Sunday, June 3, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

By Yair Ettinger May 29, 2012

In an unprecedented move, Israel has announced that it is prepared to recognize Reform and Conservative community leaders as rabbis and fund their salaries.

Rabbis belonging to either stream will be classified as "rabbis of non-Orthodox communities." 

The attorney general advised the High Court that the state will begin equally financing non-Orthodox rabbis in regional councils and farming communities that are interested in doing so.

*For complete review of articles on this story, see end of edition.

By Mordechai I. Twersky June 1, 2012

"My intention is to ask that the operations of the Rabbinate be monitored so as to limit its work to questions of kashrut and food, period," said Rabbi Uri Regev, the president of Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality.

"The Rabbinate and Religious Council are knowingly acting against the law and using its monopolistic power over kashrut to extort submission to its brand of Jewish observance," Regev said in an interview with Haaretz.

By Mordechai I. Twersky June 1, 2012

"There is absolutely no suggestion or reference in the resolution in any way to a boycott," Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, told Haaretz.

"What the resolution calls for is for our people to reach out directly to hotels and to travel agents to make sure that our needs are being met in hotels that we patronize in Israel."

By Jeremy Sharon May 28, 2012

The ITIM religious rights advocacy group has accused the state’s Conversion Authority of adopting a “closed door policy” toward non-Israeli citizens interested in conversion, and claimed the authority has created a “negative image” that has led to an overall decrease in conversions.

“It is unconscionable that the Conversion Authority is discouraging spouses of Israelis to convert within the national system,” ITIM director Rabbi Shaul Farber.

By Ophir Bar-Zohar May 31, 2012

A women's security policy group is preparing to warn the Knesset that the drafting of ultra-Orthodox men into the Israel Defense Forces must not come at the expense of women soldiers.

The Women's Forum for Policy and National Security, along with by WIZO, intends to make this point on Friday before the newly-minted Knesset committee established to examine ways of expanding the draft.

By Asher Maoz Opinion June 2, 2012
The writer is Head of the Law School at the Peres Academic Center.

I will therefore settle for stressing the sacrilege yeshiva students (more accurately perhaps, men registered as yeshiva students) commit by shirking, thereby shifting the entire burden of dying in the country's defense onto others while they spend their time devoting themselves to the study of Torah.

By Kobi Nahshoni May 31, 2012

The IDF Rabbinate, scratching its head over how to deal with kashrut challenges in the military, is coming up with creative solutions.

Next week, the Israel Navy will launch a competition between elite naval commando unit Shayetet 13's missile ship crews to see who has the fewest violations of the laws of kashrut. The prize? A "fun day" in the IDF Rabbinate

By Rabbi Dov Lipman Opinion May 31, 2012
The writer is an educator, author and community activist in Beit Shemesh. He has rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a master’s in education from Johns Hopkins University. He is also the director of the English Speakers Division of the Am Shalem movement.

Haredi journalists should stop lecturing everyone outside the haredi world about Torah from Sinai, the value of Torah, and the infallible and perfect Torah world with which no one should tamper.

Instead, they should rally the haredi street to reject its isolationist, extremist and self-serving political leadership, which long ago ceased to represent authentic Torah values.

Worldly, educated and more open haredim should muster the courage to help free their community from the unfair imprisonment which has been imposed on it, instead of grasping at straws to defend haredi isolationism.

By Kenneth Jacobson Opinion May 30, 2012
Kenneth Jacobson is the deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

As one can see from the issues discussed -- sexual abuse, service in the Israeli army, secular education in Israel -- criticism of the haredi world goes beyond individual behavior and enters the realm of the broader haredi community’s beliefs, attitudes and policies.

That, I would argue, does not automatically disqualify it as stereotyping an entire community. When it is the prevailing view of the community, and most of its members adhere to that view, it is acceptable to criticize from the outside. May 30, 2012

Speaking to Army Radio, Margi said "The Reforms think they are bringing a new spirit to Judaism, but in practice it is bad spirit."

By Tamar Rotem June 1, 2012

"A World Apart Next Door" is flawed by an attitude bordering on romanticization of the Hasidim. Intentionally and explicitly, it does not depict the other side: the strictness and reclusiveness of the community, the disputes and the violent quarrels within and between the different sects, the problematic status of women, and the active opposition to Zionism on the part of some of the communities, such as Satmar.

By Andrew Silow-Carroll May 30, 2012
The writer is NJJN Editor-in-Chief

In last week’s column I pondered the yawning gap between the haredim, or fervently Orthodox Jews, and the rest of us. I received a number of on-line responses that are worth sharing.

The alienation, I suggested, goes two ways: The haredim have become increasingly estranged from fellow Jews, and the non-haredi Jews have come to look upon the very religious as backward, insular, and even corrupt.

By Maor Buchnik May 30, 2012

Six ultra-Orthodox men were arrested for disrupting infrastructure works taking place near Habakkuk's Tomb in the Galilee. The offenders claimed they were trying to prevent the desecration of Jewish graves located in the area.

By Kobi Nahshoni June 1, 2012

The religious journal 'HaEda' slammed the singer's concerts in Israel, calling them "disgraceful," and further stated that her faith in Jewish mysticism which includes her visiting the graves of the righteous while in Israel, "desecrates the holy sites."

By Dan Pine May 24, 2012

“It’s pretty amazing to see how different streams of Judaism can work together in America — things we can’t make happen in Israel,” said Rachel Azaria, who is Orthodox. “I’m trying to learn what can be done differently in Israel.”

By Gil Shefler June 1, 2012

When Ukrainian businessman Vadim Rabinovich died, they named a square after him in Jerusalem’s Old City thanking him for donating funds that helped rebuild the Hurva Synagogue.
But reports of his death were greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain. June 3, 2012

Major General Elazar Stern Stern will visit Australia this month in his role as a member of the board of advisers of the Shorashim initiatives being undertaken by the Tzohar Rabbinic Association supported by the Harry O. Triguboff Institute in Jerusalem.

By Reuters June 01, 2012

Somewhere in the Carmel hills, diamond exploration company Shefa Yamim hopes to uncover the exact spot where faith meets science.

Inspired by the words of a revered rabbi who prophesized that precious stones were divinely buried in the area, the firm has been mining for about a decade along the steep hills and lush valleys that surround the city of Haifa.

By Asaf Shtull-Trauring May 30, 2012

Israel Belfer, a young doctoratal student at Bar-Ilan University, has written a paper discussing the implications of BCI on Jewish religious law. Combining a survey of cutting-edge laboratory work with religious casuistry, Belfer raises questions that might be startling to the uninitiated.

Does kindling a fire by thought alone – an existing technological possibility - constitute a violation of the Sabbath?

By Nathan Jeffay May 31, 2012

Dov Maimon, senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Institute, said that Israel has failed to make the migrants feel an affinity to the state.

“This is the main reason that they leave the country — even more than financial difficulties,” he told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.

By Danna Harman June 1, 2012

According to data from the IDF, there are 800-1,000 foreign lone soldiers entering the military every year. And, while exact statistics are not available, there is evidence that a high predominance of them end up in the toughest of units.

*Special section on Attorney General's decision to recognize non-Orthodox rabbis

June 4, 2012
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.