Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - November 28, 2011 (Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

By Rachel Azaria Opinion www.haaretz.com November 25, 2011
Rachel Azaria is a member of the Jerusalem City Council from the Yerushalmim party.

...And so, in a battle that is the spearhead of religion and state relations today, the rules have changed, and we find ourselves in a campaign being led mainly by Orthodox women and a Conservative rabbi (Rabbi Uri Ayalon).

Moreover, the public that supports this campaign is especially diverse: secular, Orthodox, formerly Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and traditionally observant. Also - and now for the big news: Haredi women have joined the frontline of the battle.

By Harriet Sherwood www.guardian.co.uk November 27, 2011

Haredi representatives asked Kolben to keep the blinds lowered, a request that he declined. The company then received two letters from the city council, which owns the building, demanding compliance.

The letters were from one councillor and a former employee, and were unofficial, according to the council. "These premises are not secured for us. We depend on the goodwill of the municipality," Kolben said.

But last week, in conjunction with Yerushalmim, an organisation that campaigns against religious extremism in Jerusalem, Kolben raised the window blinds.
"We want to claim our right to be here on our terms and communicate with the Jerusalem street and express ourselves as we want," he said.

By Barak Ravid www.haaretz.com November 27, 2011

"Lately, there has been a worrisome deterioration in the status of women in the public arena.

The exclusion of women is also violence against women – women need to get on buses from the back door, posters depicting them are banned or otherwise burnt, they cannot sing before men nor mourn for their loved ones at funerals," Minister Limor Livnat added, calling these happenings attempts to deprive women of the most basic rights in a democracy – freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and the right to dignity."

By Susan Hattis Rolef Opinion www.jpost.com November 27, 2011

Last week Army Radio reported that a group of students from the Chai Roi Institute, in the settlement of Eli, refused to attend a lecture by the director of the Knesset Research and Information Center (RIC) during a visit to the Knesset, because she happens to be a woman.

The Knesset refused to replace her with a man, and the students had to make due with a visit without lectures.

By Allison Kaplan Sommer Opinion http://blogs.forward.com November 22, 2011

In the picture, she was wearing a sleeveless top and leggings, and was doing an exercise lying on the apparatus, with one of her legs raised – a comm.

When I saw it, I gulped. I had a feeling that a picture like that could become a problem with Chabad. I asked Elior about it and she said that she had been asked if she would pose in longer sleeves and she had refused — she said she wasn’t going to cover herself up any more than she did in a regular Pilates lesson.

Then my fears were realized. The poster was anonymously torn down pretty quickly.

By Dorothy Lipovenko Opinion http://blogs.forward.com November 24, 2011

That Kaufman sat in the front of the bus is commendable. But I’ll reserve my applause for women who have to ride such buses every day, whether they stick up for their principles and sit up front or just wish they could.

By Amy Teibel AP www.huffingtonpost.com November 28, 2011

While segregation has diminished sharply since that ruling, it was largely men in front and women in the back one recent morning on a line that runs through ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclaves in Jerusalem. 

The driver said that when women dare sit up front, male passengers sometimes still try to browbeat them into moving to the back.

By Tirtza Flohr Opinion www.haaretz.com November 27, 2011

If - heaven forbid - a Haredi man is in need of an organ donation, and the rabbi confirms that prayers will not be adequate and that modern medicine can be allowed to intervene, this yeshiva student will accept - in a heartbeat - the organ from a female donor.

www.haaretz.com November 28, 2011
Letter to Editor...I also assume that in any case in the near future only men will receive organ donations, and that in an era where it is preferable to face a firing squad rather than listen to women singing, many men will refuse to accept my internal organs.Anat DoronTel Aviv

By David Breakstone Opinion www.jpost.com/ November 25, 2011
The writer is vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization and a member of The Jewish Agency executive. The opinions expressed here are his own.

...if the perception of what being Jewish means is going to be determined by an increasingly reactionary and narrow-minded fiefdom of politically motivated and power-hungry functionaries who are promoting a fundamentalist and corrupted notion of Judaism, then the vast majority of our next generation is going to want nothing to do with it.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com November 28, 2011

MK Uri Orbach’s (Habayit Hayehudi) bill, submitted last week, would make it illegal for a rabbi employed by a local religious council to accept money or any other form of remuneration when performing a wedding for someone who lives in the city where he works.

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com November 25, 2011

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar:
“Beautiful work is being done with conversions; there are no unnecessary stringencies and no unnecessary leniency, and there also is beautiful work being done in both the army and in the civilian sphere. It is getting better and better, toward the positive side. And the Rabbinate is gaining even more strength.”
“I will say outright, and you have my word on this, that the Rabbinate is excellent, and the religious court judiciary is excellent, much better than what was the case many years ago. It is getting better and better, including also the way in which it relates to the public.”

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com November 23, 2011

The Israel Bar Association angered a raft of liberal and women’s groups on Tuesday by failing to select a woman to serve on the Appointments Committee for Rabbinical Judges.

The committee, which is headed by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and holds the power to elect judges to the country’s 12 regional rabbinical courts, voted instead to elect attorneys Asher Axelrod and Mordechai Eisenberg.
“It is a black day for the Bar Association, that they had to sell out women for the ultra-Orthodox, and everyone will pay the price in the future,” said Robyn Shames, ICAR’s executive director.
Batya Kehane, director of women’s divorce rights organization Mavoi Satum, called the failure to appoint even one female representative to the committee “a badge of shame” for society and the legal system.

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com November 22, 2011

Rabbi Uri Regev, Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality:
"It implicitly strengthens the growing threat of women being removed from the public sphere due to Haredi political and economic pressure, and betrays the Bar's responsibility and function of strengthening civil rights and gender equality."

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com November 22, 2011

Giving women representation on the committee that appoints rabbinical court judges improved the situation slightly; sometimes, women representatives even managed to thwart the appointment of a particularly hard-line judge. But now … even this achievement is being undone.

By Linda Gradstein www.jta.org November 21, 2011

Increasingly, Israeli couples are seeking to create weddings that are more reflective of their own lifestyles.
But because Israel has no civil marriage and the Rabbinate retains exclusive control over marriage and divorce, this puts many couples in Israel on a collision course with the Rabbinate.

“The area of marriage is one of the most bitter areas of tension between secular Israelis and the religious establishment,” said Nachman Rosenberg, the executive vice president of Tzohar, a Zionist rabbinic organization devoted to bridging gaps between secular and Orthodox Israelis.

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com November 24, 2011

It is incumbent for the attorney general to give state law its proper due, and subjugate halakha to it.

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion www.haaretz.com November 25, 2011

Ultra-Orthodox men must be encouraged to go out and work through subsidizing their professional training, giving them the opportunity to study for the matriculation exam and at an academic preparatory course, and stopping the granting of stipends to most married yeshiva students.  

By Yoni Goldstein Opinion www.haaretz.com November 25, 2011

Sadly, there is a significant history of Jewish rejection of individuality and modernity. The static oblivion of ultra-Orthodox enclaves in North America and Israel, where all aspects of modern life are summarily dismissed and the thoughts of the individual are sacrificed to the ideal of uncompromised unison, is an apt contemporary example.

By Simon Rocker www.thejc.com November 24, 2011

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, for example, is one of the more notable advocates of religion keeping its distance from institutions of state, even if there is no formal separation as in the USA.

"Judaism must be depoliticised," he wrote in a recent book Future Tense, "and put back where it belongs, in civil society, far removed from all structures of power".

By Gavi Brown Opinion www.kolhamevaser.com November 23, 2011

A campaign to legitimize Sabbath observance holds real potential for realizing the aspirations of the contributors to the Gavison-Medan Covenant. A grassroots movement can achieve the goal of moving the legal discussion outside the court system and the Knesset.

By Barak Ravid and Akiva Eldar www.haaretz.com November 28, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Jerusalem municipality and the Public Security Ministry on Friday to postpone for one week the demolition of the Mughrabi Bridge, which leads from the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount, due to warnings from Egypt and Jordan of possible repercussions.

By Shlomo Shamir www.haaretz.com November 28, 2011

Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Eric Yoffie:
"Commitment to shared moral values and to democracy is what binds Jews to Israel. Without this commitment, ties between the two largest Jewish communities - Israel and America - will be greatly weakened."

Forward Editorial www.forward.com November 18, 2011

The ultimate test of this new system will not only be found in how the committees and commissions are implemented, but whether the JFNA can live up to its own promise.

Surely it’s no accident that the mission statement of the new Global Planning Table — all of one sentence long — uses the word “collective” twice. It remains to be seen whether this is simply an expression of wishful thinking or the true guiding principle of this new effort.

By Yonatan Ariel http://ejewishphilanthropy.com November 24, 2011
Yonatan Ariel is the Executive Director of Makom, a partnership of Jewish communities around the world and the Jewish Agency.

What can Jerusalem contribute to the flourishing of Babylon? And what can Babylon contribute to the flourishing of Jerusalem? I would advocate for a three-part process to stimulate a healthy relationship for all going forward.

By Nathan Ehrlich Opinion http://zeek.forward.com November 28, 2011

Towards the end of our trip I asked Avram and our volunteer American guides why no Arabs were invited to speak to us. They responded like a chorus: “this is not the point of Birthright.”

The point of Birthright, they explained, was to connect Jews with Israel. And after all, they said, time was short.

But after seeing Israel on my own, it became clear that Birthright was not just guilty of failing to provide differing perspectives on Israel’s current situation, but was bending over backwards in order to ensure that we never saw a balanced picture of Israel. 

Really, our Birthright trip did not take us to Israel. Instead, they took us to “Israel,” Birthright’s fictional narrative construct.

By Chemi Shalev www.haaretz.com November 22, 2011

"Bar-Ilan University is the only Zionist university left in Israel," proclaimed Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of Bar-Ilan's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, at a gala dinner of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA ) held Tuesday night in New York.

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
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