Monday, August 15, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - August 15, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

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

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Religious Israelis, wake up

By Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg Opinion August 9, 2011

We may go out there and discover that everything we told our young people in recent years, about us having a monopoly on high-minded youth, was a crude lie.

We may discover that the secular public did not go morally bankrupt, as we are accustomed to saying with more than a hint of arrogance, and that while we slept or guarded some remote outpost on a hill someone else took up the role of moral leader.

Osem chairman's interview irks Haredim

By Akiva Novick August 11, 2011

A recent interview given by Nestle-Osem Chairman Dan Propper has sparked a row in the haredi street due to the food company director's implied criticism against the ultra-Orthodox society.

In the interview, Propper told Forbes Israel magazine that "those young people (the social protest activists) are also protesting the fact that, as opposed to other sectors, they must carry the burden of work, reserve service and taxes."

Arabs, Orthodox Jews sit out Israel protests

By Tia Goldenberg August 12, 2011

Some ultra-Orthodox worry that the protests will shine a light on the vast amounts of money they receive from the state.

Cultural differences are also keeping the ultra-Orthodox at bay, said Jonathan Rosenblum, an ultra-Orthodox commentator.

The protesters' main tent camps in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are predominantly secular, with scantily clad young men and women trying to beat the summer heat and socializing in close quarters - something the ultra-Orthodox frown upon.

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, what made you change your mind and join the protest?

By Yair Etttinger August 9, 2011

Photo: Creative Commons Yossi Gurvitz ("Social Justice")

When the housing protest began, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow called it "cheap populism" and declared he would have no part in it.

After a few days, Rabbi Cherlow - a resident of Efrat, head of the hesder yeshiva of Petah Tikva, and a prominent member of the Tzohar organization of religious Zionist rabbis - changed his mind and joined the protest.

Last Saturday night he even participated in the Jerusalem protest as one of the featured speakers. "

Economics Prof. Sheshinski: Tear down the pyramids "Haredim and Arabs should get to work"

By Meirav Arlosoroff and Eran Azran August 10, 2011

Prof. Eitan Sheshinski:

"For instance, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu began this government with increasing child allowances. Increasing child allowances means to encourage the Haredim and Arabs to work less.

I don't know to what degree that decision was political and to what degree it was a worldview. But regarding parties like Shas, it's a question of worldview. I don't know to what degree they really want to vanquish poverty rather than perpetuate it. They should go to work and stop encouraging them to have more children."

‘New tents for new olim’

By Karolyn Coorsh August 11, 2011

Photo: Creative Commons Galit Lub ("Tent Blvd. 66")

Joining thousands of other protesters on Rothschild Boulevard in central Tel Aviv, Shafir and her friend Kate Rosenberg, 26, set up a tent dubbed “Ohalim Chadashim L’Olim Chadashim,” meaning “new tents for new olim,” near 119 Rothschild on July 31.

Israel’s revolt against neoliberalism

By Jesse Fox Opinion August 13, 2011

The people of Israel have spoken loud and clear: they want “social justice” and a renewal of the social contract.

...while public opinion polls have found somewhere around 90% support for these demands among the general public, it is not at all clear that the Bibi-Shas-Lieberman government is actually capable of addressing them in any serious way.

Shas’ ministers are certainly not. Unapologetically fundamentalist and sectarian, their response thus far has been to exploit the protests in order to provide cheap housing for their constituency – large ultra-Orthodox families who may or may not work for a living – while pushing through more construction in the settlements.

They could care less about the tent protesters, who would never vote for Shas in any case.

Attias announces free land for student housing

By Melanie Lidman, Jonah Mandel and Ben Hartman August 10, 2011

City Councilor Merav Cohen (Jerusalem Awakening) said the proposals were “a step in the right direction.”

She added that the criteria should include a provision that residents must work if they are able, which would also be a blow to haredi residents, many of whom receive subsidies for studying in yeshivot.

“There is no reason for the state to subsidize someone who doesn’t work,” said Cohen.

To [MK Israel Eichler (United Torah Judaism)], the proposed change of criterion – to no longer prefer families with many children – is a result of the state’s anti-haredi sentiment.

“It’s obvious the secular state will do whatever it can to harm the haredim,” he said.

Why civil marriage is good for the Jews

By Batya Kahana Opinion August 10, 2011

The writer is the executive director of Mavoi Satum

Without a religious legal system that coercively binds all Jewish citizens, the state could automatically preserve Orthodox law in personal-status issues, thus establishing a common basis for the religious identity of its inhabitants and preventing assimilation.

In spite of the singular importance of this goal, practically it is impossible to continue to hold an entire population hostage to the demands of the Orthodox establishment, a situation that prevents the formation of an alternative, independent, Israeli Jewish identity that is crucial to our existence.

Frustrating--But the Best of Times

By Prof. Chaim I. Waxman Opinion August 10, 2011

Chaim I. Waxman is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Jewish Studies, Rutgers University, and lives in Jerusalem.

He specializes in the sociological study of Jews and Judaism, including America’s Jews, Orthodox Jewry, Jewish identity and identification, Israeli society and culture, and Zionism.

He is the author of numerous books and articles. This article appears in issue 10 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

Economics aside, living in Israel can often be a very frustrating experience, and in many respects it is “easier” to be a Jew in the United States. Let me tick off a number of what, in my opinion, are the most frustrating aspects of Israeli society.

... 5. Segregation—Much worse are the “super-kosher” mehadrin buses that are segregated by gender, with women forced to sit in the rear. It reminds me of the pre-Civil Rights days in the United States South—and gets me very upset.

6. The Hareidi-dati divide—I will just mention a series of issues that rile me, such as the Rabbinate, which controls matters of marriage, divorce, and conversion; the fact that the majority of Hareidim do not serve in the army or in any other kind of national service; government-supported voluntary unemployment; government-supported schools that do not teach a basic curriculum of general studies; and so forth.

A Jewish, Judiac and Judaistic state

By Alexander Yakobson Opinion August 14, 2011

"Jewish law shall be a source of inspiration to legislators," states the bill. The entirety of Jewish law? In every sphere?

There are matters in which it may be appropriate, or in any event legitimate, for Jewish law to serve as inspiration to legislators; for other matters it is completely inappropriate.

Is Kadima saying that it stands behind the wholesale adoption of Jewish law as a source of inspiration for legislation (a formulation that was itself inspired by the constitutions of Arab states, most of which specify sharia as "a main source of legislation")?

Is that Kadima's position with regard to the rights of women, of Israel's non-Jewish citizens and of nonobservant Jews?

Indeed, is there any position on these issues that can be said to be binding on a party that purports to represent the centrist, democratic and pragmatic stream of the Israeli public?

IDF's 'Shiluvim' Program Doubles

By Maayana Miskin August 14, 2011

Last year the IDF began a new program to combine active duty with Torah study. The program, dubbed Shiluvim (lit. “Integration”) began with just 75 soldiers.

The project differs from the traditional Hesder program, which also combines Torah and army service, in the balance it provides. Instead of the 3.5 years of learning and 1.5 of active duty expected of Hesder recruits, Shiluvim combines two full years of service with two of learning.

Hesder students to learn fiscal sense

By Jonah Mandel August 8, 2011

An organization that provides financial guidance and empowerment to families has set out to give hesder yeshiva students the necessary tools to make the right life decisions.

Following the success of a pilot program run in the Kiryat Shmona and Shadmot Mechola yeshivas, the Paamonimorganization will offer its services to hesder students nationwide.

Hesder Yeshivot

By Shem Tov Sasson August 11, 2011

For many people, when they think of yeshivot (religious seminaries for men) in Israel, images of religious American teens walking the streets of Jerusalem come to mind.

What many people do not know is that there is a huge yeshiva system in Israel that serves both the Israeli population and the “chutznikim” — students from the Diaspora.

This is the Hesder yeshiva system, a 5-year yeshiva and army experience. This is the yeshiva network in which I spent a year of my life — in Yeshivat Hesder Ma’alot in the Upper Galilee.

UK bans one of ‘Torat Hamelech’ authors

By Jonah Mandel August 12, 2011

Click here to see the letters

One of the two authors of Torat Hamelech has been prohibited from entering the United Kingdom in accordance with “the British government’s measures for excluding or deporting extremists,” while the other is professing that the recent uprisings there are actually proof of the validity of the controversial book’s claims.

Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of Yitzhar was recently informed by the UK Border Agency that under the Unacceptable Behavior policy, he should be excluded from the UK “on the grounds that your presence here would not be conducive to the public good.”

Britain denies entry to Israeli rabbi who advocated killing of non-Jews

By Chaim Levinson August 11, 2011

Click here to see the letters

The July 20 letter, which appears on the website, cites the British law forbidding entry to anyone who writes, publishes or distributes material "fomenting or justifying terrorist violence ... and seeking to provoke others to commit terrorist acts." The book says Jews may kill gentiles, among other things.

Chief Rabbi selection: how Israel does it

By Nathan Jeffay August 11, 2011

The defining characteristic of the chief rabbi selection process in Israel is that involves secular as well as religious communities.

In a country polarised between secular and religious, this has allowed the rabbinate, which is state-maintained, to be regarded as a national and not just a sectarian institution.

Mevaseret Zion residents protest tunneling on Shabbat

By Jonah Mandel August 14, 2011

As the threat of perpetual tunneling threatens the serenity of a Jerusalem suburb, Mevaseret Zion residents are turning to religion for salvation.

Or perhaps more accurately, to religious lawmakers and ministers, who might be able to use their sway to prevent the planned works on the fast Jerusalem-Tel Aviv rail from taking place during nights and over weekends.

Jewish Agency Expands Service Learning Programming August 9, 2011

The Jewish Agency for Israel announced today that Dyonna Ginsburg, an internationally-acclaimed Jewish service learning professional, has joined the organization’s New York staff as its director of service learning.

Ginsburg joins the Jewish Agency from Bema’aglei Tzedek, an Israeli NGO she led that uses education and social action campaigns to create a more just Israeli society informed and inspired by Jewish values.

Kosher Stats 201: Taglit-Birthright Israel might not change interest in in-marriage for program participants who were raised secular or “just Jewish”

By Dan Ab Opinion August 10, 2011

I’m going to try something a bit new here and take a close look at the data analyses from a single study.

I chose this particular study, The Impact and Lessons of TaglitBirthright Israel by Saxe et al, because someone asked my opinion about it and I thought it did some things very well. I think the data supports some interesting findings, although it includes some all-to-common misinterpretations of statistical results.

‘Next generation’ of European Jewish leaders in Israel

By Jeremy Sharon August 11, 2011

The Ministry of Information and the Diaspora, in conjunction with Jewish educational organization World ORT, has brought a group of 32 Jewish teenagers from across Europe to Israel for a three-week youth leadership program aimed at fostering leadership skills and reinforcing communities across the continent.

Boteach trumpets ‘inspirational impact’ of Birthright

By Jeremy Sharon August 8, 2011

“That’s why this experience is one of the highlights of my life. When you see 40 young Jews changing before your eyes, embracing a strong Jewish identity and creating a connection and a closeness with Israel, it is very inspiring and shows what can be achieved.”

American olim seek combat service

By Itamar Eichner August 11, 2011

A Nefesh B'Nefesh flight carrying some 400 new immigrants from North America will land in Israel on Tuesday with an unprecedented number of young adults – 60 boys and 44 girls aged 18-22, who are making aliyah in order to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, Yedioth Aharonoth reported on Thursday.

Going up?

By Richard Greenberg Associate Editor August 5, 2011

The term "Reform olim" may sound like an oxymoron to some, but the movement has been quietly campaigning for the last several years to eradicate that stereotype.

Has it worked?

A new life, far beyond the Beltway and the many reasons they make aliyah

By Aaron Leibel August 10, 2011

...He met his future wife, Lauren Blasingame Pack, in Tel Aviv and returned to the U.S. so she could finish her studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.

Lauren Ben-Shoshan, who was ordained in May, was born in Washington and raised in Fairfax, graduating from W.T. Woodson High School and then William and Mary in 2004.

"We made the decision that we would move to Israel while our children were young before we got married," she says. Her ordination "was a natural break in what we are doing. I felt the longer we stayed, the longer we would stay."

'Electricity in the air'

By Akiva Eldar Opinion August 12, 2011

Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal:

"When I arrived in the United States, I assumed I would find a receptive audience in the Jewish community, and a willingness to discuss the processes taking place in Israeli society. To my great regret, in most of those communities I found paralysis.

"There's a combination of existential fear, a desire to hold on to the symbol at all costs and quite a bit of strong-arm tactics on the part of people with money and influence.

I saw how a wealthy businessman threatened the rabbi of a Reform temple in a small town, Newton, near Boston, that if the president of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, spoke in his synagogue, he would discontinue his donations to the community. The rabbi panicked and canceled the lecture.

Time for a New World Jewish Organization

By Yossi Beilin Opinion August 14, 2011

Dr. Yossi Beilin, a member of Knesset for eleven years, has held ministerial positions in the governments of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak and served as Israel’s Minister of Justice from July 1999 to March 2001. A leading thinker on issues of Jewish continuity and relations between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, Dr. Beilin was the initiator of the Birthright Israel program. Published courtesy of the author.

The 60th anniversary of the first Zionist Congress in Israel and the Jerusalem Program could be an excellent impetus for reorganization: Establishing a new world Jewish organization. It would replace the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

With the help of the full spectrum of Israeli leaders, it would try to deal with the real issues facing the Jewish people in the 21st century.

Haredi vs. Secular in Filmmaker's 'Battle for Jerusalem'

By Renee Ghert-Zand August 8, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

Battle for Jerusalem - Background Trailer from Liz Nord on Vimeo.

In the city this summer to continue work on the film, [Liz] Nord is putting together material not only for a feature documentary, but also for a related website (“Jerusalem Unfiltered”) and a mobile app.

While the film will focus on Haredi-secular tensions, and the young artists and activists who are taking a stand against increasing Haredi political and social influence, the other platforms will introduce viewers to a variety of young people doing innovative things in Jerusalem.

900 Jewish heritage teachers to be trained

By Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad August 10, 2011

A new subject, "Jewish culture and heritage," will be become part of the compulsory curriculum in the upcoming school year in Israel. Some 900 teachers will be trained to teach the subject in the fifth to eighth grades following a successful trial.

The new subject was initiated by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar with the aim of "strengthening the Jewish, Zionist and democratic values among students", as part of the objectives he declared upon taking office.

Religion and State in Israel

August 15, 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.