Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - May 4, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

May 4, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Israel Chief Rabbi: Fast and pray against swine flu

www.israelnationalnews.com May 4, 2009

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar asked Jews on Monday to set aside a day of prayer and fasting for this coming Thursday for the welfare of the world in light of the H1N1 flu outbreak. He also called on people to repent and increase their study of Torah.

Rabbi Amar cited a Talmudic precedent that in the time of Rabbi Yehuda around 1,500 years ago, when he learned that the pigs had a disease, he immediately declared a day of fasting because he said that pigs have a similar digestive system to humans. 

In another Talmudic precedent, when Rabbi Shmuel heard of a disease in a far off place he also declared a fast, since the disease can pass from place to place.

As Israel Ignores Swine Flu Reality, Global Risk

By Jeffrey Yoskowitz http://food.theatlantic.com Opinion April 29, 2009

As the realities of the spread of influenza from hog to human have come to light, and questions are raised about the integrity of agricultural practices at Smithfield Foods in Mexico and other factory farms throughout the world, the ultra-Orthodox Israeli Deputy Health Minister seems to be foolishly fixated on the fact that Jews should not eat pork.

Litzman seeks rabbis' advice on health issues

By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com May 4, 2009

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman has decided to form a committee of ultra-Orthodox rabbis that would advise him on health issues that raise halachic dilemmas, such as organ donation and abortions.

The committee will provide consultation on matters in which Litzman and the Health Ministry's professional staff are expected to be conflicted on.  

"Deputy Minister Litzman is interested in founding the committee because he wishes to make decisions on halachic issues that are relevant to the entire public while relying on the opinions of all haredi sectors, and not only the stream he is affiliated with," he explained.

Litzman: Graves at Barzilai May Not be Moved

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 3, 2009

Deputy Health Minister (Yahadut HaTorah) Rabbi Yaakov Litzman in a meeting with ministry director-general and other officials discussed the plan for expanding the Ashkelon hospital. 

Based on the information in hand, the deputy minister instructed the others that the graves in question may not be moved at present.

Battle over graves leaves no stone unturned

By Miriam Bulwar David-Hay www.jpost.com April 30, 2009

It is a battle that may well raise the dead - literally. More than a decade ago, two families from Kfar Malal, adjoining Hod Hasharon, discovered that the city's Magdiel cemetery was encroaching on their land and that some burials had already taken place in the intruding section.

And now, after years of legal disputes over the issue, a judge in the Kfar Saba Magistrates' Court has decided that seven bodies should be exhumed and reburied elsewhere - a legally and religiously complicated procedure, reports www.mynet.co.il

Rabbinical Court judge urges Israel to limit foreign wives

AFB http://news.yahoo.com May 4, 2009

Rabbis want authorities to reduce the number of female foreign workers entering Israel, as their male employers seem to easily succumb to their charms, a report said.

The plea follows an appeal lodged at a rabbinical court south of Tel Aviv by a scorned wife whose husband had an affair with a Filippina employee, said the Ma’ariv daily.

"The authorities should apply restrictions to guard the honour of Israel's daughters," wrote Rabbi Nahum Gortald, the head of the tribunal.

"It is inconceivable that a man leaves a spouse whose beauty bears the traces of time for a younger foreign employee," he said.

Rabbis Searching For Common Ground

By Gary Rosenblatt www.thejewishweek.com Opinion April 29, 2009

Each of the rabbis — Orthodox, Conservative and Reform — on a panel probing the Who is a Jew controversy claimed that his or her movement’s policy on conversion standards was consistent with tradition. Yet they also acknowledged that the divide among them was deep.

…The most serious dispute among the panelists was between the two Orthodox rabbis, with Rabbi Farber charging that Rabbi Herring’s RCA has made conversion more strict and difficult in the last two years, through an agreement the group reached with the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.

“Admit you’re changing the standards,” he said to Rabbi Herring noting: “The new RCA standards exclude a significant number of Orthodox converts who could have converted five or 10 years ago.” 

…Though the RCA has been taken to task by some for complying with the Chief Rabbinate’s demands,

Rabbi Herring had strong words of criticism for the institution, widely blamed for resisting rather than embracing potential converts and raising the bar on religious standards. 

He said the Chief Rabbinate “has failed” in making observant life welcoming.

“They have succeeded in alienating many,” and their actions are “not the North American model we can or should implement.”

The majority backs civil marriage

By Yariv Feniger and Guy Ben-Porat www.haaretz.com April 30, 2009

Yariv Feniger is a post-doctoral student in Hebrew University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Guy Ben-Porat is a senior lecturer in Ben-Gurion University's Department of Public Administration.

The vast majority of the Jewish community (65 percent) supports [civil marriage], with only about 25 percent opposed.

Among the secular (based on how survey respondents defined themselves), about 90 percent support it.

Among those who describe themselves as "traditional," just over 50 percent support civil marriage and slightly less than 30 percent oppose it.

Among religious and ultra-Orthodox respondents, about 75 percent were opposed, but 13 percent supported offering a civil marriage option. 

Sex-Segregated Bus Lines

Click here for VIDEO

france24english April 29, 2009

VIDEO REPORT: A group of ultra-Orthodox Israelis are demanding bus companies increase the number of segregated buses which keep women separated from men.

But civil rights activists fear the model could spread across different sectors of Israeli society.

The road to purity

By Peggy Cidor www.jpost.com May 3, 2009

The man behind the initiative is a Vizhnitz Hassid and a city council member, Shlomo Rozenstein. Within haredi society, Rozenstein holds the "portfolio" of "purity in transportation" and is the liaison between Egged and the Transportation Ministry. 

According to [former Jerusalem deputy mayor Rabbi Chaim Miller, Ger Hassidim], the plan is to put pressure on the ministry so that the minister will force Egged to add more buses on the lines serving the haredi neighborhoods.

"The decision is the hands of the Transportation Ministry; but if the people of Egged had a little consideration for us, they would have been the first to ask the minister to allow them to add buses on our lines."

…Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) appealed to the court against the segregated bus lines of Egged. It was in the name of the movement, and five religious women (one of them haredi), including Ragen.

In the appeal, IRAC wrote, through attorney Orly Erez-Likhovski, that 

"With all due respect and understanding of the special needs of the haredim who wish to use public transportation according to their customs, the state cannot respond to this need [for separated lines] in a way that forces other citizens to use segregated buses who do not wish to do so while financially supporting the company."

Koshering Israel's Phone Cards

By Hana Levi Julian www.israelnationalnews.com April 28, 2009

Israeli consumers will soon be able to buy “kosher” calling cards that automatically block callers from reaching pornographic services. 

The new kosher calling cards, adorned with photos of the Western Wall and other sacred Jewish sites, will be sold at post offices and kiosks.

Blocked numbers will be monitored by Clean Line, an agency run by Israel’s national phone company, Bezeq, in coordination with the Rabbinical Committee for Communications.

Rabbi: Older bachelors must leave Jerusalem

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com May 3, 2009

Ultra-orthodox bachelors over the age of 20 must move out of Jerusalem, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, head of the Hazon Yaakov yeshiva and son of Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ruled this week.

According to the rabbi, who publishes a weekly column on the Eretz Israel Shelanu leaflet, in the past it was customary to banish "older" single men from the capital as punishment for their refusal to marry and provide for a family.

Kashrut supervisor's hotel stay leaves something to chew over

By Miriam Bulwar David-Hay www.jpost.com April 30, 2009

A senior Tel Aviv kashrut supervisor has denied that there is anything wrong with his being given a free four-day stay at the hotel he was overseeing during the Pessah holiday, reports www.mynet.co.il

Although it is customary for kashrut supervisors at hotels to be given a modest room over Friday nights, in this case Tel Aviv religious council secretary and kashrut supervisor Doron Meiri was given two rooms for four days for himself, his wife and their children at the Marina Hotel, with all meals included, in addition to receiving a salary for his work.

According to the report, not only did Meiri and his family enjoy a "particularly long weekend" at no expense at the hotel, but he brought two additional relatives along as guests to the hotel's Pessah Seder. The report said the free stay was worth thousands of shekels.

Another Look at the Shuk

By Yechiel Spira www.jerusalemkoshernews.com May 3, 2009

The folks insisted they are G-d fearing and therefore, do not need to “waste money” on supervision and whoever wishes to trust them may, and those who do not, should buy elsewhere.

The law prohibits them from writing “mehadrin” on the sign, but Rabbi Iluitzsky admitted his inspectors are not enforcing the many violations in the shuk because they lack the police protection required to dare enter the turf of the shuk operators, who in many cases would exceed verbal objections when attempts are made to take corrective and/or punitive actions.

Strong Protest against New Yerushalayim Mikve

By Yechiel Spira http://www.theyeshivaworld.com May 4, 2009

On Friday, the anti-chareidi protestors took to the streets and headed to the construction lot of the new mikve.

Their sentiments were expressed in the graffiti at the site and on the large construction project sign, including “no mikve” and “this is a chiloni (secular) community”.

It appears the residents do not oppose the shul, but fear the mikve is the symbol of an area destined to become chareidi, insisting they will not permit such a reality to occur.

Why I honor Memorial Day

By Yair Borochov www.ynetnews.com Opinion April 28, 2009

But, on the bottom line, I, as opposed to Hayon, will stand up during the siren, if only because I do not wish to show disrespect towards the living, not the memory of the dead. In order to show sensitivity towards others and be a "mensch," because courtesy comes before the Torah.

US Ambassador to Israel Meets With Rav Elyashiv

http://matzav.com April 30, 2009

US Ambassador to Israel James B. Cunningham paid a visit, along with Alex Daniels director of the American Cultural Center, and an entourage, to the home of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlita following a request by the Ambassador to hear Rav Elyashiv’s remarks on the state of Israel and the needs of the chareidi community.

Forever innocent

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com May 3, 2009

…Two things make the film an important document even today. One is the intention of the main character, Deri, to return to politics in the coming months.

The second is that viewed after a decade, the harsh messages of the time, especially the attacks against the rule of law system and its representatives, sound highly relevant.

…And what now? Deri says he is returning to politics "after the moral turpitude is over. I will apparently come back during the holidays, maybe after, maybe before."

It is still unclear whether his comeback will be via Shas, which has been led for the past decade by Minister Eli Yishai, Rabbi Ovadia's favorite, or in another context. It is possible that Deri himself has not yet decided.

Religion and State in Israel

May 4, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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