Monday, July 19, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - July 19, 2010 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

July 19, 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.

*Articles on the Conversion bill and Women of the Wall will be included in an upcoming special edition.

Shas Chair: Absence of conversion law poses danger to Jewish people

By Barak Ravid and The Associated Press July 19, 2010

Meanwhile Sunday, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) said that the absence of a conversion law would pose "an enormous spiritual danger to the Jewish people."

Sephardi chief rabbi Shlomo Amar also stressed the need for the conversion law, calling on the religious political factions to withdraw from the coalition if the law was not approved. "If they heeded my advice," he said, "they would all stand together with one voice and one heart and say 'it's the conversion law or we're leaving.'"

"The Reform Jews are using the political situation to blackmail the prime minister. They sit there and they want to dictate our lives," the rabbi told Kol Barama radio.

The Haredi school scam

By Amir Shoan July 12, 2010

Yedioth Ahronoth obtained inspection reports filled out by Hugi and his colleague, Shimon Shimoni, an inspector of the religious Independent Education Center. The reports show that the State has not been enforcing the law which conditions funding upon the number of hours of basic subjects taught in schools.

It appears that many of the schools have continued to receive full funding while neglecting to teach the required hours of basic subjects, and according to the ministry's calculations at least $38 million have been distributed unlawfully to the religious education networks.

..."Two people are inspecting the education plans of tens of thousands of students," she said. "And they are haredim. They won't dare to report the correct hours – they could be expelled from the community."

Most Beit Shemesh Students Chareidim

By Yechiel Spira July 8, 2010

In 2010, a startling 63% of all students are affiliated with the chareidi sector, and that number is expected to continue increasing.

27% of the students in the city are identified with the dati leumi community, with the remaining 10% from the secular public schools. 17,300 students are chareidi; 7,000 dati leumi and 2,900 in the secular public school system.

Seculars, don’t educate us

By Menachem Gsheid Opinion July 14, 2010

Anyone who thinks he will be able to “educate” the haredi public via laws and punishments is wrong and misleading.

This is a community that knows how to fully stand for the principles it believes in. It is also a minority whose lifestyle must be respected, at least the way this is done with other minorities. The problem is that some people refuse to look into the data, for fear it won’t confirm their views.

A-G wants Haredi site probed for attacks on Emmanuel judge

By Jonah Mandel July 16, 2010

“His tongue is deep inside the rectums of the Ashkenazis at the Supreme Court” is a headline from the haredi Web site Tzofar, and one of the more vile references to Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy.

Police to investigate Haredi site for diatribe against Supreme Court Justice Levy

By Jonah Mandel July 15, 2010

The Attorney General's office recommended that police launch a criminal investigation of the haredi website Tzofar on Thursday, after writer Shmuel Kooper produced numerous diatribes against Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy.

Haaretz cartoon July 13, 2010 by Amos Biderman

“The Sephardim won!!”

(Emmanuel school segregation case;World Cup champions: Spain; "Sephardim"= Spaniards)

Rishon Anglos bring in TALI education as solution for Russian immigrants

By Cnaan Liphshiz July 16, 2010

A rare collaboration between English-speakers and Russian immigrants in Rishon Letzion may soon make the Tel Aviv suburb the first large city in Israel to adopt the immigrant friendly TALI program in all its primary schools.

The TALI program, founded by American immigrants to Israel, provides pluralistic, Jewish education for secular pupils to a network of 84 schools nationwide.

Religious group aims to cut subsidies for yeshiva students

By Yair Ettinger July 15, 2010

In the wake of last month's ruling that yeshiva students should no longer receive income assistance, a group is now demanding they also be denied personal accident coverage subsidies.

A religious organization has found the insurance, which is provided to all 1.7 million school children in Israel, is also extended to married yeshiva students up to age 45 for a nominal annual fee of NIS 28 to NIS 35 per year, and has opened up a front against the practice.

Majority of haredim: We're not racist

By Kobi Nahshoni July 12, 2010

Most members of Israel's ultra-Orthodox public believe there is hardly any racism in their society, according to a special poll ordered by Ynet following the compromise in the Emmanuel discrimination affair.

The findings also showed that the haredim believe the High Court of Justice is hostile towards them, but that they are the ones who won the battle over education in Emmanuel.

Flag-burning yeshiva student claims freedom of expression

By Liel Kyzer July 12, 2010

An ultra-Orthodox yeshiva student indicted for flag-burning has asked that the charges be dropped as protected freedom of expression.

The student's lawyer also told the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court that the law, as it stands today, is effectively a dead letter as it doesn't specify intent to dishonor the flag - and so many Israeli citizens effectively break the law on a daily basis without ever being charged.

Haredi rabbis: Hotel vacations immoral

By Ari Galahar July 14, 2010

In a notice distributed in Haredi neighborhoods, rabbis call on editors of haredi press to avoid publishing advertisements for hotel vacations, except for three "kosher" Haredi hotels.

Haredim riot over 'obscene' plasma screen news updates

By Shmulik Grossman July 18, 2010

A haredi riot broke out on Sunday in a postal branch in Jerusalem's Bukharim neighborhood over Ynet news updates. A group of 25 ultra-Orthodox protested at the site over plasma screens showing Ynet news updates which they referred to as "abomination." Several rioters even attacked security guards standing outside the branch.

Bnei Brak: The poorest city you can't afford

By Shlomit Tzur July 12, 2010

Bnei Brak Mayor Yaakov Asher said that the only thing that will bring down housing prices in Bnei Brak is the expansion of Modi'in Ilit and Elad, the absorption of Haredim by the communities of Katzir-Harish, near Hadera, and new construction in Betar Ilit.

Rabbi Elyashiv joins Jaffa protest

By Kobi Nahshoni July 15, 2010

The Eda Haredit is not alone. Senior rabbis from the central stream of haredi Judaism, led by Lithuanian leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, are joining the protest against the evacuation of graves from the Andromeda Hill construction site in Jaffa.

The rabbis are calling upon their followers to demonstrate against the ongoing work on the site.

Haredim continue protest in Jaffa over building on graves

By Yaniv Kubovich July 12, 2010

MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) also visited the site yesterday to join in prayers with the protesters. Gafni said he had the feeling that a "barbaric attack" was being perpetrated against graves in Israel.

Haredim block Jerusalem road

By Shmulik Grossman July 12, 2010

More than 100 haredim blocked Bar Ilan road in Jerusalem on Monday with a large garbage container in protest of the construction on Andromeda Hill in Jaffa, which they claim is damaging ancient graves.

Friends say murder-suicide in Tel Aviv was likely caused by failed Haredi arranged marriage

By Yuval Azoulay and Yaniv Kubovich July 16, 2010

An arranged marriage gone awry may have caused the dispute that led to the death of two Haredi men in an apparent murder-suicide in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, friends of the deceased said yesterday.

Ultra Orthodox Visiting Synagogue Tear Out Prayers For State From Prayer Books

By Independent Media Review Analysis July 18, 2010

After several visits of the radical ultra orthodox groups, Avi Tessler, the gabbai of the synagogue, noticed that all the prayer books in the synagogue had been damaged. The pages with the prayer for the State of Israel and for IDF soldiers were torn out of the prayer books.

14-year-old takes Rabbinate exams

By Kobi Nahshoni July 18, 2010

While his classmates spent the summer holidays at the beach or at the pool, vacationing in Israel or abroad, Moshe's focus was on a completely different subject. While they were trying to solve crossword puzzles or Sudoku, Moshe's gifted mind continued to race ahead. Last week, the boy fulfilled his dream of sitting the Chief Rabbinate's ordination exams - and he is only 14 years old.

How the mighty have fallen

By Peggy Cidor July 16, 2010

For years, the Jerusalem city council was considered a stronghold of the Shas movement, and it was the model on which the political movement based itself to recreate the same success. Today, there is hardly a city council in the country that doesn’t have its own local Shas representative, including the bastion of secularism, Tel Aviv.

Crowd of 10,000 Declare: The Temple Mount Belongs to Jews

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu July 13, 2010

A huge crowd of 10,000 Jews gathered at the old gates of the Temple Mount Monday night and declared their allegiance to the holy site, which rally organizers said is being separated from Jews by discriminatory practices by the police.

Religion and State in Israel

July 19, 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 - July 19, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 19, 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.

*Articles on the Conversion bill and Women of the Wall will be included in an upcoming special edition.

Treasury cancels proposal to lower draft exemptions for Haredim to 22

By Moti Bassok and Zvi Zrahiya July 15, 2010

The Finance Ministry has given up on its proposal to lower the age for permanently exempting ultra-Orthodox men from military service from 35 to 22.

The proposal was included in an earlier version of next year's Economic Arrangements Law.

The IDF and Defense Ministry also objected to the treasury's original proposal, claiming it would encourage the religious to avoid the draft.

Click here for VIDEO: Blue Dawn - Haredim in Israel Air Force

Orthodox MK makes landmark visit to Tel Aviv gay center

By Noah Kosharek July 14, 2010

MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) visited a gay youth center in Tel Aviv on Tuesday to meet with members of the gay community. The club welcomed the visit, saying he is the first Orthodox Knesset member it has ever hosted and hopes he won't be the last.

MK Otniel Schneller, is Religious Zionism obligated to fight for the rights of the gay community?

By Jonathan Lis July 14, 2010

Q: MK Otniel Schneller, is religious Zionism obligated to fight for the rights of the gay community?

MK Otniel Schneller:

Sodomy is forbidden according to Halakha. Period. But should this prohibition affect a gay person's rights? I think the situation is just the opposite.

Tel Aviv synagogue reconsiders invitation to Rabbi Elon

By Yair Ettinger July 15, 2010

The Heichal Meir synagogue in Tel Aviv is considering backtracking on its plan to host classes given by Rabbi Mordechai Elon, who has been accused of sexually exploiting his students, the synagogue's rabbi said yesterday.

Heichal Meir could face a confrontation with Takana, a watchdog group that aims to prevent sexual exploitation by authority figures in the religious world, if it doesn't withdraw its invitation to Elon.

Rabbi suspected of sexual exploitation to return to educators role

By Yair Ettinger July 14, 2010

Last week...Elon won the backing of Rabbi Shlomo Dichovsky, a leading ultra-Orthodox figure, widely viewed as a bridge between that community and the religious Zionist camp.

Dichovsky said he had acceded to a request from Elon's students to let him teach at Heichal Meir, his expansive synagogue in central Tel Aviv.

Who is (and is Not) teaching in "Modern Orthodox" Schools: A View from Israel

By Esther Lapian Opinion July 14, 2010

Esther Lapian is a teacher and teacher educator in the field of Bible studies and the teaching of Jewish texts. She works extensively in Israel and abroad as a consultant to Jewish educational organizations from every religious sector.

Most of the religiously observant student teachers whom I have met are not at all interested in teaching in the mamlakhti-dati school system (the religious public school system in Israel).

...Why is this true? Why are these bright, highly motivated, religiously observant young people, who are extremely knowledgeable in both Jewish and general studies, opting out of the mamlakhti-dati school system? And if they are opting out, then who is teaching our children?

The rabbi of intellectual openness Editorial July 12, 2010

From his own experiences with narrow mindedness, (Rabbi Yehuda) Amital – and Amital’s students – learned to more fully appreciate the importance of tolerance for the diverse opinions of others.

Amital embraced liberal democracy as the best form of government in a contentious Jewish state and entered into dialogue with secular and non-Orthodox Jews.

Amital’s political endeavors with Meimad may not have resulted in electoral windfalls, but his impact on what could have been a very monolithic religious Zionist society is undeniable. Thankfully, Amital’s legacy is alive in hundreds of students.

“A Simple Jew”

By Yehudah Mirsky July 13, 2010

Amital never ceased regarding the world of religious Zionism as the community to which he most closely belonged. The educational philosophy he developed over the decades cultivated traditional yeshiva scholarship while also placing a rare premium on independent thinking.

In the hasidic and mystical side of his character he prefigured the neo-hasidic revival of recent years—of which, however, he was also a genuine critic.

While encouraging his students to strive for authenticity in their religious lives, he urged them not to fetishize this at the expense of ethical values or of their identification with Jewry at large.

Interview with Rabbi Benny Lau on Conversion July 16, 2010

Q: But according to the halakhah, a pilot cadet whose father is Jewish and mother is Christian is not Jewish.

A: I don’t agree.

I can show you halakhic responsa from one hundred and one hundred and fifty years ago that state that if a person sacrifices himself for the sake of Israel, he is designated first and foremost as someone who has chosen the people of Israel.

If a person becomes a combat soldier and is prepared to lie down night after night waiting in ambush, his entry certificate to conversion is different from someone who comes for other reasons, since he has already chosen the people of Israel and is ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of the people of Israel.

India's 'Lost' Jews Seek a Place in Israel

By Lourdes Garcia-Navarro July 16, 2010

Click here for PODCAST

Every year, Jews from around the world migrate to Israel, a process known as aliyah, a Hebrew word meaning "ascent."

But for the Bnei Menashe community of India, who believe they are descendents of one of the 10 lost tribes of ancient Israel, the road has been long and fraught with difficulty.

Tel Aviv prayer

By Rani Jaeger Opinion July 15, 2010

Rani Jaeger is a fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute.

It is difficult to breathe in Jerusalem, and difficult to pray, and that's why I travel to Tel Aviv: not to escape from the sanctity but to achieve a moment when there is holiness that emanates from the person rather than the place.

Rani Jaeger, among the founders of the “Israeli Prayer House” in Tel Aviv explains why on the Sabbath eve, he goes down to Tel Aviv to pray.

Café Café promoting religion?

By Meirav Crystal July 15, 2010

A customer who dined recently at a Café Café branch in Rishon Lezion was surprised to receive a booklet of prayers along with his bill.

"As I finished my breakfast, I received a booklet with the bill inside," he says. "It also included two colorful pamphlets on chromo paper, filled with prayers and blessings.

There were prayers for good health, rulings of Chief Sephardic Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, a prayer offered upon embarking on a journey, and a special prayer one should say after going to the bathroom."

A Jew, a Christian and a Muslim climb into a tank

By Raphael Ahren July 16, 2010

It takes a good eye and decent coordination to drive a tank for the Israel Defense Forces. A knowledge of world religions? Not so much.

Yet that's exactly the skill set that Korey Bronson, who has been a Jew, Christian, Muslim and now Jew again, brings to the IDF.

Family Affair / The Ner-Davids

By Avner Avrahami and Reli Avrahami July 15, 2010

Haviva Ner-David: Rabbi and social activist. Ordained by Rabbi Aryeh Strikovsky (“who is Orthodox”) in Jerusalem.

She herself loathes labels and says she is a “rabah [female form of rav, or rabbi] of Jews” no matter from which community or stream (“I grew up Orthodox, but today I am egalitarian”).

Manages a mikveh , where she also give seminars on relationships for secular and religious people; is involved in gender issues, has a Ph.D. in halakha from Bar-Ilan University.

She is the author of “Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination(in English), is now writing a new book (“when Mishael is at the nursery”)...

One Thousand Young Russian-Speaking Israelis Expected at Limmud FSU Jerusalem July 18, 2010

A unique event for Russian-speaking Israelis will take place this week in Jerusalem at the Kiryat Moriah Campus of the Jewish Agency, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and the Shai Agnon House.

Rabbis fight ban on renting to illegal aliens

By Yoav Zitun July 19, 2010

Fifty-one Conservative, Reform, and Orthodox rabbis submitted a signed manifesto Sunday rejecting a ban by Tel Aviv rabbis on renting homes to illegal aliens.

How to create a new status quo

By Gilad Malach July 15, 2010

Gilad Malach is a Ph.D. student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is writing his dissertation on “Strategies of public policy regarding ultra-Orthodox Jews.”

The Gavison-Medan Covenant authored by Rabbi Yaakov Medan and Professor Ruth Gavison, is the most important covenant that has been written in this generation and it has not yet said its final word.

Gilad Malach writes about the creation of this unexpected document, which was produced when a jurist and a Hebrew University law professor who founded the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) collaborated with the head of Yeshivat Har Etzion.

The threat of fundamentalism

By Rabbi Michael Graetz Opinion July 18, 2010

It is clear that certain sectors of the Israeli Jewish population also do not want the vision of Israel representing all Jewish approaches.

The actions of the Israeli rabbinate and the haredi rabbinical leadership are clear. They want a state that reflects only their brand of Judaism, and everything else, including, by the way, modern Orthodoxy, has immense obstacles placed before it.

It is wrong to fast on Tisha B'Av

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion July 16, 2010

Mourning on the Ninth of Av in this day and age flies in the face of both secular Zionism and religious Zionism. It contradicts the right of Jews around the world to decide where they prefer to live. The exile is over, and the temple has not been rebuilt because we don't want to do it.

The only ideologies that can justify continuing this observance are those that see democratic Israel as a heretic entity defying the majesty of God on earth. But if you are not a member of the Eda Haredit or a settler from Yitzhar, how can you mourn on Tisha B'Av in good conscience?

Scholar urges Law of Return changes

By Haviv Rettig Gur June 30, 2010

One of Israel’s best-known legal scholars, Prof. Ruth Gavison, is urging a rethink of the provisions of the Law of Return that could lead to eliminating automatic citizenship for new olim.

In a paper titled “The Law of Return at 60 Years,” Gavison, a professor at the Hebrew University, writes that citizenship would best be granted not automatically to every oleh, but “according to sensible conditions, such as a length of stay in the country, integration in it, and a declaration of loyalty toward [the state] as is practiced in the case of other candidates for citizenship.”

Career Paths Take A Detour To Israel

By Rivka Oppenheim July 14, 2010

In this third installment of “Aliyah Journal,” a report on three New Yorkers — one married couple and one single woman — who are leaving successful careers to start over in Israel.

New face of American aliyah

By Aaron Howard July 15, 2010

They used to come by ship or over land. Historically, Jews who wanted to reach Israel to make aliyah had to overcome many hardships to reach their homeland.

Today, it’s simple: You board an airplane and arrive 11 hours later.

Campaign to bring thousands more Falash Mura gains steam

By Uriel Heilman July 13, 2010

After months of fits and starts, advocates for Ethiopian aliyah are hoping that a visit to the African country this week by Israel’s minister of immigrant absorption will help set in motion a process that will bring some 7,500 additional Ethiopians to Israel.

So far, the Israeli government has committed to checking only 1,800 of them for aliyah eligibility and bringing those who qualify to Israel.

Likud supports continued Ethiopian aliya

By Ruth Eglash July 12, 2010

The overwhelming majority of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party supports the continued aliya of the Falash Mura community from Ethiopia and a lesser majority believes that delays to their immigration over the past few years stem from discrimination and racism, according to a report received by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Commissioned by the Public Committee on Ethiopian Jewry, which is headed by former Supreme Court judge Meir Shamgar and includes high profile members such as Canadian parliamentarian Irwin Cotler and Chief Rabbi of Ethiopian Jews in Israel Yosef Adaneh, the study is the first of its kind to focus exclusively on the ruling Likud party’s attitudes toward the controversial aliya.

Religion and State in Israel

July 19, 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.