Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - April 2, 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 Mati Gill Opinion http://blogs.timesofisrael.com March 29, 2012
The writer served as bureau chief for the former Israeli minister of public security and is a Captain (res) in the IDF.

No Orthodox religious establishment should have the power to deny me and my fellow Israelis our basic human and civil rights.

...Economic monopolies have been rightfully targeted in Israel’s social justice movement. It’s time for us to focus on the religious monopoly that directly affects all our lives.

I’m a proud Israeli and Conservative Jew, and I’m mad as hell, and I won’t take this anymore.

By Aviad Glickman www.ynetnews.com April 2, 2012

The Reform Movement, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Professor Asa Kasher and several other Jewish groups filed a High Court petition Monday urging the criminal prosecution of rabbis Yitzhak Shapira, Dov Lior, Yitzhak Ginsburg and Yosef Elizor.

The four penned the controversial book "The King's Torah," which the petition says contains racist statements that constitute incitement and sedition.

By Aaron Howard http://jhvonline.com March 29, 2012
Interview with Anat Hoffman

“In Israel, we have 4,000 state rabbis, a billion-and-a-half-shekel industry dealing with kashruth, almost 63,000 students who are exempt from the army and devoted to Torah study – at the cost of three quarters of a million shekels (about $250,000) each, plus an army of eruv inspectors, mikveh inspectors, shatnez inspectors. 

So yes, the Orthodox religious establishment has a economic monopoly with a tremendous interest in maintaining its economic power.”

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com April 3, 2012

The review, produced by the pluralistic Hiddush organization, said that despite widespread discussion of the issues in the Knesset, particularly regarding discrimination against women and haredi enlistment in the IDF, few practical achievements were made in addressing these concerns.

Hiddush also singled out MK Moshe Gafni of the ultra- Orthodox United Torah Judaism party for obstructing the implementation of the Trajtenberg Committee’s recommendations pertaining to education and employment in the haredi sector.

Hiddush’s Director, Reform Rabbi Uri Regev, said however that the only way to deal with the issue in light of “haredi obstructionism” is for Likud and Kadima to form a “civilian government” without any ultra-Orthodox parties – in order to carry out “a revolution for religious freedoms and achieve equality in sharing the burden of military service.”

CWJ’s petition states that the law reserving four places for men without a similar number for women is a serious affront to justice and equality. 

“This law contradicts the State’s commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination against women,” says attorney Susan Weiss, director of CWJ. 

“It also contradicts the 1951 Equal Rights Law, which mandates fair representation of women in public bodies.”

By Rabbi Josh Yuter Opinion http://joshyuter.com March 30, 2012

The problem of agunot is serious, as are the consequences for permitting ahalakhically married woman to remarry. 

But this is not a new problem; even the Talmudic sages recognized the difficulties of agunot and even responded with their own enactments, but within their parameters of halakhah.

www.ynetnews.com March 30, 2012

Rabbi Yitzhak Levy is the leading candidate to replace Rabbi Haim Druckman as head of the conversions authority, Ynet learned Thursday.

Levy's candidacy is promoted by the locator committee formed to find a replacement for Druckman.
According to a report in Makor Rishon, Levy's in favored by both the Prime Minister's Office's and Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar.

By Nosson Scherman http://online.wsj.com March 30, 2012

Mr. Lefkowitz blames the Orthodox for causing a rift in the community through rulings that affect only a minimal number of conversions, but he cites approvingly the Reform movement's recognition of patrilineal descent, in opposition to both the Orthodox and Conservative movements, even though this will affect the religious status of hundreds of thousands of children.

By Akiva Novick www.ynetnews.com March 28, 2012

Chief IDF Rabbi Rafi Peretz has established a new Military Rabbinate division in recent months to deal with the identification of fallen troops – similar to the civilian organization ZAKA.

The rabbinate is also looking into acquiring an advanced apparatus that cuts the DNA recognition process from eight hours to less than an hour.

By Yossi Verter www.haaretz.com March 29, 2012

The social protest, he told Haaretz in a telephone interview on Wednesday, will center primarily on the "unequal bearing of the burden" - in other words the fact that Haredim aren't drafted.

www.jpost.com March 29, 2012

He emphasized that “the Tal Law” is splitting the coalition and that there are coalition members that would prefer early elections over actually resolving the issues in dispute.

By Shmuel Rosner Opinion www.jewishjournal.com April 1, 2012
Interview with Dr. Shlomi Ravid, the director of the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education, discusses Zionism and the role of philanthropy in Jewish life.

The belief in Jewish Peoplehood provides the ideological and conceptual foundations of Zionism. Zionism is after all the belief that the Jewish People is entitled to a national home.

You can’t really support the State of the Jewish People unless you recognize and believe in Jewish Peoplehood.

Here again the dichotomy is false. It exists on the part of those Zionists who turned the means into an end, and believe that we are not a People with a State but actually a State with a People.

I happen to be a second generation Zionist, son of Israeli pioneers, whose Zionism is based on his belief in Peoplehood.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com April 1, 2012

More than 100 boys, all of whom have lost a parent, will celebrate a mass bar mitzva ceremony at the Western Wall on Monday, in the 21st annual communal bar mitzva organized by the Chabad movement’s volunteer wing.

By David Shabtai www.haaretz.com March 30, 2012
Rabbi David Shabtai, MD, is the author of “Defining the Moment: Understanding Brain Death in Halakhah,” available at DefiningTheMoment.com

The Rabbinate’s importance lies not in rabbinically approving a final decision on the matter or in providing “supervision” for medical procedures.

Rather, the Chief Rabbinate must remain involved because it represents Judaism’s most ancient system of ethics and values. 

After all, this is what defining what death means and determining when it occurs is really about. Whether the law should accept or reject the Rabbinate’s position, is a separate question.

By Suzanne Selengut http://thejerusalemreport.wordpress.com March 26, 2012

When Rivka Schwartz (not her real name), a Haredi woman, received an invitation to a women’s lecture at a private home in her Jerusalem neighborhood, she stashed it aside.

The lecture run by a Jerusalem women’s nonprofit organization called Bishvilaych – the Evelyne Barnett Women’s Comprehensive Health Center, was heavily endorsed by rabbis in her community and although the wording was vague for modesty reasons, Schwartz understood it would offer important information on breast cancer prevention.  Still, her hectic schedule as a mother to a large family meant she had to pass.

It was not until five months later, after finding a lump in her breast, that she remembered the invitation.

The Price of Uncertainty
By Prof. Shaul Magid Opinion www.shma.com April 2012
Shaul Magid is the Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Professor of Jewish Studies in Modern Judaism at Indiana University Bloomington and a member of the Advisory Board of Sh’ma.

Many of us were deeply disturbed by the exhibition of Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, zealotry in Beit Shemesh, a bedroom community outside Jerusalem, earlier this year.

Many essays were written about the uncouth Haredim and their uncompromising beliefs, about the political ramifications of such egregious behavior in Israel’s public space, and about the decline of Israel’s cosmopolitan civility.

But these events of zealotry also raise theoretical questions that are perhaps less popular, albeit no less important, for understanding the present state of Judaism.

By Yehiel Poupko Opinion www.shma.com April 2012
Rabbi Yehiel E. Poupko is Judaic Scholar at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Magid accurately describes the current state of belief among many Jews and Westerners. This description does not include me or many other Orthodox Jews. My faith affirmations are absolute truth claims. 

When I say, “I believe,” it is by definition an exclusionary statement. Some Jewish faith affirmations deny something sacred to me as a believing Orthodox Jew. The same is reciprocally true for my faith affirmation.

By Laura Shaw Frank Opinion www.shma.com April 2012

I wish for the impossible: for the Haredi extremists to visit our school’s Room 228 on a Monday morning during second period, they might think differently. 

It is their sequestering themselves from anyone who believes differently that allows them to think they are the only ones who know the truth — the only ones who know what God wants.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com April 2, 2012

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, described the challenge of dealing with refugees and immigrants as “the most important moral test for our society.”

The State of Israel, he said, like all other states in the Western world, has to develop immigration policies and take necessary steps to secure its borders.

Rabbi Benny Lau, a prominent national-religious figure and rabbi of the Ramban Synagogue in south Jerusalem:

“What we must do as a Jewish society is design policies according to the Torah, which recognize the foreigner who lives among us as a human being with his own identity,” he said.

www.ynetnews.com March 29, 2012

Some 20 representatives of community centers belonging to the Keren Kehilot organization met with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz recently to discuss a possible budget increase for the Zionist religious group.

Shay Tuval, who heads Keren Kehilot, an umbrella organization coordinating over 50 "Garin Torani" centers nationwide, told Steinitz that State funding for the movement remained unchanged for the past 15 years, despite the growth and development it has undergone.

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