Monday, May 10, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - May 10, 2010 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

May 10, 2010 (Section 1) (see also 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.

Huldai’s truth

Haaretz Editorial May 3, 2010

Huldai indeed minced no words. But the Shas leaders who hastened to respond were both mistaken and misleading when they said this constituted unbridled incitement.

Huldai was expressing the anguish of that sizable public that pays the bulk of our taxes, yet whose children, who study in state schools, have in recent years received less education and fewer classroom hours.

TA mayor: I did not slam Haredim May 3, 2010

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai on Monday denied having anything against eduction in the haredi community following his fierce criticism of the state funding of private schools.

"I don't have anything against haredi education. I only have a problem with private education."

Huldai told Army Radio.

"There is no other democracy in the world where the government funds private schools. If you want to fund a private school, you need to fund it yourself."

Haredi MKs rail against TA mayor’s comments

By Ben Hartman May 3, 2010

Interior Minister Yishai told Israel Radio that haredi schools include mathematics and English in their curriculum and that there is no problem with the level of education given to pupils in the religious school system.

Shahar Ilan, vice president of research and information for Hiddush:

“I think that the publication of the report is leading to a very broad public discussion. The fury in the general public over the fact that the haredi public doesn’t serve in the army and doesn’t take part in the workforce are leading to a day when we could see a change in these policies.”

‘Ron Huldai has it wrong’ / Gafni: Haredim are financing the secular public

TheMarker May 4, 2010

Although the ultra-Orthodox community may pay value added tax, most of that group doesn’t work, [Tel Aviv University professor Dan Ben-David] said. They therefore live on the state’s dime. At most they return the 16% at which VAT is charged of the 100% state funding they get, Ben-David retorted.

Ben-David has claimed in a report that these days, about two-thirds of all ultra-Orthodox adults are non-employed (not unemployed”: they are not looking for work).

He estimates that within 30 years, 80% of the country’s school population will be either Haredi or Arab, compared to 50% in elementary grades today.

Blacking out Zionism?

By Ricky Ben-David May 7, 2010

The writer is the op-ed editor at The Jerusalem Post

It is not clear whether educational reform, stipend cutbacks, a new political party or a combination of these would reverse the current trend – one that could lead to the end of Zionism as we know it – but it is evident that the haredi-secular divide needs to be addressed seriously. For the sake of our collective future in this country.

Livni: PM committed to Shas, haredim

By Attila Somfalvi May 3, 2010

According to Livni,

"Everyone suffers from this situation; all those who care about Judaism in the national sense, not just the religious one. This stance is not anti-religious or anti-haredi. This stance places the concern for the future of our society above everything else. This issue has not topped the PM's list of priorities."

Likud should work with Kadima for national salvation

Haaretz Editorial May 9, 2010

The second destructive trend involves the expansion of the ultra-Orthodox community, whose members do not work and do not bear the burden of military service or paying taxes.

Instead, they are dependent on welfare payments and they deprive their children of the kind of education that would give them the necessary skills to join the labor force.

Education Ministry plan aims to give Haredim workforce skills

By Lior Dattel May 4, 2010

The proportion of ultra-Orthodox adults who do not work has been climbing for decades, but before they can join the workforce, they have to have skills employers want.

Guided by Education Minister Gideon Saar, the Council for Higher Education has formulated a plan to get thousands of Haredim to acquire higher education, in order to improve their employability.

Saar will shortly be presenting the Knesset with a five-year plan for the whole higher education system. The program for Haredim is one section.

Go figure / Who is a Haredi?

By Nati Toker May 4, 2010

Israel’s incessant religious strife has been replaced in recent years by another battle entirely: one of numbers. Each side to the political war whips out dramatic figures pertaining to the Haredim, which are countered by very different numbers from the other side.

Livni urges Likud and Kadima to join forces for peace

By Aluf Benn May 7, 2010

Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima ):

"The core curriculum is necessary from two aspects - creating a common basis reflecting Israel's values as a democratic Jewish state. Judaism and civic studies [must be taught] in every school.

The second is providing every student with tools to join the labor force in the future and make a decent living.

This is the only interpretation of equality - equal opportunity to students and a fairer distribution of the burden among the population. This, with joint values and vision, are critical to our existence as a society. Pluralism is not a substitute but complementary."

Riding the anti-Orthodox cycle

By Yossi Verter May 6, 2010

The rise in anti-Haredi sentiment is a cyclic phenomenon.

…The question engaging many politicians this week is: Who will be the next Lapid? Kadima chair Tzipi Livni has adopted an anti-ultra-Orthodox line ever since she found herself in the opposition.

…And of course there is the natural heir - Tommy Lapid's son, media personality Yair Lapid.

…That is, unless Huldai enters the national race.

This is the battlefront

By Yossi Sarid Opinion May 7, 2010

This week, we learned another exasperating statistic: One out of eight children in Jerusalem - only one - is studying in the state school system. And 20 years from now, only 20 percent, nationwide, will be studying in this system. That's not a forecast, it's a battlefront.

What Haredi education does give

By Elia Leibowitz Opinion May 7, 2010

…the mayor seems not to have touched on another aspect of Haredi and yeshiva education, including the "Zionist" yeshivas - namely, the damage this education causes the individuals through what it does teach.

'I won't remain silent anymore'

By Avirama Golan Opinion May 6, 2010

Huldai: "I don't know about other people, but for me the Nahari law made it possible for me to say outright what I could not say before: that the State of Israel is fully financing private education.

Previously, local governments could reinforce, say, a state, secular or 'free' school - or whatever you choose to call it - but now the lawmakers suddenly come and say: 'If you're giving something to Yaakov, you have to give the same to Moshe.' Why? Just like that."

Gabi Gazit: I didn't mean all haredim

By Kobi Nahshoni May 7, 2010

Radio talk-show host Gabi Gazit referred for the first time Monday to the harsh words he had spoken against the ultra-Orthodox and settlers, claiming "I was misunderstood."

"I am the son of a haredi Jew," he said. "My father was a cantor, and taught me never to undermine the faith of others."

Helping haredim find work

By Billie Frenkel May 9, 2010

The Higher Education Council is working on a new program in the aims of bringing thousands of ultra-Orthodox students into academic institutions.

The plan is meant to boost haredi integration in higher education institutions in order to improve their ability to later join the workforce. The program was formulated by Manuel Trachtenberg, the director of the National Economic Council, and is expected to be unveiled in a few months.

New Study Features Hareidi Religious Worker

By Avi Yellin May 4, 2010

The overall employment rate of Israel’s hareidi religious sector, including both men and women, is 43.2 percent, with 65 percent of unemployed men saying they would not work in a mixed setting with female or non-religious co-workers.

Poll: Secular public believes haredi majority endangers state May 6, 2010

The third question asked, "Which of the following proposals do you believe would better incorporate haredim into society?"

The results showed that of the seculars polled, 47% believe mandatory IDF service would help haredim assimilate better, 37% of religious people believe occupational training would help, and 42% of the haredim want affirmative action.

Aryeh Deri Warns of Alarming Growing Anti-Religious Trend in Israel

By Yechiel Spira May 6, 2010

Deri questions the validity of recent studies, explaining behind them are journalists who are now portraying themselves as investigative and Rabbi Regev, who is affiliated with the Reform Movement. He asks “since when have they acquired an expertise in statistics?”

The former Shas party leader warns that in our naiveté, we are not taking the matter seriously enough. While we should be conducting our own research, alternatively, we find ourselves responding to every journalist who decides to slam the chareidi community.

Israeli companies discover the merits of Haredi women

By Ido Solomon May 6, 2010

One reason more and more Haredim, men and women alike, are seeking employment is that the state has been cutting child allowances. But when they try to find work, they find many barriers. Some are internal - the special requirements of their religious rules. Other are external. Employers require that prospective employees pass tests, have a minimal education and can integrate into the culture of the secular workplace.

Studying Judaism Editorial May 9, 2010

An absurd situation has been created in which the State of Israel funds haredi schools that produce graduates who lack the occupational skills and the Zionist ethos to integrate into Israeli society, while it refrains from enriching secular schools with Jewish studies. This counterproductive policy must end.

Ultra-Orthodox educators reject plan to raise education bar for principals

By Or Kashti May 9, 2010

Leading figures in the state religious-education system are undermining the Education Ministry's attempts to institute regulations that will require school principals to hold master's degrees.

…Leading figures in the Religious Education Administration recently effected changes that lend their school system a decidedly more ultra-Orthodox feel.

Secular books have been removed from nursery libraries, Torah study often takes the place of core subjects and boys and girls are separated from first grade on, including on school buses.

Ashkenazim, Sephardim fail to agree on Emmanuel girls school

By Dan Izenberg May 7, 2010

The dispute between Sephardim and Ashkenazim over the Beit Ya’acov school for girls in Emmanuel has not been resolved, attorney Aviad Hacohen informed the High Court of Justice on Thursday.

Attorney Aviad Hacohen charged that the hassidim continue to insist that there be two separate tracks in the school and that the children of each track do not share any classrooms with those of the other track.

He also accused the parents and the Independent Education Center of drafting a new constitution for the hassidic track that is once again discriminatory and that will deliberately prevent many Sephardim from joining it.

Was the most radical of Neturei Karta extremists really all that different?

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion May 7, 2010

Through the schools, the rabbis control also the parents and their children's futures, bringing up another generation that believe they have no real allegiance or responsibility to a secular state. Hirsch accused them of selling out to the state but he was wrong. Menachem Porush may have been his bitter enemy but they were both working to achieve the same aims. It was the Zionists who sold out and allowed Hirsch's rivals in the Haredi world to realize his vision.

Graves adjacent to Barzilai hospital soon to be removed May 9, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman March 26, 2010

(PM Netanyahu returns to Israel from trip to U.S.)

The ancient tombs near the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon which were at the heart of a national controversy will be removed in the near future, possibly next week, a specially designated committee created by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Sunday.

Barzilai ER may be built beneath graves

By Yair Ettinger May 7, 2010

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided last month to build a missile-resistant emergency room on the originally proposed site at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, despite the presence of ancient graves, the director general of the Prime Minister's Office, Eyal Gabai, is reportedly considering a new proposal to build the emergency room underground, beneath the graves.

Seculars fight closure of J'lem cinema on Shabbat

By Ronen Medzini May 3, 2010

Following the city council's decision to keep the Cinema City complex – to be constructed the coming year - closed on Shabbat, a group of secular youths is pushing forward with its initiative to offer private movie screenings on Fridays, and vows additional activity.

Haredim clash with police in protest over boy's autopsy

By Yair Ettinger and Liel Kyzer May 6, 2010

Hundreds of Haredim clashed with police forces in Beit Shemesh on Thursday injuring a police officer, following the death of a 10-year-old boy in his home.

When the police arrived at the scene, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews started to congregate around the boy's home, apparently in fear the boy's body will be evacuated and undergo an autopsy.

10-year-old released for burial May 6, 2010

After an external examination, which Magen David Adom and protesting haredim agreed upon in place of an autopsy, a 10-year-old boy who passed away Thursday morning in Beit Shemesh was released for burial.

Authorities confirmed the cause of death was natural, and was not caused by foul play.

The haredi protesters dispersed after the boy was released for burial.

Haredi group: Exclusion us from Holocaust conference is 'Judenrein'

By Or Kashti May 6, 2010

In response to claims by an ultra-Orthodox youth movement that the Education Ministry is “placing it beyond the pale and with a yellow patch” for not inviting it to a Holocaust conference of youth movements, a ministry official replied that the movement did not meet the criteria for funding, and he would not give into pressure “even if you call us kapos in your next letter.”

Pyromaniac in Jerusalem? 3 synagogues torched in a week

By Shmulik Grossman May 3, 2010

Three synagogues in Jerusalem were set on fire over the course of a week, prompting fears that a pyromaniac may be operating the capital.

Police are working with Fire and Rescue Service officials in order to track down the arsonist or arsonists.

Some ultra-Orthodox residents of Jerusalem believe the fires are linked to the power struggles between the various hasidic sects in the city, but a prominent rabbi said torching synagogues "is a red line that no Jew would cross."

Who is burning Jerusalem synagogues?

By Abe Selig May 4, 2010

The first attack, which Jerusalem police had characterized on Saturday night as arson, occurred inside the Heichal Shlomo synagogue on Rehov Panim Meirot in the capital’s Romema neighborhood. The blaze, which damaged the ark and its curtains before passers-by were able to douse the flames, began as revelers nearby burned bonfires in honor of Lag Ba’omer.

Jerusalem girl sets fire in synagogue

By Shmulik Grossman May 4, 2010

A 15-year-old Jerusalem girl was arrested on suspicion that she lit a fire next to the Holy Ark of a synagogue in the city on the evening of Lag B'Omer. The girl claims that she wanted to take revenge for ultra-Orthodox harassment.

Yeshiva head suspected of shooting student indicted

By Aviad Glickman May 7, 2010

Three days after his arrest, the Jerusalem District Prosecution filed an indictment again Ben Ish Chai Yeshiva head Menachem Edri, who allegedly shot and wounded one of his students following an argument. Edri's friend, 30-year-old Yitzhak Zohar of Jerusalem, was also charged with assisting the Yeshiva head in the act.

Rabbinical court forbids Haredim from investing in Israeli companies

By Nati Toker May 7, 2010

According to a new ruling by the Badatz - a rabbinical court whose rulings are observed by a significant portion of the Haredi community - ultra-Orthodox Jews must not invest in the shares of Israeli companies, even in those owned by Orthodox businessmen such as Lev Leviev, Shaya Boymelgreen and Motti Zisser.

Investment firms promote ‘kosher’ funds

By Sharon Wrobel May 6, 2010

Investment houses are starting to take an interest in finding investment instruments that comply with Halacha, in an effort to target and serve haredi investors and seek new niche markets.

Over the past two years, the Badatz, which issues haredi kashrut certification, has begun granting its approval to various investment instruments.

Money Talks – More Kibbutzim Seeking Mehadrin Hechsher for Dairy Products

By Yechiel Spira May 6, 2010

Realizing the continuous growth of the mehadrin dairy market in Israel, more and more kibbutzim involved in the production of dairy products are seeking a chareidi hechsher.

Religion and State in Israel

May 10, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.

Religion and State in Israel - May 10, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

May 10, 2010 (Section 2) (see also 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.

Free-market Judaism Editorial April 3, 2010

As in the Diaspora, potential converts in Israel should be permitted to operate as sovereign selves. They should be given the freedom to choose among the different streams of Judaism.

They should be allowed to join the Jewish people in a way that feels right for them. The same holds true for other religious services presently monopolized by the Chief Rabbinate.

Free market forces, which Netanyahu so adeptly utilized as finance minister to strengthen the nation’s economy, should be used to invigorate religiosity.

Pulling the wool over our eyes

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion April 4, 2010

MK Rotem met with many of the North American Jewish community leaders in an attempt to convince them that his proposed legislation would be good for all and harmful to none.

He failed to gain their support not because Diaspora Jewry disagrees with the aim of opening the doors wider to those who wish to become halachically Jewish. He failed because his arguments in support of his bill were specious and lacking in merit.

MK, Non-Orthodox Clash on Conversions

By Stewart Ain April 4, 2010

MK David Rotem also insisted that his bill “has nothing to do with American conversions. I think they are fighting a war for the wrong purpose.”

“I don’t need their support,” he insisted. “I don’t like it when people tell me that their support for the State of Israel hangs on this. This is what I was told. ... I don’t like those kind of threats.”

U.S. Jews Fight Israeli Laws on Conversion

By Michele Chabin April 5, 2010

"We -- and more importantly, our Israeli colleagues and their lawyers -- believe that this language, if adopted as written, would further marginalize and hamper the Masorti (Conservative) and Reform movements in Israel," the U.S. leaders said in a statement.

Conversion Kabuki Editorial April 5, 2010

We’re seeing the Kabuki dance of Jewish religious politics played out here, as the Orthodox rabbinate in Israel is unwilling to relinquish an ounce of power, while the more liberal denominations — who, let’s remember, represent the vast majority of religiously affiliated American Jews — insist on legitimization.

And in the middle, trying to broker a deal (or, at least, appearing to do so), is a nationalist party with major backing from Jews of Russian ancestry and with a serious image problem at home and abroad.

Conversion bill deters Israel Bonds buyers in US

By Ran Dagoni April 9, 2010

Sources in the Jewish establishment, who asked not to be named, told "Globes" that Israel's estranged attitude to Jews outside of its borders was likely to have immediate and substantial effects, particularly on money raising through Israel Bonds.

Why Israelis Should Not (Legally) Marry

By Haviva Ner-David Opinion April 5, 2010

I recommend such couples marry in a ceremony of their design with a rabbi of their choice and simply not register as legally married.

Why? Because once a couple is registered as married in Israel, if they end up getting divorced, the procedure must go through the Rabbinate, even if the marriage was abroad.

But if the couple does not register as married, they can draw up a legal contract laying out the legal terms of their relationship, and if they end up divorcing, they can terminate this contract and draw up another if need be. That way, they can avoid the Rabbinate entirely.

My personal exodus

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion April 4, 2010

Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinic pleader who works at the Center for Women's Justice

But, as we know, the exodus from Egypt is not good enough. You still have to make it to Sinai. Sharon needed a divorce.

This story took place twenty years ago. The Petah Tikva Rabbinic Court ruled: "We did not find any reason under the halacha to force the husband to divorce his wife ... The woman should heed her husband’s request of reconciliation.

The Supreme Rabbinic Court overturned the decision of the district court recommending that the couple reconcile, but refused to order the husband to give the get.

Two years ago, when Sharon told me her story, she had still been denied a get - for over 18 years!

No secrets

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion April 6, 2010

Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinic pleader who works at the Center for Women's Justice

The State, the halacha and the entire public expect Orli to build an entire world of lies surrounding the unfortunate child in order to save him from the stigma of mamzerut.

There are only a few people who understand the terrible price that this child will pay and the fact that in cases in which the woman does not continue to live with her husband – it is almost impossible to hide the secret from the child. The State does not follow up with these children to see if it indeed acted in their best interests.

Serving God and country

By Aluf Benn May 6, 2010

This year, the IDF recruited 400 yeshiva graduates for the various technical tracks in Project Shahar (the Hebrew acronym for Haredi Service). There are another 500 men in the Nahal paramilitary brigade's Haredi battalion, which is celebrating the 10th year since its establishment.

What caused the change?

"The socioeconomic situation of the Haredim is dire. People are beginning to open their eyes, to see the developments among the secular population and the growing disparities, and they are also afraid of ignorance in Haredi society. Some are also aware of the growing social pressure [on that society] and don't want to stretch the rope too tight."

One, two, three, four, what are we guarding for?

By Matt Zalen May 7, 2010

“If you tell me that you don’t have enough manpower, but at the same time you exempt tens of thousands of people due to politics – because that’s really what we’re talking about when it comes to the Tal Law – then, well, come on,” he says.

Approved by the Knesset in July 2002, the Tal Law grants haredi men of military age the right to take a year off from their yeshiva studies without being automatically drafted.

In 2008, more than 50,000 yeshiva students were exempt from the army as a result of the law, and by 2012, that number is expected to reach 60,000.

While you were sleeping

By Amos Harel May 9, 2010

In 1990, 2 percent of the cadets enrolled in the course were religious; by 2007, that figure had shot up to 30 percent.

And this is how the intermediate generation of combat officers looks today: six out of seven lieutenant colonels in the Golani Brigade are religious and, beginning in the summer, the brigade commander will be as well.

Hareidi Jews' IDF Enlistment Rises Tenfold in Two Years

By Gil Ronen May 5, 2010

The Shachar program for enlistment of hareidi-religious men to the IDF has seen a sharp rise in popularity in the three years since it began: from 40 hareidi conscripts in 2007, to 200 the next year, to 400 in 2009.

Ramon: Exempt Haredi youth from IDF

Ben Hartman May 3, 2010

Kadima Party council head Haim Ramon proposed totally exempting haredi youth from IDF service, to allow them to enter the workforce at enlistment age.

Ramon reportedly told a Kadima Party conference that such an exemption would encourage haredi youth to join the workforce and would free up further state funds for the army.

Takana powerless as Elon returns to teaching... online

By Jonah Mandel May 6, 2010

The recent launch of a Web site containing broadcasts of Rabbi Mordechai Elon giving Torah lessons was chaperoned into public awareness by quotes of unnamed sources in the Takana Forum speaking out against further involvement in the affair, but the official stance of the forum has not changed, Takana chairwoman Yehudit Shilat told The Jerusalem Post, and remains as it appears on its Web site

Religious Youth Sign Charter to be Presented to National Leaders

By Hillel Fendel May 3, 2010

Dozens of youths signed a “religious youth charter” relating to the State of Israel last week, following a Sabbath, during which they discussed in depth the complexities of their many-faceted relationship with it, facing them squarely.

Jewish Agency to focus on Jewish identity April 4, 2010

The strategic planning committee of the Jewish Agency approved in principle new strategic directions for the organization focusing on building Jewish identity of Jews around the world and in Israel.

"Today, as we are faced with weakening connections, our challenge is to increase the identification of Jews to their People and to Israel."

Jewish Agency, JDC Stake Claims In Funding Fight

By Gary Rosenblatt April 5, 2010

It remains to be seen how the Jewish Agency and JDC will be reconciled, if at all, but the current saga offers a case study in the changing role of communal institutions and philanthropic decision-making.

All parties agree that the best solution would be more dollars raised to meet everyone’s needs, but they would also acknowledge that is not likely to happen at this time.

Officials meet plans of JDC, Jewish Agency with mixed reviews

By Jacob Berkman April 4, 2010

Sharansky is framing the shift as vital to staving off increasing assimilation and apathy toward Judaism by young Jews -- and a way to secure future support for Jewish charitable causes.

The Jewish Agency’s New Vision

By Dan Brown April 3, 2010

Following the just concluded meetings in New York of the strategic planning committee, I had the opportunity to sit with the charismatic Sharansky for an in-depth discussion of these new initiatives and on the current state of funding for Jewish Agency programs in the countries of the FSU.

Sharansky on Funding in the FSU

By Dan Brown April 4, 2010

Strategic partnerships and more formalized relationships among organizations has become even more of a necessity for most as a result of the current funding environment.

JAFI not only recognizes this, but the proposed new strategic plan contains an addition, “commitment to work in partnership with other organizations, funders and governments as a modus operandi” for the organizations’ work.

Gov't to develop ‘immigration marketplace'

By Haviv Rettig Gur April 6, 2010

In response to this harsh reality, the Absorption Ministry has decided to turn the problem on its head.

In recent weeks, it has been turning to local governments throughout the country with a simple message: You want more immigrants? Help pay for them.

Potential immigrants bemoan new requirements to show police records

By Cnaan Liphshiz April 7, 2010

A new government demand for prospective immigrants to provide police records is causing much concern among U.S. Jews planning to move to Israel, says a local immigrant professional.

Interior Ministry blasted for Olim policy

By Haviv Rettig Gur April 3, 2010

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad:

“We’re not doubting the intentions of anyone who wants to come to Israel,” she added, “but we see it as a legitimate response to a series of recent events to take measures to protect the safety and security of our citizens.”

VIDEO: Futurism panel: Jewish peoplehood circa 2110 April 5, 2010

Click here for VIDEO

In a spirited, vigorous discussion that spanned over an hour at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, the futuristic topic of "Jewish Peoplehood circa 2110" inspired a wide range of talking points which included (but were not limited to):

  • Tensions between religious and secular populations
  • The reconciliation of democracy and a Jewish state
  • Demographic issues

Jewish Peoplehood circa 2110 - Leadel LIVE Panel from Leadel dot Net on Vimeo.

Israel and America: A Roundtable on Deepening the Dialogue May 2010

Many have commented recently on the changing relationship between Jews in the United States and Israel — especially on what seems to be a greater distance felt by younger, non-Orthodox Jews, including those with intense relationships to Jewish life.

Quite how Israelis view American Jews is, it seems, less known, vaguer perhaps, with vastly different perceptions felt in the various sectors of Israeli society.

Sh’ma gathered together a small group with intimate knowledge of both communities to reflect on current attitudes. (Steven J. Zipperstein and Hillel Halkin)

Taglit-birthright event to mark ten-year anniversary

By Marc Rebacz April 6, 2010

Taglit-birthright Israel will mark its 10-year anniversary next week with a three-day event in which 3,000 young Jews from 10 foreign countries will travel to 18 cities across Israel, from Kiryat Shmona to Beersheba.

Higher learning: The Schechter Institute dedicates its new campus

By Gail Lichtman April 7, 2010

The $8.2m., five-story, 2,300-sq.m. Legacy Heritage Center for Jewish Studies, designed by Israel Prize Laureate Ada Karmi-Melamede, is slated to open in September and will include a beit midrash (study hall) for rabbinical students from Israel and abroad, 14 classrooms and lecture halls for Schechter’s more than 600 MA students and the TALI Education Fund Pedagogic Center.

When the 11,000-sq.m. campus is completed, it will also encompass the Liebhaber Center for Jewish Education and a new library.

Tradition! April 6, 2010

This week, the Schechter Institute, the chief educational institution of the Conservative movement in Israel, celebrated its 25th anniversary with the opening of two new buildings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Following decades of effort, the occasion marks a genuine milestone for the Masorti movement (to use its Hebrew name), a movement still struggling to establish a presence in Israel in the teeth of institutional opposition and public indifference.

Rabbi David Forman, 65, laid to rest

By Raphael Ahren May 7, 2010

Rabbi David Forman was laid to rest yesterday at a kibbutz outside Jerusalem, accompanied by hundreds of mourners.

Friends, colleagues and family members this week remembered the prominent Jerusalem-based Reform rabbi as much for his dedication as a family man as for being the political activist, communal leader, educator and writer that he was.

Rabbi David J. Forman dies at 65

By Jonah Mandel May 5, 2010

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Movement in Israel, described Forman as a true lover of Zion who created generations of Jews committed to the Land of Israel and the People of Israel.

“His love of Zion was expressed in his ongoing efforts to make Israel an exemplary society,” Kariv told the Post on Monday. “He didn’t let his love of Israel get in the way of his criticism of it, nor did he let his criticism of the state ever cast a shadow over his love of it.”

VIDEO: Shuli Rand wants to reconnect Jews to Judaism May 9, 2010

Click here for VIDEO

Shuli Rand, born in Bnei Brak to a religious Zionist home parted ways with Orthodoxy at the age of 26 to win acclaim in the theatrical arts.

Jerusalem: The city that drives people mad

By Dina Kraft May 5, 2010

Most of those diagnosed with the syndrome have a history of mental illness. But in a small number of cases, the person’s experience being in Jerusalem and at its holy sites appears to triggers psychosis for the first time, Katz said. In such cases the condition is temporary and easily treated by medication.

Brainy and proud

By Jonah Mandel May 6, 2010

Laura Bergman was the victor of the math quiz for religious Jewish girls, which was attended by over 700 people and broadcast live to 15 Jewish communities around the world. Yifat Aharon of Ohr Torah Stone Jerusalem and Atara Gutman of Tzviya Ulpana in Herzliya tied for second and third place.

New leftist, religious activism

By Gitit Ginat May 6, 2010

“The religious left-wing activists who are prominent today are mostly native Israelis who grew up in the post-1967 world,” says Klibanoff.

Getting to Know Our Christian Neighbors: A Different Part of Jerusalem

By Jennie Grayson April 6, 2010

On Friday 4/30, an oversubscribed group of about 30 Jewish residents of Jerusalem learned about a different side of their city.

They were taking part in a study tour to learn about the Christian communities of the Old City, an event created as a follow-up to the successful study session held at Kehillat Yedidya, on the topic of “Why Do Some Jews Spit on Christians in the Old City,” held on March 15.

One of the conclusions from that night had been that a root of the problem is that Jewish residents of Jerusalem know close to nothing about their Christian neighbors.

Reinterpreting the Crusades

By Jose Leyva April 4, 2010

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The school has 620 Arab students from kindergarten through junior high school. Two thirds of the children are Muslims, and the rest are Protestant, Greek-Orthodox or Catholic.

“We live together, so we have to include them in our activities, and they also include us in theirs.” said Hazboun, who is also an active member of several interfaith dialogue groups in Israel.

Two faiths one classroom from Jose Leyva on Vimeo.

Muslims, Jews, Christians do Bethlehem-Jerusalem run April 29, 2010

It may sound like start of joke, but it's true. Hundreds of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims participated Sunday in a marathon between Bethlehem and Jerusalem that kicked off Pope John Paul II's sporting events, being held for the seventh year.

Religion and State in Israel

May 10, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

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