Sunday, October 25, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - October 26, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

October 26, 2009 (Section 2) (see also 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.

Yishai: Reform Jews to blame for assimilation

By Ronen Medzini October 23, 2009

Interior Minister Eli Yishai referred Thursday evening blamed Reform Judaism for the assimilation among Jews.

"Look what is happening with the Reform Jews because of the assimilation. They are disappearing," Yishai told the Israeli Presidential Conference.

He was booed by the audience, which was mostly comprised of American Jews.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism said,

"Instead of dealing with US Judaism's affairs, Minister Yishai should deal with the huge damage his party is causing to the image of Judaism in Israel ... and to the desire of millions of Israelis to become familiar with their culture and tradition.

Confronting the identity challenge

By Natan Sharansky Opinon October 25, 2009

In seeking to adjust our vision going forward, we need to ask: If building the state and facilitating the aliya of more than 3 million of our brethren from countries of oppression were challenges that defined the last 60 years, what are the challenges that will define the next 60?

And as we move toward that next 60, can the Diaspora and Israel forge a new relationship - a relationship based on something more enduring than mutual charity or patronizing beneficence toward the other?

And finally: On what basis can Israel and the Diaspora develop a shared way of looking at the future, rather than clinging to the bifurcated vision that has defined their respective pasts?

21st Century Aliyah

Click here for VIDEO

A discussion at the Israeli Presidential Conference on aliyah and the connection between Jews in Israel and Jews in the Diaspora.

Matthew Bronfman; Rabbi Michael Melchior; Jay Sarver - Jewish Agency; Alisa Rubin Kurshan - Jewish Federation of NY.

Interior Ministry given 45 days to provide citizenship to man adopted by Catholics

By Ruth Eglash October 22, 2009

After a two-year battle to stay in Israel, the State Attorney's Office finally ruled last week that the Interior Ministry has 45 days to provide a US-born Jewish adoptee with full citizenship according to the Law of Return.

…citing the Law of Return, which states anyone with at least one Jewish parent or grandparent is entitled to immigrate to Israel, and with the help of a recent legal opinion presented to the Supreme Court by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, Steger continued to petition the ministry to become a citizen.

Matthew Bronfman: Am I an Israeli?

By Raphael Ahren October 23, 2009

Matthew Bronfman proposed on Wednesday at the Presidential Conference to update the concept of aliyah - immigrating to Israel.

"It used to mean that people picked up their families and relocated to Israel," said the New York businessman who holds controlling shares of Israel Discount Bank, the Israeli Ikea franchise and the Supersol supermarket chain.

80% of wait-listed birthright applicants never reapply

By Ruth Eglash October 20, 2009

Up to 80 percent of young Diaspora Jews wait-listed for birthright-Israel trips fail to sign up again if they miss out the first time around, Gidi Mark, CEO of Taglit-birthright Israel, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday, putting them at higher risk for assimilation.

According to Mark, more than 13,000 young, mostly unaffiliated, Jews from around the world were turned away from the free 10-day trip to Israel this upcoming winter due to lack of space.

Getting Diaspora Jewish youth to 'love Israel'

By Jacob Kanter Opinion October 22, 2009

A sense of urgency permeated the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in the capital this week as experts in the field discussed how to bring more foreign students here, and why birthright-israel is only part of the picture.

Professionals from the Student Forum - a joint project of the WZO Hagshama Department and the Jewish Agency's Education Committee - representing a number of programs for university students in Israel, and others gathered at the daylong convention on "Jewish Youth and Israel: Understanding the Changing Needs of Jewish Youth and Intensifying Israel's Place in Their Lives."

Frankly, says ex-minister, Israel doesn't give a damn about Aliyah

By Raphael Ahren October 23, 2009

Israelis and their government couldn't care less about fostering Jewish identity abroad and encouraging Jews to move here, despite broad support for programs strengthening Israel-Diaspora relations, former MK Rabbi Michael Melchior asserted this week in Jerusalem.

Birthright Israel as an Rx to 'Israel Exhaustion'

By Gil Troy Opinion October 25, 2009

Birthright began as an act of guerilla philanthropy - as Messrs. Bronfman and Steinhardt rushed ahead, before all the proper committees met, before all the Jewish communal protocols were followed - and they succeeded.

This act of guerilla philanthropy should now be rewarded - when the crunch is on - with a massive display of grassroots giving.

People should give what they can, raise more from others, and demand that their Federations increase support. And no one who reads this essay can ever say, "no one ever asked me to help" - I just did.

Take my advice: don't take my advice

By Rabbi Michael Marmur October 18, 2009

Michael Marmur is the Vice-President for Academic Affairs of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, and is based in Jerusalem.

If there is a future for relations between the Jews of Israel and those living around the world, it will need to be based on fraternalism or sorority, not paternalism and pomposity.

Immigrants: No one here keeps promises

By Yael Branovsky October 25, 2009

Who will uphold the promises made to immigrants in their home countries? The Jewish Agency and the Absorption Ministry know how to boast of successful aliyah campaigns, but families who were convinced to immigrate to Israel from Russia complained in conversations with Ynet of offensive attitudes and indifference

Hadassah opens Young Judaea study center in Baka

By Jamie Romm October 22, 2009

Hadassah's Young Judaea study center, Beit Ar-El, was formally opened Tuesday in Jerusalem's Baka neighborhood, a move that Hadassah hopes will be permanent.

According to Nancy Falchuk, Hadassah's goal in building the center is part of it plans to place its three Jerusalem-based Young Judaea programs: Young Judaea Year Course, Merkaz Hamagshimim-Hadassah and Hadassah-WUJS (World Union of Jewish Students) in a single, central neighborhood.

Gov't not paying for promised retraining of olim

By Haviv Rettig Gur October 20, 2009

Around 4,000 new immigrants and returning expats have discovered in recent weeks that some of the benefits they were promised, particularly professional retraining programs, are not being funded by the government due to budget cuts, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Haredi Parties against Female IDF Recruitment Bill October 21, 2009

Haredi religious parties are furious about the involvement of coalition members in a bill that seeks to increase the number of women recruited to the IDF.

The parties are threatening to dismantle the government if the coalition continues to support the bill.

Get Women Out of the Army

By Maayana Miskin October 23, 2009

Rebbetzin Yehudit Shilat of Takana, a forum which fights sexual harassment, believes that no woman, religiously observant or not, should be required to enlist in the military.

“Let's not get into details... We know that the ties between male commanders and female soldiers, and between male and female soldiers, do not meet the [Biblical] standard of 'Your camp shall be holy.'”

Hareidi-religious Knesset members and community leaders have also expressed support for the idea of removing women from the IDF entirely.

However, Shilat noted that their motives were not always the same as hers or those of other members of the religious Zionist community. “They think the military is not an appropriate environment for men, either,” she said.

Christian donor to out Haredi recipients

By Matthew Wagner October 23, 2009

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, chairman of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said Thursday that his organization was compiling a list for publication of haredi institutions that receive its donations.

The move comes after Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, considered the most respected and influential halachic authority among Ashkenazi haredi Jews, signed a declaration saying that receiving money from Eckstein's organization was "close to idolatry."

Beth El Christian Zionist community in Zichron Yaakov

By Ora Coren October 22, 2009

Their lifestyle may be old-style kibbutz crossed with the Amish, but the Beth El Christian Zionist community, in Zichron Yaakov, makes not only organic foods but also bomb shelter filtration systems and aviation parts. A rare interview with the man who oversees it all.

"We don't have a strategic plan. We lift our eyes to God and if he opens a new door then we open another business."

Israel Plans Major Excavation at Western Wall

By Samuel Sokol October 23, 2009

Israel is planning a major archaeological dig under the Western Wall (Kotel) plaza, opposite the Temple Mount, officials announced Thursday.

The excavations will create an archaeological park directly underneath the area where worshippers currently stand while praying at the Kotel.

The current prayer area will remain open, supported by pillars, while a new area will be added underneath, at the level at which worshippers at the ancient Temple stood in the past.

Engineer: Dig improving Temple Mount stability

By Abe Selig October 24, 2009

Despite recent accusations to the contrary, the chief site engineer for the Western Wall tunnels declared on Thursday that Israeli archeological excavations were not being done under the Temple Mount, were in no way detrimental to the structural stability of the mount or its surroundings, and were actually improving such stability "tenfold."

Guardians of the underground

By Larry Derfner October 25, 2009

Elia and Gendler work in salvage excavation, the branch of archeology that just about every construction worker, contractor and developer - especially in Jerusalem - is familiar with. The Antiquities Authority inspects most construction sites, public and private, in the country to try to make sure that the treasures of the past are preserved.

To be Jewish, even without God

By Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg Opinion October 25, 2009

Interview with Prof. Ruth Gavison

There is no solution, she says, but to acknowledge the fact that Judaism is a religion + culture + civilization and that, for the sake of the argument, we need to neutralize the element of God from it and in fact develop the cultural aspect - yes, it is possible to disregard the Godly aspect in the bible on the sublime-religious context and remain with the literary, moral, principled, legal, level.

This also applies to the Talmud, the answers and questions literature and the entire Jewish religious world.

Ashkelon film festival to screen musical to women-only audience

By Raphael Ahren October 23, 2009

An American film that was rejected at last year's Jerusalem Film Festival because the Orthodox filmmaker demanded that it be screened exclusively in front of women will make its Israel premiere at next week's Jewish Eye World Jewish Film Festival in Ashkelon.

Male, Female MKs to Exercise Separately October 21, 2009

Knesset officials announced Wednesday that they would approve a request for separate-sex hours in the Knesset's exercise room.

Male and female MKs will exercise separately once a week, in response to a request from MK Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union (Ichud Leumi).

A woman and a scholar

By Matthew Wagner October 22, 2009

Interview with Chana Henkin of Nishmat

Nishmat’s most ambitious program trains women to serve as quasi rabbis. Called yo'atzot Halacha (advisers of Jewish law), these women specialize in an area of Jewish law known as family purity.

…The real success of the program has been Henkin's ability to create a new leadership role for women that challenges the male-only rabbinical hegemony while remaining within mainstream Orthodox circles.

Part of the secret to Nishmat's success is proper marketing. Henkin has insisted on calling the women yo'atzot Halacha and not anything that sounds like rabbi. Nishmat also emphasizes that all halachic decisions made by its women are backed up by male rabbis.

Ask the Rabbi: The heights of Halacha

By Rabbi Shlomo Brody October 22, 2009

The writer, editor of Tradition Online and its Text & Texture blog, teaches at Yeshivat Hakotel

Q: Can you explain the recent controversy over the use of Shabbat elevators?

The written ban by four prominent haredi leaders, including Rabbi Y.S. Elyashiv, just as tourists flooded local hotels for Succot, created much media attention and confusion.

'They'll say I'm a racist'

By Nir Hasson and Anshel Pfeffer October 22, 2009

Ori Konforti, who until last year was the Jewish Agency's representative in Ethiopia, says that American-Jewish groups wish to keep the immigration of the Falashmura going in order to generate more contributions from supporters who want to be involved in tikkun olam, enhance the bringing together of Jews from around the world and improve their own relations with the black community in the United States.

Israel, he says, became entangled in commitments to the Falashmura, a group with an almost infinite potential for immigration, due to pressure by nongovernmental organizations and politicians, especially from the Shas party.

An American-Jewish organization, the North American Conference for Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ), according to Konforti, is also responsible for the false presentations in the Addis Ababa and Gondar camps themselves, in an effort to raise more money.

Jewish environmentalists launch campaign to combat climate change

By Ehud Zion Waldoks October 22, 2009

The Jewish Climate Change Campaign kicked off this week in honor of Jewish Social Action Month. The plan outlines ways in which the Jewish people can capitalize on its unique institutions and rituals to help fight climate change.

The Jewish plan is part of a global initiative to mobilize the world's religions organized by The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), a UK-based organization founded 14 years ago by HRH Prince Philip. The UN has also expressed keen interest in the plans. They will be presented next month at Windsor, England ahead of UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December.

The Windsor delegation will be comprised of: Sinclair, Arava Power Company President Yosef Abramowitz, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor and holder of the environmental portfolio Naomi Tsur, former MK and honorary president of Teva Ivri Rabbi Michael Melchior, and Jewish Climate Initiative founder Dr. Michael Kagan.

The campaign has been launched to coincide with Jewish Social Action Month and an interactive Web site has been set up

Assembly to Mark 75 Years Since Passing of Rav Kook October 22, 2009

The World Zionist Organization will hold an assembly of hundreds of rabbis from Israel and around the world during the Hebrew month of Tevet (which starts December 18th) to mark 75 years since the passing of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook, who established the Chief Rabbinate and became the first Chief Rabbi of the pre-state Land of Israel.

Face value

By Matthew Wagner October 16, 2009

With more than 20 independent kosher supervision bodies operating in Israel, competition among them is fierce.

A business's decision to choose Badatz Beit Yosef over another kosher supervision might be because of the added value of being able to tap into Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's popularity.

Benizri won't leave prison for grandson's brit

By Vered Luvitch October 20, 2009

The Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday denied an appeal by former Minister Shlomo Benizri to leave prison in order to attend his grandson's circumcision ceremony in Jerusalem.

Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, will take Benizri's place as the child's godfather during the event.

Shas demands upgraded prison conditions for Benizri

By Ronen Medzini October 20, 2009

Shas chairman Eli Yishai has approached Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch a number of times recently and asked that former Minister Shlomo Benizri's prison conditions be upgraded.

Channel 10 reported Tuesday that Shas MKs have also complained that it can take them over a month to get clearance to visit Benizri in prison. They are demanding unlimited visitation rights.

Religion and State in Israel

October 26, 2009 (Section 2) (see also 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.

All rights reserved.