Thursday, October 25, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - October 25, 2012

Religion and State in Israel

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

*Special edition on Women of the Wall & Anat Hoffman's arrest coming soon

Now a Reform rabbi and the head of Israel’s Reform movement, Kariv, 39, has decided on yet another life-altering shift: Just as he went from secular to religious, and from Orthodox to Reform, he will attempt to move from the synagogue — the “beit ha-knesset” in Hebrew — to the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament.

In the Knesset, Kariv would face a formidable opponent in the solid bloc of Orthodox parties. Labor Knesset member Daniel Ben-Simon says he’d be happy if Kariv decides to run, as he would present an alternative to the Orthodox regardless of whether he succeeds in passing legislation.

“He needs to make his voice heard and say there are different versions” of Judaism, Ben-Simon told JTA. “He doesn’t need to change the law. I’d be happy for another presence here so we can know that the whole world is not Orthodox.”

While Rabbi Gold has been granted the right to receive a salary now, she hasn’t seen a penny of it yet. So realistically her life hasn’t changed much, just symbolically.

“There is no difference yet because the salary is not being released,” said Rabbi Gold. “There is resistance by the Minister of Culture and Sport, which is supposed to provide the funds.”

Rabbi Miri Gold's paycheck looks the same today as it did six months ago, despite the Israeli attorney general's decision in May stipulating that Gold and other Reform and Conservative rabbis in certain parts of the country must receive the same wages as Orthodox rabbis.

By Arie Hasit

I would like to say in no uncertain language: despite the difficulties we face here, the leaders of non-Orthodox (and liberal Orthodox) Judaism have many achievements, of which the entire Jewish world can be proud. 

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

Without the investment that the non-Orthodox movements abroad have made in creating supporting their institutions in Israel, there would likely be no Reform or Conservative synagogues in my area, my children wouldn’t be able to participate in the NOAM Masorti scouting movement, and there would be no TALI school which educates children in the spirit of pluralistic Judaism.

Cafe Carousela in Rehavia is part of the no-certificate-but-kosher trend. Yonatan Vadai, the manager, formerly ultra-Orthodox, says he keeps all the kashrut laws but refuses to work with the rabbinate's kashrut supervisors. 

After years of setbacks, Jerusalem's secular population has begun to push back against what many believe are heavy-handed tactics by the city's ultra-Orthodox residents to impose their religious mores on the general population. 

A growing number of restaurants now open on Saturday, an array of cultural events have sprouted up, and for the first time in years, a longtime exodus of secular residents for nearby suburbs appears to have halted.

“It is forbidden for a woman to serve as member of Knesset, it’s not modest,” the rabbi said. “Public exposure contradicts the Jewish principle that ‘all the glory of the daughter of a king is internal,’” Aviner added in comments first published on the Kipa website.

Moderated panel discussion with Jewish feminist leaders about gender-related events in Israel and their implications for American Jewry.
* Dr. Hannah Kehat, Founding Director, Kolech Religious Women's Forum
* Jane Eisner, Editor-in-chief, The Forward
* Blu Greenberg, Founder and first president, JOFA
* Susan Weiss, Founding Director, Center for Women's Justice

Respondent: Nancy Kaufman, Director, NCJW
Moderator, Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman, Interim Director, JOFA

CWJ’s groundbreaking strategy of “damage claims for get refusal” is proving to be an increasingly effective tool for battling get refusal in Israel. Last week, we conducted our first in a series of country-wide seminars aimed at training family law attorneys in the use of this approach. 

Carried out in partnership with the Jerusalem Bar Association, the seminar attracted 35 participants. “I found the seminar very useful,” said one attendee, reflecting the general feedback. “It gave me practical tools and a good understanding of the rationale behind them.” 

Based on this seminar’s success, the Jerusalem Bar has invited CWJ to conduct another seminar in spring 2013. Upcoming seminars are also being planned in coordination with the Tel Aviv and Hadera Bar associations.

The number of same-sex weddings in Israel is estimated to have doubled since the High Court issued a landmark ruling allowing gay couples to register marriages conducted abroad.

The anti-abortion organization Efrat combines racism, nationalism and chauvinism, with the result that a woman's womb is expropriated from her and she becomes a tool in the demographic war over Israel's future.

The Atias family said that pro-life Efrat organization volunteers 'brainwashed' the young couple and brought emotional turmoil on them.

Corinaldi said that Israeli society in general has not been welcoming of the anusim.

“They go through torture here,” he said, “both at the hands of the Interior Ministry and at the hands of the rabbinate. It’s time the government realized that not every Jew wants to be Orthodox and that anusim are not foreigners but Jews who want to return to the fold.”

By Anshel Pfeffer

While it started out a decade ago with good and timely ideas for bringing Western immigrants to Israel, the organization has increasingly come to resemble the complacent Jewish Agency, which it replaced.

By Chaim Levinson

The main achievement of Zionism was to change the Old Yishuv into a sustainable society. There's something sad about Israel's reliance on donations from abroad.

An American immigrant has been named to the list of the newly formed Am Shalem party headed by former Shas MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem. But 37-year-old Rabbi Ariel Konstantyn, the founding spiritual leader of The Tel Aviv Synagogue, says he's still considering the offer.

"I have great respect for Rabbi Amsalem and the work Am Shalem is doing and seeks to accomplish," the New York native told Anglo File. "However, as of yet, I am undecided as to whether I wish to enter the political arena at this time."

Number of Haredi academics grows 20% for 2012-13, is set to double in three years, Gideon Sa’ar says

Recently returned Shas politician Aryeh Deri also advises party to downplay its treatment of African refugees in Israel.

By Dr. Samuel Lebens

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto has a seaside villa, loyal followers, including celebrities and politicians, and a $75 million fortune • But this week he was arrested for trying to bribe a policeman and his wife attempted suicide • Shedding light on a mystery man.

Rabbis Pinto and Ifergan have discovered that the Torah provides them with a way to combine money and spirituality, and accumulate vast sums of cash in the process.

Two rabbis launch a program with a toolbox of skills for the educated but untrained rabbi

Religious and ultra-Orthodox women expressed greater satisfaction from their jobs than secular women, with 63% of observant women saying they were satisfied with work compared to 52% of secular women and 51% of women who considered themselves traditional.

This is the first time a national- religious youth movement is taking part in the annual event.

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - October 18, 2012

Religion and State in Israel

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen
“In the past when I was detained I had to have a policewoman come with me to the bathroom, but this was something different.
This time they checked me naked, completely, without my underwear. They dragged me on the floor 15 meters; my arms are bruised. They put me in a cell without a bed, with three other prisoners, including a prostitute and a car thief. They threw the food through a little window in the door. I laid on the floor covered with my tallit.
“I’m a tough cookie, but I was just so miserable. And for what? I was with the Hadassah women saying Sh’ma Israel.”

The leadership of Women of the Wall remain committed to their struggle to gain the right of all women to pray at the Kotel, each according to her own custom, with Torah, Tallit and voices raised in song. Violence, intimidation and threat will not deter the group of women from joining together and praying together to celebrate every new Jewish month at the Western Wall.

By Rifkele
What would Henrietta Szold do in such a case?
Given that she struggled to be admitted to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and was finally allowed to matriculate together with rabbinical students under the condition that she never ask to be ordained, in all likelihood she would have been at the Kotel, determined to find a way for women to pray there.
At the very least, no doubt Anat Hoffman is correct when she says that the Women of the Wall organization is more deserving of the prize than Bibi is.
The vision of Henrietta Szold, whose unique brand of leadership encompassed the social feminist movement of her day as well as an inclusive, diverse vision of Jewish peoplehood, was much more akin to the work of Women of the Wall than to any aspect of the current Israeli government’s leadership.
In any case, the women’s Zionist organization should not be silent now regarding this violation of the rights of women in Zion.

These events are unacceptable and an affront to Jews worldwide who treasure Israel as a vibrant democracy committed to the right of gender equality and religious freedom." said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism.

"Israeli governmental leaders and law enforcement must ensure that the right of women to pray at the Wall is protected and arrests such as those that occurred last night are prevented from ever happening again."

By Dan Tauber
Several were arrested over the course of the holiday for allegedly praying at the Temple Mount.

By Rabbi Dow Marmur
Orthodox rabbinic power in Israel disenfranchises women – i.e., more than half the country’s Jewish population.
If Rabbi Stav [Tzohar] wants to earn the respect of the Israeli mainstream, he must commit himself to equal rights for women and their full recognition in all religious matters.
He’ll also have to acknowledge, however grudgingly, that the non-Orthodox streams deserve equal rights in Israeli society because of their capacity to enrich Jewish life – just as in the Diaspora."

More than a century after Henrietta Szold studied at JTS, women in Israel are still struggling for acceptance as Jewish leaders

Back row l to r: Prof. Tamar Ross, Judy Heicklen, Ariel Braun, Belda Lindenbaum
Front row l to r: Dr. Hannah Kehat, Rachel Keren, Blu Greenberg, Ricky Shapira-Rosenberg, Ayelet Weider-Cohen, Dr. Tova Hartman, Dr. Elana Sztokman

The notion of the “big tent” took on a whole new meaning in the world of Orthodox feminism this week as leading Orthodox women from Israel and North America gathered in the Sukkah of Dr. Hannah Kehat, founding director of the Kolech Religious Women’s Forum, to examine gender issues facing the Orthodox communities around the world. 
The meeting was the first of its kind in which Orthodox feminist leaders from the two countries of Israel and the United States met for the purpose of exploring their common agenda and toying with ways to make Orthodox feminism a more cohesive international movement. Participants left with an eager energy, earnestly anticipating next steps.

[article from July 12, 2012]

[article from Sept. 12, 2012]
Indictment filed against Egged bus driver, who left 'immodest' women at bus stop, canceled due to amendment to public transportation supervision law

By Elana Sztokman
As Israel’s military becomes more religious, women are having a really hard time showing men how to hold a rifle.

20 percent of respondents defined themselves as religious and 46 percent as nonreligious, while the rest defined themselves as traditional

Owner of Jerusalem restaurant decides to give up kosher certification after being forced by kashrut supervisor to buy vegetables in specific stores

Ultra-Orthodox group begins arriving at Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda Market every Friday, urging merchants to shut down their stores one hour before Jewish day of rest begins.

Former Shas party leaders Deri and Yishai cross paths as Shas intrigue heightens

Flor Valderama, a 52-year-old mother of five, has appealed the deportation order through her lawyer.

A member of the Peruvian B'nai Moshe community (also known as the "Inca Jews"), who arrived in Israel a year and a half ago to care for her ailing father, is sitting in jail awaiting deportation for having overstayed her tourist visa.

By Rabbi Todd Berman

The critical social bonds and memories of the experience function to foster creativity and a sense of responsibility for the Jewish people both at home and worldwide. And these young adults are the ones who will maintain the bridge between Israel and the Diaspora in the years to come.
This is simply a win-win for the entire Jewish people.

New program, aiming to double number of ultra-Orthodox students, to offer variety of courses while maintaining strict separation between men, women

If suspicions against Rabbi Pinto are verified, this case is not just about bribery, but also about obstructing justice.

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.