Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - July 27, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

July 27, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Civil marriage bill passes first Knesset reading

By Zvi Lav www.ynetnews.com July 20, 2009

The majority of Knesset members said that the proposed bill does little to truly resolve the need for civil marriage, and some expressed concern over the need to continue having the Orthodox authorities rule on who can be defined is non-denomination.

A crack in the religious monopoly

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com July 22, 2009

The existing text of the Civil Marriage Bill is indeed insufficient, and the struggle must be continued to establish full civil marriages and divorces in Israel.

But this is the first crack in the religious monopoly over personal status and it will be the basis for additional reforms in the future.

That is why it is up to the secular parties to ensure that this law is passed in the Knesset, in the face of attempts to thwart it that can be expected from the ultra-Orthodox factions.

Marriage for the shunned

By Avirama Golan www.haaretz.com Opinion July 23, 2009

But make no mistake: This route, as liberal as it might appear, works within the limits of the Orthodox monopoly and even reinforces it.

…It is clear even to the legislators that the law offers recourse only to a small and limited group of "persons without a religion" - an outrageous expression in its own right - which covers, in effect, anyone who hasn't managed, despite his pleas and the anti-Semitism that was his lot, to prove his Jewish roots.

How many people will agree to marry only a "person without a religion" like themselves, to wait until all the rabbinical courts attest in writing that they are indeed a "persons of no religion"

(here there really is an innovation: Now the rabbinate will determine not only who is a Jew but also who is a gentile);

and to wait another 18 months until the state believes them that they hadn't married fictively - and all this so that their identity cards will be inscribed "spouse in registration of a couple under the law for registering couples of no religion."

Civil Marriage in Israel

By Rachael Gelfman www.myjewishlearning.com July 2009

For a large number of Israelis, religious politics and identity issues disrupt the pursuit of holy matrimony.

…Civil marriage continues to be hotly debated in Israel today, because at stake in this debate is the very nature of what it means to be both a Jewish and democratic state.

Breaking the Chains of Silence

By Mahara”t Sara Hurwitz http://morethodoxy.org July 23, 2009

Whatever the solution, let’s break the silence.

Our community must galvanize together and raise a voice of moral conscience to advocate for the freeing of women who are currently agunot, as well as find solutions to prevent men and women from becoming chained to hateful, loveless marriages in the future.

How can you not agree with Kolech?

By Rivkah Lubitch www.ynetnews.com July 26, 2009

Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinical advocate, working at The Center for Women’s Justice

The difference between Kolech and its detractors is first and foremost that Kolech puts the issues on the table and speaks about them openly, while its detractors ignore them.

…Practically speaking, the difference between Kolech and its detractors amounts to a period of 10 years.

In 10-years time, those detractors too will be there, raising these same questions that we are raising today.

They will also question women's place in the synagogue (if they haven't already); and they will also be asking why women are not permitted to be part of the religious leadership.

We at Kolech are merely preceding them.

New conversion bill a recipe for continued chaos

By Rabbi Seth Farber www.jpost.com Opinion July 26, 2009

Rabbi Seth (Shaul) Farber received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University and his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University. He is the founder of ITIM: The Jewish Life Information Center and rabbi of Kehillat Netivot in Ra'anana.

The new "conversion law" - which passed a first reading in the Knesset this past week - is essentially a political tool which will in no way bring order to the chaos that characterizes conversion in Israel.

With 310,000 immigrants from the Former Soviet Union eligible for conversion, it is unpalatable that conversion has become a subject of Pyrrhic political victories.

…According to the new bill, city rabbis would be able to perform conversions, but only subject to the approval of the Moetzet Rabbanut HaRashit (the Chief Rabbinic Council in Israel).

The new conversion bill is another example of politics gone awry. The authors of the bill are already touting themselves as the heroes of the conversion process in Israel. Unfortunately, they are wrong.

New conversion legislation underway

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 22 ,2009

Seeking to minimize the phenomenon of conversion annulment, the bill states that only the court that conducted or accepted a conversion would be able to revoke it.

Another clause in the bill rules that any appeal against a conversion would be brought before the Great Rabbinical Court of Appeals, with the president of the court presiding.

The JFS lesson

Jpost.com Editorial www.jpost.com July 21, 2009

The decision earlier this month by a British appeals court, holding that the admissions policy of the country's largest Jewish school was illegal, underscores a schism within the Jewish world over identity, conversion and the nature of our civilization.

…The Jewish majority in the Diaspora as well as in Israel - running the gamut from neo-Orthodox to progressive, yet also embracing the affiliated secular - need to develop sensible answers, rooted in Jewish law and tradition, to the issues of identity and conversion.

In so doing they will be hammering home the point that Judaism is a thriving and evolving civilization rooted in sacred history, religious ritual, a shared past and the sense of a common destiny.

It is not synonymous with haredism.

Who Is a Convert?

Forward.com Editorial www.forward.com July 22, 2009

The biblical Ruth is lucky she isn’t converting to Judaism in 2009. If she ever wants to live in Israel, that is.

…These new protocols also defy the spirit of several recent rulings by the Israeli Supreme Court that aimed to welcome converts, not turn them away.

The court had already ordered that a previous residency requirement — that one, for a year — be eliminated, and in May told the government to fund non-Orthodox institutions training potential converts just as it supports Orthodox conversions.

Even if the conversion authorities in Israel don’t want to listen to Diaspora Jews, they ought to obey their own law.

…This is the time for Israel to act as the state of all Jews, not just those deemed acceptable by a few ultra-Orthodox rabbis.

Segregated buses: What would Rosa Parks have done?

Click here for VIDEO

Segregated buses: What would Rosa Parks have done?

By Benjamin Spier www.jpost.com July 21, 2009

Protestors handed out mock bus tickets marked "For Women" with printed instructions to sit in the rear, during a mock demonstration held in front of the Ministry of Transportation on Tuesday to protest separate seating on predominantly haredi bus lines.

Jerusalem city councilwoman Rachel Azaria said the image of women being sent to the back of the bus resonates strongly among those familiar with American history.

"If Rosa Parks were alive today, she would push the haredi woman to dare to sit up front," said Azaria.

A committee appointed by the Supreme Court will decide on the legality of the 40 separate seating bus lines found all over the country.

The committee was assembled almost two years ago and is slated to present its recommendations to the Transportation Ministry in mid-August.

"Women don't want to sit in the back," said Azaria. "They have no other choice but to sit in the back."

Rabbi initiates women-friendly synagogue

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 23, 2009

Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, head of the Petah Tikva hesder yeshiva, has recently formulated an elaborate halachic document aimed at facilitating the integration of women into prayer services and the life of the congregation, while striving for the maximum level of equality allowed by the Halacha.

Sherlo calls for renovating synagogues in order to adjust them to women's prayers, to encourage women to dance with the Torah scroll and allow orphaned women recite the kaddish prayer alongside men.

He also advocates having women conduct Torah lessons to all members of the congregation, male and female alike.

See also Hebrew article for more details.

Debating female roles in synagogues

By Rabbi Levi Brackman www.ynetnews.com Opinion July 25, 2009

If there is room within the confines of Jewish law to allow greater female participation in the synagogue, women should not only be allowed to participate in that way they should be encouraged to do so.

Orthodox Women Clergy?

By Rabbi Michael J. Broyde www.jewishpress.com July 23, 2009

Michael Broyde is a law professor at Emory University, Chaver of the Beth Din of America and the Founding Rabbi of the Young Israel in Atlanta.

I think that certifying people – men and women -- as well-trained Orthodox clergy to teach, preach and counsel God’s Torah to the laity is also a good idea (and certainly better than the status quo, which allows essentially untrained women to function in pastoral roles).

Cafeteria Cockroaches and Synagogue-State Relations in Israel

By Shalom Goldman www.religiondispatches.org July 22, 2009

Only a minority of Israeli citizens, and Israeli parliamentarians, are Orthodox Jews. But because of the complex history of Synagogue–State relations in Israel, the Orthodox rabbinate controls many areas of life; with the Kashrut laws being only the most obvious.

In fact, the most contentious area is not food, but that of ‘personal status’ (laws of marriage and divorce) controlled by the Israeli Rabbinate whose functionaries are paid with taxpayer funds.

The Rabbis of other Jewish denominations—Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Jewish Renewal—are not recognized.

They have no legal authority, cannot perform weddings, officiate at funerals, or certify a restaurant as kosher.

Proposal: “I Believe in the Creator” on Israeli money

By Amnon Meranda www.ynetnews.com July 27, 2009

A new bill was proposed Monday by Shas MK Nissim Zeev that stipulates that Israeli paper money will be emblazoned with the sentence: "We believe in the Creator."

"Money and bills are the center of our life, and it is befitting that the money issued by the State of Israel will be a reminder of Jewish faith," explained MK Zeev.
"Even those who don't uphold the mitzvoth will be reminded in this way of the foundation of the religion of Israel."

Zeev continued, "This declaration is a confirmation of the connection between Israel, the Torah, and the principles of the Jewish faith. It should be noted in this context that similar declarations are printed on money issued in other countries, including American bills – 'In God we trust.'"

Can secular host TV show about Jewish tradition?

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 22, 2009

Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) filed a complaint with the director general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) this week, regarding a television program on Jewish texts that is hosted by a secular writer and scholar.

The show in question, "Mekablim Shabbat" (welcoming the Shabbat), is hosted by Dov Elboim, a writer, journalist, scholar and lecturer in Jewish studies who grew up in an ultra-Orthodox home but later became secular.

In a letter to IBA head Motti Shklar, Porush wrote:

"There is a show on Channel 1 called 'Parashat Hashavua,' which is aired on Saturday evening and in which the host interprets the Torah while not wearing a kippah.

"Moreover, a viewer who wrote to me said that the host's interpretations do not fall in line with the accepted interpretations in Judaism, and constitute a desecration of what Judaism holds sacred."

Chick Flicks - The school where Orthodox Israeli women learn to be filmmakers

By Alexa Bryn www.tabletmag.com July 22, 2009

Ma’aleh, Israel’s first Orthodox school of Television, Film and the Arts

Ma’aleh’s success in attracting female students stems from its understanding of the complex expectations and responsibilities facing young religious Israelis.

Ma’aleh’s gender breakdown was even more disproportionate 20 years ago, when “boys in Israeli yeshiva high schools weren’t encouraged to be creative,” according to Katie Green, director of the school’s International Relations and Special Projects.

“While that situation has improved, it is still hard to support a family on a filmmaker’s salary.”

Ironically, this traditional attitude has paved the way for religious women to achieve prominence in a profession not typically associated with them.

Studying at Ma’aleh gives religious women a means of commenting on their own backgrounds in a community where women’s forms of expression are more limited.

Religious woman: H&M fired me over 'cultural gap'

By Tani Goldstein www.ynet.com July 23, 2009

A young woman has filed an NIS 408,000 (about $105,000) lawsuit with the Tel Aviv Labor Court against the H&M company, claiming she was fired for being religious.

"One evening we went to a restaurant, and when the CEO asked me in advance which restaurant I would recommend, I said I would prefer a kosher one.

When I found out they were going to a non-kosher restaurant, I decided not to go. I could have drunk a glass of water there, but I didn’t want to embarrass the team.

"On another evening they went to a bar. There were four men and me, it was late and it's not my way of hanging out so I decided not to go with them."

Faith in the face of trauma

By Larry Derfner www.jpost.com July 23, 2009

ZAKA, an English transliteration of the Hebrew acronym for "Disaster Victims Identification," is the volunteer organization of haredi men who collect the remains of the dead for burial.

…Why do they do it? It's a mitzva, they all say - to show respect for the dead by making it possible for them to be buried as whole as possible.

Tisha B'Av spells doldrums for travel firms

By Irit Rosenblum www.haaretz.com July 28, 2009

The nine days preceding Tisha B'Av, a day of fast commemorating the destruction of both temples, is a time of economic slowdown.

About 40% of Israelis refrain from travel, buying consumer goods, signing contracts, and indulging in entertainment and eating out.

According to Ophir Tours travel agency, overseas travel and travel plans generally tumble by 15%.

The day after Tisha B'Av is the busiest travel day of the year. This year Tisha B'Av falls on a Thursday, so this coming weekend is expected to be busy, with hotel rooms and vacation packages in Israel over the weekend booked full, the company said.

The man who saved Beitar Jerusalem

By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com July 24, 2009

Click here for VIDEOS on Guma Aguiar

Guma Aguiar’s parents converted to Christianity when he was two, but in recent years Aguiar became close to Orthodox Judaism and subsequently moved to Israel.

As for buying a soccer team - Arcadi Gaydamak is still the owner but Aguiar is expected eventually to take over control, the philanthropist does not think God would be upset with the prospect.

"I think he'd be happy that people are excited and running around in the streets of Jerusalem," explains Aguiar.

"That's what we're supposed to do. It doesn't say so in the Bible, and I don't want to get into a dispute with rabbis about this. But at the end of the day, this is not about halakha. This is something I really enjoy, and so will the whole community."

"If God likes soccer, which I don't know, he must be a Beitar Jerusalem fan."

Melchior candidacy puts WZO, JA on 'collision course,' warn officials

By Cnaan Liphshiz www.haaretz.com July 24, 2009

The expected election next month of Rabbi Michael Melchior, a dovish politician, will lead to a clash between the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency, chaired by the hawkish Nathan Sharansky, asserts a WZO official.

Dispute threatens Israel support for Jewish studies in former Soviet Union

By Or Kashti www.haaretz.com July 26, 2009

A dispute between the finance and education ministries over state support for a program of Jewish and Zionism studies in the former Soviet Union is threatening to close the program. The Heftziba program teaches about 10,000 students in 45 schools.

At the moment, the program's sole remaining funding comes from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein's International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

Charles Bronfman on Jewish pluralism

By Cnaan Liphshiz www.haaretz.com July 24, 2009

Charles Bronfman:

“…This is the only Jewish homeland, yet only Jews of one persuasion can get married here," he says with annoyance.

Some can't get buried in certain places. It's crazy. This was meant to be a haven for all Jews but one group controls everything.”

Bronfman seems to stiffen a little in his chair when the conversation touches on the differences between North American Jewish pluralism & the ultra-Orthodox institutional monopoly over Israel's rabbinate.

Young olim in Tel Aviv mix Judaism & modern urban culture

Click here for VIDEO

www.jpost.com July 27, 2009

Serving in the IDF, 'for the sake of God and Jesus'

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com July 24, 2009

Jesus supports the IDF and he wants his believers to be the best soldiers they can be.

That was the message conveyed by members of the local Messianic Jewish community via sacred texts, prayer and talks, to a group of 18-year-olds who took part this week in a premilitary program called Netsor.

"I will do my best during my service in the IDF to serve God spiritually and physically. Not for the sake of state authorities but for the sake of God and Jesus."

Rabbis 'Standing as a Wall' vs. High Court, Missionary Bakery

By Avraham Zuroff www.israelnationalnews.com July 22, 2009

Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El:

“In my opinion, there is no halachic dispensation to grant kashrut [kosher certification] to the above premises, and one should stand by this even after the High Court’s decision. All rabbis must stand firm as a wall against the attempt to interfere with halachic matters.

This is a principle that one must embrace without compromise,” Rabbi Melamed continued, adding that “one must be prepared to sacrifice his life – even more so one’s entire assets – for such coercion.”

…“The High Court thinks that kashrut is merely a technical issue. But they must know that it’s impossible to interfere with the Rabbinate, and the Rabbinate didn’t invent the issue.”

Are missionaries targeting the elderly?

By Rachel Geizhals www.jpost.com July 28, 2009

A Holocaust survivor who was suffering from dementia was deceived by those hired to help her, family members said, because they claimed they converted her to their Messianic Christian religion.

Ethiopians at the gate

By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com Opinion July 25, 2009

Quietly, without fanfare or any sort of serious debate, the government is resuming Falashmura immigration from Ethiopia, a year after it was ended by the previous administration.

…Of course no one has taken the trouble to consult with the impressive group of professionals, and Jewish Agency and Foreign Ministry veterans who worked in Ethiopia for years and have a clear position on the issue.

They would have told them that there is no finite number of Falashmura who can claim a tenuous link to Jewish roots.

Last Chance for Falash Mura

By Uriel Heilman www.thejewishweek.com July 22, 2009

With advocates for Ethiopian immigration to Israel stepping up their pressure on the Israeli government, Israeli Interior Ministry officials are returning to Ethiopia to check the eligibility for aliyah of approximately 3,000 more Falash Mura.

Religion and State in Israel

July 27, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.

Religion and State in Israel - July 27, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 27, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

'FBI sting was a case of anti-Semitism'

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com July 27, 2009

Anti-Semitism was behind the highly publicized arrests last week of rabbis, including three from the Aleppo-Syrian Jewish community in New York and New Jersey, according to Yitzhak Kakun, editor-in-chief of the Shas weekly Yom Le'Yom.

Meanwhile, Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev said US police authorities had deliberately created the false impression that members of the Aleppo community were somehow connected with organ trafficking and extortion, when in reality their only crime was money-laundering.

Members of the Aleppo Jewish community who were arrested on suspicion of money laundering are Eliyahu Ben-Haim, rabbi of Congregation Ohel Yaacob in Deal, New Jersey; Edmond Nahum of the Deal Synagogue; and Saul Kassin of Shaarei Zion Synagogue in Brooklyn.

Ben-Haim is known to have ties to Yehaveh Da'at, a Torah institution headed by Rabbi David Yosef, the son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Members of the Aleppo community contributed to the construction of its large building, located near the elder Yosef's home in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood.

When righteous stumble

Jpost.com Editorial www.jpost.com July 26, 2009

…were ultra-Orthodoxy a brand, one might argue that the "franchise" has taken a public-relations hit over the years.

Fair or not, the stock of the entire ultra-Orthodox world declines when outwardly pious Jews turn out to be slumlords, child-molesters or wife-abusers, proprietors of nursing homes that neglect their residents, dealers in human organs, money-launderers, or those who have no compunction about hurling bricks through the windshields of cars on Shabbat.

Report: Aryeh Deri sought funds from community involved in money laundering

By Yaniv Halily www.ynetnews.com July 26, 2009

Sources from the Syrian-Jewish community in New York say Aryeh Deri visited them in May in order to request donations for a new political party, which he defined as a "social, haredi-secular party whose members are key Israeli personalities".

The American Syrian-Jewish community has donated funds in the past to a number of haredi institutions, especially those owned by Shas and the family of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the party's spiritual leader.

Sephardic yeshivas in Israel may lose big from New Jersey scandal

By Zvi Zrahiya www.haaretz.com July 27, 2009

The exposure of the money laundering affair in New Jersey, which allegedly used Israeli yeshivas as part of the scheme, will lead to a drop in contributions to Sephardic religious institutions here, including those affiliated with the Shas party.

Rabbi Eliahu Ben Haim, who is considered very close to Rabbi David Yosef, one of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's sons. Ben Haim is also active in the Ovadia family's Yechave Daat organization. Rabbi David Yosef is the head of the Yechave Daat Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Ben Haim has been involved in raising funds from rich Syrian-Jewish families in the U.S. for various Shas institutions, and most of these donations are expected to stop - at least for now.

Another person arrested in the affair is Rabbi Edmund Nahum, who is considered very close to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef himself. Nahum was also involved in raising funds for the Yosef family institutions.

Court: Some money-laundering cash may be from Israel

By E.B. Solomont www.jpost.com July 26, 2009

At least some of the millions of dollars allegedly laundered by five of the rabbis arrested last week in the US came from Israeli sources, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

According to court documents obtained by the Post, one of the rabbis detained, Eliahu Ben-Haim, used a source in Israel to supply money through "cash houses" in exchange for a 1.5 percent fee.

Unorthodox Coverage

By Ruthie Blum Leibowitz www.jpost.com July 25, 2009 Opinion

Still, the knee-jerk presentation of the haredim as hypocrites at best, and evil at worst, should be cause for pause.

That such pause came this week from Yediot Aharonot's prime political pundit, Nahum Barnea, is as surprising as it is refreshing.

Haredi rabbis must speak out

By Akiva Eldar www.haaretz.com Opinion July 27, 2009

Is there not one leader on the council [of Torah sages] that would dare condemn the goons terrorizing social workers?

The silence of the Torah scholars amounts to an agreement that pinning yellow stars to children's clothes and calling a Jewish doctor "Mengele" is acceptable.

…We've learned over the years that although the ultra-Orthodox have no democracy or equality, they do have leadership and morals. It now appears that the leadership is dying out, while personal and tribal interests trump moral guidelines.

Hadassah Hospital officials harassed

By Etgar Lefkovits www.jpost.com July 28, 2009

Anonymous callers are continuing to harass the families of senior Hadassah Hospital officials in the case of the three-year-old Jerusalem boy who doctors believe was nearly starved to death by his mother, according to a tape recording of the latest call released Monday.

The caller, who has phoned the Hadassah family member's residence for four straight nights, went on to justify comparisons between Hadassah officials and the infamous Nazi known as Dr. Mengele who performed medical experiments on inmates.

Ultra-Orthodox children bused to demonstration in front of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem Deputy Director Dr. Yair Birnbaum’s home

http://bhol.co.il/ July 22, 2009




Initiative: Special hospital for haredim

By Nissan Shtrauchler www.ynetnews.com July 23, 2009

The anti-Zionist Satmar Hasidic stream is considering buying the Bikur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem and turning it into a medical center that will cater mainly to the ultra-Orthodox public, the Haredim website reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Satmar officials met in the United States at the beginning of the week to discuss the initiative.

Should the rift between Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center and the haredi public continue, said the report, a group of 25 businessmen is prepared to make a bid on the hospital.

Ultra-Orthodox children bused to demonstration in front of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem Deputy Director Dr. Yair Birnbaum’s home

http://bhol.co.il/ July 22, 2009

"Enough! Enough of their Viciousness!

Hadassah Hospital Takes Advantage of a Haredi Mother’s Innocence to do Terrible Experiments on Her Child

What Mengele did in Europe the Zionist Doctors are Doing in Eretz Yisroel"

Behind the burning trash bins

By Yair Sheleg www.haaretz.com July 27, 2009 Opinion

It seems that underneath it all we are observing yet another phase of ultra-Orthodox integration into Israeli society.

…now is the time to offer a new kind of relationship between secular Israel society and mainstream ultra-Orthodox society, one based on mutual respect.

The ultra-Orthodox would respect secular (and religious Zionist) wishes and join the national effort in military service, the labor market and core studies, while secular people would respect the ultra-Orthodox community's desire to adhere to its religious concepts in the new frameworks to be formed.

…The secular public must remember that concessions to the ultra-Orthodox are precisely what allows them to breed contempt for the secular majority.

After all, only a spineless community would sell its essential values (such as sharing the military and national-service burden and education for all) for political survival.

How to Promote Baseless Hatred

By Rabbi Shafran www.cross-currents.com Opinion July 24, 2009

Rabbi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America.

The recent rioters in Jerusalem may well have believed their hatred to have had ample basis.

But, whatever their rationalizations, their actions evoked disgust in Jews the world over, some of whom, tragically, will generalize from the rioters’ bad example and bear ill will toward haredim as a group.

And so, even if the violent protesters believe that they are innocent of baseless hatred, they should be made to confront the fact that they are deeply guilty of promoting it.

'Starving mother' undergoes psychiatric evaluation

Jerusalem hospital mulls releasing boy allegedly starved by Haredi mother

Judge demands abuse suspect report for psychiatric tests or be rearrested

Hadassah asks to move child to avoid boycott by Haredim

Haredim 'bluff' a boycott of Hadassah

A Haredi consensus?

By Jonathan Rosenblum www.jpost.com July 23, 2009 Opinion

Those who make Torah Jews and Judaism appear as something ugly and violent guarantee that their fellow Jews who thirst for the word of God will seek it in foreign pastures.

…But the violent few do not represent the values of the Torah, or of the overwhelming majority of haredi Jews.

That is the only issue on which a haredi consensus exists.

Black is (also) beautiful

By Gideon Levy www.haaretz.com Opinion July 24, 2009

Abusive parents, whether they live in Geula or Ramat Aviv Gimmel, need to be dealt with; demonstrators who sometimes turn violent must be subject to the law, even if we feel sympathy for similar demonstrators in Iran or Thailand.

But we also need to be attentive to the waves of fury emanating from Mea Shearim these days.

We might also open the door to these people and try to understand what has made them so angry, instead of letting the mounted police trample them.

Rav Menachem Porush Shlita: Barkat Fails to Understand

By Yechiel Spira http://theyeshivaworld.com July 20, 2009

Following Monday’s historic kenos of Gedolei HaDor Shlita in Yerushalayim, Rav Menachem Porush Shlita spoke with Kol Chai Radio.

When asked about the decision of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat regarding the shabbos operation of the Karta parking lot,

Rav Porush stated “he simply does not understand Yerushalayim, the kedusha of the city, that it is a chareidi city.”

Rav Porush added that he sent a letter to the mayor expressing his pain over the chilul shabbos decision, adding that “if he does not understand this, he will be off the stage,” meaning his days in office are indeed numbered.

The end of the Third Temple

By Nehemia Shtrasler www.haaretz.com Opinion July 28, 2009

…the increasing rupture between the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel will be the end of us. This is a Greek tragedy with a foregone conclusion.

It's a struggle between two contradictory worldviews that cannot exist side by side.

A struggle between the democratic worldview, which stands for individual privacy, humanism, equality and the value of work, on the one hand, and the ultra-Orthodox way of life, which requires every Jew to live according to religious law and despise the secular state, its laws and values, on the other.

Jerusalem yeshiva student convicted of running over woman

Click here for VIDEO

Hat Tip: http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/

Supreme Court convicts yeshiva student who ran over parking lot attendant

By Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com July 23, 2009

The Jerusalem Supreme Court on Thursday convicted a yeshiva student who was previously acquitted of attempting to run over a parking lot attendant of Ethiopian descent.

Itamar Biton had confessed to ramming his car into Noga Zoraish last year, yet the Jerusalem District Court judge who oversaw his case, Moshe Drori, elected to acquit him so as not to harm his chances of being named to the bench of the rabbinate's court.

Driver in hit-and-run is son of Hadera Chief Rabbi

By Tomer Zarchin and Fadi Eyadat www.haaretz.com July 23, 2009

Rabbi Shimon Biton has served as the chief rabbi of Hadera for more than 30 years. The rabbi is considered Shas' most important figure in the city and is sometimes called the Rabbi Ovadia Yosef of Hadera.

"Shas ministers who visit Hadera first come to see him," said one local politician; Emanuel Biton, another of the rabbi's sons, was elected to the city council in the last elections on the Shas slate.

"He is considered a [Torah] genius," said a local official. "He is an admired figure, mediates disputes, helps families in need and is considered a giant in Torah learning," he added.

The rabbi also runs a yeshiva in the Givat Olga neighborhood of the city.

Haredim approve new group to run education network, in slap to Gur Hasids

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com July 22, 2009

Leaders of Israel's ultra-Orthodox community approved the establishment of a new association to run the independent Haredi education system, at a Jerusalem meeting yesterday. The new association would replace the current one, established by the Gur Hasidic sect decades ago.

…the conference may signify a new split in Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodoxy. It was a resounding slap in the face of the Gur Hasids, the largest Hasidic group in Israel.

Fischer to ultra-Orthodox: Get jobs to fight poverty

By Moti Bassok www.haaretz.com July 22, 2009

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer called on ultra-Orthodox leaders to increase employment rates among both men and women in order to address the widespread poverty within this community

In 2008, 60% of Haredim were living under the poverty line, and this number has been increasing, Fischer said.

The Haredi community contains an enormous cache of human resources. If put to work, this could serve as an additional economic growth engine while decreasing poverty rates, Fischer said.

Rogue modesty patrols target Netivot merchants sparking tension

By Yanir Yagna www.haaretz.com July 23 ,2009

Ultra-Orthodox modesty patrols in Netivot are threatening local business with boycotts unless they conform to strict religious standards. The group's actions are stoking religious tensions in the normally calm southern town and police opened a criminal investigation into the matter Tuesday following a Haaretz Hebrew edition report.

"The guy came into my store and saw one of my female workers wearing a small shirt," said the owner of a shoe store, "it wasn't a tank top, just a small shirt. But he started shouting that if the worker did not dress appropriately, he would cause financial damage…”

Under Attack

By Peggy Cidor www.jpost.com July 23, 2009

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, founder of ZAKA and a former active member of the Eda Haredit:

"Years of dialogue and quiet understanding between the Eda Haredit and the police have been destroyed in minutes…”

"There is no doubt that these incidents will leave a deep impact on all of us," says Meshi-Zahav. "People should always be careful to understand the sensitivities of others. That was not the case, for sure.

As for the haredi members of the city council who are part of Barkat's coalition, they are in trouble with our community. Nobody trusts them anymore. The least I can say is that they have not contributed or helped in any way. On the contrary."

On riots, baby starving, and ways of Torah

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks www.jpost.com Opinion July 20, 2009

The writer is the Director of the Masorti [Conservative] Movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel.

…the rabbis of these communities (not all of them, of course) while paying lip-service to the desire for a peaceful resolution to outstanding issues that trouble them, are not out on the streets demanding restraint on the part of their followers.

They do not turn the scofflaws over to the authorities. Quite the opposite, PR specialists are hired to defend and justify the actions of this wayward mob.

Belz Hasidim limit wedding spending

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 24 ,2009

A special committee set up by the Belz Hasidic stream recently issued a special protocol limiting wedding spending among the community members, in a bid to ease the financial burden on couples' parents.

J'lem: University withdraws tender that increased religious tensions

By Ronen Medzini www.ynetnews.com July 27, 2009

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem cancelled a tender for the purchase of two of its buildings that currently serve as student dorms on Stern Street. The buildings have recently been at the center of a struggle between the ultra-Orthodox and secular residents over the neighborhood's character.

…Meanwhile, the decision left the ultra-Orthodox residents enraged, and attorney Eklana Holzer, who represents the haredim of Kiryat Yovel told Ynet, "The Hebrew University is influenced by the current media frenzy regarding the religious and ultra-Orthodox communities in the city of Jerusalem.

A look at the growing population inside the West Bank's ultra-Orthodox settlements of Modiin Illit and Beitar Illit

Click here for VIDEO

Produced by Jaron Gilinsky http://video.nytimes.com July 26, 2009

In West Bank Settlements, Sign of Hope for a Deal

By Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner www.nytimes.com July 26, 2009

Modiin Illit and its sister community, Beitar Illit, are entirely ultra-Orthodox, a world apart, one of strict religious observance and study. They offer surprising potential for compromise.

...Without most Israelis noticing, Modiin Illit and Beitar Illit have turned into the Haredi towns of the future, cleaner and saner versions of their often decrepit and densely packed neighborhoods elsewhere.

They contain open space, even some greenery, and apartments with lots of bedrooms. Their young are shielded from secular Israel, and secular Israelis never see them, thereby reducing the tensions found in Jerusalem over driving on the Sabbath and sexy advertising at bus stops.

Hareidi Schools May Get Funding Boost

By Maayana Miskin www.israelnationalnews.com July 21, 2009

The Knesset voted to approve the “Gafni Law” in a first vote on Monday. The law would provide additional municipal funding for private hareidi-religious schools.

The law received initial approval several days ago, but has been changed since. The proposal now would see municipalities providing services worth money, not cash, to boost the hareidi-religious school system.

51% of seculars don't want Haredi neighbor

www.ynetnews.com July 21, 2009

When asked who they would least like to have as a neighbor – a haredi, secular, national-religious, or conservative/reformist Jew – 41% were impartial, 36% said they would not like to have a haredi neighbor, 12% answered conservative/reformist, 8% didn't want a secular neighbor, and 3% answered national-religious.

The most tolerant sector to participate in the poll was that of traditional Jews, of which 58% were impartial. In contrast, 73% of ultra-Orthodox participants said they did not want a neighbor who was not an Orthodox Jew.

Haredi participants were also opposed to reform marriage, and 88% said they would boycott such an occasion. Of the seculars polled, 94% said they would attend the wedding, and 67% of traditional Jews concurred.

Will biometric database compromise modesty?

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 27, 2009

The biometric database finds another adversary: New opposition to the biometric database bill had formed recently, this time from religious elements.

Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) asked the Knesset's Science and Technology Committee to review the proposed requirements in order to prevent a situation in which observant women would be obligated to remove their [head covering], which is forbidden according to the Halacha, in order to be scanned into the system.

OU denies endorsing controversial booklet

By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com July 23, 2009

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America regrets its involvement in the publication of a booklet distributed to Israeli soldiers implying that the Vatican organizes tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members, in order to teach them how to kill Jews, the New York-based group said in a statement.

Saying the endorsement of the pamphlet was unauthorized, the organization "disavow[ed] any connection to the views expressed in it."

'US settlement policy contravenes Torah'

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com July 21, 2009

In his first public declaration on Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar called this week on American Jews to explain to the Obama administration the religious obligation of every Jew to live in every part of the Land of Israel.

…Oded Weiner, director-general of the Chief Rabbinate, who signed the letter along with Gold and other rabbis, sent it the Presidents' Conference, the Orthodox Union, Young Israel and other Jewish organizations in the US.

Chief Rabbi of Haifa She'ar Yashuv Cohen said that preventing Jews from settling in the Land of Israel went against a long, illustrious history of famous rabbis settling here.

"Jews should be allowed to exercise their religious right to settle wherever they want in Israel," Cohen said in an interview on Radio Kol Chai.

Veggies' kashrut may be revoked for over-spraying

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 21, 2009

The Chief Rabbinate is embarking on a new initiative to revoke kosher certificates from fruit and vegetable growers who overuse pesticides, according to a new effort pushed through by Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.

"Such fruits truly endanger those who eat them. You cannot grant kashrut to poison," he said.

Tnuva – A Deeper Look at Israel’s Largest Dairy

By Yechiel Spira www.jerusalemkoshernews.com July 28, 2009

This article intends to give an overview while addressing the practical application of buying Tnuva products.

500 Rabbis suing State for raises

By Haim Bior www.haaretz.com July 22, 2009

A group of 500 rabbis filed suit against the state and the Union of Local Authorities yesterday, demanding millions of shekels in raises for wage erosion over 2002-2004 and 2006-2008.

The rabbis, who belong to Histadrut labor federation, have asked the National Labor court to order the state and the ULA to pay compensation for withholding wages, along with interest and linkage to the consumer price index.

The group claims the treasury has not kept the collective bargaining agreement signed with the Histadrut in 1988, which requires evaluating every two years whether their salaries have eroded versus certain other groups of public employees.

PM delays discussion on Temple Mount project

By Roni Sofer www.ynetnews.com July 23, 2009

On the backdrop of protests from Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim Waqf, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently postponed a decisive discussion aimed at setting a date for beginning the construction of the new Mugrabi Gate on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Ynet has learned.

Religion and State in Israel

July 27, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

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