Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - August 10, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

August 10, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Aish HaTorah installs Second Temple model opposite Western Wall

Aish HaTorah installs Second Temple model opposite Western Wall

By Jonah Newman www.jpost.com August 5, 2009

Some 50 people gathered on Wednesday to watch the installation of a Second Temple model on the roof of a yet-unfinished Aish HaTorah yeshiva building, across from the Western Wall and just a few hundred meters from where the real thing once stood.

The model will sit on a new educational building for Aish HaTorah's short-term outreach programs, which is set to open in December.

Aish Hatorah Temple Model donation: $360,000


  • Location: Rooftop Level D3
  • $360,000 donated by Mr. Robert Zarnegin

Do not miss the once-in-a-lifetime chance to dedicate this magnificent model of the ancient Holy Temple, the only one of its kind located just steps from the actual Temple Mount.

An incomparable gift, this replica of the Second Temple will stand at center stage atop Aish HaTorah at the Western Wall, portraying the grandeur of that edifice to the millions of visitors to the Rooftop Terrace seeking a vivid picture of their Jewish past.

This momentous dedication will be displayed prominently on the Rooftop Terrace.

It will also be highlighted on the exclusive Major Donors Tribute Wall in the Grand Entrance Lobby, to be seen and appreciated by millions.

Israel’s Third Temple Movement

By Linda Gradstein http://www.theworld.org/ August 10, 2009

Click here for AUDIO story

Almost two thousand years ago, the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews went into exile.

Now some Jews in Israel today say it’s time to rebuild the Temple. Problem is… they want to rebuild it on the location of Islam’s holiest site in Jerusalem.

High Court: Haredi School must end discrimination

By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com August 7, 2009

Justices Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel and Hanan Meltzer warned that unless the Independent Educational Stream (Hinuch Atzma’i), which is directly responsible for the school, removes every "trace, whether formal or substantive, of expressions of discrimination," it would order the Education Ministry "to take every legal measure, including withdrawing the school's permit and stopping its funding, to correct the situation."

Attorney Aviad Hacohen welcomed the "important High Court decision which constitutes a landmark in the ongoing struggle to eradicate discrimination in the education system in general and the haredi education system in particular.

The decision stresses the fact that even a multicultural society cannot be absolved, in the name of the uniqueness of the haredi community, of the burden of the principle of equality and that it is the duty of the Education Ministry to supervise and make certain that this principle is observed in fact as well as in theory."

Court to Haredi School: End segregation or face closure

By Ronen Medzini www.ynetnews.com August 9, 2009

The honorable Edmond Levi, Hanan Meltzer and Edna Arbel ordered the school to nullify within a week all discriminatory practices and protocols that separate between Ashkenazi and Sephardic students.

Beit Shemesh: Chareidi Education Division Getting Ready

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com August 6, 2009

The Education Division of Beit Shemesh is in full swing, getting ready for the 5770 school year. Deputy Mayor R’ Shmuel Greenberg, who oversees the city’s chareidi educational network, is quite busy these days ensuring the chareidi schools will be ready for the opening of classes after bein hazmanim.

The Beit Shemesh chareidi education network today numbers 16,000 talmidim while the public school system, both dati leumi and secular total 10,000.

During the past year, following the change of leadership in the city, major budgets have been allocated to the chareidi system; correcting what they view has been years of neglect.

The city this past week purchased new and used caravans, which are being placed in position in preparation for the new school year.

Petition: Abolish segregated bus lines

www.ynetnews.com August 10, 2009

"Ride in Safety - Ride with Egged"

Dozens of prominent Israeli public figures and intellectuals have recently signed a petition calling on Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to come out against the segregation between men and women on public transportation lines ("mehadrin lines").

The Transportation Ministry is scheduled to deliver its position on the matter next month.

The petition, signed by Israel Prize laureates A. B. Yehoshua, Haim Guri and Natan Zach, defined the "kosher buses" a "degrading and humiliating arrangement that hurts men and women in the State of Israel."

Jerusalem: Haredim bring segregation to the street

By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com August 10, 2009

A group of ultra-Orthodox men took to the streets of the haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem last Friday and called on the public to adhere to a complete separation between men and women in certain areas of the city.

The activists toured the streets near Geula neighborhood in taxicabs and announced, using megaphones that on some streets men and women should walk on opposite sides of the road during the weekend.

Committee formed to reduce tensions with Eda Haredit

By Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com August 11, 2009

Following weeks of rioting by ultra-Orthodox protestors in Jerusalem, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitz yesterday agreed to form a joint committee to reduce tensions with the leaders of the Eda Haredit, a particularly strict Hasidic community which called for the protests.

The rioting concerned the opening of a parking lot on Shabbat. In the meeting with Aharonovitz and the police's top-brass at the home of Eda's religious head, Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, who said Shabbat must be observed and Eda will not compromise on this.

"It was not an easy meeting," Aharonovitz said.

An organized secular struggle

By Michael Handelzalts www.haaretz.com Opinion August 6, 2009

I'm in favor of waging a struggle for a secular worldview by persuading secular politicians (for whom Shtrasler and I voted) and donors to offer the general public the same day-care conditions the ultra-Orthodox are able to offer using state funds.

A struggle over values must be waged for a secular home, for example on the public broadcasting channel, which should be able to offer secular youth something different from what is offered on commercial channels.

These youth should be offered non-religious temptation that can compete with what the ultra-Orthodox are presenting.

Minister meets with Haredim over Carta parking lot

By Ronen Medzini www.ynetnews.com August7, 2009

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch met Monday with heads of the ultra-Orthodox rabbinical court in an attempt to put an end to the weekly protests against the opening of Jerusalem's Karta parking lot on Shabbat.

Aharonovitch arrived at the meeting accompanied by top police officials. On the ultra-Orthodox side, six of the seven rabbinical court leaders were present.

A turf war heats up in Tel Aviv

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

By Edmund Sanders www.latimes.com August 6, 2009

Clashes between secular and religious Israelis are nothing new. In Jerusalem, shifting demographics have led to an uneasy coexistence between the fast-growing ultra-Orthodox community, known as Haredim, and Jerusalem's secular population.

As Haredi protesters rioted in June over plans to open a city parking lot on the Sabbath, gay marchers held their eighth annual pride parade through central Jerusalem.

Now, however, these tensions are shifting to other parts of the country as Haredi families move into urban, secular areas such as Ramat Aviv.

Once again, Haredim clash with police over Carta lot

Prosecution: Put 'abusive mom' under full house arrest outside Mea She'arim

Black like me

By Vered Lee www.haaretz.com August 7, 2009

Noga Zoraish did not celebrate the victory.

Three weeks ago, after a legal battle lasting more than three years that ended in the conviction of yeshiva student Itamar Biton for deliberately hitting her with his car…

…then his father, the Chief Rabbi of Hadera, got up to speak. I stayed to listen. And what do I hear? 'How did she dare to stand in front of my son's car.'

Judge Drori told him: 'If she were your daughter would you also say that?' and he said: 'If she were my daughter I would have slapped her in the face.' That was enough for me. I left."

…It eventually came out that during the first trial senior Shas party officials had come to Biton's aid: Rabbi Reuven Elbaz wrote a character reference praising the defendant's "scholarly achievements, contribution to his friends and assistance to charities"; Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar joined in, and Shas chairman Eli Yishai wrote:

"A conviction is liable to interrupt his rabbinical and public future and I believe that this is a punishment that should be avoided, especially since it will harm many people.... I thus recommend adopting the plan to end this judicial process without a conviction, and am convinced that he very much regrets his actions."

Rabbis fly over Israel in hopes of eliminating swine flu

By Nissan Shtrauchler www.ynetnews.com August 11, 2009

Click here for VIDEO

On Monday morning an Arkia airlines plane took off from Ben Gurion Airport carrying rabbis and Kabbalists and flew over the country in a flight aimed at preventing the swine flu virus from spreading in Israel through prayers.

"The purpose of the flight was to stop the epidemic, thus preventing further deaths," explained Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri whose father, Rabbi David Batzri had initiated the flight. "We are certain that because of our prayers danger is already behind us," he added.

During the flight the passengers blew the shofar seven times and said prayers intended for abolishing illnesses.

Treasury smiles on kosher investments

By Nati Toker www.haaretz.com August 10, 2009

Deputy finance minister Yitzhak Cohen of Shas is promoting a novel concept: kosher investment avenues, by halakha, with the blessing of the Finance Ministry.

The idea involves having leading rabbis of each community, who rule on halakhic issues, approve investment avenues for the haredi community.

One such rabbi would be Moshe Yosef, the son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas' spiritual leader, who would grant his imprimatur to investments among the Sephardi community.

Also involved in the talks with the treasury is Rabbi Arye Dvir, head of the Halakhic Business institute, who is considered a confidante of Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv, head of the Lithuanian stream of Hassidism.

Furor after appointment of woman to religious council

By Miriam Bulwar David-Hay www.jpost.com August 9, 2009

The ultra-Orthodox sector in Haifa is in a furor after the recent appointment of a woman to the city's religious council for the first time, reports www.nrg.co.il.

Orthodox sources said they had been caused "great sorrow and [despair]" by the appointment of former city councilor Yaffa Peretz to the religious council, although they said she was a "respectable and good woman" and they had nothing against her personally.

Religious Coercion: Between Ramot Bet Shemesh and Kabul

(For Hebrew-readers)

כפייה: בין רמות בית שמש לקאבול

Eretz Acheret Magazine Fall 2009 Issue www.acheret.co.il

Police widen probe of Haredi soldier who threatened gays

By Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com August 10, 2009

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court yesterday remanded Shmuel Primarik, who was arrested on suspicion of posting threats on a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Internet forum, for three days.

Police say that Primarik, a soldier in the ultra-Orthodox Nahal Haredi unit, confessed to authoring posts saying "more serious attacks are expected against the gays; don't say you didn't know about it."

Court extends remand of soldier who threatened to attack Tel Aviv gay solidarity rally

Haredim may not be as homophobic as they seem

By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com Opinion August 7, 2009

Seventy one percent of Haredi citizens believe that homosexuality is a perversion, according to a Haaretz poll.

I know that many of this paper's readers saw the headline and shuddered, but I also know that those in the ultra-Orthodox community who saw the poll results immediately asked themselves - what about the other 29 percent?

…It doesn't necessarily mean that we are going to see another wave of haskala-secularism sweeping thousands of young Haredi and religious men and women away from their families and communities - there are still many ties that continue to bind them.

But it does indicate the rise of a new generation of independently thinking religious people, willing to engage the outside world on their own term

The Haredi Factor

By Rachel Metz www.jpost.com Opinion August 6, 2009

Regardless of whom the killer turns out to be, several prominent members of the country's Orthodox communities should heed these deaths as an example of the damage caused by hate speech.

While the ultra-Orthodox Shas party condemned the attack, such violence was a perhaps inevitable response to the incitement uttered by several haredi leaders over the years

Bringing regret out of the closet

By Yoav Sivan www.haaretz.com Opinion August 7, 2009

Although we should be careful about creating a causal connection between words and deeds, particularly when (at least as I write) the identity of the shooter remains unknown, it is impossible to ignore the public atmosphere that is conducive to such actions - and, yes, even encourages them.

Those immediately responsible for this public atmosphere are rabbis and MKs from various religious parties, who have turned homophobia into the lowest common denominator for inciting the masses and thereby enlisting political support.

Embrace those who are different

By Yair Sheleg www.haaretz.com Opinion August 7, 2009

Even if there are still many secular parents who have difficulty legitimizing their children's different sexual leanings, it is members of the Haredi community (and especially supporters of Shas, who are generally considered the less extreme wing of ultra-Orthodoxy), who use particularly harsh language to attack homosexuals.

Moreover, on the rare occasions when attacks come from people identified as secular (such as Menahem Ben, Ariel Silber and the late Meir Ariel), they are for the most part secular people with leanings toward the religious world.

Religion and State in Israel

August 10, 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 - August 10, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

August 10, 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.

Alternative wedding ceremony of Nico & Olga with Havaya & the New Israel Fund

http://www.nif.org/ http://www.havaya.info/ August 11, 2009

Click here for VIDEO

Russian Jews defy Israeli rabbis’ ban on marriage

By Jonathan Cook www.thenational.ae August 6, 2009

Mr. Tarosyan, a computer engineer, said that, although he failed to impress the rabbis, both his parents were considered Jews in Russia. In Moscow, he said, neighbours had daubed anti-Semitic graffiti on the family’s door.

They may say I do but what to do when the state says, no you don't?

By Jason Koutsoukis www.theage.com.au August 6, 2009

For many Israeli Jews such as Olga Samosvatov and Nico Tarosyan, getting married is not as easy as it sounds.

…Although Mr. Tarosyan's parents were Jewish, and he is an Israeli citizen who served in the Israeli army, because he has no written proof that his mother was Jewish he cannot be legally married in Israel.

''It was important for us to get married here in Israel under the chuppah in a meaningful Jewish ceremony together with our family and friends,'' says Ms Samosvatov.

''I hope (the wedding) will serve to change the law in Israel so that people can have whatever type of Jewish wedding they want.''

Sex-crazed husband gives 'get'

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com August 11, 2009

An eight-year saga involving a recalcitrant husband, a "chained" wife and an out-of-control libido came to an end in a regional rabbinical court in Rehovot this week.

A man who had refused for the last eight years to divorce his wife finally acquiesced to a rabbinic court demand, the Rabbinic Courts Administration announced.

The prurient, headstrong husband had been told eight years ago by the rabbinical court of Rehovot that he must divorce his wife due to his abnormal sexual appetite.

According to the woman, her husband demanded sex three to four times a day, 365 days a year, including on Yom Kippur and when she was menstruating - times during which intercourse is prohibited according to Jewish law.

The husband refused to give his wife a get (writ of divorce), choosing instead to go into hiding and live on the streets.

In Israel, the shtetl rules

By Rabbi Seth Farber www.jpost.com Opinion August 9, 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.

Can the State of Israel suffer its marriage registrars rejecting the state's own conversions?

Imagine the following scenario: A man is stopped by a policeman and asked to produce his driver's license.

Upon examination, the policeman states: "I'm sorry sir, but your license is invalid because it was issued in Jerusalem."

The result would be chaos, at best. The State has to stand behind its own institutions or anarchy will pervade.

Israel Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar: A “Central Database” for Conversion, Marriage, Divorce

By Avraham Shmuel Lewin www.jewishpress.com August 5, 2009

What is your message to American Jewry, to American rabbis?

I think my proposal to set up recognized batei din was a good start, but another vital step that must be taken is that there must be uniform registration in every country. I explained this to the RCA leaders when I met with them.

For instance, all rabbinates should print up identical forms and when a couple registers to marry they will get a copy of the form, the rabbi will get one and a third one will be filed away in a central database where one will be able to see which rabbi performed the marriage.

Likewise, when a person converts anywhere in the U.S., every rabbi will be able to know who performed the conversion since it will be filed away in this central database. The same with regard to divorces.

Scholars: Program to tackle agunot issue

By Jonny Paul, London www.jpost.com August 6, 2009

Academics at a British university claim to have devised a more comprehensive approach to the problem of agunot - Jewish women whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious divorce.

The Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester has put together a "road map" that it says will resolve the issue. T

"There is no single magic bullet to solve the problem," said Prof. Bernard Jackson, the director of the Manchester center's research.

"Indeed, our proposals may commend themselves initially only to particular Orthodox communities."

Divorcing couples forced to wait

By Miriam Bulwar-David www.jpost.com August 9, 2009

The growing number of couples wanting divorces is leading to longer queues at rabbinical courts around the country, and the rabbinical court in Netanya is feeling the pressure, reports www.local.co.il

Despite Netanya's rabbinical court being considered one of the quickest and most efficient in Israel, couples seeking a divorce there are being told they must wait at least five months before they can have their first appearance.

Chief IDF rabbi: Army magazine shouldn't cover gays

By Anshel Pfeffer and Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com August 10, 2009

Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi Brigadier General Avihai Ronski has slammed the army's weekly magazine Bamahane for publishing a series of features on the subject of gay officers.

Ronski wrote the army's personnel department and education corps to express that he did not find homosexuality to be an appropriate topic for a publication that reflects the IDF's way of life.

The rabbi took particular offense to a particular interview with Major Yehoshua Gortler, an openly gay religious officer. In the interview, Gortler described his life as both a religious Jew and a gay man.

Military magazine 'unfazed' by rabbi's anti-gay statements

By Daniel Edelson www.ynetnews.com August 10, 2009

Former IDF spokeswoman, MK Miri Regev (Likud) said that the gay community should receive even more coverage than it does.

Not only did she condemn the remarks made by Brig. Gen. Ronsky, she also added, "Bamahane and Army Radio represent all IDF soldiers.

These media outlets must support the minority groups within the IDF in need of support.

Religious homosexual soldiers send letter protesting chief rabbi's comments

By Ofri Ilani and Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com August 11, 2009

The soldiers, all graduates of hesder yeshivas or religious pre-army academies, said they "believe it is everyone's right as a private individual" to hold racist or homophobic views.

"But because you are an IDF officer and serve as the IDF's chief rabbi ... we expect you to be the rabbi of all IDF soldiers, including religious homosexual soldiers," they wrote.

80% of hesder yeshiva students join combat units

www.ynetnews.com August 5, 2009

Over 500 youths studying in hesder yeshivot as part of a program which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service, joined the army on Tuesday.

Among the August 2009 class of yeshiva recruits, over 80% will serve in combat units. The rest of the recruits will spend their service in Home Front units according to their medical profile.

Torah Procession at JFK Airport

www.israelnationalnews.com August 6, 2009

Seventy Jewish high school students danced through the departure hall with a Torah scroll at New York’s JFK International Airport Thursday.

The students from the Achva summer program of the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) were en route an El Al flight to Israel, where they will donate the Torah scroll to the IDF.

The Torah Scroll is being given to the soldiers through the Sefer Torah Program, a joint initiative of the NCYI and the Rabbinate of the IDF.

This was the 181st Torah Scroll that the NCYI has donated to the IDF to be used on remote army bases throughout Israel, so that soldiers on active military duty are able to maintain their religious practices while serving in the army.

Second Nahal Haredi battalion being considered after best draft yet

By Yaakov Katz www.jpost.com August 6, 2009

Due to the high enlistment on Wednesday - in March the unit enlisted 160 soldiers - the IDF is considering establishing a second battalion.

The army also recently approved the establishment of a Nahal Haredi reserve battalion that will draft soldiers from the unit's more than 2,000 graduates.

National Religious Lead in Enlistment to Combat Units

www.israelnationalnews.com August 9, 2009

A new study released by the IDF and Ministry of Education reveals that youth from the national religious sector are most likely to join combat units.

According to the study, the two high schools with the highest percentage of enlistment to combat units are both from the national religious sector.

In first place is the Sdeh Eliyahu High School located in the Beit Shean Valley and in second place is the Yeshiva High School of Chispin, located on the Golan Heights.

VIDEO: Lobster Farms in Israel

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Israel Channel 2 TV http://www.jerusalemonline.com/ August 9, 2009

Report: Chief Rabbinate Shchita Abroad

By Yechiel Spira www.jerusalemkoshernews.com August 10, 2009

The following is a translation of an article appearing in the shabbos Yediot Acharonot “Musaf Shabbat” magazine, written by Techiya Barak.

Note from Yechiel Spira: I pondered publishing this but decided that it appeared in the nation’s leading newspaper, backed by evidence amassed by Yediot, thereby rendering it newsworthy and perhaps incumbent upon me to bring it to the attention of the English-speaking public.”

“During all the years in which I worked as a mashgiach and knife inspector in various factories abroad, I encountered kashrut problems. Nevertheless, it was possible to find solutions and somehow continue”, explained Menachem.

“This time, the flippant attitude of the team left me with the feeling there was nowhere to go. I felt that no one cares. It got to the point I would not eat from the meat we slaughtered”.

…He concludes in a letter to Hariri and Sabag about two months ago, writing “simply one who wishes to survive on the team must hear nothing, say nothing and see nothing”.

One veteran shochet added “if they slaughter donkeys (not kosher) and use forbidden animals don’t say anything for if you do, you are in trouble”.

Placing Notes in the Kotel

www.ravaviner.com August 5, 2009

Rav Aviner:

It is therefore permissible to place notes in the Kotel, but we recommend praying directly to the Master of the Universe, who does not need notes.

Religious public: We’re not represented by the Media

www.ynetnews.com August 6, 2009

Most of the respondents, 83%, agreed with the claim that the national religious public and its opinions were not sufficiently represented in the Israeli media.

A majority of 90% said that the media gave too little attention to positive aspects in the life and leadership of the religious public.

Yarmulke Exhibit Moves to Jerusalem

By Hillel Fendel www.israelnationalnews.com August 6, 2009

Dozens of knitted kippot of all sizes and colors comprise a new exhibit attempting yet another way to define the religious-Zionist community.

Ex-defense official held for posing as rabbi, raping women

By Yuval Goren and Yossi Melman www.haaretz.com August 6, 2009

A retired senior Defense Ministry official allegedly raped and defrauded women for 15 years, claiming to be a rabbi who could cure their problems, police said yesterday.

Based on the testimonies, Aharon would call women in distress, convince them becoming religious would solve their problems, and mention a senior Jerusalem rabbi. A few days later he would call from a private number, pretending to be the rabbi.

Police say Aharon would tell the women he had curing powers and that they needed to touch him as much as possible to "absorb the holiness."

Rav Aviner: Question on Swine Flu

www.ravaviner.com August 10, 2009

Rav Aviner:

Because of the outbreak of Swine Flu, one doctor requested that we ask the public not to kiss the mezuzah on the door of the health clinic (which many have in Israel) since it may transmit the illness.

If this is so, then we should also refrain from kissing the mezuzah in hospitals and, in fact, everywhere. There is no halachah that we must kiss the mezuzah.

A scandalous request

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com August 11, 2009

This is the second time in a matter of weeks that Yishai has attempted to blur the distinction between the authorities, a touchstone of every democracy.

The first time involved the case of a yeshiva student, Itamar Biton, who was accused of running over a woman; Yishai appealed to the judge not to convict him. That time, too, the accused was a person close to Shas.

Shas party asks Peres to pardon imprisoned former MK Benizri

www.haaretz.com August 9, 2009

"As a public servant, as a Jew of Middle Eastern descent and as a deputy prime minister, I am of the opinion that there is no request for clemency more justified than this," Yishai wrote of Benizri.

A cultural struggle where hate is the enemy

By Jay Shofet www.njjewishnews.com Opinion August 6, 2009

Jay Shofet is chairperson of the Reform community Yozma in Modi’in, a member of the executive of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, and coordinator of the religious pluralism project of Shatil, the New Israel Fund’s Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations in Israel.

The Kulturkampf in Israel — the real cultural struggle in our society — has been sizzling for a while now and this summer is boiling over.

The lines have been clearly drawn: it’s the haredi (fervently Orthodox) fundamentalists against everyone else.

At stake is the very nature of religion and our state and all the existential questions that comprise it: who is a Jew, who is a rabbi, and what will be the fate of our civic and human freedoms and conveniences, should they run counter to the belief system of the haredi rabbis and politicians?

Analysis: Why Nefesh B'Nefesh changes everything

By Haviv Rettig Gur www.jpost.com Opinion August 9, 2009

The new American aliya may never be great in numbers, but it will play a social role unlike any previous aliya.

This is aliya as education, an essentially American phenomenon through which American Jews take ownership of the Land of Israel for their own purposes - not statehood, but identity.

To survive and flourish, American Jewry doesn't need Jewish political sovereignty. As parts of the community drift away, the community wants to tap into the organic ethnicity and authenticity of Israeli life and "landedness."

In a world of chosen identities and individualism, American Jewry is using Israel as part of its own path to spiritual and institutional survival.

Other Jewish communities come to Israel; American Jews, even in aliya, are bringing Israel to America.

Abayudaya Ugandans dream of Israel

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Religion and State in Israel

August 10, 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.

All rights reserved.