Sunday, October 16, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - October 17, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

October 17, 2011 (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.

Israel High Court upholds ban on Sukkot gender segregation in Jerusalem

By Oz Rosenberg October 16, 2011

The High Court of Justice upheld a ban on gender segregation in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood on Sunday.

During this year’s Sukkot celebrations, police gave ultra-Orthodox leaders of Mea She'arim's Toldos Aharon community permission to erect a barrier dividing the street by gender, despite the fact that, last year, the High Court ordered community leaders to revoke the segregation they imposed on women on Sukkot.

…The High Court has now ordered that this will be the last year that police can permit the erection of such a barrier.

High Court: Take down gender-separation barrier in J'lem

By Jeremy Sharon October 16, 2011

Rachel Azaria:

“In the public domain there is one law for everyone,” she told the Jerusalem Post. “If people want to be extreme in their own homes then that’s fine but the if this radicalization spreads to public places it is unacceptable.

“This kind of separation is humiliating for women. Whether it’s being confined to the back of the buses or being told to use alternative streets, and it is women who are having to deal with the take-over of religion by extremists.

Moreover, women in the Haredi community are afraid to speak out for fear of being ostracized and this is why the state needs to step in.”

High Court outlaws sex segregation partitions in Haredi area

By Aviad Glickman October 16, 2011

The court ordered the appointment of a special liaison between the police and the residents to address complaints concerning the issue.

'Stop sex segregation on Haredi street'

By Kobi Nahshoni October 16, 2011

Jerusalem Council Member Rachel Azaria petitioned the High Court of Justice on Friday against the Israel Police and Jerusalem Municipality, which she said were allowing extreme ultra-Orthodox elements to illegally impose sex segregation on the streets of Mea Shearim during the holiday of Sukkot.

Azaria claims that the sex segregation in a public space, by "ushers acting like a sort of militia," seriously violates the dignity, freedom and freedom of movement of the passersby, and dishonors the court, which accepted the claim on this matter last year and ordered the police to fulfill their duty and enforce the law.

Mea She'arim to ban women from certain Jerusalem streets during Sukkot

By Oz Rosenberg October 11, 2011

The ultra-Orthodox community in Mea She'arim is planning to impose gender segregation in the Jerusalem neighborhood's streets on Sukkot, despite a High Court order forbidding it.

"This year will be the the same as last year," a senior ultra-Orthodox official told Haaretz.

"We're not doing it to harm women. 15,000 men are coming and 1,500 women, so we're simply moving the women to Shivtei Yisrael Street, from which they will enter the women's section," an ultra-Orthodox official told Haaretz.

Haredi group tries to bar woman from street on Succot

By Jeremy Sharon October 12, 2011

The Free Israel movement, which lobbies against the imposition of religious standards on public life, sent letters to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and the Jerusalem district police commander Nissan Shaham calling on them “to take the necessary steps to prevent gender segregation this year,” and threatened to take the issue to court if such moves were not forthcoming.

Israeli court separates church from state

By Anne Barker October 11, 2011

Click here for AUDIO interview

Irit Rosenblum is a lawyer at a non-government organisation New Family - which campaigns for family rights.

She says not only could civil marriage soon become routine in Israel, it may also force amendments to laws for example on surrogacy or sperm donation.


Right now what we're doing for example in cases of "surrogation" and the donors are non-Jews, the surrogate mothers are non-Jews, we have to convert the children for Judaism because we define each person by his religion.

VIDEO: Secularism struggle

Click here for VIDEO

I refuse to get married in Israel

By Yehonatan Opinion October 10, 2011

I wasn’t scared of moving in together with Shira, after only a few months into our relationship, it felt like the right thing to do.

I wasn’t scared of the commitment of adopting a dog together only two days after we moved in – that too felt like the right thing to do.

I wasn’t scared of meeting her family, her friends or her colleagues, nor was I scared of kneeling down and proposing to her – that too felt like the right thing to do.

Telling my mother that we’re not planning on getting officially married – now that was scary.

Chinese Jews feel more at home in Israel

By Benjamin Haas October 16, 2011

Because the community intermarried and based Jewishness on patrilineal heritage rather than matrilineal, the norm in Judaism, Kaifeng Jews who want to move to Israel need to undergo Orthodox conversions under Israeli law.

The process takes a year or more of study at an Orthodox yeshiva, and requires a final examination before a rabbinical court.

Jin was brought to Israel with three others from her hometown by Shavei Israel specifically to begin the conversion process. Once converted, she was eligible to remain in Israel under the country's Law of Return.

Lulavim and Etrogim Sent from Jerusalem to Manipur October 12, 2011

The Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India will celebrate Sukkot this year thanks to the support of the Shavei Israel organization, which sent hundreds of sets of Lulavim and Etrogim from Israel to India prior to the onset of the holiday.

For my children

By Emily Bernstein Opinion October 12, 2011

I chose to live in a country where even when I marry a Jewish man, I cannot have an official wedding and my children will not be recognized as Jewish for many governmental purposes. Challenges, that no matter how deeply I identify as Jewish, the current Israeli conversion process will complicate.

Confident in my Judaism and my beliefs, I am willing to go through the motions of a state-sponsored conversion process. However, I simply cannot guarantee that after completing the conversion process I will maintain a religiously observant lifestyle – a factor that can retroactively void both my Jewish status and that of my future children.

See also: Bring us into equation

When Down children grow up

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich October 15, 2011

The Jerusalem Post was recently invited by Yated director-general Ada Oz to its first-ever tour of Jerusalem and lunch for seven Down couples from all over – who are living together and/or married by lawyers or by the Conservative and Reform movements in Israel.

Unfortunately, with extremely rare exceptions, the Orthodox rabbinical establishment – the official Chief Rabbinate and haredi rabbis – has ignored the issue and refuse to perform weddings of Down syndrome adults.

...Sneh and Oz bemoaned the fact that the religious establishment considers adults with the syndrome as having the status of shoteh or mental disability (developmentally and with serious psychiatric disorders), which means they cannot get married according to Jewish law.

Some rabbis won’t even include them in a minyan, the quorum of ten men required for some prayers.

Most of the couples, said Oz, wanted to have a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony and official state recognition but they are denied this.

We are a people

By Shlomo Avineri Opinion October 12, 2011

Nusseibeh argues that defining Israel as a Jewish state would mean that it is either a theocracy (if the definition is in religious terms ) or an apartheid state (if the definition is ethnic), and hence not a democracy.

This is totally wrong: Israel views itself today as a Jewish state, and even if this puts the Arab minority in a difficult position (it would be cavalier to deny this), it does not deny them equal political and civic rights.

Israel Should Listen to American Jews, Too

By J.J. Goldberg Opinion October 14, 2011

Most discussions of American Jewish attitudes toward Israel revolve around the question of whether or not American Jews — or, in the latest twist, American rabbis — are sufficiently concerned about Israel. Are they identified with its needs? Fearful for its safety?

Dichter turns the question around. Following a tour of American Jewish communities last spring, he asks in an October 5 op-ed for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA): Are Israelis sufficiently concerned about American Jews?

Jokes my grandfather told me

By Daniel Gordis Opinion October 14, 2011

The writer is President of the Shalem Foundation and Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.

[W]hat we are witness to is a shift in emphasis from the particular to the universal, from an instinct that worries first about Israel’s need to survive to one in which Israel’s social flaws are paramount.

Understanding this shift requires lengthy qualitative interviews, not the sort of questionnaire that we (yes, I was also polled, though I didn’t participate) were sent via e-mail so that results could be compiled quickly.

The stakes for the Jewish people are too high for us to pretend to have learned what we have not yet even studied.

Jewish Agency to hold annual meeting in Buenos Aires

By Gil Shefler October 11, 2011

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s board of governors will convene in Argentina next month between November 14 and 16.

Officials said the purpose of holding the event in the South American country is aimed at strengthening ties between Israel and the local Jewish community and battling local anti-Semitism.

Hallelujah contest final and documentary to air

By Hannah Brown October 10, 2011

The final for the Hallelujah Jewish song competition – a combination of American Idol, Eurovision, Glee, a Birthright tour and an Israeli sing-along – will be broadcast on October 12 on Channel One at 8:15 p.m.

A long list of organizations worked together to sponsor this contest, among them the Foreign Ministry, the Jewish Agency, MASA, the Ramat Hasharon municipality, The Jewish Agency, Beit Hatfutsot, Nativ, IDF Education Corp, and Taglit, along with Limor Livnat, the minister of Culture and Sport.

Innovating Jewishly

By Justin Korda Opinion October 15, 2011

Taglit-Birthright Israel does not merely transform its participants – it transforms communities.

Once these same young Jews began to return to their home communities, full of enthusiasm about their time in Israel, the organized Jewish world had to figure out how to engage a population for whom the one-size-fits-all packages no longer fit.

This challenged communities to reach out to this increasingly diverse and niche-driven generation.

A Post-Zionist World Zionist Organisation – It just ain’t so

By David Breakstone Opinion October 15, 2011

Isi Liebler’s recent piece asserting that it was time for the World Zionist Organization to disband (A Post-Zionist World Zionist Organisation, Oct. 10) was completely off the mark.

...To begin with, let me state in the most explicit way possible that I was as mortified by the JTA piece as was Mr. Liebler.

It totally distorted the educational concept behind the Herzl Journey, completely misrepresented the impact of the experience which was thoroughly Zionist by any standards Mr. Liebler might apply, and did a terrible disservice to the participants in the program, who are themselves youth leaders engaged in a wide variety of social action projects in Israel.

See: A post-Zionist WZO

Religion and State in Israel

October 17, 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.

Religion and State in Israel - October 17, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

October 17, 2011 (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.

Rabbis split on prisoner release

By Jeremy Sharon October 14, 2011

The influential Rabbi Benny Lau of the Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Greek Colony argued in favor of the deal on Wednesday, saying that the changing geopolitical situation of the Middle East meant that the circumstances of Schalit’s captivity were such that his life was in certain danger.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem and a leader of the religious-Zionist community, said that the price was too high.

VIDEO: Chief rabbi Metzger praises Schalit prisoner swap deal

Click here for VIDEO

Chief rabbi Metzger praises Schalit prisoner swap deal

By Melanie Lidman October 12, 2011

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger on Wednesday afternoon praised the prisoner swap deal that will bring home kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit after five years.

He waited to congratulate the Schalit family ahead of Succot at their protest tent in Jerusalem.

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Ronsky: Shalit should have been declared dead

By Kobi Nahshoni October 12, 2011

The former IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier General (Res.) Avichai Ronsky on Tuesday said that Israel should not have strived towards a prisoner swap that included freeing terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

He believes the captive soldier should have been declared a dead soldier that cannot be reclaimed.

Speaking to Ynet, Ronsky claimed that the only right way to release Shalit was through military action and if that was impossible – to sadly accept the fact that the soldier would remain in Hamas captivity though he added it was "tough to say that".

Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef pushed gov't ministers to back swap

By Gil Hoffman and Lahav Harkov October 12, 2011

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received strong backing for the Gilad Schalit deal Tuesday night from Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The rabbi was one of the first Israelis briefed about the deal when Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited him on Sunday.

Yosef hosted Schalit’s father Noam in a meeting Tuesday night that was described as emotional.

“We believe there will be a majority,” Shas chairman Eli Yishai said. “This is good news for all the people of Israel. It’s important to the rabbi, who strongly supports it. He asked the ministers to fulfill the commandment to redeem captives by voting for the deal.”

Thousands of Hasidim dance for Shalit

By Eli Mandelbaum October 15, 2011

Thousands of Miskolc Hasidim on Thursday dedicated their celebration of Simchat Beit Hashoeivah (The Water Drawing Festival) to the impending release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

The Miskolc Rebbe's followers attributed to the release to their leaders' prayers, while the rabbi said that the power of prayer of unity expressed by the people of Israel was what led to the captive's return.

Seminary refuses to admit Sephardic girls October 11, 2011

Kol Hai Radio on Sunday aired a recording of a principal of a haredi high school for girls in Beitar Illit, complaining about the number of Sephardic students he must deal with.

"Not every year (…) absolutely not. Are you aware of the amount of Sephardic girls? I can't, I just can't," the principal is heard saying.

The radio station received the recording from an Ashkenazi haredi businessman, who tried to convince the seminary principal to admit students who have yet to find a suitable school.

According to the man, the girls come from devout religious homes, and their only sin is being Sephardic.

VIDEO: Ultra-Orthodox Jews picket girls' school

Click here for VIDEO

School-run tensions in Israel October 7, 2011

The BBC's Kevin Connolly reports on the rapidly growing fundamentalist population of Ultra-Orthodox Jews and the gauntlet of pushing, shouting men that "will do almost anything to get what they want".

The Mod (read modesty) Squad Gets Aggressive

By Kamoun Ben Shimon October 10, 2011

“To give in to the ultra-Orthodox community’s demands that the school be moved will not solve the problem,” Glasser says. “Our girls aren’t the problem,” she says forcefully. Our being here is what bothers the ultra-Orthodox.”

“The girls are not what is troubling the Haredim,” agrees Rosen-Solow. “They want the building, the neighborhood, the entire city.

We understand that this is a struggle not only for the residents of Beit Shemesh, but for the residents of Jerusalem and other places, too. We have had enough and are putting our foot down! We will not move from here.”

“This is a turf war,” says Morris. Referring to the extremists as kano’im, a derogatory Yiddish term for zealots, “They want to live their way, and they don’t want to allow us to live our way. But we aren’t going to give in.”

Response To Claim of Anti-Haredi Sentiments Among Organizers

By Rabbi Dov Lipman Opinion September 27, 2011

Our communities have been crying to hear the Chareidi Rabbis say something against these thugs and goons because we so badly WANT to continue loving all Jews as we always have.

Hearing those comforting words would reassure us of regarding that which is not so obvious in these dark days and would help give us the strength we need to help our children (and ourselves) through these difficult spiritual times.

But, instead, first we heard the sound of silence, a sound that is more confusing and devastating than the accuser can ever imagine. But following the sound of silence we heard the "explanation" for the silence which was simply painful, hurtful, and false!

MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem: Torah, science go together

By Haim Amsalem Opinion October 11, 2011

Knesset Member Rabbi Haim Amsalem is the chairman of the Am Shalem movement

Yet just like not everyone is fit to be a math or physics professor, researcher or lecturer, not everyone can be a great scholar or rabbi.

For most of the ultra-Orthodox public, a path that combines Torah studies with a dignified job is proper and suitable. Only a select haredi group should dedicate all its time and energy to Torah studies.

In recent generations, a false perception was entrenched as if one must study nothing but Torah.

The ups and downs of an increasingly ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem

Despite secular residents' objections, Jerusalem building to get Shabbat elevator

By Oz Rosenberg October 11, 2011

It should be noted that unanimous agreement among the neighbors is no longer necessary to install a Shabbat elevator.

The Knesset passed a law in March stipulating that in a building with only one elevator, residents can vote to turn it into a Shabbat elevator by a simple majority.

Yosefa Yavin explained that the character of the building had changed, just as the character of much of Jerusalem had changed.

"If the majority wouldn't have wanted [the Shabbat elevator], it wouldn't have passed," she said.

Modi'in to charge outsiders at 'locals only' event

By Gili Cohen October 11, 2011

Responding to pressure from local residents, the Modi'in municipality is publicizing a "happening" at the city's Anabe Park next Monday, one of the intermediate days of Sukkot, as "meant for local residents only.”

...Asked if these efforts are meant to exclude Haredim, Elbaz said,

"We are not talking about any specific type of people. We favor city residents. We would be pleased if entrance was restricted solely to city residents."

PHOTO Gallery: 70,000 worshippers crowd Kotel for 'Birkat Hakohanim'

By Melanie Lidman October 16, 2011

More than 70,000 worshippers crowded into the Western Wall plaza on Sunday morning for the Blessing of the Priests (Birkat Hakohanim), which takes place twice a year, on the intermediate days of Succot and Passover.

Arab Spring ripples through ultra-Orthodox Sukkot market

By Roy Arad October 12, 2011

Although many in the ultra-Orthodox community preferred to ignore the winds of change in the Middle East, they learned a firsthand lesson on the Arab Spring - with the soaring price of lulavs.

Shahar Aviv, who can be described as a lulav tycoon, is certain that the farmers in the Jordan Valley doubled their prices when they understood that they could.

Business booming for Succot Four Species traders

By Jeremy Sharon October 11, 2011

“There’s no shortage really,” says Arba Minim merchant Yehudah Cohen. “Maybe prices are a bit more expensive this year, by 10 or 20 shekels, but they’re not much more than the average year.”

And in fact, there are even some Egyptian varieties available, with a couple of merchantsdisplaying El-Arish lulavim from Sinai.

Exhibit combines Sukkot, social protest

By Akiva Novick October 13, 2011

Ahead of the holiday, the Beit Avi Chai cultural center invited the Israeli public to send in tiny models for its "Sukkah Speaks" exhibition.

When the miniature sukkot began flowing in, organizers were surprised to see that most of them were dedicated to one issue – the tent protest.

In air, land and sea: Portable sukkot

By Kobi Nahshoni October 14, 2011

Chabad youth have installed traditional temporary huts on dozens of off-road vehicles which will travel across Israel throughout the holiday of Sukkot and serve hikers and IDF soldiers in places where there are no permanent sukkot.

VIDEO: Ecological impact of Yom Kippur

Click here for VIDEO

Pilgrims gather for Feast of Tabernacles

By Jeremy Sharon October 16, 2011

Thousands of Evangelical Christians have arrived in Israel from all over the world for the 32 annual Feast of Tabernacles Succot celebrations.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has brought over more than 6,000 Christian pilgrims from over 80 countries and five continents – including Brazil, China, Finland, Gabon and the US, and will be in the country for six days of festivities and touring activities.

See also: Christians open celebration of Sukkot in Jerusalem

PHOTO Gallery: Day of the bike: Cyclists take over the motorways as holy holiday turns Israel's busiest cities into ghost towns

By Kerry McQueeney October 8, 2011

As these incredible pictures show, youths on skateboards and bikes, joggers - and even Orthodox Jewish men - take to the tarmac making some of Israel's busiest cities look like ghost towns.

Top archaeologist decries Jerusalem dig as unscientific 'tourist gimmick'

By Nir Hasson October 11, 2011

An archaeologist who worked with the Elad association in Jerusalem's City of David claims that the association and the Antiquities Authority are carrying out excavations "without any commitment to scientific archaeological work."

Dr. Eilat Mazar - a Hebrew University archaeologist who worked in close cooperation with Elad over past years, and who is considered one of the most productive researchers in Jerusalem and in the City of David area in particular - has castigated Elad for the excavation of a large subterranean pit, called "Jeremiah's Pit," at the entrance to the City of David visitors' center complex.

ZAKA: A decade of rescue

By Raphael Ahren October 14, 2011

Maisel, 36, who was born in Israel to American parents, is one of two native English speakers who established and head the International Rescue Unit of ZAKA, one of Israel's leading rescue and recovery NGOs.

On Monday, MKs, diplomats and other dignitaries celebrated the unit's 10 years of activities in Tel Aviv.

Judaism’s call for peace Editorial October 9, 2011

The across-the-board denunciation by Jewish religious leaders from all streams of the violent attack on a Muslim site is ample evidence that Judaism, while sometimes distorted and misrepresented, does indeed carry a strong message of peace.

Price tag – the war in classrooms

By Amnon Eldar Opinion October 10, 2011

All “price tag” crimes, and the troubling Tuba Zanghariya incident in particular, are deeply troubling for educators.

The claim that schools within the Religious Zionist system may contribute to this phenomenon must be countered clearly, so as not to mislead the public.

Funding the messiah of racist incitement

By Sefi Rachlevsky Opinion October 12, 2011

It turns out that Raya Strauss - who held much of the stock of the giant Strauss food manufacture - gave Ben-Artzi the redeemer, in the three fiscal years of his imprisonment alone, an unbelievable sum: NIS 36 million, a large amount even for her.

...Raya Strauss, as a private individual, may have the privilege of closing her eyes. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government does not have that privilege.

2 teens arrested for alleged Safed synagogue vandalism

By staff and Yaakov Lappin October 12, 2011

Two sixteen year-olds were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion that they sprayedgraffiti reading "Death to Jews" on four synagogues and a car in Safed Wednesday morning.

Ethiopian Jewry: Challenges and Journeys

By Alex Kadis Opinion October 16, 2011

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to travel to Ethiopia and see firsthand the origins of Ethiopian-Israeli Jewry.

I learned about the strife that they overcame to live in Israel, and the great challenges that lie ahead for their community, and the Jewish community as a whole.

I was told incredible stories while I was there; Liat Damoza, a Missions Coordinator for The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), was kind enough to let me share her story.

PHOTO Gallery: Samaritans celebrate Succot atop Mount Gerizim

By Ben Hartman and Reuters October 11, 2011

Members of the Samaritan community took part on Tuesday in a traditional pilgrimagemarking the holiday of Succot atop Mount Gerizim near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Religion and State in Israel

October 17, 2011 (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.