have been.”

Tisha B'Av marked by mass Western Wall prayer August 8, 2011

Thousands of Jews arrived at the Western Wall on Monday, to participate in the traditional Tisha B'Av prayer service.

Tens of thousands of Jews are expected to visit the Western Wall plaza over the next day, where they will lament the destruction of the two Temples.

Revisiting our old dreams

By Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch Opinion August 8, 2011

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch serves as Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites of Israel

The Jewish people weeps over the Diaspora experience, the distance, and the inability to fulfill the great mission it assumed at ancient times.

Through the Temple’s destruction we experience the great gap between the people we would like to be, as individuals and as a nation, and the people we manage to be, for the time being.

Jerusalem in photos: Tisha B'Av and Ramadan

By Ziv Reinstein August 9, 2011

This year, on the eve of Tisha B'Av, Israel's capital combined sadness and happiness as the day marking the destruction of the Second Temple coincided with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. One people's fast began as another people's fast ended.

PHOTO Gallery - Tisha Be'av: A day of fasting and lament

By Rachel Sarenka Smith August 9, 2011

This gallery showcases photographs of thousands of mourners in Jerusalem's Old City, young and old alike.

Mourning, Memory, and Art

By Richard McBee August 8, 2011

Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish art. Contact him at

In order properly to mourn, one must feel the tangible loss of something cherished and remembered. Words alone are insufficient for the task: it helps enormously to be able to visualize, if only in the mind's eye, that which has been lost. Among Jewish artists, two who have notably attempted to deal with the events are Marc Chagall and Archie Rand.

Glenn Beck arrives in Israel ahead of ‘megaevent’

By Lahav Harkov August 14, 2011

Beck’s rally in support of Israel, called “Restoring Courage” is planned for August 24 in Jerusalem. It will include two separate events, one at the Davidson Center in the Old City, and one in Safra Square.

VIDEO: Israel Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger blesses Glenn Beck “Restoring Courage” Jerusalem event

By Elad Benari August 12, 2011 (See article)

Beck asked Rabbi Metzger to take part in the rally and deliver the Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel, to which Rabbi Metzger agreed.

“I thank you and I appreciate your visit,” the rabbi told Beck. “[I appreciate] what you’ve done, what you do and what you will do to our holy land and our nation because we are suffering from bad public relations.”

Christians Moving Back to the Holy Land

By Michele Chabin August 11, 2011

Tarazi is one of many Palestinian expatriates who have returned home in recent years. Their return — usually for financial or family reasons — has brought a modicum of stability to Holy Land Christian communities whose numbers have been eroding for decades.

Earlier this year, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told a group of bishops that, for the first time in many years, more Christians returned to the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem than departed.

Citing statistics from 2009 — the most recent available — Fayyad said the ratio of returnees to emigrants “is positive for the first time.” He credited improvements in Palestinian civic society, governance and infrastructure for much of the reversal.

Man suspected of circumcising baby without mother's consent

By Eli Senyor August 4, 2011

It is suspected that the man introduced himself to the mother, a foreign worker from the Philippines, as an HMO worker coming to examine the baby, and performed the procedure without her consent. He will face a remand hearing later on Thursday.

Rabbi Abuhatzeira killer to remain under psychiatric evaluation

By Joanna Paraszczuk August 11, 2011

The Beersheba Magistrate’s Court ruled on Wednesday to extend the remand of Asher Dahan, the 42-year-old Elad resident suspected of murdering Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira late last month.

A New Biography of Rabbi Yehuda Amital

Review by Dr. Israel Drazin August 9, 2011

Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of seventeen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides.

  • By Faith Alone by Elyashiv Reichner; Translated by Eli Fischer; Maggid Books, 2011

He was the first to integrate yeshiva studies with military service. He called it a Hesder (arrangement) Program, a concept that took root in other yeshivot.

As a result many Orthodox Jewish Israeli youth serve their country both by becoming more knowledgeable through their studies and by protecting it with military service.

Yet, he didn’t want the Hesder boys to have religious commanders, for he didn’t want to separate them from non-religious soldiers; they’re all Israelis.

Bnei Akiva in financial trouble

By Ofer Petersburg August 10, 2011

The World Bnei Akiva movement appears to be on the brink of collapse: Religious Zionism's huge enterprise is operating at a deficit of tens of millions of shekels, half of the movement's staff in Jerusalem has been fired, and educational activity departments have been shut down.

The movement is facing a cash flow problem due to cutbacks in the Jewish Agency, World Zionist Organization and Education Ministry.

Most eligible religious Israeli bachelors revealed

By Akiva Novick August 12, 2011

A list of the religious world's most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes is being published Friday in Makor Rishon newspaper's Motzash magazine. It is comprised of 50 men and 50 women considered to be the sector's most handsome and successful young people.

VIDEO: Ancient escape tunnels discovered in Jerusalem

By Eli Mandelbaum August 9, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

Roman legions swarm across the city and head for the Temple. Jewish rebels, determined to fight seek refuge, albeit temporary, in underground tunnels, dug beneath the City of David.

In Jerusalem, scholars trace Bible's evolution

By Matti Friedman August 12, 2011

Scholars in this out-of-the-way corner of the Hebrew University campus have been quietly at work for 53 years on one of the most ambitious projects attempted in biblical studies — publishing the authoritative edition of the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, and tracking every single evolution of the text over centuries and millennia.

And it has evolved, despite deeply held beliefs to the contrary.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef blesses the Schalits

By Tovah Lazaroff August 9, 2011

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef spoke of his support for a prisoner swap to release captive tank gunner Gilad Schalit, when he met with the young man’s parents in Jerusalem on Monday morning.

Religion and State in Israel

August 15, 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.