Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - April 16, 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 Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com April 11, 2012

Representatives of the non-Orthodox Jewish movements in Israel have complained to the tourism minister and the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs against Israel's hotels, which they claim are systematically discriminating against tourist groups from abroad by not allowing them to hold prayer services according to their customs.
Executive Director and CEO of the Masorti Movement Yizhar Hess said: "There is no connection between the rules of kashruth and their enforcement in the kitchen and the activities in other departments of the hotel...”

By Judy Lash Balint, Joint Media News Service www.jewishjournal.com April 10, 2012

A quiet revolution is taking place in the Israeli education system.  

When the next school year begins in September, a third stream of state-approved schools will join the existing secular (mamlachti) and religious (mamlachti dati) school systems that have defined Israeli education since the founding of the state.

According to Rabbi Michael Melchior, founder of Meitarim, the Network for Jewish Democratic Education, Knesset approval in February to implement a comprehensive State Pluralistic Education System will encourage students from both observant and secular backgrounds to study together, with a curriculum based on Jewish values of tolerance, Jewish peoplehood and humanism.

By Nathan Jeffay www.thejc.com April 11, 2012

A new service allows diaspora Jews who want to marry in Israel to organise their marriage licence online.

Thousands of Jews fly to Israel to get married every year, but they have long been daunted by the bureaucracy of applying for a marriage licence from Israel's rabbinate.

Over the years many have given up and circumvented the Israeli rabbinate, bringing their own rabbi from abroad and registering the marriage back home. 

But given that Israel law states that marriages can only be performed by the national rabbinate, this has been seen as legally problematic.

JPost.com Editorial www.jpost.com April 10, 2012

Bringing together religious and secular Israelis in a military framework entails compromise on both sides.

Secular soldiers need to understand that enforcing kosher rules enables their religious fellows to serve with them.

But religious soldiers and their rabbis also have an obligation. They should do their best to find leniencies in Halacha where possible so that secular soldiers are not forced to endure unnecessary burdens.

Whether the issue is gender segregation, threats to refuse military orders to evacuate a settlement, or adherence to Shabbat, religious soldiers and their rabbis should embrace moderation, not religious extremism.

By Jeremy Saltan www.jewishpress.com April 16, 2012

The human resources division of the IDF reported last week that they were forced not to draft 100 ultra-orthodox men that would have enlisted due to cutbacks in per-soldier finances from the treasury.

Asked why the Treasury cut down on the financing, the officer said: “The cost of a haredi soldier is very high, we have to pay him for family costs, special training (without women), special food, Torah lessons – all these things cost money. 

We get 5400NIS  per month per soldier from the treasury, and they needed to cut down to make the budget for 2011.”

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com April 16, 2012

Several prominent national-religious rabbis have expressed support for Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, the officer who was filmed striking a pro-Palestinian activist in the face with his M-16 rifle.

Former IDF chief rabbi Avihai Rontzki has also weighed in on the incident, and slammed what he labeled “an instinctive and impulsive” reaction against an officer who has “given his life everyday for the sake of the Jewish nation.”

By Meir Wikler Opinion www.haaretz.com April 15, 2012
Dr. Meir Wikler is a Brooklyn based psychotherapist, author and lecturer.

When Yad Vashem in Jerusalem opened its new wing, known as The Holocaust History Museum, in 2005, it was much ballyhooed as a state of the art, multi-million dollar Holocaust museum to top all others.

While praise for the new museum wing has poured forth from dignitaries and laymen, the unified opposition of so-called ultra-orthodox, or Haredi Jewry, has stuck out like a sore thumb. Why have Haredim been so upset?

By Iris Rosenberg www.haaretz.com April 15, 2012
Iris Rosenberg is the Spokesperson at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.

Meir Wikler’s latest article on what he perceives as bias against Haredim at Yad Vashem is replete with misinformation.

To claim, as his headline does, that “Yad Vashem honors only Holocaust’s secular victims” is outrageous and can only be a result of an unfounded bias.

By Avi Rath Opinion www.ynetnews.com April 11, 2012

How simplistic and shallow it is to define “religious” and “secular” based on superficial, irrelevant criteria. 

We got so used to the stereotype whereby anyone who has a beard and sidelocks is automatically religious, not to mention a rabbi, while the guy with the ponytail or earring is automatically classified as a secular.

…The time has come to mature and leave this childish approach behind.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com April 16, 2012

The Jerusalem District Court postponed Monday morning the evidentiary stage in the trial of Rabbi Motti Elon for alleged indecent acts, in order to allow the defense team time to review the new material and to present its response to the state attorney’s office.

Jerusalem District prosecutors requested last week to add four new witnesses to the case to testify about the rabbi’s custom of hugging his students, as well as the testimony of a social worker who says she saw one such event.

By Rabbi Haviva Ner-David http://zeek.forward.com April 16, 2012
Rabbi Dr. Haviva Ner-David is a rabbi, teacher, and writer living on Kibbutz Hannaton in the Lower Galilee in Israel.

In Israel, mikvaot (ritual baths) are generally run by the Israeli Rabbinate, which does not recognize non-Orthodox conversions and therefore does not even allow such conversions to take place in their state mikvaot.

… I had a dream of turning the Hannaton mikveh into a pluralist mikveh where anyone (man or woman, gay or straight, single or married, Orthodox or religiously liberal, Jew or non-Jew) who wants to immerse could do so, and where the terms and conditions of the immersion would be up to the one who is immersing.

By Dr. William Kolbrener Opinion www.thedailybeast.com April 11, 2012
William Kolbrener, a professor of English Literature at Bar Ilan University, writes widely on Jewish life and culture; his Open Minded Torah: Of Irony, Fundamentalism and Love is published by Continuum (2011).

The zionism I advocate, however, the zionism with a small "z," has modest aspirations, not messianic pretensions.  My strong, even passionate, allegiance to a weak zionism, a liberal zionism, even an American-style zionism, aspires to cultivate a neutral public sphere, paralleling that of the American context.   

But like its counterpart, the Israeli public sphere, though putatively "neutral," would continue to be shaped by the history, culture and traditions—even the symbols, and especially the calendar—of the majority Jewish culture.  

This is a zionism confident in an inclusive and diverse public sphere, one which will cultivate a growing separation between religion and State as a place for exchange, not coercion.

By Leonard Fein Opinion http://forward.com April 8, 2012

Holding Israeli citizenship in itself is hardly a sufficient condition for being a “complete Jew.” Even Yehoshua recognizes that. 

He does, however, argue that we in America do not fulfill even the necessary condition for Jewish completeness, which is geographic. We here are in an existentially wrong place.

By Yehuda Kurtzer Opinion www.tabletmag.com April 6, 2012

But if Yehoshua’s argument hinges on the second approach—that living in Israel enables certain possibilities for Judaism that are not possible without sovereignty—then he may actually be right. But he is only half right.

Believers Documentary - Official Trailer 1 - Judaism from Aaron Porteous on Vimeo.

By Tamar Rotem www.haaretz.com April 12, 2012

Aliza Lavie has traced their history and customs and collected every detail she could in order to shed light on the role of women in Jewish ritual and in the community. 

The result is a new book, "Minhag Nashim: Masa Nashi shel Minhagim, Tekesim, Tefilot Ve'siporim ("Women's Customs: A Journey of Jewish Customs, Rituals, Prayers and Stories" (Yedioth Books, Hebrew).

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