Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - May 25, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

May 25, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

If you are reading from 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.

High Court: State must fund Reform conversion facilities

Israel IBA Television News www.jpost.com May 23, 2009

Israel IBA Television interview with Attorney Einat Hurvitz, Legal Director Israel Religious Action Center

www.jpost.com May 23, 2009

Amar launches battle against reform conversions

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com May 25, 2009

Minister of Religious Services Yakov Margi added that by sanctioning non-Orthodox conversions the government would cause a national rift – "two people in the State of Israel that are separated from one another."

MK Uri Orbach, the only representative of religious Zionism in the meeting, told Ynet: 

"It’s obvious that the issue is not the funding but the High Court's interference, which is an opening for recognition in Reform conversions and for introducing Reform rabbinical judges into the state conversion system. We share in this concern.

"It's no secret that the religious-Orthodox world is divided on conversions – what is the Halacha and how should non-Jews be treated. It's complicated, but there's no argument that what the Reform Movement is doing is not Halacha."

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, of the Israel Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in response to the urgent meeting that

"The Chief Rabbinate has failed disgracefully in its handling of conversions, and allowed extremist and heartless elements to take over the conversion courts, marriage registries and rabbinical courts."

Minister Yishai: Allowing Reform conversions will prompt influx of Palestinians

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com May 25, 2009

Interior Minister Eli Yishai, chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, warned that if non-Orthodox conversion is recognized in Israel, "there are hundreds of foreign workers and Palestinians who will take advantage of the Reform conversion in order to gain Israeli citizenship." 

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar warned that the Supreme Court ruling is part of a broader effort by the court to undermine the power of the Chief Rabbinate and of Jewish orthodoxy in Israel. 

"The next step of the Supreme Court will be to recognize Reform conversions," Amar said.

Ultra-Orthodox newspaper attack High Court decision

By Gil Ronen www.israelnationalnews.com May 24, 2009

On Friday, hareidi newspaper Yated Ne’eman published an attack on the “Festival of Converts” which the Ministry of Absorption is planning for the upcoming week of Shavuot. Shavuot is considered the “converts’ holiday” because it involves reading the Scroll of Ruth the Moabite, Judaism’s most famous convert.

Sunday’s Yated Ne’eman ran an editorial blasting “the harsh and dangerous attempt by the High Court to force itself and to interfere in the most basic matters of Jewish Law, with the intent of aiding the industry of fake conversions that has been uncovered over the last few years, which enables thousands of non-Jews to assimilate among us while disguising themselves as Jews.”

Funding conversion

JPost.com www.jpost.com Editorial May 21, 2009

Israel's self-funded Reform and Masorti (Conservative) movements have been preparing some of these immigrants for conversion to Judaism. 

While the Orthodox state authorities won't accept these converts as "authentic" Jews, they are otherwise absorbed, spiritually and culturally, into Israel's mainstream. 

Many join synagogues and take succor in a tradition the Soviets had sought to rob them of.

We are delighted, therefore, that the High Court of Justice has ordered the state to start covering the expenses of non-Orthodox conversion institutes.

The beginning of the end of the Orthodox funding monopoly? Let's hope so.

Court's conversion decision could cost state NIS 7m.

By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com May 20, 2009

Changes to the process of preparing potential converts to Judaism could cost the state an additional NIS 7 million and will require a complete overhaul of the current system's stringent criteria, according to Avigdor Levitan, who heads the Immigrant Absorption Ministry's Conversion Division.

The division oversees and funds the work of 13 non-profit schools and institutions involved in teaching the basics of Orthodox Judaism.

Reform Movement not overjoyed by conversion class ruling

By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com May 20, 2009

Tuesday's victory by the Reform Movement in its petition demanding equal funding for its conversion classes vis-à-vis those run by private Orthodox institutions may influence future court rulings on other questions of funding for religious services, but its impact on the status of the conversions themselves in the eyes of the state is questionable, attorney Einat Horowitz told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

Gafni: No funds for Reform conversions

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

Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said Wednesday that he will block any attempt to transfer state funds to non-Orthodox institutions involved in preparing converts to Judaism.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Reform Movement in Israel, said that 

"Moshe Gafni is one of the prominent examples in Israeli public life of how religious faith becomes a source of hatred and prejudice, instead of a source of love for the other and respect for humankind."

Does Court decision set a precedent?

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

Religious Services Minister Ya'acov Margi (Shas) refused to comment on the High Court's decision, saying that the Prime Minister's Office, and not his own, was responsible for conversions.

However, the court's decision set a precedent for the obligation to fund all religious services in an egalitarian manner, whether they be Orthodox, Reform or Conservative.

This precedent could lead to the religious services minister being forced to use some of his budget to pay salaries to non-Orthodox rabbis. He may also have to begin funding the construction of synagogues for Reform and Conservative communities.

There are about 200 neighborhood rabbis who receive a salary of between NIS 4,000 and NIS 10,000 a month. City rabbis can earn as much as NIS 30,000 a month.

Religious councils pay these salaries and provide other religious services. The councils receive their budgets from the Religious Services Ministry (40%) and the local government (60%). The religious councils also receive money from various fees, such as those on marriages, ritual slaughter and burials.

High Court Rules Reform and Conservative Conversion Programs Should Receive Equal Funding

By Yechiel Sever http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com May 21, 2009

In reaction to the ruling, Finance Chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said, "Once again we are witness to the Court's coercive behavior on an issue the law places in the hands of elected officials, the government and the Knesset. When the Court finds their decisions are inconsistent with its worldview they impose their opinion on elected officials.

"The Reform Movement, which stabs Torah-true Judaism in the back, has not been given legitimacy, and I will do everything in my power, be'eizer Hashem, to ensure they do not receive funding for their acts of buffoonery, which is a waste of public funds on vain acts that bring only damage and destruction."

Analysis: Is the Orthodox funding monopoly ending?

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com May 20, 2009

The state may soon fund the salaries of Reform and Conservative rabbis, foot the bill to build non-Orthodox synagogues and ritual baths, and provide funding for Torah study in liberal Jewish institutions.

What would the court say about Reform Rabbi Miri Gold, the acting rabbi of Kibbutz Gezer and the surrounding area? She visits the sick, delivers eulogies at funerals, and leads prayers on Shabbat and holidays. 

But she does not receive a salary from the state like the Orthodox rabbis in the Gezer region who perform many of the same functions.

If Orthodox communities receive state support for the building of synagogues and mikvaot, why shouldn't Reform and Conservative communities, according to the same logic?

High Court orders state to fund non-Orthodox conversions

By Aviad Glickman www.ynetnews.com May 20, 2009

Rabbi Gilad Kariv of the Israel Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism said that 

"following this important ruling, the communities of progressive Judaism will boost their efforts to assist thousands of olim to complete their journey to Israel and to the heart of the Jewish people."

No Ayatollahs for Israel

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

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

The Supreme Court will soon decide about funding for Brit Milah (ritual circumcision) of non-Orthodox converts, the use of Mikvaot for conversion and brides (ritual immersion baths) by the non-Orthodox, and funding for non-Orthodox rabbis to serve as municipal employees.

The Masorti Movement opposes the continued financing of an official Chief Rabbinate, along with its thousands of State funded employees. But as long as the institution continues to exist we will insist on funding that is fair and equitable.

The court noted that the majority of Jews in Israel and in the world are not identified with the Orthodox Movement. It is high time our Rabbinate took note.

Window for Pluralism

By Stewart Ain www.thejewishweek.com May 20, 2009

Yizhar Hess, executive director and CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel, said that for many years non-Orthodox rabbis have sought to have the marriages they perform in Israel recognized by the state. 

“Right now 20 percent of couples who could marry with the Chief Rabbinate are not, opting to do it in other ways,” Hess said. 

“That’s a sign that society is more ready than before to deal with the question of identity in a pluralistic way. ... We have a window of opportunity now to change Israeli society, to have it become more pluralistic.”

Court: Stop discrimination of non-orthodox

By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com May 20, 2009

Attorney Einat Horowitz, who represented the petitioner, the Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post afterward that the court's decision could influence the outcome of other current and future legal actions brought by the Reform Movement.

These included calling on the government to pay salaries for Reform rabbis and to allow non-Orthodox converts to use public ritual baths to immerse themselves as part of the conversion process, she added.

Although the High Court had ruled in favor of freedom of religion and pluralism regarding the Reform and Conservative movements in the past, this was the first time it had dealt directly with a question of equality in funding for religious services, Horowitz said.

High Court Tries to Interfere with Conversion Case

By Yechiel Sever http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com May 21, 2009

"This is the first time we've encountered such a dangerous precedent of a court trying to dictate and interfere with halachic considerations and determine what constitutes conversion according to halacha," HaRav Leib Tropper, chairman of Eternal Jewish Family, told Yated Ne'eman

"And that's not to mention how the High Court is overlooking serious claims of false conversions, such as writing `before a bench of three' when no such bench was ever assembled.

"This is not merely an attempt to dictate the outcome of a particular situation, but an attempt to undermine the Beis Din's authority. 

As an organization with active branches around the world, we intend to bring the Jewish world and the Diaspora up in arms to keep anyone from diminishing the authority of Toras Moshe."

The High Court gods

By Hagai Segal www.ynetnews.com Opinion May 22, 2009

This is a sad joke, which the High Court of Justice treats seriously. 

The Reform movement insists on entering the Judaism club without respecting its ancient rules of acceptance. They are allowed to form their own club with new rules, yet they insist on pushing their way into the old club, in order to enjoy its historic reputation.

Increasing Battle against Jerusalem Mehadrin Lines

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who chairs the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, is working against the mehadrin lines in Jerusalem.

Hotovely, a shomer Shabbat Jew, explains that there is no halachic basis for segregation on buses, which she insists is unacceptable in the 21st century from a social and religious perspective.

Hundreds of supporters, opponents of the mehadrin lines, are expected to take part in a kenos [conference] at Hebrew University in Yerushalayim on Monday.

Avital Feldman other anti-mehadrin activists organized the event. A panel will address attendees. Panel members include former High Court Justice Dalia Dorner, Jerusalem Councilwoman Rachel Azariya, feminist Dr. Orit Kamir and Prof. Alon Harel, a member of the law faculty.

Number 2 Bus Turns Mehadrin [Unofficially]

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 20, 2009

While Egged and the Transportation Ministry continue to probe the mehadrin bus service issue, the 2 bus providing service to the Kosel in actuality has already become mehadrin, with men seated in the front and women in the rear.

The 2 line has become the symbol of the conflict between the chareidi community and the state, with askanim and rabbonim working together to create facts on the ground, at times in defiance of state law.

The word was spread throughout chareidi areas of the capital and while government agencies debate the matter, the number 2 bus appears to be a mehadrin line in every sense of the word.

One major difference however is that women must still get on in the front of the bus in order to pay the driver.

Bar Ilan president slams religious fear of academia

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

Prof. Moshe Kaveh was elected this week for a sixth term as president of Bar Ilan University, Israel's only religious university.

In an interview with Ynet he explains why yeshiva graduates should go to the academia and why seculars must study Judaism.

Sex and faith on campus

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com May 22, 2009

…This religious student's testimony is one of several quoted by Yona Goodman, a veteran religious Zionist educator, in a controversial article entitled "Culture Shock."

The article, which appeared in the recent edition of Tzohar, an influential periodical written by and for religious Zionist rabbis, has aroused a flurry of interest and controversy in modern Orthodox circles.

In coming weeks, Tzohar, an organization of modern Orthodox, Zionist rabbis, will be holding a special meeting with rabbis and educators involved in providing spiritual assistance to young religious men and women on college and university campuses.

The goal: to formulate and institute an educational and spiritual framework that can help young religious students grapple with the temptations and challenges they meet on campus.

Shas MK Margi Pushing for Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Election

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 22, 2009

Minister of Religious Affairs (Shas) Rabbi Yaakov Margi is working in earnest to expedite the process to hold elections for Jerusalem chief rabbi no later than Rosh Chodesh Elul.

He hopes to gain enough support for his efforts to create facts on the ground, expecting opponents to take their case the High Court of Justice.

WZO calls on US Jews not to take Yemenites to Satmar community

By Haviv Rettig Gur www.jpost.com May 25, 2009

The World Zionist Organization executive called on the communal umbrella of American Jewry to stop the fundraising effort meant to move Yemenite Jews to a Satmar community in Monsey, New York.

The Jerusalem-based WZO, whose leaders form part of the leadership of the Jewish Agency, disapproves of the United Jewish Communities' efforts on behalf of the move because the Yemenites will be joining an anti-Zionist community.

"Bringing Yemenite Jews to the Satmar community is an anti-Zionist activity, because it's bringing Jews to a place that doesn't really recognize the State of Israel," said Paula Edelstein, who sits on the WZO executive and is co-chair of the Jewish Agency's Immigration and Absorption Committee.

Jewish Agency slams move to evacuate Yemenites

By Haviv Rettig Gur www.jpost.com May 24, 2009

Officials in Israel and the Jewish Agency are angered at the coming move of more than 100 Yemenite Jews, almost half of the remaining community in that country, to the United States.

"Clearly if you gave those $2 million to the Jewish Agency, they would do much more with that money in terms of improving their [the Yemenite Jews'] living conditions," said an Israeli official who asked not to be named. "It would be more than enough to bring the entire population [of 270] to Israel."

Nefesh B'Nefesh scheme propels surge of immigration to the North

By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com May 22, 2009

More people than expected applied for Nefesh B'Nefesh's new Go North program, which gives English-speaking immigrants financial incentives for settling in the Golan and the Galilee. 

Yet immigration professionals said the local job market - with few opportunities for highly educated Anglos - and other considerations might endanger the project's enduring success. 

Religion and State in Israel

May 25, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

If you are reading from 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.

Religion and State in Israel - May 25, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

May 25, 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.

Women's groups blast bill giving rabbinical courts more powers

By Dana Weiler-Polak www.haaretz.com May 26, 2009

Women's organizations and the Rabbinical Courts Administration squared off in the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women yesterday over a bill to expand the rabbinical courts' authority. 

"The proposal raised by the rabbinical courts is not a minor matter; it's an earthquake," said Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari of Bar-Ilan University.

"For years, we have witnessed an ongoing, deliberate offensive by the rabbinical courts in an effort to obtain blatantly civil powers for themselves.

If this proposal is accepted, it will deal a mortal blow to women's rights in Israel. The rabbinical courts have no authority to discuss property issues, which are clearly civil issues, unless they are part of a divorce suit."

Justice Min. bill enhances rabbinic court powers

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

The draft, which empowers rabbinical courts even more than previous proposals had, gives the rabbinical courts authority that had been denied them by the High Court of Justice. 

The bill would authorize the rabbinical courts to rule on suits against husbands who refuse to divorce their wives "on the basis of Torah laws." 

…The new proposal does not limit rabbinical courts' jurisdiction on disputes in which both sides agree to have their case heard by a rabbinical court. It stipulates that the issuing of a divorce settlement authorizes the rabbinical courts to debate any complaint or suit deriving from this settlement.

Unnecessary authority for the rabbinical courts

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com May 24, 2009

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman's conduct relating to a bill that would expand the authority of the rabbinical courts raises concerns that there exists a disparity between his own policies and that of his office. 

…The conflict within the judiciary, or between the state and the religious and orthodox communities, is flaring up on other fronts and represents the worrying deterioration of the state's jurisdiction.

Haredi chutzpah

By Yair Sheleg www.haaretz.com Opinion May 26, 2009

It is indeed necessary to alter the status of the rabbinical courts, but in the opposite direction of what the Haredim are demanding, and what the justice minister has promised to consider.

The proper direction is complete abolition of the rabbinical courts' monopoly over marriage and divorce, while instead legalizing any marriage procedure that reflects couples' free and genuine desires. 

…In short, the rabbinical courts' control over marriage and divorce must end.

IDF: Female Soldier cannot say kaddish in shul

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com May 22, 2009

Photo not connected to article

The Military Rabbinate denied a Masorti (Conservative) female soldier access to her army base's synagogue last week to recite the kaddish mourning prayer for her deceased grandmother.

Rabbi Eyal Krim, head of the IDF's Halacha Department, ruled in accordance with many Orthodox rabbis who forbid women from reciting kaddishin a synagogue, even when there are men reciting kaddish simultaneously.

Krim ruled instead that the soldier, who serves in a Nahal unit affiliated with the Masorti Movement's Noam youth organization, would be allowed to use a classroom on the base and assemble a quorum of women there.

However, the soldier, who initially abided by Krim's ruling and prayed in a classroom, opted instead to leave the base during the shiva for her grandmother and recite kaddish in a synagogue, Rabbi Barry Schlesinger, president of Masorti Movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel, said on Thursday.

Conservative Jews Decry Bias in IDF

By Nathan Jeffay www.forward.com May 20, 2009

Last September, the Conservative movement cast its attention on the army. In a letter to the IDF chief-of-staff, Masorti officials demanded that non-Orthodox rabbis be brought into the army rabbinate — a request that was turned down.

Stymied at changing the chaplaincy’s makeup, Masorti leaders sought, instead, to break the Orthodox monopoly over army synagogues, attempting to hold Conservative services in them, too. Pollack’s kaddish dispute, in fact, follows a disagreement last Yom Kippur, when Pollack tried to hold an egalitarian service in the synagogue only to be stopped by the chaplain.

“We are saying that Conservative soldiers should receive the same attitude from the army that Orthodox soldiers do,” Conservative movement spokesman Shmuel Dovrat told the Forward.

Liberalism has the right to defend itself

By Carlo Strenger www.haaretz.com Opinion May 25, 2009

If I thought that an influx of Haredim to Ramat Aviv would maintain the modus vivendi of peaceful coexistence (despite the stereotype that there are many religious inhabitants here), I wouldn't worry about it at all.

I like mixed neighborhoods, provided they are based on a shared value of respecting each other's lifestyle and non-interference. 

…Many liberals confuse this with the mistaken idea that liberalism cannot and must not defend itself, its values and its lifestyle. 

'Hands off our lifestyle'

By Peggy Cidor www.jpost.com May 21, 2009

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Itzhak Pindrus is a member of the Degel Hatorah part of the United Torah Judaism party.

"The Education Ministry has no say in our education system. It has no right to interfere. It is our way of life, it has been so for centuries, and nothing will change it - nothing should change it," he says.

"The secular population and the state in general have no right to tell us what to do. We feel threatened every time some minister decides to force on us some new programs, some different curriculum. 

We say loud and clear: 'Hands off our lifestyle.'"

Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai Fears Religious Coercion

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

Deputy Minister of Education (Yahadut HaTorah - UTJ) Rav Meir Porush told Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai that the ongoing discriminatory policies against chareidim in his city is unacceptable, also formally protesting the widespread chilul Shabbos that was associated with preparations for Tel Aviv’s gala 100 year celebration, which was held on a motzei Shabbos.

‘The Great Neck of Tel Aviv’ - Ra’anana

By Sharon Udasin www.thejewishweek.com May 20, 2009

The growth of the fervently Orthodox community there is sparking tensions between the newcomers and the secular and Modern Orthodox population that have lived in the city for years.

“With the influx of religious people from France, there’s a big argument between secular and religious about the character of the city,” Even said.

The fervently Orthodox have only begun to settle in Ra’anana in the past 10 years, and currently 3 percent of residents are “black hat.” In today’s city council, Even’s liberal Meretz party holds five of 19 seats, while a haredi faction holds four. “There’s always those two sides that fight each other,” he added.

Currently on Shabbat, the stores and restaurants in the outside ring of Ra’anana are allowed to remain open — including a supermarket that sells pork — yet stores in the center of the city are closed, a policy supported by secular residents who appreciate the peacefulness of Saturday quiet, Even explained.

But ultra-Orthodox groups are now attempting to influence the status quo that Ra’anana has enjoyed for so many years, Even said, noting that even this past weekend, a group of religious youngsters rioted during Shabbat, demanding that a street be closed. 

The street remained open, and so far, the secular population still has the strongest voice in Ra’anana.

More Frum-Secular Tensions in N’vei Yaakov, Jerusalem

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

Jerusalem is heating up, not just because of summer, but the formidable opposition to the demographic changes, primarily the city is becoming frummer and more chareidi.

This not only elicits the ire of many non-frum residents, but sadly, in many cases, the most outspoken opponents to the chareidim are members of the Shomer Shabbat dati leumi community.

This has been the case in Ramot, Ramat Eshkol and other areas, where dati leumi residents fear the chareidi influx will make them a minority and they prefer to act to halt the trend.

Secularists Planning Stepped-Up Opposition in Kiryat Menachem

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

The Kiryat Menachem area of Yerushalayim is indeed an up-and-coming chareidi neighborhood but the secular majority is not entirely pleased with the rapidly changing demographic realities.

Opponents the chareidi residents explain the same thing occurred in neighboring Kirya Yovel, and they do not plan to sit back while their lives are overrun by the new community residents.

Guide to the sexist groom

By Zvika Brot www.ynetnews.com May 21, 2009

An instructional brochure handed out to grooms-to-be by the Jerusalem Religious Council has infuriated many men, who found it to be extremely chauvinistic.

The brochure was distributed to future grooms, both religious and secular, as part of a compulsory class on marriage given at the council's offices.

In another section, the leaflet argues that "the woman is like clay. The husband can shape and mold her as he pleases, because it's in her nature to help the husband. All that's needed is a kind word."

Ultra-Orthodox employment in Jerusalem up 70%

By Ora Coren www.haaretz.com May 21, 2009

The number of ultra-Orthodox people employed in industry in Jerusalem increased by 70% in the last five years, to 2,800, says the Manufacturers Association's district office in the capital.

Most of those 2,800 are women working at 380 local industries, says the district office chairman, Yitzhak Reif, who is also a manager at Ophir Optica.

Most of the Haredim work as computer programmers at high-tech companies, where they comprise 2% to 10% of the workforce, Reif says.

Some of the companies have earmarked rooms for prayer and taken steps to ensure that the food served meets ultra-Orthodox standards of kashruth.

Court Slams Modiin City Hall for mishandling ‘Lemaan Achai’

ModiInfo Blog May 20, 2009

The Tel Aviv District Court ruled in a prolonged lawsuit by the Lemaan Achai against the Modiin municipality.

The court rejected the school’s claim that it is entitled to a land allocation, but instructed the municipality to find space for the independent school under haredi auspices and to lease it to the school at a reasonable rate, and to otherwise provide the conditions that it would need to continue operating.

The court also instructed the city to pay the school 25,000 NIS in legal fees. The verdict comes in the midst of a major overhaul within the school, which includes its probably joining the Shas school network, “HaMa’ayan HaChinuch HaTorani”.

Workshop: Preventing sexual harassment in yeshivot

By Tzofia Hirschfeld www.ynetnews.com May 20, 2009

New course will train yeshiva students to give workshops on sexual abuse prevention in ultra-Orthodox schools. 'Sexual assault is made much easier in haredi society, because kids are separated from their mothers at a younger age,' explains rape center manager.

Elad Service Center Inaugurated

By Yated Ne'eman Staff http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com May 21, 2009

The new project center run by Manpower Bereishit in Elad was opened with an inauguration and mezuzah-posting ceremony attended by the moro de'asra, HaRav Mordechai Malkah, Mayor Rabbi Yitzchok Eidan, city councilmen and VIP guests.

In the first phase the project center will employ dozens of chareidi women in a project managed for leading insurance company AIG Israel. Other commercial companies are expected to join in the near future, bringing employment for hundreds of Elad ladies.

"Setting up a place specially suited to the employees' needs for purity and sanctity is an act of chessed, and through the willingness to accommodate the uniqueness of the city of Elad may they merit seeing blessing in their handiwork, and may the facility expand besiyata deShmaya and bring more income for families in our city," said Rabbi Malkah.

Homefront Command Turns to Chief Rabbis

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

The Homefront Command turned to Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger Shlita and Rabbi Shlomo Amar Shlita, along with Migdal Ha’emek Chief Rabbi Dovid Grossman and Rechovot Chief Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook as the military tries to reach chareidi communities, seeking to persuade residents affiliated with this sector to take part in the drill, the size of which was never before undertaken in Israel.

Homefront Command Speaking Yiddish

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 20, 2009

Realizing many chareidim do not listen to radio or see television, the decision was made to alert them to the training event using pashkavilim (street posters) and vehicles announcing the event through public address systems.

The 10-minute Yiddish instructions will include information how one should act in the event of an attack, what food items to store and how to deal with the young and elderly. 

Unrecognized Charedi Schools Will Not Be Budgeted In Children's Allowances

By Ezra Reichman, Chedrei Chedorim www.vosizneias.com May 25, 2009

Treasury officials …have found a formula to cut back the allowances: by creating criteria which will disenfranchise a large part of chareidi children. Children learning in unrecognized schools will now be ineligible for children's allowances.

…children who were enrolled in a new school which did not yet receive Education Ministry approval will [also] not be eligible.

Orange Cellular Deal for Chareidi Community

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

Orange, one of Israel’s cellular telephone companies, is launching a major campaign targeting the chareidi community. The offer includes to ‘kosher units,’ the Samsung B510 without charge, the first kosher phone supporting Bluetooth technology.

The phone is certified by the Rabbinical Committee overseeing cell phones, and the SIM is locked to only work with a kosher package, closed to internet surfing and SMS text messages.

Haredi widow to become surrogate mother

By Nissan Shtrauchler www.ynetnews.com May 26, 2009

For the first time in Israel, an ultra-Orthodox woman will serve as a surrogate mother, after receiving authorization to do so from a rabbi.

But the woman was concerned of her neighbors' reactions should she become pregnant, and asked the Institute of Fertility and Medicine According to Halacha to arrange a halachic approval from a rabbi explaining her condition and guaranteeing she was not "promiscuous."

Rabbi Menachem Borshtein, head of the institute, said that such an approval was given by Rabbi Zalman Nehamia Goldberg, and this gave the woman the green light to continue with the procedure.

Recession, Haredi boycott depress Blue Square sales

www.globes.co.il May 25, 2009

Alon Israel Oil Company Ltd. subsidiary Blue Square Israel Ltd today published its financial report for the first quarter of 2009, two days after Standard & Poor's Maalot Ltd. downgraded the company's bonds.

Israel's second largest supermarket chain reported lower sales, mainly due to the recession and the Haredi (ultra-orthodox) boycott of the Shefa Shuk brand stores, which began in February 2008.

Chabadnik, Joseph Gutnick, considers purchase of Jerusalem basketball team

By Greer Fay Cashman www.jpost.com May 21, 2009

According to Yediot Aharonot, Australian philanthropist Joseph Gutnick is considering purchasing the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.

Gutnick, a Chabadnik who is best known in Israel for bankrolling Binyamin Netanyahu's first election campaign with the slogan "Bibi is good for the Jews," owns a house in Jerusalem and reportedly met with Hapoel Jerusalem chairman Danny Klein, who tried to persuade him to buy the financially ailing team.

Gutnick, who made most of his fortune in gold mining, is no stranger to sports. He is a former president of the Melbourne Football Club.

Currently, his main interest in Israel is providing religious, cultural and social facilities for Chabad and other religious communities in many parts of Israel, including several communities across the Green Line.

Vaad Kashrus Rabbonim Meet Israel’s Chief Veterinarian

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com May 25, 2009

Rabbonim of the Vaad HaKashrut met with Dr. Moshe Heimowitz, the chief veterinarian in the Ministry of Agriculture. The meeting was held secretively during recent days, successfully avoiding mainstream media reports towards reducing the raising of pork in Eretz Yisrael.

Vitamen Café – Hebrew U. Mt. Scopus Campus

By Yechiel Spira, List owner/moderator www.jerusalemkoshernews.com May 21, 2009

The ‘Zman Jerusalem’ Hebrew weekly reports the Vitamin Café and Vitamin Meat restaurant located on the Hebrew University Mount Scopus Campus is threatening the Jerusalem Religious Council with a NIS multi-million lawsuit, represented by attorney Ashri Dahan.

The article goes on to explain the NIS 2 million suit is based on the Jerusalem Religious Council publicizing on campus that it has revoked the kashrut certificate of the restaurants. 

Introducing 1st religious women's rock band

By Nissan Shtrauchler www.ynetnews.com May 25, 2009

Meet Ashira, a group of women who manage to combine between religious world, its tough rules and musical performances.

In modest clothes and head covers, they get on the stage and play strictly kosher female rock music; no men allowed.

Tell me - who's buried down there, anyway?

By Abe Selig www.jpost.com May 21, 2009

Shimon Hatzadik was one of the last surviving members of the Great Assembly, the high priest who replaced Ezra - who had led the Jews back to Israel from the Babylonian exile - and the man whom Alexander the Great is said to have prostrated himself in front of, explaining that that it was his image that he always saw leading him to victory in battle.

Stations of the cross

By Ayala Tsoref www.haaretz.com May 22, 2009

The production staff entrusted with handing practical arrangements for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel could not believe the situation facing them: 

In discussing matters related to the pontiff's security, high-ranking Israel Police officers referred to the number of protective plates that would be positioned within the altar to be placed on the stage during mass, so as to defend the pope in the event of a shooting attack. 

What Jews Saw in Benedict

By Michele Chabin www.ncregister.com May 22, 2009

Although some Jews, both in Israel and elsewhere, were disappointed by the Holy Father's remarks, they were honored that the Pope, an influential head of state and the leader of the Christian world, decided to spend the bulk of his visit on Israeli soil, visiting holy sites and meeting government officials and religious leaders.

Even before arriving at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport May 8, Pope Benedict was well aware that he might receive a mixed reception.

One step closer to peace

By Josh Lichtenstein www.ynetnews.com May 22, 2009

During Pope Benedict XVI's recent visit to Israel the Elijah Interfaith Institute organized a joint prayer with the pontiff and Muslim, Druze, Christian, and Jewish religious leaders. 'The symbolic gesture takes us one serious step further in interfaith relations,' says organization's head.

Religion and State in Israel

May 25, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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