Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - June 22, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

June 22, 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.

Rabbi Sherman annuls another conversion

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

Rabbi Avraham Sherman, who last year retroactively disqualified thousands of conversions that had already been recognized by the Chief Rabbinate, recently annulled another conversion.

Sherman revoked the conversion after he found "flaws" in the process of conversion, which was conducted by the rabbinate.

Rabbi Moshe Klein, former deputy head of the Chief Rabbinate's conversion program, said that the ruling was "one of the last nails in the burial coffin of conversions in Israel."

Rabbinical Court proves subservience to ultra-Orthodox

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com June 23, 2009

"All the Jewish people view them," referring to the ultra-Orthodox rabbis in the decision, "as appropriate and authorized to instruct the Jewish people, and all the Jewish people are subject to their decisions to do what they teach and not to stray from their teachings," wrote the rabbinical court in its ruling.

The ruling stated that all the Jewish People, including rabbis and dayanim, are subject to the rulings of the great ultra-Orthodox decisors.

As opposed to the regular format of rabbinical court decisions, Rabbi Sherman did not settle for quotes from previous rabbinic rulings, but instead quoted extensively letters and opinions of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis he follows, who oppose the present Israeli system of conversions.

Rabbinical judge: Most immigrants seeking conversion are misguided

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com June 18, 2009

A judge of the High Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Avraham Sherman, says that new immigrants who want to be accepted as Jews according to halakha are "in the vast majority gentiles who want to convert out of self-interest, and the Orthodox rabbis who want to convert them are suffering from a "false and distorted perspective, a lack of understanding of halakha."

Chief Rabbi Metzger supports conversions annulment

By Yair Ettinger www.ynetnews.com June 18, 2009

A judge of the High Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Avraham Sherman, says that new immigrants who want to be accepted as Jews according to halakha are "in the vast majority gentiles who want to convert out of self-interest, and the Orthodox rabbis who want to convert them are suffering from a "false and distorted perspective, a lack of understanding of halakha."

Sherman created a crisis over the issue when he wrote a ruling in April 2008 invalidating thousands of conversions approved by the state's special conversion courts.

"A large percentage [of the converts] did not intend on accepting the mitzvot when they accepted conversion," he said in his address to the conference.

Sherman ordered registrars in the religious councils to investigate the background of converts before registering their marriages - and not to accept conversions automatically.

"Every convert needs to be examined," Sherman said.

MKs demand apologies from 'racist' rabbis who derided converts

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com June 19, 2009

Tzohar, an organization of religious Zionist rabbis, also condemned the remarks, saying it was particularly upset that Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger praised Sherman and expressed support for his views.

"Instead of supporting the efforts of conversion court judges who operate under the Chief Rabbinate's auspices, the chief rabbi caved in to a group of extremist ultra-Orthodox hacks who have made it their goal to sabotage conversion," the group said in a statement.

MK Orlev: Prevent Rabbi Sherman from discussing conversion

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

MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) called upon the president of the Great Rabbinical Court, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, to prevent Rabbi Avraham Sherman from discussing issues of conversion.

This comes on the backdrop of Rabbi Sherman's revocation of a conversion carried out by the Chief Rabbinate.

Orlev said that Sherman's ruling, which was first published in Ynet, is "a challenge to the religious court system and the Chief Rabbinate that must be addressed."

He also announced that he intends to initiate a bill stipulating that only a special court headed by Rabbi Amar will have the authority to discuss nullifying conversions

Who is an Orthodox convert?

By Rivkah Lubitch www.ynetnews.com Opinion June 18, 2009

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

"What exactly is the issue here? What is so “complicated” about it?" asks Attorney Susan Weiss, who represents both petitioners.

"The State has to get its house in order and ensure that the Beit Din honors conversion certificates that have been signed by the chief rabbi, and endorsed with the official stamp of the Chief Rabbinate.
It just can’t be that the right hand denies what the left hand does. We live in a state committed to the rule of law, not in a community where each rabbinic judge or rabbi sets the individual standards for himself and his constituents.”

Trial Brings Light to Treatment of ‘Messianic Jews’

Click here for VIDEO

Christian Broadcasting Network www.cbn.com June 22, 2009

"Christmas Eve in 2005, my wife and I and three sons came to the congregation in the morning and we saw many ultra-Orthodox people outside, and there were even more inside. They had already taken over the congregational time," said Michael Cederburg, a member of Nachalat Yeshua.

Chairs were thrown and people knocked around as hundreds of protestors sang, danced and rioted. Despite a heavy police presence, the trouble continued for three hours. Cederburg's son captured some of the events on camera.

"People were trying to take the camera from his hand. It was a violent demonstration," he said.

Court hears Messianic Jews' suit against Beersheba chief rabbi

By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com June 22, 2009

According to the suit, hundreds of Orthodox Jews held a demonstration without a permit, broke into the church compound, attacked worshipers, broke furniture and held their own prayer service. The protesters allegedly remained in the compound for three hours before police evicted them.

Members of the congregation also alleged that the demonstrators punched worshipers and surrounded a Korean man, kicked him in the ankles and said to him, "Go back to Thailand, you dirty Thai worker."

The Nachlat Yeshua Messianic congregation is one of about seven such Christian congregations in the city.

The congregation has sued Rabbi Deri and the Yad L'Achim organization on various counts, including harming religious feelings, imprisonment without cause, trespassing and causing damage to the compound.

According to one of the congregation's lawyers, Kevork Nalbandian, Deri organized the assault on the compound.

Haredim threaten boycott if Jerusalem elects Zionist rabbi

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

"If there's a rabbi whose level or halachic views do not correspond with the haredim's demands – the spiritual leaders will call on the community to shun the Jerusalem rabbinate," declared city council member Shlomo Rosenstein (United Torah Judaism).

Jerusalem mayor presses for Zionist chief rabbi for city

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

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced Sunday night that he would back a "Zionist" candidate to serve as Jerusalem's chief rabbi.

"I believe that a chief rabbi, like a mayor, should be able to embrace all elements of Jerusalem's diverse populace and connect the entire Jewish people to Jerusalem, including secular Israelis who love Jerusalem and who serve in the army," said Barkat in an emotionally charged speech at the municipality building.

"I am convinced that choosing a Zionist chief rabbi is a necessity in a city in which 70% of the population is not haredi and has special needs. That is the right thing to do - to appoint a Zionist rabbi alongside a haredi rabbi."

Barkat Wants National Religious Chief Rabbi in Capital

www.israelnationalnews.com June 22, 2009

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat pledged Sunday to work towards appointing a national religious Chief Rabbi in Israel’s capital city.

At a conference held towards that goal in the city council, the mayor said that a national religious rabbi should be appointed along with a haredi-religious one.

“The rabbi will have the responsibility of representing the city and its residents,” Barkat said.

“I believe that a national religious rabbi is necessary in a city in which 70 percent of its residents are not haredi.”

Dispute over Bamba blessing underscores rabbinical power struggle

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com June 17, 2009

What blessing should a pious Jew make on the popular snack Bamba and its many surrogates?

This arcane dispute, relevant to a religious minority of Jews, has been thrust to the forefront of a power struggle between two sons of Sephardi Jewry's most influential halachic authority - Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual mentor of Shas.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Rabbi David Yosef, the two sons, are vying to become the next Chief Sephardi rabbi of Jerusalem.

By taking the Jerusalem Chief Rabbinate post, each son could potentially position himself to inherit the mantle of rabbinic leadership for Sephardi Jewry from the 89-year-old father, who has a history of heart disease.

Jerusalem Rabbinate Election Continues to Heat Up

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 21, 2009

The upcoming election of new chief rabbis of Yerushalayim, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, is a source of tension in all communities, chareidi, dati leumi and secular.

The dati leumi and secular communities are more-or-less in tune with one another, both determined to prevent a ‘chareidi take-over’ of the capital, with the dati leumi camp comfortable with the knowledge that City Hall will support its candidate, as per the pre-election agreement that resulted in the dati leumi camp’s support for Nir Barkat’s mayoral bid.

MKs suggest 4 religious candidates for Supreme Court

By Aviad Glickman www.ynetnews.com June 23, 2009

Three members of the Committee for Appointing Judges on Monday sent a letter to the committees' chairman, Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman, suggesting four additional candidates for the Supreme Court – all of whom are religious.

A senior legal source told Ynet that these candidates are surprising and that Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch was likely not to accept most of the names on the new list.

According to the source, Justice Beinisch will fight with all her might to thwart the appointment of most of the new candidates.

Will new Orthodox IDF track increase soldiers' service or reduce it?

By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com June 18, 2009

A new arrangement will permit hesder yeshiva students to spend more time in the army portion of their military service, and less in study.

The new arrangement will let participants in the hesder program, who divide their time between active service and Jewish religious studies, to spend two full, uninterrupted years in the army

Rabbis agree to longer army service option for hesder soldiers

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com June 18, 2009

The association heads stressed that the program will operate alongside the older program and will provide an alternative to those young religious students who are less inclined to study Torah.

Ronski to remain Chief IDF Rabbi

By Amos Harel www.haaretz.com June 18, 2009

photo Yonhap News
The tenure of Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronski will be extended by another year; it emerged yesterday, despite claims that he is radicalizing religious elements within the army.

Since taking on the post, Ronski has increased the involvement of military chaplains in combat units, which are increasingly dominated by religiously observant conscripts.

IDF: Religious soldiers can't walk out on women singing

By Amos Harel www.haaretz.com June 23, 2009

The letter, written by Major Neta Shmariyahu, assistant secretary to the Supreme Command, states there are directives that set guidelines for "appropriate integration" of male and female soldiers and guide the commanders in planning social cohesion activities in a manner that does not offend subordinates' sensibilities.

"When the event begins and a soldier feels the nature of the proceedings on stage does not suit his faith, he is not required to look directly at or actively participate in them, and can stay in his seat and show respect for the event and the performers.

Leaving the event hurts his fellow soldiers and sends [negative] messages to all soldiers," the letter said.

IDF Base Separates Men, Women in Swimming Pools

By Gil Ronen www.israelnationalnews.com June 21, 2009

The IDF will soon decide if it wants all military swimming pools to set separate bathing hours for men and women.

The matter came up for discussion in a top decision-making body after Col. Yaron Boim, Commander of the IDF’s School for Platoon Commanders and Infantry Professions, asked the Chief Military Rabbi, Brig.-Gen Avichai Ronsky, for his opinion on separating men and women in the base’s swimming pool.

Col. Boim is not waiting for the high-level decision, however, and has already instituted separate hours for men and women in the base’s swimming pool.

73 Avreichim Join the IDF Sunday

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 14, 2009

The Bakum induction base of the IDF, located at Tel Hashomer, operated on a mehadrin protocol on Sunday as 73 new Chareidi inductees were scheduled to arrive at 10:00am.

Their processing is being handled exclusively by male personnel, in compliance with guidelines agreed upon between rabbonim and the IDF.

The new inductees are not entering the popular Netzach Yehuda Nachal Chareidi unit, but they are being inducted into the navy and air force, most slated to do 2-4 years of service, many in intelligence units. 60 will be in army intelligence and 13 in the navy.

The new inductees are part of the expanding number of chareidim entering the armed forces, and they will receive mehadrin food with a hechsher of the Badatz Eida Chareidis as well as framework during basic training and during their service that is in line with their frum lifestyle.

Halakhic Electronics in the IDF

By Arnon Ben-Dror http://dover.idf.il June 17, 2009

After numerous petitions from military rabbis and religious soldiers, Shabbat switches have been installed at 20 gates of the security fence in the Judea and Samaria region, which enable observant soldiers to open the gates on Shabbat without desecrating the holy day.

Another development of the Halakha and Technology Unit is the fridge-oven. Observant Israel Navy soldiers serving on boats during Shabbat, up until now could not eat hot meals for lunch on Shabbat. This was a problematic restriction, especially during the winter.

When the new tool is introduced in a few months, the IN soldiers will be able to cook their food on Friday and put it into the fridge, which will then automatically turn into an oven for lunchtime on Shabbat.

Some of the other devices that the Military Rabbinate is currently developing to allow religious soldiers to observe Shabbat include automatic water pumps, indirect car engine starting mechanisms, special Shabbat keyboards, screens and mice for computers.

IDF Developing Delayed-Start Car Ignition for Religious Soldiers

By Gil Ronen www.israelnationalnews.com June 16, 2009

The IDF Rabbinate’s Halacha and Technology Department was only established last year but already has a slew of new developments in the works, most if not all of them Sabbath-related.

The IDF website reports that one such development is a Sabbath-friendly electrical socket, for connection of essential security and life-saving devices to the electrical current during the Sabbath.

Chabad “Conquers” Tzrifin IDF Chaplaincy

Source: www.col.il http://shmais.com/June 15, 2009

Last week, a group of rabbis from the French military chaplaincy visited the Rabbinical army base in Baratz-779, Tzrifin.

During their visit, they met with many Chabad Chassidim currently serving at the base.

There are a total of eight Chabad soldiers, serving as sofrim and in the adjutant’s office. Farbrengens are held at the base regularly.

After the High Holy Days, a special sofrus course is to open in Tzrifin for soldiers who have completed their training and wish to serve as sofrim in the army.

IDF to Emboss Ten Commandments Emblem on Military Korans

By Gil Ronen www.israelnationalnews.com June 21, 2009

The IDF Rabbinate intends to emboss its emblem on military-issued Korans, according to IDF journal BaMachaneh.

The Rabbinate’s emblem depicts the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, as well as the sword and olive branches that appear in numerous IDF logos.

The IDF provides Korans for its Muslim soldiers. These include Bedouins, as well as non-Bedouin Muslim Arabs, who have served in the IDF as trackers and in other combat roles since its earliest days.

Army refuses to let Chabad Bochurim go to NY for Gimmel Tammuz

Source: www.col.org.il http://shmais.com/ June 22, 2009

The law allows yeshiva students up to the age of 21 to remain abroad for up to 30 days.

Anyone who remains abroad for a period of over 30 days or whose accumulated time abroad between the ages of 18 to 21 has exceeded 30 days is not granted permission to leave the country.

Stop. Kashrut certification ahead

By Orly Vilnai www.haaretz.com June 16, 2009

This could have been an optimistic story, but just as things were starting to go well, R. came up against the wall of the Chief Rabbinate. R. is traditional in her religious beliefs and practice, and her niece is devoutly Orthodox, but they have not managed to secure a kashrut certificate for their business.

In order to receive such certification, two things must happen: First of all, R. has to pay NIS 1,200 monthly to a kashrut supervisor who will come to inspect the small room where she cooks.

And as for her niece, the rabbinate does not grant kashrut certificates to businesses that are conducted in a home, they told her, for fear that the kashrut supervisor might be alone in an apartment with a woman.

She will have to rent a place, with all the attendant expenses, and only then will she be able to receive the certificate - after paying NIS 1,200 monthly, of course.

Update - Keeping it kosher

June 23, 2009

After a large number of phone calls that we made to the municipal rabbi of Kiryat Gat, Shlomo Ben-Hamo, he is to meet with R. this week and promises to quickly solve the matter of the kashrut certificate.

Rabbis take act to Maccabiah Games

By Cnaan Liphshiz www.haaretz.com June 19, 2009

Dozens of rabbis will descend upon hotels across Israel next month, as part of a plan to instill Jewish values in non-Israeli participants of the 18th Maccabiah, the Jewish Olympics, which open July 13.

The 50-odd rabbis, many of them hailing from English-speaking countries, are volunteers for Tzohar, a nonprofit organization working to "bridge the gap between religious and secular Jews."

Religion and State in Israel

June 22, 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.

Religion and State in Israel - June 22, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

June 22, 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.

A secular awakening

By Peggy Cidor www.jpost.com June 18, 2009

Something is happening to the capital's young, secular population, it seems. With a tailwind from the election of a secular mayor, they are fighting back against years of haredi hegemony.

"One thing is sure," Hitorerut chairman and city councilor Ofer Berkovitch - one of the major figures in the secular demonstrations - tells In Jerusalem, "we worked very hard to promote this tremendous change, which culminated in the election of a secular mayor, and it means much more than the opening of some parking lot or other.
We're talking about saving this city to keep it a pluralistic, open city for all of us."

Controversial Jerusalem Parking Lot to Open on Sabbath

www.israelnationalnews.com June 22, 2009

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Monday that he would reopen the controversial Safra Square parking lot this coming Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

The parking lot was closed for two weeks after haredi-religious Jewish protests with police turned violent.

Barkat has negotiated with haredi-religious parties in the city council to come to an agreement on the issue, but with no success. The decision to reopen the lot may result in violent protest.

Barkat to open alternative parking lot

By Etgar Lefkovits www.jpost.com June 19, 2009

The mayor has asked the owner of a privately-owned lot opposite the Old City walls if it could be used on Saturdays, an official said Thursday.

The owner said he would respond to the mayor next week after consultation with rabbis, the official said.

The privately owned lot is located underneath the Mamilla shopping mall, which also houses a new hotel that will be opened in the coming days.

In the first sign of compromise, an official with the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit sect, which organized the protests, said late Thursday that his group would not protest a hotel opening a parking lot on Saturdays, but that the issue had to be resolved by the rabbis next week.

Shabbat shalom

JPost.com Editorial www.jpost.com June 18, 2009

The original plan to provide free parking at Mamilla strikes us as the way to go.

If, however, extremists persist in their efforts to intimidate, a variety of steps are called for:

  • challenging the not-for-profit status of the institutions behind the rioting (in coordination with foreign tax authorities);
  • prosecuting rioters to the full extent of the law;
  • deporting indicted foreigners;
  • instructing police to treat further outbreaks of haredi lawlessness as if they came from any other sector.

Violent extremists must not be allowed to rob Jerusalem's majority, and those who come to visit, of the peace, tolerance and tranquility that epitomizes Shabbat.

Secular vs. Haredi tensions in J'lem parked at Barkat's door

By Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com June 21, 2009

Secular activists in Jerusalem are planning a rally next weekend to support the Saturday opening of a parking garage, which the ultra-Orthodox call a violation of the Sabbath, and midweek could see tensions between the two groups, exacerbated in recent weeks, grow worse with the annual Gay Pride parade on Thursday.

J'lem haredi rabbis torn over Pride Parade protests

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com June 20, 2009

Jerusalem's Pride Parade is scheduled to take place next week, but this year, three years after the international gay pride events that sparked the city, and after two years of more minor protests, the rabbis of the city's ultra-Orthodox community have decided not to demonstrate against the parade.

Barkat, don't give in

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com June 18, 2009

Yielding over the opening of the Safra parking garage, a single facility that Barkat and United Torah Judaism's representatives agree would be operated by a non-Jew free of charge, came under threat of violence.

It is inconceivable for the municipality to accept the dictates of a violent group that does not recognize the rules of the democratic game and for them to determine the city's way of life.

Capitulation to violence invites the belligerent minority to additional rounds of fear and coercion.

Haredi rabbi: Don't protest gay parade

www.jpost.com June 17, 2009

Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, head of the ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit's Rabbinic Court, has issued a directive to his community to refrain from demonstrating against the Gay Pride Parade planned to be held in Jerusalem next week.

Yaffo Archaeological Dig Placed on Hold; Eida Chareidis Warns About Kevarim (Graves)

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 16, 2009

Planned archaeological digging in the area of Kikar HaSha’on in the Yaffo area of Tel Aviv will not begin this week as planned, as officials on Monday afternoon announced the start of the project has been placed on hold, apparently for a number of weeks.

The permits have already been issued to begin work on what is slated to become a new hotel but the area is known to be home to old graves, one of the reasons for the archaeological experts prior to start of construction.

The Eida Chareidis has learned of the planned digging and buses of people from a number of areas, including Yerushalayim, Bet Shemesh and Bnei Brak arrived at the location in a showing of defiance, stating clearly they will not permit disturbing graves to accommodate a hotel.

Ministerial Burial Committee Established

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 16, 2009

At the behest of Minister of Religious Services (Shas) Yaakov Margi, his party has lobbied for and successfully brought about a ministerial committee to address burial in Eretz Yisrael.

El Al Flight Remains in Thailand to Prevent Chilul Shabbos

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 21, 2009

In an effort to honor El Al’s commitment not to cause chilul shabbos, 120 passengers of an El Al flight who thought they would be in Israel for Shabbos spent the holy day in Thailand.

Porush Scores a Big Win for Talmudei Torah

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 17, 2009

Deputy Minister of Education (Yahadut HaTorah) Meir Porush has scored a big win, succeeding in extending for five years the new law that would implement stringent restrictions for talmudei torah that are recognized by the state, and thereby receive funding.

8,000 Chareidi Housing Units in Hadera

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 17, 2009

It appears that Hadera may indeed become a city with a significant chareidi population.

On Wednesday morning, registration for the first stage of construction began, addressing 2,135 housing units, according to adverts, intended for chareidi families.

Chareidi Families Heading for Haifa?

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 19, 2009

It now appears hundreds of families may be setting their sights on affordable housing in Haifa, Laadat reports.

The Karliner askanim then decided to spread the news, and it now appears that other Chassidim are joining in, including Boyan, Vishnitz and Sanz-Karlin. There is also significant interest being exhibit by Toldos Aaron.

New Israel Fund Professional Training Empowers Ultra-Orthodox Divorcees

www.nif.org June 15, 2009

Em Habanim’s Executive Director Aharon Malach said, “We are spearheading change in ultra-Orthodox society regarding divorce.

We are treated as though we are the organization of eczema sufferers. We’re told that if you recognize a problem exists then you encourage it.”

Some 60 new families join Em Habanim each year. The organization will soon be opening new branches in Betar Illit and Bet Shemesh to keep up with demand.

Haredim take on anti-fur bill

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com June 19, 2009

A bill meant to protect animals from abuse and cruelty that was passed at the Ministerial Legislation Committee on Monday has outraged ultra-Orthodox Knesset members who fear it could severely affect the local shtreimel market.

Rabbis allow mentally challenged to marry

By David Regev www.ynetnews.com June 23, 2009

Haredi community steps forward: In a progressive move several special-needs couples have been allowed to marry, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.

The ultra-Orthodox community prohibits the intellectually challenged to marry, for fear that their disability would keep them from properly observing matrimonial mitzvot.

The couples are being chaperoned by "supervisors" – family members or close friends who ensure they follow the relevant mitzvot of house and home.

New Web portal lets haredim have their Koogle and eat it, too

By Rachel Geizhals www.jpost.com June 16, 2009

Last year, mastermind Yossi Altman, Shilitz, a few others, and a group of haredi rabbis got together and decided to make the Israeli Internet experience more palatable for the Haredi user.

It took about a year to get the project off the ground, and last month, Koogle made its official debut.

Rabbi Eliyahu at Western Wall Prayer Rally

http://wejew.com June 21, 2009

Click here for VIDEO

A prayer rally was held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in wake of the Iranian threat, the continuous attempts to uproot Jewish communities in the land of Israel and the statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu according to which he agrees to establish a Palestinian state.

The rally was attended by former chief Rabbi, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.

Chief Rabbi Backs Law to Block Inhumane Leather Products

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com June 17, 2009

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Shlita on Tuesday issued a p’sak halacha supporting legislation to ban the importation of leather and other products produced at the expense of animals, in some case, removing the skins of animals while they are still alive.

Rabbi Metzger stated such actions, intentionally causing pain to animals negates Halacha and Israel must take steps to make such actions illegal, to be “a light unto the nations”.

New Rabbinate Lab to Examine Leafy Vegetables in Center

www.israelnationalnews.com June 22, 2009

The Chief Rabbinate is establishing a laboratory in the center of the country to carry out kashrut testing for companies marketing leafy vegetables.

Beit Shemesh rabbis issue modesty rules

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

A rabbis' committee in Beit Shemesh distributed over the weekend a detailed booklet instructing female residents to dress modestly in the city's ultra-Orthodox areas. In the pamphlets, women are ordered to keep their hair tied and their shirts buttoned up to the very end and to wear long sleeves.

The "[modesty] squad" pamphlets were distributed in mailboxes in the city's religious and secular neighborhoods.

Another page in the booklet includes a "prayer of a Jewish girl", and states that "your modest and dignified clothing shows that you acknowledge the fact that you are the daughter of a king.

The modest clothing honors the woman and raises her value. There is so much to regret and to be ashamed of when a daughter's king looks cheap and like a prostitute."

Protecting the pedophiles

By Tamar Rotem www.haaretz.com June 16, 2009

In Ramat Beit Shemesh, the population consists mostly of ultra-Orthodox Jews from abroad, who are considered more open than the Israeli-born ultra-Orthodox. Most of them work and therefore are more connected to the world around them.

However, as new immigrants they are prisoners in the hands of the rabbinical establishment that is the captive of the most extreme Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy.

The parents' reporting to the police in the three cases has been interpreted by the rabbis and school directors as traitorous to the community.

"There is denial here by an entire community," says Helise Pollack, a former welfare officer from Ramat Beit Shemesh and an expert on children who have experienced sexual abuse, who is treating some of the children.

"They simply don't believe the complainants. The people suspected of sexual abuse do not look like monsters. These are people who have families, regular people.

They make an excellent impression on their surroundings. What happens is that the victim's family is put on trial."

Modest swim suits, when less skin is better

By Michele Chabin www.usatoday.com June 19, 2009

A year ago, Devora heard about a modest-swimwear line called Sea Secret. Designed in Israel by two French-born Orthodox Jews in consultation with a respected rabbi, the company's below-the-arm, below-the-knee swim-dresses adhere to the strict Orthodox Jewish dress code.

Religious Jewish girls in Israel like to rock

By Karin Kloosterman www.israel21c.org June 18, 2009

Today Ashira is making headlines around the world, for its women-only policy at concerts.

They are also striking a chord among Israel's secular audience as well, despite the fact that their songs all have a religious theme. Their upcoming album will have a warning label: for women only.

Area of the not known

By Ruthie Blum Leibowitz www.jpost.com June 18, 2009

Interview with Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

I have a strong emotional response to words, and the trouble with prayer is that it has so many, and that they're normally said very fast, which cuts off the oxygen.

This is why the kind of prayer I prefer is slow and meditative. My synagogue is Yakar, where singing plays a very big part.

Aryeh Deri’s comeback

By Hagai Segal www.ynetnews.com Opinion June 17, 2009

In about a month, Aryeh Deri’s seven bad years will draw to an end.

The “period of moral turpitude’ in the wake of his conviction will end. His sins will expire in legal terms.

There will no longer be anything preventing him from competing for public office.

Can Third Temple be built without destroying Dome of the Rock?

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

A new Jewish interfaith initiative launched last week argues building the Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem would not necessitate the destruction of the Dome of the Rock.

"God's Holy Mountain Vision" project hopes to defuse religious strife by showing that Jews' end-of-days vision could harmoniously accommodate Islam's present architectural hegemony on the Temple Mount.

"This vision of religious shrines in peaceful proximity can transform the Temple Mount from a place of contention to its original sacred role as a place of worship shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians," said Yoav Frankel, director of the initiative.

Israeli State

By A.B. Yehoshua www.haaretz.com Opinion June 19, 2009

Does the exclusive appellation Israel or State of Israel preserve the state's Zionist essence - namely the Law of Return, which is the only practical, legal expression of the Zionist principle? It definitely does.

There is no need to use the words "Jewish state" or "state of the Jewish people" to express the validity of the Law of Return.

Mass converts pose dilemma for Latin American Jews

By Florencia Arbiser www.jta.org June 18, 2009

Approximately 70 percent of Maim Haim members have filed petitions for aliyah with the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Their petitions are being held in abeyance while Israel’s Chief Rabbinate makes a determination as to their Jewish credentials.

A Polish Priest’s Dream of Aliyah

By Donald Snyder http://forward.com June 17, 2009

When Romuald Jakub Weksler-Waszkinel applied to immigrate to Israel as a Jew under the Law of Return last October, Israeli authorities delayed responding to his request for months.

Perhaps it was the priest’s white-band collar around his neck that had something to do with this.

“I am Jewish. And my mother and father were Jewish. I feel Jewish.”

Adopting Forebears’ Faith and Leaving Peru for Israel

By Simon Romero www.nytimes.com June 22, 2009

“It is getting very lonely here,” said Mr. ReĆ”tegui Levy, 52, an inspector at Peru’s national oil company, referring to the more than 400 descendants of Jewish pioneers who have formally converted to Judaism this decade, including about 160 members of his immediate and extended family. Nearly all of them now live in Israel.

“But when I was a child, my mother told me something that forever burned into my mind,” he said. “She told me, ‘You are a Jew, and you are never to forget that.’ ”

Beth Am’s guitar-strumming rabbi gets a new gig in Israel

By Amanda Pazornik www.jweekly.com June 18, 2009

Rabbi Josh Zweiback has landed a gig that just might be more exciting than making a hit record with his band, Mah Tovu.

Zweiback recently was named director of the Year-in-Israel program at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem — the first time a rabbi not previously living in Israel was hired for the position, he noted.

Religion and State in Israel

June 22, 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.