Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - March 19, 2012 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

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

By Revital Blumenfeld www.haaretz.com March 18, 2012

"They are partial Jews while I am a complete Jew," Yehoshua said, referring to American Jewry. "In no way are we the same thing - we are total and they are partial; we are Israeli and also Jewish.”
Yehoshua added that living outside Israel "is a very deep failure of the Jewish people."

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com March 16, 2012

The questions were exacting, but Anna Heiman, 29, expertly fired back her answers. Finally, the rabbinic court judges asked her and her Israeli partner, Ronen Osher, to leave the room. The rabbis discussed the matter at length and resolved to accept Heiman as a Jew.

But this was no ordinary conversion: It took place in a private rabbinic court in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut.

[T]he Religious Services Ministry … is threatening sanctions against Rosen's two partners: Rabbi Gideon Perl, the rabbi of Alon Shvut, and Rabbi Uri Samet, the rabbi of Kibbutz Migdal Oz.

By Ruth Stein Opinion www.timesofisrael.com March 18, 2012
The author of this article asked to use a pseudonym for fear that revealing her true identity would negatively affect her conversion process.

I find myself at the center of a tug-of-war between Israel’s religious and secular identity. In America, these personal struggles are left to the individual to figure out. In Israel, the system attempts to make a choice for you.

By Amanda Borschel-Dan www.timesofisrael.com March 13, 2012

Ariel Beery: “Somebody will call into question the membership of my daughter to the Jewish People?”

“The second we realized it will not be the choice of our daughter to marry here, that the only community in the world where she can’t marry in the Jewish tradition is here in Israel, that she can’t even aspire to be a religious judge, deciding on religious issues. And not because she’s not considered Jewish; because she’s a woman. If there was a law that a woman couldn’t be a surveyor, would we accept that? You start realizing, like, Holy crap! That’s ridiculous!”

By Amanda Borschel-Dan www.timesofisrael.com March 8, 2012

Ed Rettig: “The individual is the legitimator of religious practice” in the US. He chooses to be “saved”; he chooses when and how to pray.

Conversely, the foundations of Israel are about the collective, the Jewish People, versus the individual. There is a state religion, not a separation of church and state. In Israel there is “an identity by fate. Much like a relationship with a parent. ‘I am the child of my parents. I would die for my parents, go to war, etc.’ The relationship is lifelong. With American Jewry, it is more like a relationship with a spouse: a choice, like marriage.
“The assumptions of Jewish identity are so different.”

See also interviews with Jay Ruderman and Gidi Mark.

By Arnie Eisen http://blog.jtsa.edu March 7, 2012

The main take-away? Neat divides between “religious” and “secular” are woefully off the mark. I think the categories should be dropped entirely in Israel (as among Diaspora Jews).

They tell us little that is important—and turn our view away both from commonalities that should not be missed and from divisions that are all too real and will not be healed any time soon.

Israelis are bound by a “covenant of fate” that links them powerfully to the Jewish people and the Jewish past. Questions of faith are not easily avoided.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 19, 2012

The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Sunday approved two so-called “Tzohar bills” designed to enable the association of national-religious rabbis – who are considered somewhat more liberal than other Orthodox rabbis – to more easily perform wedding ceremonies.

The bills, one initiated by MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and the other by MK Faina Kirshenbaum (Israel Beiteinu), would allow couples to register for marriage in the city or municipal jurisdiction of their choice, regardless of where they reside, something which at present is technically prohibited by law.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 14, 2012

Women’s rights advocates made several proposals to have at least one woman appointed to the Selection Committee for Rabbinical Judges on Tuesday, during a tempestuous hearing of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women.

Batsheva Sherman-Shani, director of the Yad L’Isha organization, proposed during the hearing that either one of the two male Knesset members on the committee be replaced and switched for a female member, or that the prime minister select a female minister to fill one of the two places on the committee reserved for cabinet ministers.

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion www.haaretz.com March 20, 2012

[W]hat [Netanyahu] really did was give the subsidized apartments to Shas' ultra-Orthodox constituents.
...Not working is an anti-Jewish custom that was invented only in Israel. It does not exist in Brooklyn or Paris, because Jews always saw labor as a moral duty - see Maimonides. But Yishai and Atias are making a mockery of Maimonides as well.

By Moti Bassok www.haaretz.com March 14, 2012

The criteria, which do not mention employment as a requirement but do give weight to the number of children a couple has, have been widely slammed as catering to the ultra-Orthodox community at the expense of the general public.

By Talila Nesher www.haaretz.com March 20, 2012

Hundreds of parents in Tel Aviv are seeking municipal authorization to open a school for secular and religious students in September that would be the first such school in the city.

If the parents get their way, the school will become the first secular-religious school that falls fully under the state jurisdiction rather than being at least partly run by a non-profit group. The Knesset recently approved regulations for religiously mixed education that could pave the way for that to take place.

By Lahav Harkov www.jpost.com March 15, 2012

When the Tal Law was canceled last month, hesder yeshivas – the religious- Zionist institutions that combine Torah study and IDF service – were an accidental victim, set to become illegal on August 1, unless they are anchored in new legislation.

UTJ MK Gafni told The Jerusalem Post hesder yeshivas must, and should, remain in the same legislative category as haredi yeshivas because they are both institutions for Torah study.

Anyway, he added with a grin, the Tal Law was canceled because of inequality, and hesder students are part of that inequality because they spend less than half of the time their secular peers spend serving in the IDF.

By Lahav Harkov www.jpost.com March 11, 2012

The future of hesder yeshivas remains unclear, as the Ministerial Committee for Legislation postponed by two months on Sunday a vote on a bill meant to save the program.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 15, 2012

Rabbi Haim Druckman, Israel Prize laureate and head of Yeshivat Or Etzion, spoke at the IDF induction center on Monday to students enrolled in the hesder yeshiva program, who will begin their military service this week.

By Yoav Zitun www.ynetnews.com March 20, 2012

Yaakov Yosef, the eldest son of Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was recently uninvited from a day of Torah studies meant for soldiers in the Kfir brigade. The ban marks the IDF's recent stream of decisions to leave the decision of approving lectures given by religious leaders to the Military Rabbinate.

By Ilan Lior www.haaretz.com March 15, 2012

A Ra'anana resident is demanding NIS 18,000 from the Religious Services Ministry - the amount he had to pay the civil cemetery in Kfar Sava to bury his wife because he is not a Kfar Sava resident.

Tzvika Ginsberg, 72, who filed the suit in Kfar Sava Small Claims Court, said the religious establishment has not been sufficiently dedicated in building civil cemeteries for those who prefer to be buried without a religious ceremony.

By Rabbi Haviva Ner-David http://mayyimhayyimblog.com March 7, 2012
Rabbi Haviva Ner David is a teacher, writer, and activist.

At the newly-revived religiously and socially progressive Kibbutz Hannaton in Lower Galilee, a tradition has  evolved to hold a women’s circle at our mikveh for each woman a few weeks before she is due to give birth.  

Thankfully, we have located on our kibbutz a unique mikveh in the Israeli scene: Shmaya: A Spiritual and Educational Mikveh in Galilee, where anyone can come to immerse for whatever purpose—with or without guidance, in private or with accompaniment .

By Rivka Haut Susan Aranoff http://womenofthewall.org.il March 7, 2012

The foolish King of the Purim story feared that if Vashti’s defiance were known, every husband’s power to be master of his household, his wife, would be weakened. So he issued a decree that every man should be “sorer” in his house.  We laugh at that. Yet our rabbis have enshrined that edict by allowing every Jewish husband to be “sorer b’veito” to have power over his wife.

By Avital Chizhik www.tabletmag.com March 14, 2012

It plagued me last summer in Israel. My first day in Jerusalem, I stepped out of the Western Wall plaza, half-dizzy from elation, and was immediately approached by an old, pious-looking woman. 

She was shaking her finger, screeching, “Erva!” and pointing to my hair, which was partially covered with a scarf. “Nakedness! How dare you not dress as a daughter of Israel, in the holiest of places? Where is the respect? How dare you not respect your husband, and the holiness of this place?”

There were other moments. Like being shoved into the back of a bus leaving from the Kotel on Saturday night. Women to the back! Young men (boys! children!) hooted and sneered into megaphones by the bus stop that there ought to be a separation of seating. And at first, I accepted it, without thought—of course, this is where a woman belongs.

By Jacob Kamaras,  JointMedia News Service www.jewishagency.org March 13, 2012

“Now, of course, if you plan to connect young Jews with their heritage, with their communities, and with the state of Israel, you have to be where young Jews are, mainly the campuses and the universities. So, in the last two years we more than tripled our program of [placing JAFI Israel Fellows to Hillel] on campuses. 

When I came to the Jewish Agency we were working on 15 campuses, today we are working on 50. And our aim in the years to come is to work on 100 campuses.”

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