Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - August 24, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

August 24, 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.

Israel's Unusual Unions

Click here for VIDEO online

http://edition.cnn.com August 21, 2009

Civil marriages are not allowed in Israel. CNN's Paula Hancocks talks to those who fall foul of the law.

Prenuptial agreements book hoped to prevent 'agunot'

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

The plight of agunot - women "chained" in failed marriages - is in Rachel Levmore's bones. That's why she wrote a book on prenuptial agreements, which she believes could help prevent such cases.

Levmore's book, Spare Your Eyes Tears: Prenuptial Agreements for the Prevention of Get Refusal (Hebrew title: Min'i Einayich Medima) might represent a new trend in female Torah scholarship.

"My purpose in this book is to bring to the attention of rabbis and rabbinical judges the halachic basis for prenuptial agreements," said Levmore.

"I hope to bring about change by increasing consciousness and educating people who have the power to implement prenuptial agreements."

Rabbi David Stav, spokesman for the Tzohar group, a rabbinic organization that became famous for, among other things, offering to officiate at weddings pro bono, said that rabbinical judges' opposition to the use of prenuptial agreements is the main reason why his organization has not adopted them as a mandatory part of the marriages they conduct.

Women's groups join battle against bus segregation

www.ynetnews.com August 19, 2009

Student and religious women's organizations as well as leading women's organizations such as the Movement of Working Women & Volunteers and Israeli Women's Lobby have joined the cause in a public call not to legally legitimize the gender-based segregation in Israeli public transport, which applies in 40 haredi bus lines across the country.

Talia Livni, Na'amat chairwoman also called upon the transport minister to draw a clear red line against segregation on public transport.

"Today the ultra-Orthodox are demanding gender-based separation in public transport, in the future they will demand it in work places and public institutes.

"The haredim must realize that in the public sphere they are subject to laws of equality imposed by the state.

If they seek segregation in their private spheres, let them, but they cannot force their own gender discrimination on the general public," she stated.

Express-ly Forbidden

By Michele Chabin www.thejewishweek.com August 18, 2009

“The rest of the passengers started screaming,” Yoffe, 26, said of the incident, which occurred about two years ago.

“There were 10 or 15 of them screaming. I told them this was a public Egged bus, that this is a democratic state and that they couldn’t force me to get off.”

…While non-haredim can, in theory, take the haredi buses, a woman who is not dressed in haredi style — wearing a blouse down to her wrists and above her collar bone; skirts far below her knees with thick stockings and closed shoes; with her hair completely covered — may face an onslaught of demeaning words and even physical abuse.

Neither the bus companies nor the Ministry of Transport have done anything to stop the intimidation.

“The Transport Ministry even denies the buses are officially segregated,” Attorney Einat Hurvitz said, her voice critical. “They say the passengers are making the decisions.”

…Yehuda Mirsky, a scholar who also attended the demonstration, noted that several female soldiers had been forced off buses by haredi passengers demanding “modesty.”

“What constitutes modesty and immodesty, and why is this a criteria for a public bus?” Mirsky asked.

The author Naomi Ragen, one of IRAC’s petitioners, said in a phone interview that she joined the court action “because haredi women can’t fight for themselves. My own terrible experience has convinced me that it’s open season on women on public transportation.”

What do women want?

By Shimon Stern www.ynetnews.com Opinion August 19, 2009

Shimon Stern is the spokesman of the Rabbinic Committee for Transportation Affairs

Segregated bus lines have been in existence in Israel for 15 years, and in many countries such as the United States, Japan, Greece, and France one can find separate train cars for women.

There, everyone understands the legitimacy of the issue – women who wish to sit separately because of the terribly crowded conditions and for other reasons.

…Each person has the right to decide, for themselves, what constitutes humiliation or respect.

I therefore think that it is clear that a community espousing gender-segregated systems at schools, synagogues, and celebrations is also allowed to decide that sitting separately is not humiliating – rather, a woman’s modesty is part of the respect she garners and plays an integral part in her dignified personality.

The Haredi Women Who Are Relegated to One Side of the Street

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen http://blogs.forward.com Opinion August 17, 2009

Stories like these are all about the disempowerment of women. Here’s the progression that goes through my mind when I read them:

Men control communal and religious power >

women’s voices never heard outside the purview where they are kept by tradition as interpreted by the men in charge >

women subjected to ever-increasing disempowerment and invisibility under the guise of modesty, for instance by being forced onto a single side of the street >

women objectified as a gender and not viewed as individuals with discrete abilities and needs > women accept and internalize the disempowerment and invisibility >

women, now “disappeared” further from male view, are powerless and disregarded >

women whose husbands are abusive, or who withhold a get, have no recourse because their voices are literally not heard by the men in charge of their communal/religious systems.

And women who cannot squash themselves into the conformity required by their community are regarded as dangerous, and treated as such.

A chuppah in the closet

By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com Opinion August 23, 2009

The impending halakhic ruling to allow religious gay men to marry women and have children while not forcing them to keep their homosexuality a secret may seem like a rare sign of liberalism in the Orthodox establishment.

On the other hand, it may paradoxically be a reinforcement of the wall of halakha.

The initiative was unveiled by Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Jewish fertility organization Puah Institute, at a conference titled "Parenthood at any cost?" at the Center for Health Law and Bioethics at Ono Academic College

The ruling, which is still under consultation, allows a religious gay man, who is committed to keeping mitzvahs, marry a woman with the understanding that he is not physically attracted to her and that whatever children they have together will be conceived either artificially or through sexual relations that will have only that target.

At the same time, that man will be allowed to maintain a relationship with his gay partner on the condition that he will not have forbidden sexual intercourse with him and will undergo counseling with therapists of Atzat Nefesh, an organization whose stated purpose is to "treat" religious gays and lesbians.

Haredi writer: Gays should be forced to face firing squad

By Uri Blau www.haaretz.com Opinion August 21, 2009

A Haredi Web site this week published an article calling for police to arrest the managers of the Tel Aviv gay center that was the scene of a shooting that left two dead earlier this month, claiming that the managers ran a club where child molestation and acts of sexual perversion took place.

Haredim and homophobia

By Jonathan Rosenblum www.jpost.com Opinion August 24, 2009

Haredim think that the media show a persistent and blatant bias in their coverage of the community. And they are right.

…Even those who did not jump to the conclusion that the murderer himself was haredi were quick to assign blame to haredi politicians for "incitement" against homosexuals.

Organ donation to get halachic approval

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

The Chief Rabbinate is currently in the midst of resolving the last halachic quandaries surrounding organ donation, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

In order to encourage organ donation among the religious public, the rabbinate decided to introduce a new organ donor card – different from the National Transplant and Organ Donations Center (ADI) card – which will stipulate that the potential donor's organs can be harvested only if and after brain death is determined according to the strictest letter of the law.

Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger also wants the Chief Rabbinate's Council to issue an official decree giving the law a halachic seal of approval.

State to impose civil service rules on religious councils

By Dan Izenberg www.jpost.com August 19, 2009

After 40 years, religious council employees are to become subject to civil service disciplinary rules, the state informed the High Court of Justice this week.

The state's message came in response to a petition by The Movement for Quality Government and the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement.

"The state shares the hopes of the petitioner to make order of and formalize disciplinary rules in the religious councils," the state's representative, Dana Manha, wrote.

Israel: Religious Freedom and Pluralism

“Speaking about Israel on the High Holy Days: A guide presented by the New Israel Fund Rosh Hashanah 5770” (page 11) [pdf file]

www.nif.org August 2009

Many of Israel’s Jewish citizens feel disconnected from their Jewish identity, and there is a chasm between religious and secular Jews in Israel, with significant implications for social cohesion both within Israel and between Israeli and Diaspora Jewry.

…The monopoly of religious institutions and traditions by the ultraOrthodox sector has resulted in the impingement of the basic rights and status of Jewish women in Israel – religious and secular alike.

…Despite these obstacles, there are encouraging signs of Jewish renewal and in Israel today Jews of all types are reconnecting – or connecting for the first time – to their Judaism.

Three new justices appointed, including two outsiders

By Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com August 24, 2009

The three new justices are Tel Aviv District Court Judge Uzi Vogelman, Haifa District Court Judge Isaac Amit and Be'er Sheva District Court Judge Neal Hendel.

Hendel is religious and Amit comes from a religious background. That made their appointment a double victory for the four politicians on the nine-member appointments committee, who had sought to bolster the court's religious contingent.

Prominent rabbis slam Supreme Court candidacy

By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com August 21, 2009

Prominent religious Zionist rabbis yesterday published a manifesto opposing the proposed appointment to the Supreme Court of Be'er Sheva District Court Judge Joseph (Sefi) Elon.

They primarily objected to two decisions he made at the time of Israel's 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

Russian Jews ponder age-old question: Israel or the U.S.?

By Natasha Mozgovaya www.haaretz.com August 19, 2009

Until recently, the American Jewish community ignored the Russians' uniqueness, hoping that over time they would be absorbed into the community's usual framework.

Israeli diplomats and local representatives of organizations such as the Jewish Agency also preferred to ignore reality.

However, the Limmud FSU convention demonstrated the extent to which attitudes have changed.

Showing up at a one-day meeting with 400 participants were Israel's minister of immigrant absorption, Sofa Landver, the country's consul general in New York, Asaf Shariv, several Knesset members and a Jewish Agency emissary who considers them a potential source for high-quality immigrants.

Charities Hurt by Madoff May Have To Return Funds

By Josh Nathan-Kazis www.forward.com August 19, 2009

The battered image of Hadassah, the American women’s Zionist organization, may be harmed further by the disclosure earlier this month that its former chief financial officer was a mistress to Bernard Madoff — even as she sat on the committee that invested the charity’s funds with Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

But worse news may yet be in the offing.

Beyond the millions the organization reported losing with Madoff, Hadassah — and possibly other charities — may be required under a federal law to give back millions of dollars taken out of Madoff accounts, even before his firm collapsed.

Anti-Semitic cops beat me, says Israeli-American tycoon

By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com August 21, 2009

The savior of Beitar Jerusalem asserted this week that he was abused by anti-Semitic policemen in Florida, after a newspaper reported the U.S.-Israeli businessman and philanthropist had been arrested on charges of driving under the influence and drug possession in Broward County in June.

"They beat the shit out of me," Guma Aguiar, 32, told Haaretz.
"That's how I can sum it up, I got the shit kicked out of me by a bunch of anti-Semitic cops... There's no doubt it was anti-Semitism."

…Thomas Kaplan, with whom Aguiar co-founded in 2003 an energy company that is the foundation of Aguiar's wealth, filed two lawsuits against his nephew.

A Florida court threw out the first case accusing Aguiar of misusing family foundation funds, but the second case involving the company, recently sold for $2.5 billion, is still pending.

Click here for VIDEOS of Guma Aguiar

Supreme Court denies ex-Minister Benizri's appeal

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

The Supreme Court on Sunday denied former Minister Shlomo Benizri's appeal to postpone the start of his jail term until after the High Holidays.

The Shas minister will therefore begin his sentence on September 1, after being convicted of taking a bribe, breach of trust, conspiring to commit a crime and disruption of proceedings.

Benizri: I was victim of character assassination in media

By Ronen Medzini www.ynetnews.com August 20, 2009

About 300 haredim gathered Thursday in Jerusalem to hold a prayer rally for former minister, Shlomo Benizri, who will soon be entering jail.

All the Shas leadership, some of whom made speeches, attended the prayer rally held in Or HaChayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

"I withstood eight years of persecution, suffering, sorrow, cruelty, and sucking my blood with a straw," continued Benizri.

Benizri concluded his speech by giving voice to the sense of persecution spreading through the haredi public.

"Do a survey of people on the street (and you'll find that) people feel persecuted. They feel great pain. Leave us alone.
We just want to continue upholding the Torah. We don't ask anything more. There is a boiling point to this story, just as it exploded last month in Mea Shearim.
We are not looking for arguments and disputes. Let us live. We are loyal citizens. We haven't asked for extra rights," Benizri concluded.

Yisrael Hayom Editorial on Shas

www.mfa.gov.il August 23, 2009

Yisrael Hayom argues that Shas spiritual founder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef "is one of the great Jewish minds of the ages.

For 150 years, there has been no movement of redemption of such magnitude and influence in the Jewish world like that which Rabbi Josef leads."

But the author laments,

"This wonderful revolution has been taken over by a corrupt group who are so confused, it's scary. Instead of working for the good of the movement, they chose to have the movement work for them."

Shas rabbi: Benizri's judges are heretics

Click here for VIDEO [Hebrew]

By Ronen Medzini www.ynetnews.com August 23, 2009

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef harshly slammed the legal system on Wednesday following the decision to send former Minister Shlomo Benizri, who was convicted of taking a bribe, to four years in prison. The rabbi referred to the judges in the Benizri trial as "heretics".

"We deeply regret the evil trial given to our active friends, who has always engaged in teaching and praising the Torah," Rabbi Yosef said.
"It's a shame that we have such a distorted court. They have no religion, no judgment, they don't believe in anything."

Shas leader raps 'warped' Supreme Court for convicting Benizri

By Yair Ettinger and Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com August 21, 2009

"How can the Holy One, blessed be He, be found in their company? What business does a priest [who under Jewish law must not come into contact with the dead] have in a cemetery?"

Chief Rabbi to pray for Benizri

www.ynetnews.com August 20, 2009

Leaflets inviting the public to the rally were distributed on the streets earlier this week, with the organizers promising a speech by Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar and a broadcast of and address by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Cracking the code

By Shelley Neese www.jpost.com August 24, 2009

Shelley Neese is managing editor and columnist for the DC-based pro-Israel Christian magazine, The Jerusalem Connection.

Both Barfield and Knight describe themselves as Torah observant Christians with a sincere love for Israel and the Jewish people.

Their central desire in getting involved with the Copper Scroll was to return the treasure of the Scroll to its rightful owners: the nation of Israel.

In a phone interview with Barfield we discussed the implications of actually finding something on the expedition. I also noted that the finder's fee for such an achievement would be considerable.

"If God has selected me to do this," Barfield replied, "He gave it to a guy that just doesn't give a darn about wealth."

Religion and State in Israel

August 24, 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 24, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

August 24, 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.

1 in 3 Jewish preschoolers attends ultra-Orthodox kindergarten

By Or Kashti www.haaretz.com August 20, 2009

Every third Jewish kindergartner in Israel attended a Haredi kindergarten last year, according to data published by the Education Ministry yesterday.

By comparison, only 26 percent of Jewish kindergartners attended Haredi schools in 2001.

Nonetheless, the Education Ministry employs only four inspectors to see whether Haredi elementary schools are teaching the core curriculum. These inspectors are responsible for overseeing 615 schools with some 170,000 students.

During the 2008-09 school year, the ministry's inspectors concluded that compliance with the core curriculum requirements was almost 100 percent.

However, ministry officials admitted that this finding is less than reliable, since it is based almost exclusively on reports about their curriculum submitted by the schools themselves.

Moreover, the ministry failed to fine a single one of the schools that did admit to not teaching the core curriculum fully.

New Classrooms for 16,000 Chareidi Students in Beit Shemesh

By L.S. Wasserman http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com August 20, 2009

The Chareidi Education Department at the Beit Shemesh Municipality is hard at work laying preparations for the city's 16,000 students enrolled in chareidi schools, compared to 10,000 in the city's government and government-religious schools.

The chareidi education system now accounts for 60 percent of the city's education system.

Haredi school gets no special status in key labor rules case

By Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com August 21, 2009

The ultra-Orthodox Hinuch Atzma'i school system is subject to the same standards as other public bodies when it comes to employer-employee relationships, the High Court of Justice ruled yesterday in response to a petition by a long-time employee who had been fired.

Hinuch Atzma'i is a private but state-funded school system affiliated with the party United Torah Judaism.

…In short, the court said, Hinuch Atzma'i violated the principles of good faith and fairness that are incumbent on all public bodies, and ought to conduct a "thorough housecleaning."

Controversy Over Beit Shemesh Language & Culture School

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

Beit Shemesh’s Language and Culture School, home to about 200 students, is the focus of a mounting controversy as city education officials wish to divide the school three ways, for chareidi, dati leumi [religious] and secular students.

New Classrooms for Chareidi Schools in Jerusalem; Bnei Brak

By Yechiel Sever and L.S. Wasserman http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com August 20, 2009

In Jerusalem, the budget for chareidi education is being increased by NIS 16 million ($4 million) and the renovations budget for talmudei Torah is being doubled in order to strengthen "exempt" institutions.

In Bnei Brak the City Council approved the preparatory budget for the 5770 school year submitted by the municipal education department.

The budget comes to over NIS 11 million ($2.9 million), which will be provided through municipal budgetary funds, the Education Ministry and the Mifal Hapayis assistance fund.

Education Ministry: Petah Tikva schools must accept Ethiopian kids

By Or Kashti www.haaretz.com August 23, 2009

The Education Ministry will not back down on its demand that all schools in Petah Tikva accept children of immigrants from Ethiopia, said the ministry's director-general, Shimshon Shoshani. He threatened the schools with sanctions if they do not come around.

Ethiopian students still shut out at Petah Tikva religious school

By Or Kashti www.haaretz.com August 21, 2009

About 100 Ethiopian-immigrant children in Petah Tikva have still not been accepted at city schools - 10 days before the opening of the school year.

Private religious schools in the city, which use a curriculum similar to the state religious system, are refusing to accept the students who were assigned to them by the municipality unless the schools can determine first if they suit the character of the schools.

A senior municipality source said the condition is almost certain to result in the schools' refusal to accept the students.

Poll: Cut budget of schools that discriminate

www.ynetnews.com August 21, 2009

With the school year about to start, a special survey conducted for Ynet found that 55% of the population believes that schools unwilling to accept Ethiopian students into their student body should be punished and their budgets cutback.

Of the secular and formerly religious population, 58% believe that a school's budget should be cut, while 27% percent even claim that a discriminating school must be closed. Only 15% believe that the only step that should be taken is persuasion not to discriminate against minority students.

Of the Haredim, on the other hand, 17.4% support closing a school in such a case, while 21.6% support budget cutbacks, with the overwhelming majority, 61%, supporting only persuasion efforts to curb the offending schools discriminatory behavior.

“Leaving the Fold”

Click here for VIDEO online

LEAVING THE FOLD is a documentary film, which tells the story of five young people born and raised within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world who no longer wish to remain on the inside.

As children they grew up in a closed society where deviation from the rules of conduct is often punishable by ostracism, intimidation or worse.

As young adults they pay a steep price for abandoning their parents and community to seek the freedom to make their own choices.

From the Hasidic enclaves of Montreal, Brooklyn and Jerusalem come stories of conflict, coercion and struggle.

Tinged with pain and unexpected humor, Leaving the Fold documents the process by which our five heroes emerged from a strictly controlled society into a baffling secular world of endless choices: What should I wear? What shall I become? Who will I marry?

Once everything was decided for them. Now they must decide for themselves. But the answers don’t always come easily.

See also Forward review: Folding, Twisting or Burning Bridges

Leaving The Fold from Bunbury Films on Vimeo.

Losing the Secular Public

By Jonathan Rosenblum www.cross-currents.com Opinion August 24, 2009

No Torah Jew finds it difficult to justify Israeli government expenditures on Torah education. For us, it is clear that without the citadels of Torah that all the efforts of the IDF to protect us from the dangers all around will be for naught.

But obviously few secular Israelis share that view.

From their perspective, the most notable aspect of Torah education – at least that of males – is that it leaves many of its recipients lacking basic numeracy and unable to enter the workforce at anything above menial jobs, which will, in any event, prove insufficient to feed their large families.

At most, some will acknowledge that the intellectual acuity attained in Talmud study makes it possible for many chareidi men to acquire later some of the missing skills and knowledge.

…If we’ve lost [writers] Yemini and Gordon, we’ve gone a long way towards losing any chance of convincing secular Israelis of the justice of our position.

Rabbi Elyashiv: Don't visit Western Wall on Shabbat

By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com August 19, 2009

Supporters of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, leader of Israel's Lithuanian haredi Jews, issued a dramatic statement last week saying that Jews must not visit the Western Wall on Shabbat due to security cameras placed at the holy site, desecrating the Jewish day of rest.

"There are people in Rabbi Elyashiv's courtyard who are interested in making a name for themselves through tougher halachic rules at the expense of others," the source said.

US Ambassador visits Ultra-Orthodox Community in Mea Shearim

Click here for VIDEO online

US Embassy Tel Aviv April 2009

On April 23, 2009 U.S. Ambassador to Israel James B. Cunningham, his wife, and several Embassy representatives visited ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Mea Shearim. They visited synagogues and met with several leading rabbis.

Most Haredim want secular higher education, survey finds

By Matthew Wagner www.jpost.com August 19, 2009

Over half of haredim would be interested in receiving advanced secular education in preparation for a profession if they could be assured of a religious, gender-segregated classroom environment, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

While 53 percent said they would be interested, 63% of female respondents said they would, while only 41% of males were interested.

Hassidim were more open to secular learning, with 59% answering in the affirmative, while only 42% of the Lithuanian respondents said yes.

According to Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry data, 49.1% of haredi women of working age participate in the labor market, higher than the 37.4% rate for haredi men aged 20 to 64, but lower than secular women's at 70%, and secular men's at 79.9%.

Kissing the Swine Flu Goodbye

By Sharon Udasin www.thejewishweek.com August 18, 2009

Rabbis in Israel are taking a stab at the swine flu with a brand-new proposal — no kissing. A mezuzah, that is.

In a joint statement issued last week, Israel’s chief Sephardic rabbi, Shlomo Amar, and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas Party, declared that Wednesday, Aug. 19 would be a nationwide fast day in an attempt to combat the swine flu.

Meanwhile, haredi reporter Ozel Vatik interviewed seven Israeli doctors about the dangers of spreading germs by kissing mezuzahs, but only one would correlate the disease spread with that religious tradition, fearing the wrath of the rabbinate, Ynet also reported.

Prosecution: 'Starving mother' may have abused other children

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

Jerusalem's District Court heard Sunday that a woman from the Mea Shearim neighborhood accused of starving her son may have also abused her other children. The prosecution said it held evidence to this effect and asked to aggravate the conditions of her arrest.

Privacy of Frum Women at Separate Beaches Compromised

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com August 23, 2009

According to the report … some frum women on separate beaches in Tel Aviv and Herzliya, photographed by AP photographers without their knowledge or consent, boldly deciding to ignore their modest lifestyle and compromise their religious standards of modesty.

Israel’s IRS Turns to Rabbonim, Mohalim & Kabbalists for Payment

By Yechiel Spira www.theyeshivaworld.com August 23, 2009

Israel’s Internal Revenue Service, is moving against rabbonim, mohalim, and Mekubalim, seeking revue payment, demanding they submit income tax returns.

According to a Yediot Acharonot report, “tens” of well-known rabbonim and Mekubalim along with “hundreds” of rabbonim, mohalim and mesadrei kedushin (rabbis performing weddings) are instructed to submit income tax returns.

Assorted zealots and puzzling protests

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

The diversified yet unanimously extremist zealots of Jerusalem have always managed to embroil themselves in the strangest of situations…

One of the community's leaders, Yoelish Krauss, has a sign on his door stating that "Here lives a non-Zionist Jew" and drags himself daily to a nearby Arab village to purchase some "non-Zionist" milk and bread for his large family. Lest it be said otherwise, he refuses to accept even one Zionist shekel from the National Insurance Institute.

Hebrew University Barred from Selling Kiryat Yovel Buildings

By Yechiel Sever http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com August 20, 2009

The Jerusalem District Court issued a comprehensive injunction against Hebrew University, banning it from selling two dormitory buildings on Rechov Stern in Jerusalem's Kiryat Yovel neighborhood.

The court order was issued following a petition by the attorneys representing an organization that is suing the University for canceling the tender illegally.

Haredim protest 'Shabbat desecration' in Jerusalem

30 Hotels Follow Directives Set by Rabbinical Committee

By Yechiel Sever http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com August 20, 2009

Establishments were required to remove or disconnect television sets, disconnect wireless Internet, designate separate buffet bars for men and women, ensure the staff follows a basic dress code and make certain the pool area is completely covered.

Ex-Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu hospitalized after fainting

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com August 24, 2009

Former Sephardic chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu was hospitalized on Monday after he had fainted in his Jerusalem home.

Magen David Adom emergency services rushed to Eliyahu's home, gave him emergency treatment and took him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the city. The condition of the 80-year-old rabbi was described as stable.

OU Issues Statement Following Troubling Article

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

An extensive article posted this past Sunday on YWN regarding the OU Hashgacha in Israel, has prompted the organization to issue the following statement, and dispatch their Senior OU Rabbinic Coordinator to Israel next week.

Mystery surrounds Haredi man's death

By Yaakov Lappin www.jpost.com August 18, 2009

A man with one hand cuffed who was found dead in an empty building in Beit Dagan last Friday was identified as Raphael Miriashvili, 25, of Lod, following the lifting of a media gag order by police on Tuesday.

The circumstances of Miriashvili's death, and the fact that he had served time in prison for attempting to forcefully break up a Jewish-Arab couple, led to speculation that the dead man had been the victim of a revenge slaying.

Miriashvili, who was a member of Lod's Chabad community, had been missing for approximately a month, prompting police to launch a missing persons inquiry in late July.

Theorizing on Motives for Attack on "Kotel Rabbi"

www.israelnationalnews.com August 21, 2009

Police are investigating the Thursday night rock attack on Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz of the Western Wall other Holy Places.

The rabbi was attacked by hareidi religious demonstrators as he left the Jerusalem home of Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv. He was unharmed, although his car was damaged.

Lod: Rabbis' pictures put end to public urination

By Yaffa Nevo www.ynetnews.com August 21, 2009

The Lod religious council has come up with an original solution to stop the indecent act of residents urinating on one of the walls outside its offices – one of the council's employees adorned the wall with pictures of rabbis and holy symbols, and ever since, no one has dared to relieve themselves there.

The wall features pictures of many prominent rabbis, such as Maimonides, Nahmanides, the Pinto dynasty, Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, and more.

A legacy of love

By Yael Brygel www.jpost.com August 23, 2009

The sense of loss and despair was raw and the tears were still flowing, but in spite of that, just one month after her father Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach passed away, Neshama Carlebach took to the stage to launch her professional career and lifelong mission: to fill the void she feels was left in the world when her father died.

Now, 15 years later, her resolve to carry on her father's legacy is as strong as ever.

Religion and State in Israel

August 24, 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.