Monday, January 3, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - January 3, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

January 3, 2011 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

We need an answer

By Rabbi Seth Farber January 2, 2011

The writer is director of ITIM (, which maintains a hot line for converts and those seeking conversion.

After more than six years of experience, I believe strongly that the Chief Rabbinate – in its current configuration – has not demonstrated clearly that it is capable of being apolitical. In fact, the consistent postponement of decisions related to certifying conversions already performed highlights the powerlessness of the rabbinate to move this issue forward.

The problem of conversion is an unprecedented national issue, and one that requires an audacious and national solution.

If the rabbinate cannot provide an answer – and all indications are that it cannot – then someone else should. If not for the sake of those who came 20 years ago, then for the sake of those who just arrived.

Ultra-Orthodox may offer 'technical solution' for recognizing IDF conversions

By Jonathan Lis December 29, 2010

According to the Shas official, Netanyahu explained in a night telephone call to Yishai that he believes a technical solution will be found to allow Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who is in charge of conversion matters, to recognize IDF conversions.

Should such an arrangement be found, there will be no need for legislation of a conversion bill and it will not be brought for a first reading.

Shas MK backs IDF conversions

By Yoav Zitun December 29, 2010

Speaking at the Council for Peace and Security conference, MK Amsellem said that all conversions conducted by the army must be endorsed.

"These are not revolving door conversions. We witness these converters every day, and know that some of them joined the family of bereavement. To stay indifferent is to be obtuse," he said.

Crisis looming? Bibi endorses IDF conversion bill

By Roni Sofer December 28, 2010

The Knesset Committee will convene Tuesday in order to advance the bill, amid concern that the move may prompt the haredim to vote against the budget, thereby threatening Netanyahu's coalition.

Shas Minister Eli Yishai: PM promised IDF Conversion Bill would not advance December 28, 2010

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday promised him that the IDF Conversion Bill will not move beyond the debate on the measure being held in the Knesset's House Committee, Army Radio reported.

Chabad: "Religious Parties Sanction Fake Conversions"

By Sholom Ber Crombie Opinion December 30, 2010

The current law is meant to recognize the “quickie conversions” of the army rabbinate, without the need for Chief Rabbinate sanction.

We’re talking about a totally insane process, particularly when you consider the fact that in recent years, the IDF has undergone a complete transformation in rabbinical matters.

An Independent I.D.F. Rabbinate Can Also Conduct Conversions

By Rabbi Eliezer Melamed Opinion December 31, 2010

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed is the Dean of Yeshiva Har Bracha

In principle, the idea of allowing conversions in the army is extremely appropriate; however, the problem is the source of authority of the Chief Rabbi of the I.D.F.

The first stipulation of a rabbi’s authority is – he must be independent, his halachic decisions must be made entirely according to their own merits and not swayed by external considerations and pressures.

For the sake of Jewish Israel - Interview: Kadima leader Tzipi Livni

By David Horovitz December 31, 2010

Tzipi Livni:

I’m in the process of thinking, beyond respecting the various streams and recognizing their conversions.
I’m also in touch with Conservatives and Reform in Israel. I don’t yet have a practical platform for how this should be reflected in the constitution on the matter of marriages. Thus far we [in Kadima] have supported the civil marriage bill. It’ll come up for a vote again.
Thus far we have found solutions within the halachic framework. But the more the haredim use their monopoly and impose their worldview on the national, liberal movement, the more this will lead to a revolution.

The Moral Consequences of Ignorance

By Rabbi Donniel Hartman Opinion December 26, 2010

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman is Shalom Hartman Institute President and the Director of the Engaging Israel Project.

The challenges of a Jewish and democratic State are not to choose between Judaism and democracy, or between our national survival and our moral principles, but to recognize that it is in our fidelity to our values and in the maintaining of our aspirations that we find both the greatest security and nobility.

"The Sages' Yellow Pages" - Masorti Movement in Israel

Haredi Schools Resist Israel’s Efforts To Impose Core Curriculum

By Nathan Jeffay December 29, 2010

A tug-of-war is taking place over the government’s attempt to impose a core curriculum in ultra-Orthodox elementary and high schools, and it’s not just about education. It cuts to the heart of a bitter conflict within Israeli society on the issue of authority.

Israel’s Education Ministry has launched a zero-tolerance policy aimed at Haredi schools that refuse to teach the ministry’s prescribed secular studies curriculum.

The Return of High School Talmud Studies: Will be Recognized as General Culture

December 13, 2010

Source: NRG

The Israeli Inter-University Committee has recently decided to recognize Oral Torah (Toshba) as a general culture subject towards entitlement to a high school matriculation certificate.

This now means that a student who studies this subject for an extended matriculation exam will have it recognized by the universities as an academic subject for university acceptance.

Top 10 Moments for Jewish Women in 2010 - #2 Anat Hoffman, leader Women of the Wall arrested

By Leah Berkenwald December 29, 2010

The world was watching as Anat Hoffman, leader of Women of the Wall, was arrested and interrogated by police, fingerprinted, and told that she may be charged with a felony for violating the rules of conduct at the Western Wall.

Haaretz images of 2010: #14 Women of the Wall

Fighting for pluralism and equality in Israel

By Phil Horn Opinion December 29, 2010

Why, in a democracy like Israel’s, should a minority at odds with the majority be able to make so many demands on society without giving much in return? Much has been said of Israel’s political system of proportional representation, which can give minority parties disproportional power.

Western Wall gets iPhone app

New iPhone app always points to Jerusalem

Hollywood gossip columnist Perez Hilton: New Years at the Kotel

Rebel MK Amsalem: Shas turning Sephardi Jews into anti-Zionists

By Chaim Levinson January 2, 2011

"How many Rabbi Ovadia [Yosef]s will there be?" he asked, in reference to the spiritual leader of the Shas party. "Just one in a generation. Everyone else can work."

Shas MK Amsalem’s refreshing presence Editorial December 29, 2010

Perhaps Amsalem is not too ahead of his time, and has rightly sensed a change in the tide of haredi public opinion. Perhaps, soon, we will be seeing more haredi politicians like Amsalem, leading a more open-minded haredi constituency. It would be a welcome, overdue change in Israeli politics.

Shas MK backs IDF conversions

By Yoav Zitun December 29, 2010

MK Amsellem stressed that his statements were not made in a vacuum. "Saying the haredi public is isolated, and doesn’t listen to what is being said about it on the street is too simplistic.

"Change comes from the bottom. The haredi public – Sephardic and Ashkenazi alike – realizes that a change must come," he explained.

'Deri warned Shas not to vote for Katsav

By Gil Hoffman and Rebecca Anna Stoil January 2, 2011

Former Shas leader Arye Deri warned the Shas faction not to vote for Moshe Katsav in the July 31, 2000 vote for president, sources close to Deri told The Jerusalem Post Sunday night, confirming a report on Channel 2.

Shas had been divided ahead of the vote between supporters of Eli Yishai, who backed Katsav, and Deri's allies, who wanted to vote for Katsav's opponent, Shimon Peres. Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef instructed his MKs at the last minute to vote for Katsav, sealing his victory.

Religious Zionism Rabbi Shlomo Aviner: Katsav is innocent

By Kobi Nahshoni January 2, 2011

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of Religious Zionism's leaders, said Thursday that the former President Moshe Katsav was innocent, and that the Tel Aviv District Court should not have convicted him of the sexual offenses detailed in the indictment.

Bring us into equation

Aliya rises second year straight nearing 20,000 mark

Treasury official under fire after attack on Russian-speaking immigrants

Press 'Like' if you're making aliyah

Immigration rises for second consecutive year

Immigration from Down Under jumps up despite good times

Aliyah from Australia and New Zealand up almost 50%

Peoplehood: The Future Agenda of the Jewish People

Israel: Where 'Aniyei Ircha Kodmim' Meets Tikkun Olam - "The poor of your city take precedence"

Rabbi leads Torah trafficking ring

Eli Senyor January 2, 2011

At the end of a long undercover investigation, a rabbi and three Arabs were arrested over the weekend over suspicions that they stole dozens of Torah scrolls.

Conference on Human Rights and Duties in the Jewish and Democratic State

Noahide Archaeologist Vendyl Jones Passes Away

By Hillel Fendel December 27, 2010

Vendyl Jones – Noahide archaeologist who discovered an immense stock of incense used in the Second Temple as well as the aromatic anointing oil – has passed away at the age of 80. He was most famous for his search for the Ark of the Covenant.

The Religious Journalists Association December 28, 2010

Religious journalists this month gathered for an inaugural meeting of the steering committee of the Religious Journalists Association.

...Recognizing the need to train religious journalists in universal journalistic values and ethics, the Lamda College in Jerusalem launched a communications course for journalists and spokespeople, which has graduated its first class. There’s just one hitch. The course caters only to men.

However another religious educational facility will soon be introducing a journalists’ course for women.

Government Urged to Bring Remaining Bnei Menashe to Israel January 2, 2011

The Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs has issued a decision calling on the Israeli government to bring the remaining 7,232 Bnei Menashe community members in northeast India to Israel.

Baruch Tegegne, Who Saved Ethiopian Jews

By Shmarya Scott Rosenberg Opinion December 29, 2010

More than any other person, Baruch Tegegne saved Ethiopian Jews. His 45 years of nearly nonstop advocacy took his health and, eventually, his life. But Tegegne, whose first name means “blessing,” will live on in his daughter, Yaffa, whom he loved so much, and in the lives and journeys of the 100,000 Ethiopian Jews who now call Israel home, largely because of him.

Pioneer of Ethiopian aliya dies at age 65

By Gil Shefler December 28, 2010

Simcha Jacobovici, who made a documentary called Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews, credited the Tagnene with a key role in the immigration of around 81,000 Ethiopian Jews, also known as Beta Israel, to the Jewish state.

Christian leaders dismayed by anti-gentile attitudes

Take to the streets, now

Nazareth surprised itself on the afternoon before Christmas.

Anglican church members grapple with fallout over brutal knife attack

Religious Zionism & A New Discourse on Sexuality

By Professor Avi Sagi and Yakir Englander December 22, 2010

In our book, “The Body and Sexuality in the New Religious Zionist Discourse,” which will be published soon (in Hebrew), we seek to monitor the new discourse developing in the early twenty-first century religious Zionist community regarding the body and sexuality through the examination of halakhic texts that appear in the dialogue between rabbis and the public.

Religion and State in Israel

January 3, 2011 (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.