Monday, January 26, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - January 26, 2009

Religion and State in Israel

January 26, 2009

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Jerusalem Post Editor Elliot Jager on the Orthodox Monopoly in Israel January 5, 2009

Click here for VIDEO interview (3 min.)

“The Orthodox Rabbinate has done an excellent job of pushing people away from Jewish tradition
 … because of an extraordinary hypocrisy, because of a certain level of corruption, because of an insensitivity to people who want to become closer to the Jewish People; 
and so this establishment which initially served a useful purpose has now become not only superfluous, but counterproductive…”

Rabbinate stalls on protected hospital wing

By Yair Ettinger January 23, 2009

The conflict over moving ancient human remains discovered at the construction site of an Ashkelon hospital emergency room slated to be reinforced against rockets has been resurrected.

The renewed debate follows the apparent back-tracking of the Chief Rabbinate on its decision to allow the bones, discovered at Barzilai Medical Center, to be moved to another site. 

The Chief Rabbinate yesterday asked the Prime Minister's Office for a two-week extension before officially announcing its decision, originally made last week, to allow the re-interment of the ancient bones.

A source in the Chief Rabbinate said the delay was needed to "obtain further clarifications," however; the change seems due to internal ultra-Orthodox politics.

A halakhic (Jewish law) decision published yesterday by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and two other ultra-Orthodox rabbis holding by Lithuanian standards stated that the bones should not be moved.

The decision contradicts an edict by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who two weeks ago published a decision permitting the moving of the graves.

Leading Poskim Rule against Disinterment to Allow Construction at Ashkelon Hospital

By Yechiel Sever January 22, 2009

Leading poskim including Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita issued a firm ruling against plans to carry out construction work at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon after Jewish graves were found at the building site.

In the ruling maranan verabonon shlita write that Halacha clearly forbids "disinterring a cluster of graves where the dead lie in a conventional position, even if the disinterment is done properly by G-d-fearing individuals performing the task according to Halacha.

"There is no basis to permit [disinterment] in order to save lives in a case where the life-saving benefit will come only after a substantial amount of time to those who need it then, and there is no life-saving for people currently in need. 

Mentioning the dispensation of pikuach nefesh in connection with future matters like these is a distortion that is in effect an act of uprooting the Torah.

"And based on what we were told — that there is a possibility to add onto the hospital on another side where there would be no harm to graves — the entire discussion is superfluous."

Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger visited Barzilai Medical Center / January 2009

On January 1, 2009, Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger accompanied by Ashkelon Deputy mayor Mr. Shimon Cohen visited Barzilai Medical Center.

They were hosted by Dr. Shimon Scharf CEO and Medical Director of Barzilai Medical Center.

During the tour they praised the staff of the medical center for their courageous standing at such difficult times.

In addition they discussed with Dr. Scharf about the ways to solve the issue of the ancient graves that were found in the site designated for the new shielded hospital building.

They promised to determine a Halacha ruling that will enable the construction of the new shielded hospitalization building.

Rabbinical Court casts doubt on conversion of son of famed Jewish theologian

By Matthew Wagner January 19, 2009

The son of the late Jewish theologian and Holocaust survivor Emil Fackenheim plans to fight a decision by a Jerusalem Rabbinical Court Judge to retroactively annul his conversion of 27 years.

In August of 2008, Yossi Fackenheim, who was converted to Judaism at the age of two by an Orthodox Rabbinical Court in Toronto, had his conversion revoked by Rabbi Yissachar Dov Hagar, a judge on Jerusalem's Rabbinical Court.

Hagar's decision was made during divorce proceedings between Yossi and his former wife Iris, who were married as Jews in Jerusalem by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in 2001.

The two came before Hagar to finalize their divorce. But in the midst of the divorce proceedings Hagar told Yossi that there was no need for a get (divorce writ) since Yossi was not Jewish as his mother was not Jewish at the time of his birth. She later converted to Judaism.

…He said he was deliberating between appealing to the High Rabbinic Court and filing a petition with the Supreme Court.

How to convert a crisis: Say ‘dayenu

By Rabbi Shammai Engelmayer Opinion January 23, 2009

Shammai Engelmayer is rabbi of the Conservative synagogue Temple Israel Community Center in Cliffside Park and an instructor in the UJA-Federation-sponsored Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of the Hebrew University. He is the editor of Judaism: A Journal of Jewish Life and Thought.

For years, non-Orthodox religious authorities and secular Israelis have complained about the “tyranny of the minority,” by which they meant the control over their lives that is exercised by the haredi wing of the Israeli Orthodox rabbinate. 

Now, even the Orthodox are experiencing that tyranny — and lives are being ruined.

It is time for the tyranny to end. It is time to take back the Torah from its “false and misguided interpreters” who have “perverted and hijacked” it, as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin put it last Shavuot, referring to the haredi judges who run Israel’s rabbinical courts.

It is time. The only thing lacking, it seems, is the will.

Reform movement challenges legality of kosher flights

By Kobi Nahshoni January 23, 2009

The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which represents the Reform stream of Judaism in the country, has asked the Transportation Ministry and El Al Airlines to look into the legality of the airline's intention to launch exclusive flights for the haredi public.

According to the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), IMPJ's legal branch, the move represents "an illegitimate policy that violates Israeli law."

In a letter to Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and El Al CEO Haim Romano, IRAC Attorney Orly Erez-Likhovski wrote that "flights that institute separation between men and women should not be approved offhandedly."

Shas MK Yishai on IDF: “Praying Saves Lives”

By Ronen Medzini January 21, 2009

Commenting on the issue of yeshiva students' draft into the army, Yishai claimed that contrary to common opinion, the enlistment rate among the religious-haredi public is constantly on the rise, while it continues to drop in the secular sector.

"This stereotype that haredim don't serve in the army and contribute is false, and always was," he stated and explained that many haredim join the army for partial or full service or do civil service instead.

He also noted that praying also works to save lives. 

"Reciting psalms, studying Torah and praying for the wellbeing of IDF soldiers and the civilians in the home front are a great and helpful thing. There's no argument here," he stated.

IDF rabbinate disseminated [controversial material] during Gaza war

By Amos Harel January 26, 2009

The Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din has called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to immediately remove Rabbi Ronzki from his post as IDF Chief Rabbi.

An overview of some of the army rabbinate's publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians. 

Other material was provided by officers and men who received it during Operation Cast Lead.

Following are quotations from this material: 

"[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it."

This is an excerpt from a publication entitled "Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead," issued by the IDF Rabbinate.

The text is from "Books of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner," who heads the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. 

Shas MK wants 1-year army exemption for newlyweds

By Kobi Nahshoni January 22, 2009

Knesset Member Rabbi Chaim Amsalem (Shas) decided last week to revive his bill proposal calling for men in their first year of marriage to be exempt from military service.

The matter resurfaced following the incident in which Second Lieutenant Aharon Karov from Karnei Shomron returned to battle in Gaza just hours after his wedding and was severely injured.

MK Amsalem said he would propose the bill in the next Knesset.

The bill is based on the Halachic law which states that any newlywed should be exempt from carrying a military burden for the first year of marriage.

According to Deuteronomy 24:5,

"If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married."

Rabbinical judges get tough on men who refuse divorces

By Yair Ettinger January 26, 2009

A panel of judges on the Rabbinical Court of Appeals has urged the government to legislate stiffer penalties for men who refuse to grant their wives a divorce - including the biblical penalty of whipping.

The recommendation was part of a ruling issued by the panel last September. "Whipping is not practiced in democratic countries (but perhaps this should be reconsidered with regard to granting a bill of divorce)," the ruling said.

Rabbinical courts are already authorized to impose various sanctions on men who refuse to divorce their wives, up to and including imprisonment. In practice, however, they rarely do.

From Jerusalem to Jakarta: A globalized 'get'

By Matthew Wagner January 22, 2009

the four men had gathered at the Jakarta Ritz from across the globe for a different purpose altogether. They were there to perform a mitzva - to help free an aguna, a "chained" woman.

Thirteen years earlier, the Brazilian man had suddenly abandoned a wife and two children living in Britain. According to Jewish law, his wife could not remarry until she received a get (writ of divorce).

Now, thanks to Rabbi Shaul Farber, head of an organization called ITIM, which helps Jews navigate Israel's complex rabbinical bureaucracy, the Brazilian was about to sign apower of attorney allowing his wife to start a new life.

Divorces in Israel surpass 10,000 a year for first time

By Matthew Wagner January 25, 2009

The figures were released Sunday by the Rabbinical Court Administration.

According to Jewish law, both husband and wife must give consent to divorce. However, the law is more stringent regarding the wife, who cannot remarry under any circumstances until her husband give a get [divorce writ].

In Israel there is no separation between religion and state and all Jews get married in accordance with Halacha, although civil marriages from abroad are recognized.

The rabbinical courts are empowered by law to impose sanctions to coerce one of the sides, usually the husband, to give a get. 

These sanctions include blocking exit from the country, freezing bank accounts, preventing appointments in state institutions, halting welfare payments and suspending drivers’ licenses.

The courts also can enlist the help of private investigators and can send representatives abroad to track down intransigent husbands who refuse to grant their wives a divorce.

Kadima adopts 'large part' of rabbinical group's Jewish values program

By Matthew Wagner January 25, 2009

Kadima adopted "a large part" of a rabbinical group's program for ensuring the Jewish character of the state of Israel, according to a Kadima press release.

In a meeting Sunday between Tzohar, a group of liberal-minded religious Zionist rabbis and Kadima chair Tzipi Livni, it was agreed that a Public Council for Jewish Consciousness would be created by the new government coalition.

Livni was joined by MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) who discussed a program for the deepening of Jewish values in Israel including the conversion process, education and streamlining the registration process for marriages.

During the meeting the rabbis expressed their opposition to legislation that would enable civil marriage.

Netanyahu woos national religious sector

By Kobi Nahshoni January 26, 2009

The Likud is wooing the religious Zionist sector: Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Member Effie Eitam, who heads the Religious Zionist party Achi, signed an internal memorandum solidifying the relationship between the two parties; and stating that the Likud now sees Achi as a full-fledged political partner.

UTJ Seeking to Organize Ahead of Election

By Yechiel Spira January 25, 2009

Seeking to exhibit an air of confidence, Yahadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) is moving ahead with its election campaign for the February 10th general elections for the 18th Knesset.

Advertisements are seen Hamodia on Sunday, as well as elsewhere, with UTJ moving ahead seeking to persuade voters they are “compelled” to vote UTJ “for their future, as well as the future of their families”.

“Do it for the cheder for your grandchild, your mehadrin bus line, the mikve, the apartment for your family members” and so forth.

Two Top Rabbis Bless National Union

By Hillel Fendel January 21, 2009

The National Union has received two ringing rabbinical endorsements over the past two days – from Rabbis Mordechai Eliyahu and David Abuhatzeira.

Jerusalem Mayor Barkat Visits Maran Elyashiv Shlita

By Yechiel Spira January 25, 2009

Maran Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv Shlita commended the mayor on his selection of advisors, and the mayor reemphasized his commitment to the ‘status quo’ regarding religious issues, promising to exhibit an attentive ear regarding the needs of the citizens, including the chareidi community.

Maran Rav Ovadia Thanks Olmert for Assisting Yeshivas

By Yechiel Spira January 25, 2009

In his motzei Shabbos drasha, Chacham Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlita expressed words of gratitude to outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for his support of the chareidi community and its institutions.

“I personally spoke with Olmert who assisted our yeshivas. He never said no and sent NIS millions for our yeshivas and talmidei torah,” stated the Rav.

Veteran ultra-Orthodox MK Avraham Ravitz dies aged 75

By Yair Ettinger January 26, 2009

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday eulogized Degel Hatorah Chairman Avraham Ravitz, calling him a wise and practical figure who merged Jewish tradition with public life.

Ravitz, who died on Monday at age 75, was laid to rest in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. Thousands of people attended the funeral.

The veteran MK was one of the most dominant representatives and sharpest speakers of the Haredi community. 

Study: Half of J'lem haredi within 10 years

By Etgar Lefkovits January 21, 2009

A new study forecasts that haredim will make up half of the population of Jerusalem in 20 years, "endangering" the pluralistic makeup of the capital.

The study, which will be published later this week by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, finds that haredim will make up 44 percent of the city's population in a decade and, if the demographic trends continue, over half of the city's residents by 2030, according to a press release put out earlier in the week by the research center.

…Earlier studies have estimated that the haredi population in the city will stand at 34% in a decade, a spokesman for the Jerusalem think-tank said.

Haredim currently make up about one-third of the city's 500,000 Jewish residents.

Shas MK Yishai: Gay parade should be banned completely

By Ronen Medzini January 21, 2009

Ahead of the upcoming elections, Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said that one of his party's main goals in the next Knesset would be to promote a bill banning the gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

"Even if a person maintains a certain lifestyle, he has no business marching and flaunting it, definitely not in Jerusalem where it hurts the feelings of so many," Yishai told Ynet in an interview Wednesday.

"I have the signatures of over 70 Knesset members from across the political spectrum who oppose the 'filth parade' in Jerusalem.

"And let's face it: It shouldn't be held in any other place in the country as well," he added.

Do away with the hatred

By Yaniv Weizman Opinion January 22, 2009

IDF Reserves Major Yaniv Weizman is a member of the Tel Aviv City Council and chairman of the Proud Youth organization

Eli Yishai – I turn to you with a personal and public request. Do not destroy what had been built with great effort. Do not add schisms and hatred to this nation.

As a combat officer in the IDF and reserves major who served as a platoon commander in the Nahal Brigade in Lebanon, and came out of the closet during his military service, I view your miserable declaration regarding the ability of homosexuals to serve in the army as not only hurtful, but also blatantly ignorant.

The IDF today is a hotbed of solidarity; a place where walls come down in the name of a sacred goal.

Women’s fertility conference without women

By Dr. Elana Sztokman Opinion January 23, 2009

“The conference showed reverence for doctors, rabbis and ‘important people’ – and there was not a single woman deemed worthy in any of those categories,” 

seethed Mavoi Satum Director of Advocacy Batya Kahana-Dror – rightfully so – in an article this week on the Kolech Hebrew website.

“Once again, the conference made an unequivocally patriarchal statement.”

The decision to exclude women was undoubtedly a bow to rabbinic power brokers, whose highest priority is always maintaining gender hierarchy.

…It gets worse. 

According to Rachel Koren, director of Kolech, women were excluded from asking questions as well. 

“Women were expected to remain behind their partition for questions,’” Koren fumed.

Consultants in the baby business

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich January 25, 2009

Puah Institute 9th Annual Conference on Women's Health

Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaacov Ariel discussed the difficult halachic question about whether religious girls should be offered the vaccine that prevents cervical cancer. 

Holding a very graphic leaflet distributed in secular schools discussing how infection occurs through sexual relations, Ariel said such material - or even mentioning the subject - is inappropriate for this group. 

Although some girls raised in religious homes will have premarital sex, the vast majority will not, and should not be told about the vaccine until they are engaged, as the option would "harm their souls."

Ponzi-type con man sued by Haredi clients

By Hila Raz January 20, 2009

Ilan Morgan, formerly known as Ilan Mika Arbel, is being sued for NIS 2.6 million by 21 ultra-Orthodox clients who allege they were ripped off by a Madoff-type scam.

Morgan was detained by the Israel Securities Authority last week for allegedly scamming millions of shekels from would-be investors through four companies he owes.

The clients had thought Morgan was a licensed investment manager and claim he promised them returns of 36% a year. He also reportedly told his clients that the investments were risk-free and promised to donate 10% of the investment firm's profit to charity.

Actually he was apparently using money from fresh clients to repay earlier ones.

Bogus ‘Mehadrin’ Hechsher Takes Rabbinate to Court

By Yechiel Spira January 23, 2009

A number of weeks ago, HaRav Eliyahu Schlesinger Shlita, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood and the posek for the Jerusalem Rabbanut Kashrus Division took a major step and successfully removed Keter Kashrut signs from many stores in the downtown capital area. 

It was a first and major step towards removing the many unauthorized and downright bogus kashrus certificates that plague the capital.

Due to the work of kashrus inspectors of the Rabbinate Fraud Division, headed by Rafi Yochai, and the assistance of others including affidavits and testimony, the Chief Rabbinate is building its case in response to a Supreme Court case.

The head of the Keter Kashrut, Sami Mizrachi, has challenged Rabbi Schlesinger’s decision in the nation’s highest court, insisting he has a right to sell his supervision to stores.

Eight Charedi Men Arrested For Rioting Near Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's Grave January 20, 2009

The Tzfas police arrested eight Charedi men from Yerushalayim early Tuesday on suspicion of rioting near Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's Kever [Grave] in Meron.

Tzfas Police Superintendent Amos Shimoni said, "The worshippers came, broke windows and hurled item. The eight men were arrested, and an initial investigation revealed that they were rioting in protest of changes taking place on the site as part of the place's regularization.

…Several months ago, there was a decision made to establish an administration which would supervise Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai Kever, headed by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz.

Groups Ascend to Temple Mount to Pray for IDF Soldiers January 20, 2009

Large numbers of Jews continue to ascend the Temple Mount, as part of the Temple Institute's "Tight Connection to the Heart" program…

On this day thirty members of the "Rinat Yisrael" Synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey ascended the Temple Mount in order to pray on behalf of IDF soldiers wounded in "Cast Lead" - the name of the war that has been waged these past three weeks in Gaza.

The group arrived in Israel with the expressed purpose of prayer in the place of the Holy Temple.

The worshippers were led by Rabbi Yosef Adler, and were escorted up to and around the Mount by Yehudah Glick, director of the Temple Institute…

Orthodox Institute Launches New Rabbi-Teacher Program

By Nathan Jeffay January 21, 2009

The Jerusalem-based Shalom Hartman Institute is gearing up to challenge the common understanding of the term “rabbi.”

Over the centuries, “rabbi” has come to denote a person qualified to make judgments in Jewish law. But the original connotation was meant to describe a teacher.

This Fall, the Orthodox-run but pluralistic institute will launch a program that gives ordination based on a candidate’s ability to teach, not on his authority to rule on Halacha. It will be a qualification demonstrating that the holder is well versed in Jewish texts, ethics and philosophy.

…It is not only in its redefinition of “rabbi” that the program, simply called Rabbi-Educator, will break new ground, but also in establishing who can become a rabbi: Its ordination, bestowed by Orthodox rabbis, will be offered to both men and women.

Co-director Hartman’s logic is, given that the ordination implies ability to teach and not to rule on Jewish law, there is no reason to exclude women.

'Sociological differences explain division in Conservative Jewry'

By Matthew Wagner January 25, 2009

Disagreement between the Israeli and American wings of Conservative Judaism over same-sex commitment ceremonies, the ordination of homosexual rabbis and other halachic issues reflects, in part, deep sociological differences between the two countries, Rabbi David Golinkin, president of the capital's Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, said on Thursday.

"I'd say there is no comparison whatsoever between there [the US] and here," Golinkin said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

"It is like night and day. Israeli society is much more conservative on this issue [homosexuality] and many others. And if you speak to Israeli rabbinical students, almost all are opposed to any changes vis-à-vis homosexuality."

Israeli Reform Congregation Receives Torah Honoring Fallen Soldier, Uri Grossman January 22, 2009

Kehilat Mevasseret Zion, an affiliate of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion, dedicated a new Torah scroll during a ceremony at Kabbalat Shabbat services on January 2, 2009.

The scroll was one of seven commissioned and donated by U.S. Jewish philanthropist, Ira Rennert, in memory of soldiers who fell in the fighting with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

One of the soldiers was Uri Grossman, son of the world-renowned author David Grossman. The Grossmans are members of Kehilat Mevasseret Zion, and Uri, who died trying to rescue fellow tank crewmen, attended services as much as he could, even during his precious few hours away from the army.

David Grossman and his wife, Michal, were given the Torah at the Netiv Aryeh Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Old City late last year when a total of 12 scrolls donated by Rennert were ceremoniously completed by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Aharon Bina, head of the yeshiva, and others.

Among the honored guests at the ceremony was Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as well as Rabbi Maya Leibovich, spiritual leader of Kehilat Mevasseret Zion.

Gov't approves 'Birthright for Jewish teachers' program

By Haviv Rettig Gur January 26, 2009

A program to bring Diaspora teachers and community leaders on a subsidized educational trip to Israel has gained government approval for the first time.

At Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, the ministers approved a pilot program of Netivey Masa, or Masa Pathways, a joint government-Jewish Agency project that is intended to finance a majority of the expense for such trips.

Dubbed the "teachers' birthright," the idea came to the government's attention through the Massachusetts-based Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, which disappeared when its assets were wiped out in the Robert Madoff scandal.

U.S. businessman gives $8 million to Nefesh b'Nefesh

By Raphael Ahren January 26, 2009

An American businessman and philanthropist has recently donated $8 million to Nefesh B'Nefesh, the organization announced yesterday.

Guma L. Aguiar, who joined the Nefesh B'Nefesh board this June, made the gift to support the organization's work in helping Western Jews immigrate to Israel and integrate into Israeli society.

The money, which was donated in several installments during the second half of 2008, is "being used to help meet the needs of thousands of recent newcomers," Nefesh B'Nefesh explained in a statement.

Lost & found

By Amir Mizroch, JPost correspondent in North East India January 21, 2009

…In Jerusalem, the Interior Ministry's policy, under Minister Meir Sheetrit, is not to approve their mass aliya, but to continue bringing a small number here every year for conversion.

Sheetrit believes the Bnei Menashe and the many other peoples across the globe that claim ancestry from the 10 Lost Tribes, are not Jewish and have no business immigrating to Israel.

…Bnei Menashe do not arrive in Israel under the Law of Return, but on tourist visas, and are not entitled to immigrant benefits and cannot bring the contents of their households with them.

…according to Freund's thinking, the longer the government doesn't allow the 7,232 Judaism practicing Bnei Menashe to make aliya, the higher the chances that one day the Interior Ministry will be facing immigration requests from a vastly larger number of people.

New Israeli tourism initiative calls on Christian pilgrims to pedal the Nazareth - Jerusalem route

By Irit Rosenblum January 22, 2009

Monsignor Liberio Andreatta, head of the Vatican's pilgrimage organization, last week called upon the faithful to visit the Holy Land and build bridges of dialogue and peace.

This May, the Pope himself is scheduled to visit Israel, an event to which the local Tourism Ministry ascribes great importance. 

The last visit by a Pope in 2000 served as a catalyst for revival of the Israeli tourist industry, which had been beleaguered following the second intifada. 

The Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and El Al inaugurated a new sightseeing route aimed at younger pilgrims - a bike trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem. 

The route will include visits to holy sites combined with the experience of a bike trip. 

Religion and State in Israel

January 26, 2009

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - January 19, 2009

Religion and State in Israel

January 19, 2009

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Rabbi Lau: Large number of religious troops not to be ignored

By Kobi Nahshoni January 19, 2008

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and former chief rabbi of Israel, praised on Monday the yeshiva and pre-military religious program graduates who "took the place of the boys from the labor collectives in serving in combat units at a higher rate to their relative proportion in the general population."

…The rabbi told of how he took action in the past to establish and expand the pre-military religious programs and gained authorization for religious youth to delay military service by one to two years in order to provide pupils with a Torah education prior to volunteering to combat units.

Religious Zionism and the 'People's Army'

By Matthew Wagner January 19, 2008

But undoubtedly, the most dramatic change has been among religious Zionists. And one of the most dramatic catalysts of this transformation has been the creation of the religious pre-military academies.

Until the late 1980s, modern religious young men had two choices: enlist in the IDF immediately after high school along with tens of thousands of secular young men, or join one of a handful of Hesder Yeshivot that mix Torah learning with a shortened army service.

…In the mid-1980s Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amram Mitzna, then-OC Central Commander, who had been impressed by the high level of morale and idealism among religious Zionist soldiers, set in motion the establishment of religious pre-military academies.

…Bnei David, the first pre-military academy, was created in 1988 and was headed by Levinstein and Rabbi Eli Sadan. Today there are about a dozen religious pre-military academies and about ten secular ones.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post last week, Sadan told how he had faced opposition from many leading religious Zionist rabbis. 

These rabbis actually tried to torpedo Bnei David before it was established, fearing that religious Zionists would abandon the Hesder Yeshivot, thus undermining Torah scholarship.

The Bostoner Rebbe's Tzitzis for Soldiers Campaign January 17, 2008

More protective than a bullet-proof vest! 

A pair of tzitzis for every soldier. 

Let's contribute to protecting the lives of our Jewish brothers fighting in Gaza...

Heroines of the home front

By Matthew Wagner January 18, 2008

Photo courtesy of Mirah Curzer

Since its founding 21 years ago, Bnei David has graduated 2,200 young men from its one-year, pre-military program. Over half of them became officers, the vast majority in combat units.

More than 100 went on to become middle-to-high ranking career officers in combat units. Many are fighting in Gaza.

Bnei David is producing some the IDF's most outstanding career officers, sparking a literal revolution in the role of religious-Zionist men in the IDF.

According to informal data (the IDF does not have separate data on religious soldiers), anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of graduates from officers' training courses are wearers of "knitted kippot," at a time when their percentage of the total population is around 10-15%.

But no less important has been the impact on religious-Zionist women, who have had to support the military careers of their husbands.

These women have had to cope with the long stretches of separation, while knowing the day-to-day dangers of combat service faced by their husbands.

Soldiers turn to secret weapon: Jewish spirituality

By Matthew Wagner January 14, 2008

[An IDF] rabbi said that numerous guest lecturers, rabbis who belong to the IDF's Jewish Consciousness Division, have visited the soldiers to boost their spirits before the go to battle. The soldiers were very receptive, he said.

Rabbi Aharon Pruss, who heads Chabad outreach activities aimed at IDF soldiers, said a special emphasis is put on encouraging soldiers to don tefillin.

"The rebbe [the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson] said before the Six Day War that tefillin provide soldiers with special protection against the nations in times of danger," said Pruss, who referred to a biblical verse that infers that when a Jew wears tefillin, the nations of the world fear him.

"When our emissaries go to meet the soldiers, there is a tremendous demand to put on tefillin. They line up to do the mitzva, even though they do not put tefillin in normal times."

He said that another form of spiritual protection is assigning each soldier a letter in a Torah scroll that is in the process of being written, that corresponds to the soldier's name. 

Pruss said that this belief is based on a verse from the Book of Daniel.

OU Campaign to Provide Religious Items to IDF Soldiers January 14, 2008

In response to requests from Army commanders and rabbis in the field, the Orthodox Union today called on its synagogue network across North America to arm Israeli soldiers in Gaza with “spiritual ammunition” by conducting immediate fundraising campaigns to provide them with tefillin (phylacteries), tzitzit (fringed garments)  and tehillim (books of Psalms).

“The IDF arms the soldiers with their military weaponry. The OU’s mission is to arm them with spiritual ammunition as they put their lives at risk,” declared OU Executive Vice President, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb.

Soldiers turn to secret weapon: Jewish spirituality

By Matthew Wagner January 14, 2008

According to an IDF rabbi stationed with Golani and Kfir Brigade soldiers near Tze'elim in the Negev, where they are preparing to enter Gaza, there is a tremendous thirst for anything spiritual.

The rabbi, who asked to remain anonymous because the IDF Spokesman had not given him permission to speak to the press, said that more than 1,500 sets of tzitzit, the four-cornered fringe garment religious men wear under their shirts, had been distributed to soldiers "who want the segula [spiritual protection] of being wrapped in a mitzva.

"Tzitzit are a heavenly flak jacket," the rabbi added.

The money to finance the tzitzit was raised by Radio Kol Hai, a religious radio station.

Many soldiers naturally turn to God in the face of warfare, the rabbi said.

"In Golani, there is a large percentage of Sephardi soldiers who might not wear a kippa all the time, but who have a strong faith in God. At times like this, when they face the dangers of war, that basic religious faith expresses itself.

"Dozens of soldiers here carry Psalms with them into battle as another form of spiritual protection. Some carry two books for a double effect," he said.

Grad rocket nearly strikes worshipers at synagogue

By Yanir Yagna January 18, 2008

Dozens of worshipers in a community near the city of Ofakim narrowly escaped injury yesterday when a Grad rocket hit a study hall adjacent to the synagogue where they were praying.

"We were in the middle of the shacharit morning prayer service and the rabbi just said the word vishmarech ["you shall be guarded" in Hebrew) when we heard a loud bang," recounted Nissim Almog, one of the worshipers who witnessed the attack.

"The Grad hit the study hall next to the synagogue - it was a miracle. Even the windows shattered outward and my mother who was in the women's section was not hurt." 

Fighters' Jewish Spirit Returns

By IDF Rabbi (Translated by Hillel Fendel) January 15, 2008

Click here for VIDEO

The Golanchiks (Golani Brigade soldiers), about to go out to war, want to hold on to the Rock of Israel! 

There wasn’t a soldier there who didn’t equip himself with a Tehillim in his pocket or combat vest - but the big surprise we had was when we gave out tzitzit [four-cornered shirt with the required ritual fringes attached]. 

Usually only the yeshiva guys take them, but this time, every soldier there seemed to want one!

“Rabbi, bring me some tzitzit, my whole tent wants.” “Hey, achi [my brother], take one of these, it’s better than the ceramic vest!” 

These were the types of calls we kept hearing over and over. Every package of tzizit that we opened was snatched up within seconds.

There was one young fighter who came to the synagogue whose face fell when he heard that there were no tzitzit left. 

He was totally bereft, until one of the officers who wasn’t going out to battle took off his own tzitzit and gave it to him, saying, “Take it, achi (in the Golani you can’t say something without achi), you need it now more than I do.”

Support the Soldiers

We are sending tzitzit to Israeli soldiers. These are special tzitzit, with a green, cotton beged

The soldiers are protecting us. The tzitzit are protecting the soldiers. $10 per pair. Tizku! 

There has been great success already. Religious and non-religious soldiers are wearing these tzitzit. 

Proof texts

By Rabbi David Golinkin Opinion January 19, 2008

The writer is the president of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Much has already been written about the war against Hamas in Gaza, but very few have asked the question: What can we learn from our sources about the current conflict?

Two words of warning before every battle

We must teach our soldiers to remember two sources when they go out to fight our enemies: When Jacob heard that Esau was coming, it says: "And Jacob was greatly frightened and distressed" (Genesis 32:8) and the Midrash explains: "frightened - lest he be killed; and distressed - lest he kill" (Genesis Rabba 76:2).

When Israel left Egypt "the angels wanted to sing. Said God: "My handiwork [the Egyptians] are drowning in the sea - and you are singing?!" (Megila 10b).

Lev Ledaat Brings Torah to the Soldiers January 14, 2008

As part of his efforts to share Chasidic philosophy with Israel’s many yeshiva students, Rabbi Moshe Shilat created the Lev Ledaat network of evening learning programs.

Six months ago the students expanded on the concept, sharing their learning and inspiration to soldiers by making weekly visits to local army bases.

Lev Ledaat’s students meet with soldiers once a week in addition to four evenings of learning as a group. 

Classes on the bases are engaging and exciting, covering the Torah portion of the week, Chasidic philosophy and Kabbalah, and Jewish law. 

Once a month, the students arrange special gatherings to celebrate holidays and special events on the base.

The program enjoys the full support of the IDF’s Rabbinate who praised the students as “special young men who express the dedication and commitment of a soldier via their studies.”

Halachic ruling: Lives more important than bones

By Matthew Wagner and Judy Siegel January 15, 2008

Protecting Jews from Hamas's Grad rockets is more important than respecting the rest of the dead.

That is the unsurprising halachic decision issued Wednesday by the two chief rabbis of Israel regarding the ongoing controversy surrounding foundation construction at Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center.

The construction is designed to fortify the hospital against Grad rockets fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, by adding an underground operation room.

But the necessary digging will disinter Roman- or Byzantine-era graves, an act that is prohibited according to Jewish law if the bodies are Jewish - which is unclear.

Last week Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger reasoned that since the digging is aimed at saving lives, and since there is a doubt whether the bones are Jewish, building the underground room takes precedence over not disturbing the deceased.

The Chief Rabbinate's Governing Council ratified Metzger's decision, which was also backed by Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

The quick, the living or the dead

By Ronny Linder-Ganz January 16, 2008

"As soon as we started to dig, the Antiquities Authority showed up, told the Religious Services Ministry [that graves had been found], and everything stopped. Then the talking began," says Scharf.

"I agreed to compromise on a solution that would have involved losing 10, 15 beds in the emergency room so they could start building.

But then the Hevra Kadisha [burial society] people began running around the place, checking every stone and speck.

"They turned the place into a virtual minefield. There were places that they declared were graves, though according to the Antiquities Authority, there's no grave there or anything else.

But everybody - the Antiquities Authority, the Religious Services Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office - stood at attention. It's a disgrace." 

Kashrut supervisor fired over divorce

By Artzi Halfon January 17, 2008

Tel Aviv's Religious Council recently fired the newly divorced kashrut supervisor of the David Intercontinental Hotel for fear that he would take advantage of his work in order to host women in the hotel room he stays in during weekends.

The man, Moshe Wahab, decided to take the case to court, and the judge ruled that the suspension was faulty and discriminative.

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide – Israeli Rabbis Pursue Husbands who Flee Without Giving a Get

By Naomi Klass Mauer November 26, 2008

…Rabbis Eliyahu Ben Dahan and Shmuel Gamliel of Israel's High Rabbinic Court in Jerusalem [have] come up with a simple plan that should have far-reaching results.

While one cannot turn to a U.S. court to implement a get, an order for child support given by a bet din in Israel is enforceable in the U.S.

As weeks and months go by and a recalcitrant husband not only refuses to give his wife a get but doesn't send child support either, the money he owes begins to add up until eventually a lawyer in the state where the husband resides serves him with child support papers.

Before a court hearing can even be held, Rabbi Gamliel and members of ORA contact the husband and suggest he give a get so that the matter will end right there.

Faced with large financial obligations, many men have opted to give the Get by shaliach (messenger) and avoid the whole court scene.

The Beth Din of America is happy to arrange the get and the woman is finally freed.

See also:

ORA Resolves another Case - Woman Receives Her Get after 4 Years of Waiting—ORA Resolves its 93rd Case

Haredim negotiate for mehadrin El Al flights

By Matthew Wagner January 12, 2008

In another example of how market forces serve religious faith, El Al is in advanced negotiations with representatives of the haredi community to provide super kosher or "Mehadrin" flights.

If the deal between the sides is sealed, the flights, which would begin this Pessah season, would adhere to strict gender separation, Glatt kosher food and no secular on-flight movies

The gender separation would include male flight attendants for haredi male travelers. Haredi females would be served by both male and female flight attendants.

El Al Flight from Madrid to Tel Aviv Delayed until Motzei Shabbos to Avoid Chilul Shabbos

By Yechiel Sever January 15, 2008

El Al issued instructions to delay until Motzei Shabbos a flight scheduled to depart from Madrid and land in Israel late Friday afternoon.

Flight 396 was scheduled to land in Israel at 3:20 p.m. local time. The plane had already left the terminal with dozens of passengers on board, but as it started to taxi towards the takeoff runway a powerful snowstorm began to brew, causing a delay.

The captain notified El Al's operations and control department that the takeoff was being delayed for two hours, meaning the estimated arrival time would be very close to candle lighting time in Israel.

After consulting with the company's rabbi, Rav Yochanan Chayut, a decision was made to delay the entire flight until Shabbos ended in Madrid. 

All of the passengers were provided with accommodations at hotels in the city.

Court: No more wall separating Ashkenazim, Sephardim

By Kobi Nahshoni January 15, 2008

After a year of deliberations, High Court Justices Edmond Levi, Hanan Meltzer and Edna Arbel ordered the Beit Yaakov religious school and the Independent Education Center to nullify within a week all discriminatory practices and protocols that separate between Ashkenazi and Sephardic students, including the removal of a wall in the school's courtyard, unifying the two teachers' rooms meant for two different "learning tracks" and cancellation of the unlawful levies on parents of students in the "Ashkenazi-Hasidic track."

In the decision handed down by the court, it was also decided that the Emanuel Regional Council is to present an arrangement acceptable to all parties for the separation of the school's various learning tracks, otherwise the High Court will not authorize the existence of separate learning tracks in the school.

Haredi men address women's medicine meet

By Yair Ettinger January 16, 2008

Hundreds of religious and ultra-Orthodox men thronged to lectures on woman's sexuality, fertility, menstruation and birth control in Jerusalem yesterday in the "Innovations in Women's Medicine" conference.

All the lecturers were men while the women, who also came in the hundreds, had to sit behind a barrier in the ninth annual conference held by the Puah Institute, dedicated to women's medical and halakhic issues. 

Conference organizer Rabbi Benjamin David:

“…it's a matter of modesty. We are a very open institute but we have our limits and we don't think it proper for a woman to stand on the stage and address 1,000 people." 

Environmentalists Oppose Eilat Mehadrin Beach January 18, 2008

A new Mehadrin beach in Eilat has led to a dispute between the Ministry for the Environment and the Eilat municipality.

Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzchak Halevi recently approved the construction of a partition dividing between the separate beach and an adjoining beach. 

To date, the partition ends 3-4 meters past the shoreline, but the municipality plans to extend the wall dozens of meters into the water.

…"The separate beach provides a solution for thousands of the city’s residents and vacationers who belong to the religious community," the Eilat municipality said in a statement.

"The works for the separate beach are close to completion and have a legal building license."

Madoff Victims Include 'Rachemstrivker' Chasidus January 18, 2008

…Not only did [Madoff] hurt Yad Sarah and other Israeli institutions, including universities, but also the Rachemstrivker Chasidic movement headquarters in Jerusalem.

According to information obtained by, a grand festive dinner said to be scheduled for less than two weeks from now in the United States was cancelled at the last minute due to the Madoff scandal.

Apparently, the Jewish millionaire ensnared Rachemstrivker institutions in his net, with the dinner at which Madoff was to be guest of honor cancelled.

In the wake of the cancellation, the Rachemstrivker Rebbe, shlita, also decided to cancel his planned visit to the U.S. The Rebbe is currently staying in Tiveria.

Alleged local Ponzi scam targeted ultra-Orthodox

By Yuval Maoz and Nati Toker January 15, 2008

Could Ilan Morgan be a local twist on Bernard Madoff? The two have at least two things in common: They promised phenomenal returns on investments, and are under house arrest.

But there the similarities end: Madoff has admitted to running a Ponzi scheme, possibly the biggest in history, and he targeted the rich.

Morgan, a portfolio manager and former convict, hasn't admitted to conning clients and he targeted the ultra-Orthodox community. 

New mayors turn focus to local agendas - Jerusalem

By Jonathan Lis January 15, 2008

One of the initial steps taken by Jerusalem's new mayor, Nir Barkat, as part of his efforts to bring about a "secular agenda," was a significant change in the municipal budget: the budget for cultural institutions in the city was doubled from NIS 10 million to NIS 20 million, and the budget of the youth movements and sports associations in Jerusalem was significantly increased.

In an unusual step, Barkat succeeded in bringing all the factions of the city council into the coalition, with the exception of a single city council member who has remained in the opposition.

For the first time, the administration of the city includes a deputy mayor from Meretz and alongside him a deputy from the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism faction. 

Barkat's city council has taken away those portfolios from the ultra-Orthodox that they have held in recent years: the finance portfolio and the planning and construction portfolio have remained in the hands of Barkat's Jerusalem Will Succeed faction.

The members of the ultra-Orthodox factions received sectoral portfolios, which deal with the education and culture of the ultra-Orthodox population. 

Budgeting for success

By Peggy Cidor January 15, 2008

Jerusalem Municipality Finance Committee head David Hadari of Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home):

"Jerusalem suffers from being the capital of Israel and the largest city," he says.

He goes on to explain that

"Other cities do not host government ministries, in addition to so many organizations, such as NGOs and cultural institutions, not to mention the large number of religious institutions which are, by law, exempt from arnona.

Regarding the religious institutions, we understand that churches and mosques, as well as synagogues, should not pay arnona.

But what happens when a church has a guest house or reception hall? We believe they should pay taxes for them, but the Foreign Ministry warns us not to create a diplomatic incident. 

Okay, we won't cause trouble, but we expect the government to pay the difference - after all, is it the residents of Jerusalem's fault? Why should they have to bear the burden of these issues?"

And by the way, we're talking about a lot of money - some NIS 220m. for the religious institutions, and about twice that amount from ministries that don't bother to pay their municipal taxes.

A New Vision of Israeli Society: Professor Alon Tal and the New Meimad-Green Movement Party

By Dr. Elana Sztokman January 16, 2008

“What I like about this merge is how it blends secular, young Jews and mostly religious or traditional Jews,” Tal emotes.

“We were so excited about a partnership with this party, even though they had a rabbi with a black suit on as their head and the people in our party were much more secular – because we thought that was something as a statement of sorts.

It was good for the country. All the polarization that exists in Israeli society is fabricated by larger parties and manipulated by them. 

While in fact, on the key day-to-day issues, we don’t have any problems, and we have the same visions.”

Building a Bit of America in Beit Shemesh

By Nathan Jeffay January 15, 2008

Nofei Hashemesh’s unique selling point is that it is importing to Israel the American model of Modern Orthodox Jewish life, centered upon a synagogue led by a rabbi who acts as pastoral head and religious guide.

It is selling property but marketing a lifestyle — a close-knit Orthodox community led by a charismatic rabbi, who is himself an import from America.

“American rabbis are like shepherds to their communities, something that is missing in Israel. I believe that by bringing in this model to Israel, we can have a far more lively kind of community,” the project’s developer, Shelly Levine, told the Forward.

Birthright Nails Down Adelson’s $20-Million Pledge

By Anthony Weiss January 12, 2008

Birthright Israel, one of the most prominent organizations promoting Jewish identity among young adults, has worked out a deal with its largest donor to confirm a $20 million pledge that had been in question for the coming year.

…But Birthright now faces a major fundraising challenge to secure the pledge: The organization must still raise $10 million in new gifts — a heavy lift in a climate where non-profits are struggling just to hold onto existing donors. 

A modest proposal

By Rabbi Daniel Gordis Opinion January 18, 2008

The writer is senior vice president of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.

…I herewith offer a "modest proposal" that would permit many more Diaspora Jews to be part of our angst and our joy, the tears and the celebrations of Israeli life.

They'd understand us better than they can from either their perches in suburban America or the luxury hotels in which they park themselves when they come for visits, and inevitably, they'd then make our case in ways that they simply can't right now.

Imagine a world in which every synagogue, every federation and every JCC purchased an apartment in Israel for its members to use on their visits.

Not some million dollar apartment in Baka or the German Colony, or an apartment in one of those tourist neighborhoods that turns into a ghost town between Succot and Hanukka, and then again until Pessah.

The kind of apartment that I'm suggesting would cost substantially less than that. It wouldn't have to be palatial. It could be in Tel Aviv, or Haifa, or Kfar Saba.

Ziegler-Schechter split highlights Conservative divisions

By Ben Harris January 15, 2009

In a further sign that the American and international wings of the Conservative movement are moving in different ideological directions, a Los Angeles rabbinical seminary has ended its longstanding residency program with Machon Schechter in Jerusalem, the only institution that ordains Conservative rabbis in Israel.

Beginning this fall, third-year students at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies will spend their Israel year at the Conservative Yeshiva, a co-educational institute for Diaspora Jews housed at the Fuchsberg Center of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, the movement's North American synagogue umbrella. 

The change was announced last week in a memo to the United Synagogue's staff and board members.

A giant of Orthodoxy

By Rabbi Reuven Hammer Opinion January 15, 2008

The writer is an author and lecturer who serves as the head of the Rabbinical Court of the Masorti Movement.

The recent passing of Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, of blessed memory, deprived the Jewish world of one of its outstanding leaders and left Orthodoxy the poorer by removing one of its most inspired and inspiring figures.

Rackman represented Orthodoxy at its best, combining strict adherence to Jewish law with respect for modern learning, both religious and secular.

He was known for his bold approach to solving problems of divorce within the framework of Jewish law in a way that would have alleviated the suffering of so many women.

Unfortunately there were not enough other Orthodox rabbis who were willing to adopt his stance.

…Indeed one of the tragedies of Jewish life here is the fact that the Chief Rabbinate has been taken over by those closer to the haredi world than to the modern Orthodox model.

Can one even imagine a rabbi in the mold of Rackman as chief rabbi of Israel?

Israel Reform Movement appoints new Director

ProjeNews January 18, 2008

The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism Welcomes its New Executive Director, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Esq. 

The IMPJ would like to introduce its new Executive Director, Rabbi Gilad Kariv. The appointment was officially approved by the IMPJ Board on January 7, 2009 and began on January 15, 2009.

For the last 11 years, Rabbi Kariv has been an active and committed member in the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ).

During the last four years he served as the Associate Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC)...

Custom, Prayer and Ceremony - The Jews of the Land of Israel

Foto Friday - Yuval Nadel

By Rachel Neiman January 16, 2009

Click here for PHOTOS

The world of haredi observant Jews is one that most secular Israelis never get a chance to see - and if they do, they find it alien, even threatening. 

Photographer Yuval Nadel, an Israeli-born Jew with a secular up-bringing, became familiar with and learned to appreciate and respect the people who lead a religious lifestyle.

In a collection of photographs called “Custom, Prayer and Ceremony - The Jews of the Land of Israel”, he documents that meeting between secular and religious without trying to explain the lifestyle or Jewish customs.

Rites of Passage: In Cuba, a Revival in Judaism Leads Some to Israel

By Joel Millman January 14, 2008

While any Cuban, technically, is allowed to emigrate, very few get the required paperwork from the Cuban government or can raise the thousands of dollars required for documents and transportation off the island.

Jews bound for the Holy Land, however, can expect to have those fees paid by Israel.

...The journey from Havana to Jerusalem, however, isn't easy.

The process of converting to Judaism takes years and includes being approved by a council of elders at the synagogue and then an ordained rabbi.

Since Cuba has none, usually converts have to wait for a visiting rabbi from Israel, Argentina or Chile.

Last but not least, male converts have to submit to a ritual circumcision. In 2007, dozens of adult Cuban men underwent circumcision as part of their conversion process.

Religion and State in Israel

January 19, 2009

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.