Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Religion and State in Israel - September 7, 2009 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

September 7, 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.

Religious Services Minister calls to fund international Chabad

By Matthew Wagner September 8, 2009

Religious Services Minister Ya'acov Margi of Shas recommended during a cabinet meeting on Monday that the state fund Chabad Houses around the world, to "strengthen Jewish identity and the connection with the Land of Israel and the State of Israel."

"Their role is sometimes even more important than the Jewish Agency's in these matters. Therefore, we should consider funding Chabad Houses around the world," Margi said.

Religion wars

By Shmuel Rosner September 3, 2009

Bottom line: the Minister of Religious Affairs has no good reason to pick a fight with Reform and Conservative Jews.

He is also needs to be educated on legal matters and learn that in Israel there's no law permitting him not to fund the activities of Jewish branches to which he doesn't belong.

Click here for Hebrew article

A strategic threat

By Yizhar Hess Opinion September 7, 2009

Attorney Yizhar Hess is the director of the Conservative Movement in Israel. This op-ed does not necessarily reflect the Movement’s views.

At this time already, among other reasons because of this systematic discrimination, American Jews are slowly losing interest in the State of Israel. Because if Israel rejects their Jewishness, why should they feel any sympathy for or attachment to it?

In this respect, Shas’ Minister of Religious Affairs is a strategic threat to the State of Israel; no less.

…Israel is the only democracy in the Western world that doesn’t offer freedom of worship to Jews. This absurdity must be brought to an end.

Adoptee with Jewish father who was denied citizenship petitions High Court

By Ruth Eglash September 8, 2009

A US-born adoptee who has been attempting to obtain Israeli citizenship for more than two years finally petitioned the High Court of Justice on Monday to force the Interior Ministry to accept his immigration petition.

Timothy Nicholas Steger, whose birth father was Jewish but who was adopted as an infant by a devout Catholic family, arrived in Israel in February 2007 and subsequently requested to make aliya.

His request was turned down last August when the Interior Ministry deemed that the connection with his biological parents had been severed the moment he was adopted.

However, citing the Law of Return, which states anyone with at least one Jewish parent or grandparent, is entitled to immigrate to Israel, and with the help of a recent legal opinion presented to the Supreme Court by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, Steger persevered and his dream to live in Israel might finally be recognized.

Reform Movement petitions on 'brit mila'costs

By Tomer Zarchin September 8, 2009

The Movement for Progressive Judaism, the Israeli branch of the Reform movement, has petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding the state pay for circumcisions for converts under Reform and Conservative auspices.

Today the state only pays for circumcising those undergoing Orthodox conversions. Such procedures cost thousands of shekels.

Reform rabbis convert about 200 people a year and the Conservative movement about another 100.

Doctors perform the procedure for all those over six months old, and above 10 the procedure is done with local anesthetic.

In May, the High Court ruled that the state must also fund Reform conversion institutes and not just Orthodox ones.

We’re coming back soon

By Yair Lapid Opinion September 8, 2009

The average secular does not hate haredim.

…The haredim came out of the Jewish closet and decided to run our lives.

Yeshiva and religious services budgets kept on growing, time and again we discovered cases of corruption and bribery, haredi protests became violent, they made pretenses of telling us where we’re allowed to park, when we’re allowed to shop, and what we’re allowed to eat.

Their blatant contempt for us became increasingly blunter, until the seculars got sick and tired of it, and Shinui was established.

5770: The Year of Carmit, with Rabbi Asher Lopatin

By Rabbi Asher Lopatin Opinion September 7, 2009

The vision for Carmit is that it should be a diverse, pluralistic town eventually growing to over 10,000 people, with affordable, quality, environmentally sensitive housing.

We want to attract Americans, Anglos and Israelis, dati’im of all stripes and chilonim of all stripes – just as long as people are willing to live happily in an open-minded and non-judgmental community.

We hope that Carmit becomes a cultural, educational and religious destination in Israel – perhaps the pluralism capital of the Holy Land.

Modern Orthodoxy's Allies: Haredim or the Non-Orthodox Movements?

By Rabbi Marc D. Angel September 3, 2009

The current issue of "Deot", the Hebrew-language magazine of Ne'emanei Torah vaAvodah, includes an article by Yuval Yavneh of the New Israel Fund's office in Jerusalem.

He argues that Modern Orthodoxy needs to think about who its real allies are. Does Modern Orthodoxy have more in common with the Hareidi world, or with the non-Orthodox movements?

Yuval suggests that Modern Orthodoxy make up its mind, and cast its lot with those who share our human, democratic values.

Yet, many in the Modern Orthodox community are extremely uneasy making alliances with the non-Orthodox, feeling that this ultimately undermines our religious credibility and seriousness of purpose.

Original article by Yuval Yavneh of the New Israel Fund (Hebrew)

Heritage, not coercion

By Shahar Ilan Opinion September 7, 2009

The author is deputy director general for research and public relations of Hidush, an association promoting equality and freedom of religion.

In recent years, the Reform and Conservative movements - as well as secular Jews - have developed many curricula that instill Jewish values without trying to make people "find God." This is the well from which the education ministry should draw its Judaism and Zionism programs.

The issue is a highly sensitive one. Two or three attempts to instill fanatic Judaism in state schools would be enough to portray the whole program as a hostile move. Therefore, to succeed Sa'ar must coordinate his actions with pluralistic Jewish organizations.

Trying to ignore the parents and to force Orthodox Judaism on students will only serve to harm this crucial reform. This must not be allowed to happen.

In praise of ‘social Judaism’

By Ariana Melamed Opinion September 3, 2009

Social Judaism – if someone will show interest in it – can have an integral and organic place at secular schools, rather than a forced episode once a week.

Jewish holidays do not need to remain in the notebook when they can become Passover or Tu B’Shvat Seders at school that are held here and there with great success.

Meanwhile, the annals of Jewish heritage are not supposed to be a collection of wise statements uttered by sages who died a long time ago;

Adapting law to life

By Reuven Hammer Opinion September 6, 2009

Rabbi Reuven Hammer is the head of the Rabbinical Court of Israel's Masorti (Conservative) Movement and a former president of the movement's International Rabbinical Assembly.

We may not need a Sanhedrin, but we do need religious leaders who are committed to Jewish law and recognize the way in which it grows and changes to meet the needs of the times.

We need leaders who will seriously tackle the question of adopting halakha to the conditions of statehood and sovereignty.

Things you see from here – Mayor Barkat

By Peggy Cidor September 4, 2009

[Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is trying to reach some understanding with the haredi community] … through a decision to increase the amount of municipal funding for some haredi schools.

Barkat is very cautious to approve such gestures only in cases where the schools can prove they include the Education Ministry's curriculum; but still, we're talking about schools that belong to the private stream.

Airlines: Stop 'impurity of Kohanim' procedure

By Arie Egozi September 7, 2009

A number of airlines demanded last week that the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) stop the "impurity of Kohanim" procedure.

According to this procedure, if a plane landing at Ben-Gurion Airport is carrying in its cargo area a body flown in from abroad, its passengers can only get off the plane after the body is removed from the aircraft, even if it takes a long time.

This procedure was adopted by Ben-Gurion Airport following pressure by haredi elements, in order to prevent the impurity of people waiting inside the terminal.

One law for all

Haaretz Editorial September 6, 2009

But what has happened in Jerusalem in recent weeks is far from coexistence by mutual consent.

It is organized rioting that endangers lives, and whose purpose is to undermine the symbols of government and take over yet another chunk of secular residents' living space in the city.

This is not a war over Shabbat, but against the state's monopoly on the rule of law.

Judge in 'starving mother' case receives alarming booklet

By Aviad Glickman September 6, 2009

Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Ravid, who is hearing the case of the mother charged with starving her toddler son, received a booklet with a drawing of a bleeding syringe and harsh accusations against the police and the State Prosecutor's Office, Ynet learned Sunday.

The booklet, which arrived over the weekend to the judge's home, was titled "Blood libel on the bench: The starving mother or haredi Judaism as a whole?"

Ultra-Orthodox 'explains' to Aussie journalist why she was spat on September 6, 2009

Anne, along with The Australian newspaper's correspondent in Jerusalem, John Lyons, invited two men from the ultra-Orthodox community to explain the protesters' actions.

Did they spit at her because she was a woman, or a journalist, or not Jewish, or not dressed modestly enough?

Yoel Weber, a rabbinical student, told her the ultra-Orthodox community feels a deep animosity towards any media it perceives does not understand it.

Mr. Weber told Anne a woman does not belong in a group of men.

"So when we have a demonstration, we see a woman just frolicking, walking around, the normal reaction would be 'lady, can you please, there's the men, the ladies' side, please walk on the other side' - that's the normal reaction," he said.

He says had it been a man reporting, things might have been very different.

Anne says while she was helped to clarify the attitudes of the ultra-Orthodox community, she is still troubled.

How, she asks, in a democratic, largely secular and supposedly egalitarian Israel, where ultra-Orthodox Jews are in the minority, can the rest of the community be expected to live and work by their rules?

200 Haredim protest outside home of UJT J'lem city council member September 8, 2009

Some 200 haredim demonstrated on Monday night outside the home of UJT Jerusalem city council member Shlomo Rosenstein in protest over the operation of the Carta parking lot during Shabbat.

The protesters chanted "murderer" and "Shabbat desecrater" against Rosenstein, claiming Rosenstein was not making efforts to close the parking lot.

J'lem Haredim hold non-violent Shabbat protest, first in months

Jerusalem haredim scale back Shabbat violence

Jerusalem rabbis call on protestors to avoid violence

Haredi protestor's remand extended

Haredi leader: Keep protest to Mea Shearim

Haredim attack cab driver

Haredi youths attack Palestinian taxi driver in Jerusalem

Eda Haredit calls to tone down protests

Judge in 'starving mom' case: Boy looked like he just left Auschwitz

Will ultra-Orthodox be on the front lines of war against crime?

By Jonathan Lis September 8, 2009

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced on Wednesday that he will work to enlist ultra-Orthodox youths into the ranks of uniformed police officers.

Aharonovitch says the religious youths will aid the police as part of their national service obligations.

Rabbi slams Bat Yam girls' 'immodesty'

By Naama Friedman September 2, 2009

Rabbi Yaakov Rojza, one of Bat Yam's prominent rabbis, is unhappy with what he sees as the immodest clothing of female school pupils in the central city.

Religious-Secular Divide, Tugging at Israel’s Heart

By Isabel Kershner September 2, 2009

The ultra-Orthodox make up about a third of Jerusalem’s Jewish population, and the adherents of the Eda Haredit are only a fraction of that. But with an average of 10 children per family, Mr. Kraus said, the community is growing fast.

…In a modest counterstrike on a recent weekday morning, eight non-Orthodox Jewish activists — six women and two men — got on a No. 40 bus heading from the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot D into town. The women sat down in the front rows. The men went to the back.

Ramot D is an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood where rigid religious rules are applied. The No. 40 is one of several public bus lines designated as “mehadrin,” or strictly kosher, where the men sit in the front and the women behind.


By Larry Derfner September 3, 2009

The haredim are outgrowing their old neighborhoods; their young families don't have the money to buy apartments in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak near their parents; haredi settlements such as Modi'in Illit, Betar Illit and Elad can't absorb all the newcomers, so they're spreading little by little into poorer, non-haredi neighborhoods around the country. And the result, often, is tension.

"The haredim look for cheap neighborhoods to move into. When secular people in a poor neighborhood find the means to move out, haredim move in.
This, in turn, drives more secular people out and brings the property values further down, allowing more haredim to move in," says Friedman.

He compares it to the "white flight" from America's inner cities in the 1960s and 1970s.

Modi’in Illit Continues to Grow

By Yechiel Spira September 6, 2009

The community of Modi’in Illit continues to lead the country in new classrooms, the result of it remaining the community with the highest birthrate in Eretz Yisrael. This year, 180 classrooms were added as part of the effort to ensure the community’s 27,000 children receive the proper chinuch.

The children make up over 60% of the population, which numbers 45,000, municipality officials report at the start of the 5770 school year.

Swine Flu: Haredim forgo their communal wine

By Yair Ettinger and Adi Dovrat-Meseritz September 8, 2009

The ultra-Orthodox community is no less worried about what it calls Mexican flu - to avoid mentioning the name of unkosher animals - than the public at large.

However, despite the large number of infections in yeshivas, there are no plans to cut back on mass learning, public prayers or holiday meals.

Creative solutions have appeared to avoid infection and increase public awareness. For example, ritual baths now have signs calling on the public to avoid infection.

Even the Gerer Hassidim have given up their generations-old custom of sharing the rabbi's Shabbat wine, and now each Hasid gets his own disposable cup.

Haredi town planned where Arab construction banned

By Zafrir Rinat September 8, 2009

The plan calls for building a large Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) city for approximately 150,000 residents.

It is being promoted by Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias (Shas), with help from former Shas MK Nissim Dahan, who is currently the Interior Ministry-appointed head of the Katzir-Harish Local Council.

Arabs, kibbutzniks forge unlikely alliance against proposed haredi city east of Hadera

By Matthew Wagner September 8, 2009

While the US and Israel bicker over new building in Judea and Samaria that allows for "natural growth," the average woman in Beitar Ilit and Modi'in Ilit has over 7 children, compared to the national average of 2.8 in 2007.

According to Micha Rothchild, a member of the Haredi Building Council, a lobbying group for haredi housing interests, this year 6,500 new haredi couples will marry and need a house.

"Next year there will be 6,800 new haredi couples, and the year after, 7,350," said Rothchild. "And there already is a shortage.

Rabbis make peace with 'X-ray rabbi' following election fallout

By Yair Ettinger September 8, 2009

The leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who less than a year ago accused Kabbalist Rabbi Yaakov Israel Ifergan of paganism and called him a "fiend," have decided to make peace with him.

During the stormy election campaign in Netivot, the Ashkenazi rabbis warned that anyone associated with Ifergan, who is known as the "X-ray rabbi," would have no part in the hereafter.

Wiessman folds as Haredim press, agrees to close AM:PM on Shabbat

By Adi Dovrat-Meseritz and Nati Toker September 4, 2009

Dudi Wiessman seems to be folding under the pressure.

At least some of the branches of the seven-day-a-week supermarket chain AM:PM will be closing on Shabbat, following an accord quietly reached between the rabbis and representatives of Wiessman's businesses.

The ultra-Orthodox community has largely been boycotting his businesses for a year and a half because of Sabbath violations.

Alef grads to reenter the retail fray

By Adi Dovrat-Meseritz and Nati Toker September 3, 2009

Three Haredi partners who sold the Alef chain of stores to Super-Sol a year ago will soon be exiting their "cooling-off" period - think, non-compete - and are staging a comeback in retail to the ultra-Orthodox sector.

Bnei Akiva - then & now

By David Newman Opinion September 7, 2009

A movement which used to be characterized by religious moderation and an attempt to reach out beyond the religious-secular and Right-Left divide has transformed itself into a right-wing, Land of Israel, pro-settler movement.

Many of its youthful adherents have also adopted more stringently Orthodox lifestyles which, were it not for the differences in outward appearance and dress codes, would place much of their daily behavior within the world of the haredi communities.

Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Taken Off Respirator

By Yair Alpert September 2, 2009

Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sefardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, has been taken off the respirator which he was connected to and is now breathing on his own.

Spreading the kosher word

By Barry Davis September 4, 2009

If Chef Yochanan Lambiase had to place his culinary philosophy in a verbal nutshell, it probably would run something like: "Kosher doesn't have to boring."

London, UK-born, of southern Italian descent, Lambiase is founder of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute (JCI) located at Moshav Messilat Zion near Beit Shemesh.

Kosher News – Hebron Wines

By Yechiel Spira September 3, 2009

There is quite a stir in the kashrus community over announcements circulating from R’ Rafi Yochai of the Chief Rabbinate Kashrus Fraud Unit as well as the Hebron Religious Council, informing the public that Hebron Wineries lost their supervision from Rav Dov Lior Shlita, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Rabbinical Council.

'Jews who sell to Arabs are enemies'

By Matthew Wagner September 2, 2009

A Jew who sells land to an Arab in Israel should not be allowed to lead prayers in synagogue, should not be given the right to make a blessing during the Torah reading, should not be counted among the quorum needed for public prayers and is considered an abettor to the enemies of Israel, according to a halachic decision issued on Monday night by a group of rabbis calling themselves "The New Sanhedrin."

Religion and State in Israel

September 7, 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 - September 7, 2009 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

September 7, 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.

High Court puts off decision on Tal Law

By Dan Izenberg September 8, 2009

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday unanimously postponed its decision on five petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Tal Law by 15 months.

The Tal Law enables yeshiva students to perform truncated military service, or a year of public service, instead of being drafted under regular standards.

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote in the decision that "what began as resurrecting the word of Torah after the Holocaust evolved into the sociology of an entire society, which barely partakes in a central burden of the State of Israel," referring to the fact that the majority of haredi men do not serve in the military.

High Court: State 'dragging its feet' on Tal Law

By Aviad Glickman September 8, 2009

"I can only empathize with the discontent we all feel in light of the slow implementation of the arrangement with regards to the recruitment to the military and national service," Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch said.

Earlier this year, Beinisch said an additional problem with the law is that it doesn't seem to encourage military service among the haredi community.

"It seems that most of the state's efforts involving young men from yeshivot involve civil service, rather than military service," she said.

Former Nahal Haredi soldiers: No real effort to draft Haredim

By Yael Levy September 8, 2009

Former soldiers with the Nahal Haredi Brigade criticized the High Court for its decision to postpone its ruling on petitions filed regarding the Tal Law.

According to religious servicemen placed with the brigade, many haredi youth "want to serve their country and are just waiting for someone to reach out."

"The brigade has a certain quota to fill. The (military) decided that it's simply to hard to draft the haredim, so they chose the easy way out – ask the hesder yeshiva rabbis to refer people who would have enlisted anyway.

"The result is a brigade made mostly of religious soldiers, but with very few Orthodox men.

Generally speaking, the public has been led to believe that there is an appropriate cadre for haredim in the IDF, but that simply isn’t the case."

Ethiopian students finally enrolled in Petah Tikva schools

Petah Tikva religious schools start playing offense

Blaming it on racism is too easy

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion September 6, 2009

It may be useful for opportunist politicians, especially Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, to frame it as racism, but that is just a convenient cop-out, to avoid addressing the country's more fundamental problems regarding immigration, education and religion. The Petah Tikva saga is a result of all of these.

As long as the government maintains an incoherent policy on the Falash Mura, allowing thousands of additional Christian Ethiopians to arrive while forcing them to convert to Judaism; as long as inflexible ultra-Orthodox rabbis are allowed a stranglehold over the conversion process; and as long as a largely unregulated "private" school system is allowed to exist at the public's expense, this problem is not going to go away. Blaming it on racism is far too easy.

Discrimination in the name of Judaism

Haaretz Editorial September 8, 2009

The affair of the rejection of Ethiopian children by schools in Petah Tikva raises tough questions about the country's attitude toward those who arrived here via the Law of Return, with its various implications.

…Israel owes the Ethiopian immigrants a basic correction: to enable them a conversion based on leniencies in the halakha (religious law) and the experience of a decent absorption. The Ethiopian immigrants are already here.

They are Israeli citizens, and they are entitled to an egalitarian education in the school system of their choice - not only in the state religious schools - and to a normal life, without humiliating and threatening examinations.

Who will teach Israel’s Ethiopians?

By Anshel Pfeffer September 3, 2009

The parents and rabbis who founded the private schools claim that, in reality, the Ethiopian children do not observe a religious lifestyle and that the schools were set up for families who wanted their children to learn in a more Torah-intensive environment.

“Our children study Torah and Talmud four hours a day,” says one parent. “How can anyone expect a child who can barely read Hebrew to be happy in such an environment?”

Petah Tikva's 'shanda'

By Pnina Radai Opinion September 2, 2009

The writer arrived in Israel in 1984 with Operation Moses and is involved in numerous social change organizations on behalf of the Ethiopian community.

The real problem is not just these schools, but the general lack of consensus on this issue as a whole; numerous schools manipulate the situation regarding Ethiopian children, and only because this was a big group did the media become aware of the scandal.

The Zionist Melting Pot Boils Over

By J.J. Goldberg September 2, 2009

The dispute in Petah Tikva reflects a different problem, at least superficially. Integration of Ethiopian immigrants, always a challenge due to cultural and racial differences, has become far more complicated in recent years.

We're no racists, insist parents at private school in Petah Tikva

By Yair Ettinger September 3, 2009

Teachers and non-Ethiopian parents at the school expressed outrage over the accusations of racism that the controversy engendered.

They said the dispute had its origins in an internal struggle within the religious community over the status of state religious schools and jealousy on the part of some in the religious community over the success of Darchei Noam, an elite private school.

‘We must all ask forgiveness from the Ethiopian community'

By Rebecca Anna Stoil September 2, 2009

Kassahoun Wanda of the "North America for Ethiopian Jews" organization said that the situation was not limited to Petah Tikva, but that similar and even more serious cases of discrimination could be found throughout the country.

Wanda said that at the Yeshurun School in Rishon Lezion, 75% of the students are of Ethiopian origin and at the Rashbi School in Be'er Ya'akov, 100% of the students are Ethiopian.

Why Jews see racism in Israel

By Joshua Mitnick September 1, 2009

The religious schools, which are partially funded by the municipality and the Education Ministry, have defiantly resisted efforts by the national government to intervene. Spokespersons for the schools and the municipality denied accusations of racism.

Tzachi Lieber, a spokesman for all three elementary schools, said they already have 30 Ethiopians enrolled and that the staff considers it an "honor" to have the immigrants enrolled there: "That proves it's not an issue of racism."

Dozens of Ethiopian kids miss first day of school in Petah Tikva

Ethiopian students still left out of classrooms

Beit Shemesh Chabad school 'on strike' over principal

By Abe Selig September 2, 2009

While other children across the country were beginning their first day back in class, pupils at a Chabad elementary school in Ramat Beit Shemesh were joined by their parents on Tuesday morning in a protest over the Education Ministry's decision to hire a new principal for the institution.

A potential Torah university

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich September 5, 2009

The prominent billionaire industrialist from Tefen, Eitan Wertheimer, established the Halamish program, now based at JCT, that awards scholarships to the most-promising haredi yeshiva students.

Their rabbis give individual permission to participate, and some are sons of prominent rabbis.

But there are about 100,000 haredi yeshiva students from age 20 to 60, so academic study is not yet a 'danger' to their yeshivot.

Going to college, getting a degree and earning a living is common among haredim in the US, but not yet here, Bodenheimer notes.

Report: Two Channel 2 Correspondents Anti-Chabad Activists

By Yechiel Spira September 8, 2009

According to a Maariv report, two senior Channel 2 correspondents are actively working with a non-profit organization to oppose Chabad ‘kiruv’ activities in Ramat Aviv.

Mission to Moscow

By Amir Mizroch September 4, 2009

There is a dramatic increase in the interest young Jews here show in the wildly successful Taglit and Masa programs.

Studies show that participation has dented assimilation rates. Enrollment in these programs has jumped, but while funding for Taglit (which introduces youth to Israel on a 10-day blitz) remains strong, donations to the less sexy, but more substantive and expensive Masa are falling.

Sharansky faces a tough challenge indeed to find partners to keep it going, and he also needs to create post-Taglit programs to build on the momentum that short trip creates.

Where is all this money going to come from?

Sharansky inspires Jewish students in Moscow

AP September 2, 2009

His message at the Lipman Jewish Day School, however, was serious. He described how pleased he was to see a new generation of Russian Jews free to attend Jewish schools and visit Israel.

From Russia with love

By Roni Sofer September 6, 2009

Sunday's cabinet meeting marked 20 years since the beginning of the massive wave of immigration from the former Soviet republics.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, 993,000 people immigrated to Israel, 90% of them from Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus.

Only 5-6% of all immigrants returned to their home country or continued to other destinations. Another 800,000 remained in the former Soviet Union.

Russia Jewish programs to be expanded

By Amir Mizroch September 3, 2009

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Genesis Philanthropy Group have reached a general agreement on widening the scope of mutual cooperation in the field of Jewish education and strengthening Jewish identity of Russian-speaking Jews on the territory of the Russian Federation and other FSU countries.

''Post' Web site leads US Jewish market'

By Rebecca Anna Stoil September 2, 2009

A recent study - not commissioned by The Jerusalem Post - has revealed that of all Jewish news Web sites, is the clear leader in the United States, garnering more than twice as many readers as its closest competitor, and almost twice as many readers as all American Jewish news Web sites combined.

Birthright Adjusting To New Trip Demographics

By Gary Rosenblatt Opinion September 1, 2009

While the small group of major philanthropists continue to pull their weight, Birthright is hoping to find additional financial and planning support from among its growing numbers of participants.

We project having alumni on our steering committee and other leadership positions,” Mark explained. “We want them to own Birthright.”

Not only the program’s future, but the future of diaspora-Israel relations rests in large measure on Birthright’s continued success.

Momo Returns

By Sharon Udasin September 1, 2009

After splitting from Birthright Israel two months ago, he’s back.

Shlomo Lifshitz — more commonly known as “Momo” — is president and founder of Oranim Educational Initiatives, formerly the largest Birthright Israel trip provider.

Personally greeting each one of his nearly 50,000 travelers at Ben Gurion Airport, Lifshitz was a visible presence on each trip, where he eagerly promoted personal messages like “make Jewish babies” — messages that clashed with the more low-key approach of the program that is committed to offering free 10-day trips for young diaspora Jews.

Couple engaged after Aliya flight lands

By Zeev Ben-Yechiel September 8, 2009

A young couple celebrated their arrival in Israel in a very personal way - they got engaged. Zach Taylor proposed to Nechama Dina Simon shortly after their Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) flight landed on Tuesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport, capping off a momentous day for aliya.

Seeking love on board the singles flight

By Itamar Eichner September 7, 2009

Interestingly, the number of single girls arriving on board the flight is higher than the number of men – 57 young women as opposed to 24 young men.

Dozens of single immigrants make aliyah; looking for true love in Israel

By Yael Branovsky September 8, 2009

Some 204 immigrants from North America arrived Tuesday morning at Ben-Gurion Airport on a flight nicknamed "the bachelors' flight."

Rabbi Ovadia: Messiah will rule Sephardic-style

By Kobi Nahshoni September 8, 2009

"We cannot determine that we were correct until the Messiah comes and will make us one people.
Only the Messiah can do this… When Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will rise up in the revival of the dead, what will they say? They will start to say they were from Halabim, from Aleppo."

Rabbi Ovadia claimed that the Ashkenazi method of pronunciation will also give way to the Sephardic pronunciation, and the Ashkenazis will "be reformed."

Benizri gets first visit in jail

By Amnon Meranda September 6, 2009

Benizri was placed in Maasiyahu's religious cellblock. The block holds 80 other inmates, who are allowed to spend a large portion of the day studying Torah.

Tearful Benizri gets hero's welcome outside prison

By Yuval Azoulay September 3, 2009

He was escorted to the gates by Shas chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias, Shas MKs and dozens of activists.

The crowd blew shofars, handed out stickers with a picture of Benizri and the word "innocent" and verbally denigrated the media and the judiciary, while the Shas leaders met with the head of the Prisons Service, Lt.-Gen. Benny Kanyak.

Benizri will remain in the religious wing of the minimum-security prison, sharing a cell with five other prisoners.

Religious-wing inmates are allowed to perform various chores inside the prison compound, to study Torah and to work outside the compound under Prisons Service supervision.

Rabbi Ovadia: if send your children to secular schools, ineligible to blow shofar in synagogue

By Kobi Nahshoni September 8, 2009

During the lesson, the rabbi also ruled that a man who sends his children to a secular school is not eligible to act as a cantor or to blow the ram's horn in the synagogue during the High Holidays, even if he himself keeps the commandments.

Rabbi Cherlow: Alcohol abuse in religious public alarming

By Kobi Nahshoni September 7, 2009

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, one of religious- Zionism's most prominent figures, urged the sector to curb its alcohol abuse, which he defined as "alarming".

According to Cherlow, the past few years have seen the Hassidic community's sanction of drinking seep into the religious-Zionist sector.

"We have to deal with it now, just as we began addressing the problem of drug abuse several years ago," he said.

Autism and the Jewish community

By Loren Sykes September 6, 2009

This is Thursday morning at Camp Yofi: Family Camp for Jewish Families with Children with Autism, and for many of these families, this ceremony marks something that some thought was impossible: public celebration of the life of a child with autism in the Jewish community.

Spiritual girl

By David Brinn September 6, 2009

Jewish mysticism has transformed Madonna, Karen Berg, the co-founder of the worldwide Kabbalah Center, told The Jerusalem Post Thursday in an exclusive interview.

Berg said that Kabbalah has also filtered into Madonna's music and her message.

"Look at 'Ray of Light,'" she said, referring to the singer's 1998 album and song. "There's a direct Kabbalah reference to it."

Mystical Madonna visits Safed tomb of Kabbalistic great

By Eli Ashkenazi September 4, 2009

Pop music icon Madonna, who took Israel by storm earlier this week with two back-to-back concerts in Tel Aviv, wrapped up her tour with a visit Thursday night to the Safed tomb of a Kabbalistic great.

Rabbi Isaac Luri - or the Ari - was one of the founders of kabbalism, a tradition Madonna has embraced over the last few years.

Diverse pool of performers set for religious verse festival in Jerusalem

By Yair Ettinger September 6, 2009

The participants, who hail from various backgrounds, including secular and ultra-Orthodox homes, arrived yesterday at Beit Avi Hai in the capital for a rehearsal. This group demonstrated the diversity of the creative world of religious verse, or Piyut.

Those performing in the Second National Piyut Festival also span a wide range of ages.

A liturgical renaissance

By Peggy Cidor September 4, 2009

Piyutim, the annual fall festival of traditional liturgical music, may only have taken place for the first time last year, but it is already making a name for itself among the city's music festivals.

Setting the stage for 'kosher' theater

By Abigail Klein September 4, 2009

Seven years ago, Lober founded an acting school at Aspaklaria. Some 400 students have since passed through its doors in Givat Shaul, virtually all of them Religious Zionist. It is the only such institution offering separate classes for men and women.

The universal covenant

By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Opinion September 3, 2009

The writer is the founder and chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone Colleges and Graduate Programs, and chief rabbi of Efrat.

It's no secret that during the past two years I have become seriously involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue.

In fact, here at Ohr Torah Stone in Efrat we've established the Susan and Roger Hertog Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation, and many hundreds of Christians regularly attend classes and seminars to gain a better understanding of the Jewish roots from which Christianity sprouted.

…Now that we as a people and a nation have returned to history, and the Christian world is beginning to recognize the continuing legitimacy of its elder brother's covenant, grafting itself onto us as a branch is grafted to the roots, we must each complete our return to God, join hands and bring a religion of love, morality, pluralism and peace to a desperate, thirsting world.

3,000 Pilgrims to Jump-Start Israeli Missionary TV

By Hillel Fendel September 2, 2009

The Israeli branch of the missionary Trinity Broadcasting Network has begun broadcasting Christian programming in Russian, with the hope of reaching a million Russian Israelis.

The broadcasts, which appear as Channel 177 on the Yes cable network, began four months ago, but will make their official debut this coming week.

Pastor Igor Nikitin, head of TBN’s Russian operations, said that the opening of the station in Israel “is a true miracle for us and for the entire Russian-speaking public in Israel.

A family channel on such a scale, built on spiritual and ethical values, which are a must in today’s Israel, is the fulfillment of our hopes linked to our dream to strengthen the Holy Land.”

Funding for Kollel Chabad Cause for Controversy

By Yechiel Spira September 8, 2009

It appears that among the many organizations that are earmarked to receive funding this coming year from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his organization, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, including Kollel Chabad, slated to receive NIS 1.2 million.

Evangelical pastor vows to rid Israel of swine flu

By Josiah Daniel Ryan September 7, 2009

Dr. Lee, speaking in Hebrew, promised to perform signs and wonders, bring blessings upon Israel, heal its sick, and even eradicate the swine flu virus from the nation.

"You will see that the swine flu will go away from Israel when I pray tonight and tomorrow," said Lee.

In faith, in love and in peace

By Greer Fay Cashman September 5, 2009

The Sisters of Sion are extremely well disposed toward Jews and reach out to them not for proselytizing purposes but to foster understanding.

In fact, part of their calling is to give witness in the church and to the world to God's love for the Jewish people.

Religion and State in Israel

September 7, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

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