Monday, July 12, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - July 12, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 12, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Reform and Conservative Jews wary ahead of Knesset vote on conversions

By Natasha Mozgovaya and Jonathan Lis July 11, 2010

The Reform and Conservative movements were up in arms on Sunday, a day before the Knesset plenum was to stage its first vote on a proposal that would grant the chief rabbinate exclusive authority to oversee conversions in Israel.

The head of the Reform Movement, Rabbi Gilad Kariv told Haaretz on Sunday that "this bill, in its own words, clearly shows that the cat is out of the bag: MK Rotem cut a deal with the Haredim according to which the Orthodox establishment in Israel will, for the first time, have a monopoly on conversion, in direct contravention of Supreme Court decisions, and promises that were given by political leaders, and contrary to the absolute interest of the immigrants."

Kadima MKs slam conversion bill July 11, 2010

Kadima representatives at the Knesset's Constitution Committee have sent a letter to committee chairman MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) requesting he prevent a vote on the conversion bill scheduled to be held on Monday. The bill acknowledges the Chief Rabbinate's monopoly on conversions in Israel.

New conversion institute aims to spark halachic debate

By Jonah Mandel July 5, 2010

The Israel Institute for Conversion Policy was launched in the capital on Sunday evening, in an effort to “retrieve the keys to the gateway” into Judaism and Israel for their “rightful Zionist owners.”

The new institute, headed by Arik Elman, will function under the auspices of the Beit Morasha’s Center for Judaism and Society, which focused on conversion and welfare policy in its annual conference, at which the launch was announced.

Shmuel Jesselsohn, who heads the conversion department in the Prime Minister’s Office, welcomed the institute initiative, and spoke of the complexity of modern conversion, in which a convert must define what it means to be Jewish, something the State of Israel does not do in a definitive way.

You’re Jewish – prove it

By Rivka Lubitch Opinion July 6, 2010

Rivka Lubitch is a rabbinic pleader who works at the Center for Women’s Justice

What should have been the happiest time of Sagit’s life turned into a nightmare. According to their documents, her mother and grandmother are Jewish and her parents were married by a Chabad rabbi, but even so, she’s being asked to convert in order to marry. The new regulations provide that this can happen to you too.

Lieberman's settlement bars Russian-Israeli families from buying homes

By Chaim Levinson July 11, 2010

The Nokdim secretariat ruled two weeks ago to bar non-Jewish Russian-Israelis from buying homes in the small Bethlehem-area settlement where Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman makes his home.

The decision came after a frenzied debate between residents over whether the entry of individuals not considered Jewish by religious law would lead to "assimilation" or improper behavior on the part of veteran residents and their children.

The IDF's overlooked positive side

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion July 9, 2010

Ten years ago, the then-commander of the IDF Personnel Directorate, Maj. Gen. Elazar Stern, decided he could do something to alleviate the crisis in the conversion system, which is not allowing over 300,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who are not recognized by the rabbinate as Jews, to integrate fully.

Israel’s Women Are Forced to the Back of the Bus

By Naomi Ragen Opinion July/August 2010

Naomi Ragen is a novelist and playwright. Her latest book, The Tenth Song, will be out in October.

Back in 2003 I took a bus from downtown Jerusalem to my home in the northern suburb of Ramot, a mixed secular and modern Orthodox neighborhood. One stop into the ride, a large, sweating haredi man hung over me threateningly, demanding that I move to the back of the bus. My astonished refusal was met with a fusillade of disgusting verbal abuse almost the entire ride.

Soon after, I described my experience in a Jerusalem Post article, including the disrespectful and dismissive response of the Egged bus company, which sent me a form letter insisting no such buses existed and that all seating on public buses was “voluntary.” I called it “Egged and the Taliban.”

Risking One's Life on the Bus

By Anat Tzruya Opinion July 8, 2010

While doing research for a new movie, Anat Tzruya learned the intimate details of a lynch that took place on a "mehadrin" bus in Beit Shemesh against a young 18-year-old religious woman, Oriyah Ferdheim, whose heinous sin was sitting in the men's section of the bus. To this day, the perpetrators of the assault have not been brought to justice.

...What prevented the media from asking, documenting and investigating? Did the fact Oriyah was marked as ultra-Orthodox give the impression that the story was an internal ultra-Orthodox matter? Why are the police refraining from opening an investigation?

A moderate nationalist, relegated to the sidelines

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion July 11, 2010

Despite the admiration he attracted, [Rabbi Yehuda Amital] never managed to get his views accepted among the central stream of religious Zionism.

The moderate Meimad political movement which he established in 1988 never managed on its own to cross the threshold needed for Knesset representation.

And the nearly complete identification between the religious Zionist knitted skullcap and right-wing nationalism was to become something taken for granted.

Thousands gather to mourn Meimad founder Yehuda Amital

By Yair Ettinger July 11, 2010

The thousands at his funeral included students and graduates of Yeshivat Har Etzion, which he set up and headed, rabbis, MKs and men and women who viewed themselves as his students and followers of his political path in the Meimad movement.

PM: Rabbi Amital loved peace

By Jonah Mandel and Daniel Clinton July 11, 2010

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday eulogized the founder of the dovish Meimad movement and the Har Etzion Hesder Yeshiva, Rabbi Yehuda Amital, as a lover of peace who should serve as “an example to all of us.”

Rabbi Yehuda Amital dies at 85

By Kobi Nahshoni July 9, 2010

The Har Etzion yeshiva is affiliated with a political and religious viewpoint that is an antithesis to the doctrine of Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Kook, which most religious Zionists follow. While the yeshiva's rabbis include prominent rightists, it is considered to have Left-wing tendencies, and many of its students are young Americans, including members of the Modern Orthodox movement, who spend a few years studying in Israel.

Rabbi Yehuda Amital dies at 85 in J'lem

By Jonah Mandel July 9, 2010

Rabbi Yehuda Amital, founder and former head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, passed away overnight Thursday at the age of 85. Amital was one of religious Zionism's foremost leaders and educators, whose moderate political approach led him to found the Meimad movement in 1988.

Orthodox feminist teacher wins appeal after school tries to fire her

By Or Kashti July 6, 2010

The National Labor Court overturned a ruling Sunday that would have allowed a religious college to dismiss a lecturer whose courses were largely avoided by students due to her well-known feminist views.

In an unusual move, the judge accepted a compromise agreement by which the lecturer, Dr. Chana Kehat, would be transferred to teach at other institutions of higher learning.

Group of Senegalese claim Jewish past

By Itamar Eichner July 7, 2010

Some 4,000 residents of a remote village called Bani Israel in Senegal are claiming they are of Jewish descent, according to an article published by the official Senegalese news agency, APS.

Two years ago, Israel's Ambassador to Senegal Gideon Behar visited the village and inquired about the villagers' origins. However, the villagers did not cooperate.

VIDEO: Signing with Love June 27, 2010

Click here for VIDEO

The International Coalition for Agunah Rights (ICAR) is a coalition of 28 organizations working to promote solutions to the problem of agunot and mesoravot get, in accordance with Halacha and to ultimately eliminate the problem.

We Are All One Family

By Dr. Misha Galperin July 5, 2010

Dr. Misha Galperin is head of External Affairs for the Jewish Agency.

Jewish Peoplehood is not the notion that “we are all united purely by dint of being members of the Jewish people” as Michaelson defines it. Building on Mordechai Kaplan’s original use of the term, Erica Brown and I defined peoplehood in our recent book, The Case for Jewish Peoplehood, as a sense of belonging to an extended family with a collective purpose.

The Return of Peoplehood

By Yehudah Mirsky Opinion July 9, 2010

Today, too, a disciplining frame for any discussion of the meaning of peoplehood must surely be the physical and cultural survival of what is now the world's largest Jewish community, comprising millions of individual Jews living in a mind-bending thicket of geopolitical danger and moral complexity. With that commitment in place, debate can freely proceed. Without it, there is little point.

VIDEO: Securing the Future

Click here for VIDEO

The Jewish Agency has always been committed to Jewish identity-building activities. However, they are now making it their priority to Inspire, Connect, and Empower Jewish youth around the world. This video presentation discusses the new strategic direction of the organization.

Nefesh B’Nefesh charter brings 223 olim

By Ben Hartman July 8, 2010

On a clear sunny day, 223 new North American immigrants landed outside Tel Aviv on Wednesday and were met by a celebration to mark their arrival in their new home.

A Jewish Agency for Today’s Jewish People

eJewish Philanthropy’s Dan Brown sat with Alan Hoffmann, Director-General and Dr. Misha Galperin, head of External Affairs, Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), to discuss the updated direction the organization is moving towards.

A Jewish Agency for Today's Jewish People from eJewish Philanthropy on Vimeo.

Jewish Diaspora, here they come July 8, 2010

Some 400 Religious Zionist emissaries gathered last week at the Judean Guest House in Jerusalem for the annual "Religious Zionist Shlichim Convention".

The convention was organized by the Jewish National Fund, the Department for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora of the World Zionist Congress and the World Mizrachi Movement. The new emissaries will represent Israel in more than 40 countries around the world and will educate towards Judaism and aliyah.

From idea to initiative

By Sam Cross July 8, 2010

What happens when 500 leading Jewish innovators come from all over world to think up creative solutions to the challenges that face the Jewish people?

On Wednesday at Hotel Kfar Maccabiah, participants in the ROI Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators embarked on an ambitious two-day journey to do just that.

At its annual leadership conference, ROI hosted their first-ever “Community Brainstorm & Action Planning” experiment with the goal of generating potential project ideas and then putting them into action.

Empowering Young Leaders in a 2.0 World

By Lynn Schusterman Opinion July 9, 2010

We’ve learned some important lessons that might help others in their search for the Jewish leaders and activists of tomorrow.

  1. The network empowers.
  2. Unexpected partnerships produce extraordinary results.
  3. Widening our circle of discourse lends perspective.
  4. Virtual reality is nice, but it pales beside the real thing.
  5. Don’t just believe in young Jews – invest in their ideas.

The punk, the payot and the payoff

By Raphael Ahren July 9, 2010

Each year, 120 young entrepreneurs who apply to and are accepted into ROI - which is mainly funded by U.S. philanthropist Lynn Schusterman - attend the annual summit, which first ran in 2006.

Gap year Israel program numbers begin to rebound

By Raphael Ahren July 9, 2010

After a year of steep decline in numbers, blamed on the global financial crisis, Israel gap year program officials report across the board report that registration is on the upswing.

Beit Shemesh Anglos reject Zionist take on shale oil project by Steinhardt

By Cnaan Liphshiz July 9, 2010

Immigrants from the Beit Shemesh area voiced strong objection this week to what they term the "use of Zionist rhetoric" by Jewish American businessman Michael Steinhardt to promote a controversial oil extraction project in the area. Steinhardt's Israeli associates said Zionism was the only reason he was involved in the project.

Birthright should bring young Jews to Israel, not Jewtopia

By Leah Molayem Opinion July 9, 2010

What Birthright-Taglit fails to include in the tours, and what is arguably one of the most commonly exercised practices within the Middle East, is the push...without that very real experience, a trip to Israel is not complete.

Taglit celebrates 10 years, a quarter million participants

By Noah Rayman July 9, 2010

This summer, 21,000 Jews will travel across Israel with the program, which matches a handful of Israeli soldiers with groups of around 40 foreigners from all over the world to experience Israel.

B'nai B'rith gives out awards on Diaspora reporting

By Tamar Zmora July 7, 2010

The B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism in Memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf for 2010 conferred at the event upon Anshel Pfeffer (Haaretz) for the print media category.

Television producer and director Shaul Meislish accepted an award for two documentary films, "Embrace Me" and "Rabbinate in Stormy Days" that aired on Channel 1 TV. "Rabbinate in Stormy Days" is a portrait of Israel's first Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Halevi Herzog.

More secular Israelis counter void within them by taking up Torah, Jewish studies

By Yoaz Hendel July 6, 2010

The secular yeshiva students occasionally attend classes with students from religious yeshivas, who support bridging gaps. Gal and Omer speak of the praise they have won for their ability to learn. They still have far to go in order to close gaps vis-à-vis the other students, but now they already know what they have yet to learn.

The yeshiva's head, Eran Baruch, is a proud redheaded secular who found himself somewhere on the spectrum between the kibbutz he grew up in and Jewish studies.

Bible learning conference kicks off

By Jonah Mandel July 11, 2010

The annual Bible-learning conference at Herzog College in Alon Shvut opens on Sunday, bringing thousands of people from all over the country for a five-day festival of multi-faceted study.

More than a hundred leading scholars and teachers will teach over 150 lessons, as well as 11 Bible-themed field trips.

Religious filmmakers join the New Wave

By Hannah Brown July 9, 2010

Over the past few years, religiously observant directors and movies on religious themes have claimed an increasing share of the limelight and have become part of mainstream local cinema.

In decades past, religious characters could often be seen as the butt of jokes in silly comedies, a.k.a. sirtei burekas. But these new films take their religious characters seriously. They have also sold tickets both here and abroad, and have won prizes at festivals around the world.

The Ma'aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts aims to build bridges between Jewish tradition and social experience, as well as between the religious and secular worlds.

Incoming bar mitzvah tourism

By Shoshana Chen July 11, 2010

The bar mitzvah celebrated by the son and nephew of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Jerusalem in May shines a light on a trend that has been going on for quite a few years now, but has recently been receiving a different and more colorful character – Diaspora Jews celebrating their children's coming of age in Israel.

Making the Besht of a good job

By Barry Davis July 9, 2010

An exhibition focused on the Ba’al Shem Tov draws attention to both the iconic rabbi and the Jewish National and University Library.

Holy Christian pilgrimage site could become a shopping mall

By Nir Hasson July 7, 2010

"My fear is that this ugly structure - which starkly contrasts Ein Karem's unique character and its magnetism for pilgrims - will be turned into a restaurant or shopping mall or worse, an event hall," says Ben Ofarim, a member of the neighborhood committee.

Gov't to examine Falash Mura aliya cases

By Dan Izenberg July 6, 2010

The Interior Ministry will examine the applications of some 1,000 Falash Mura seeking to come to Israel, a government official informed the High Court of Justice on Monday.

The process will thereby complete the implementation of a cabinet decision from 2003 to bring home the remaining members of the community who were descended on their mother’s side from a Jewish female.

Landver flies to Ethiopia to resolve fate of Falash Mora

By Ruth Eglash July 9, 2010

Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver will make her maiden voyage to Ethiopia on Saturday night, where she will be the first minister of immigrant absorption to visit the East African country and grapple with the ongoing aliya controversy surrounding the Falash Mura community, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

In an interview with the Post before her departure, Landver said that she wanted to see the situation on the ground for herself and “formulate a professional opinion.”

Chaplain, central command differ over Shabbat evacuations

By Rebecca Anna Stoil July 5, 2010

Shabbat evacuations of settler encampments, illegal outposts and closed military zones are only permissible if they are done in order to save lives, Chief Chaplain Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz emphasized, during a meeting Sunday of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Peretz said that it is the local commander who is responsible for determining whether or not a Shabbat evacuation is necessary.

Turin welcomes new chief rabbi July 7, 2010

ROME (JTA) -- Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum, the former chief rabbi of Uruguay, has taken the same post in the Italian city of Turin.

Birnbaum, a director of the Israel-based outreach organization Shavei Israel, officially took up his post July 1.

...Birnbaum was chief rabbi of Uruguay from 1992 to 1997 and is the director of Machon Amiel, which trains rabbis and spiritual leaders for work in Diaspora communities. He also is a judge on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Conversion Court.

At least initially, Birnbaum will remain in Israel and visit Turin at least once a month.

People of many faiths coming together in Jerusalem June 27, 2010

A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew walk into a café. What sounds like the opening line of a joke could just as well describe the opening moments of one of the Interfaith Encounter Association's monthly meetings.

The group, which aims to foster mutual respect and friendship between the tribes, while still giving props to the unique identities of each, organizes monthly study sessions throughout Israel, at which members of the country's different faiths come together to talk, learn, teach and socialize.

Religion and State in Israel

July 12, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.