Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - March 26, 2012 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

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

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 23, 2012

While on a trip to Israel last month, a group of students from the Solomon Schechter School in Westchester, New York, which is associated with the Conservative Judaism movement, were denied use of a Torah scroll for their prayer service at a hotel because they were conducting a mixed-gender service.

On Shabbat morning, one of the group’s counselors requested the use of a Torah scroll from the hotel’s synagogue, but the hotel’s religious supervisor told them they could only use it if their service was not mixed and they would not call women up to the Torah.

By Lahav Harkov www.jpost.com March 26, 2012

When asked specifically if he will allow Conservative rabbis to marry couples, Mofaz said that he believes civil marriages should be expanded to include Jewish people.

Livni also discussed civil marriages as the best way to reach a compromise with the rabbinate.
However, Livni was skeptical about the possibility of ever compromising with haredi parties, citing her experiences as immigrant absorption minister and justice minister with matters of conversion and rabbinical courts, in which she was unable to reach a middle ground.

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com March 21, 2012

The new law, which was sponsored by MKs Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), states that every divorce decree issued by a rabbinical court must include a date by which the get is to be arranged.

If either spouse fails to provide the get by the specified date, the rabbinical court will now be required to reconvene and consider imposing sanctions.

The law also requires the court to reconvene on a regular basis to track the status of the get, whether or not sanctions are imposed.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 21, 2012

Bat-Sheva Sherman-Shani, director of the Yad L’Isha women’s rights group, said that the new law effectively tripled the time it would take for the court to convene a hearing.

She added that the repeated hearings the new law requires would actually weaken the position of these “chained women” because it would make them more circumspect about employing alternative methods of pressure on their husbands, for fear that the court would penalize them for circumventing its authority.

By Asher Zeiger www.timesofisrael.com March 21, 2012

On the Mavoi Satum website, Kahane-Dror refers to the bill as “an important milestone in the struggle for women’s rights in Israel and for the near equality between the sexes regarding marriage and divorce.”  

She also expressed hope that the bill will reduce, perhaps completely prevent the abuse and blackmail that exists under the current law, and will “end the red-tape of the rabbinical courts” in enforcing divorce laws.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com March 20, 2012

The law states that a date will now be fixed for a "divorce arrangement" within 45 days of the ruling. If a divorce is not granted at that time, a hearing will then be held to decide on the imposing of sanctions against the refusing party within another 45 days.

The court will also hold a follow-up hearing within 90 days where the sanctions will be reviewed – until the divorce ruling is fulfilled and granted.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 26, 2012

The ongoing failure to appoint rabbinical judges to the Supreme Rabbinical Court for Appeals has led Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to make three temporary appointments to the court.

Neeman, in consultation with Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima), appointed two haredi judges, Rabbi Nachum Prover and Rabbi Yitzhak El-Maliach, along with Rabbi Eliezer Igra, a national-religious judge.

The selection of Igra represents the first time in over a decade that a rabbinic judge from the national-religious community has sat on the court.

Batya Kehana, the director of the Mavoi Satum divorce-rights lobbying group, said that although they were very happy with the appointment of Igra, the organization was extremely concerned with the judicial inclinations of Prover.

By Rabbi Jeremy Rosen Opinion http://jeremyrosen.blogspot.com March 23, 2012

So practicing Orthodox Jews converted by Orthodox rabbis in the USA are now being refused Aliyah as Jews. The Orthodox world has gone mad. 

There is only one solution, get rid of the rabbinic monopoly on status. Open up the market the way it is in the USA. Anyone can find someone to do what they want to do, just as anyone can give degrees. 

But if you want to get into a specific college you have to meet their criteria. In fact some Chasidic groups are much easier to convert through, but then would you necessarily want to join them?

By Jay P. Lefkowitz http://online.wsj.com March 22, 2012
Mr. Lefkowitz is a lawyer in New York City and adjunct professor at Columbia Law School.

The stakes for American Jews, too, are grave. In the de facto caste system created by the Israeli rabbinate, the vast majority of American Jews (fewer than 15% are Orthodox) fail the test of religious purity, and even American Orthodox rabbis are under pressure to conform to the chief rabbi's standards.

No less important, the gulf between Israeli and American Jews may widen over the next generation as Jews whose conversions are not accepted in Israel have children of their own.

Messrs. Ellenson and Gordis demonstrate that there is an alternative within Jewish law to the religious extremism of the Israeli chief rabbinate today.

VIDEO: WOW Passover Photo Campaign

By Greg Melikov www.bizjournals.com March 23, 2012

What do Rosa Parks and Tanya Rosenblit have in common? They are women who stood up for liberty and justice in two democratic nations more than 5,000 miles apart.

Ironically, both women made their stand in December although the events were about 56 years apart. Simply, they wouldn’t vacate their seats on a bus to men.

By Gili Cohen www.haaretz.com March 21, 2012

The Herzliya city council voted Tuesday in favor of public bus transportation on Shabbat, following the lead of Tel Aviv. Currently only Haifa and Eilat have public bus service on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.

Last month the Tel Aviv city council asked the Transportation Ministry for permission to run such a service. Yesterday, in a 12-5 vote, the Herzliya council supported limited service on Shabbat along major arteries; this would include the Seven Stars Mall, the city park and the seafront.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com March 21, 2012

The Transportation Ministry ordered a halt to Friday evening shuttles from the Hebrew University to the center of the city last week on the basis that they were operating public transportation without a license.

According to student union spokesman Amir Koren, any private organization or individual can rent a bus, including during Shabbat, but the driver cannot charge on a per passenger basis. 

Students were previously paying 5-6 shekels for each trip, but now the student union will pay the entire cost of the rental in order to continue the shuttles.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com March 21, 2012

MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) joined Jerusalem Meretz activists for a pub crawl on Wednesday night in downtown Jerusalem to hand out copies of his new guide about Jerusalem spots that are open on Shabbat.

By Elana Sztokman Opinion http://blogs.forward.com March 22, 2012

Ruth the Moabite is the ideal Jew. It is no accident that she has become the paradigmatic convert.

She was more deeply Jewish than many Jews are, Jews who turn away from the pain of the other, Jews who are so fixated on their own navels that they can no longer even feel what the other is feeling.

Ruth was more connected to the Divine than some who people claim to speak for Torah, who twist and distort Torah to hurt people — to hurt women — who erroneously think that it’s God’s will to place women behind curtains or in backs of buses or under layers of clothing. God is compassion, and Ruth reminds us of that.

By Carlo Strenger Opinion www.haaretz.com March 22, 2012

I personally do not know what it means to be a complete or a partial Jew; moreover, I reject any demand that I need to live a full rather than a partial Jewish existence. This is a demand that many orthodox Jews (even though by no means all) feel entitled to make.

I am sure that A.B. Yehoshua rejects their definition of ‘full Jewishness’. But why should his own definition of ‘full Jewishness’ as living in Israel have any more claims to legitimacy than that of the ultra-orthodox or the national-religious that you cannot be a full Jew outside Orthodox Judaism?

By Revital Blumenfeld www.haaretz.com March 25, 2012

Donations by U.S. Jews to Israeli nonprofits have doubled during the past 12 years, according to a first-of-its-kind study conducted by professors at Brandeis University.

The study, scheduled to be completed in late April, disproves the widely held view by many Israelis that philanthropic donations from the United States have dropped over time due to economic and political reasons.

In fact, the study - previewed last week during a hearing by the Knesset Subcommittee for the Relations of Israel with World Jewish Communities - suggests quite the opposite.

By Hila Weisberg www.haaretz.com March 25, 2012

Immigration to Israel from North America and Europe decreased last year even though these places were mired in financial crisis, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry said.

Immigration from the United States and from European nations facing growing unemployment increased in both 2009 and 2010, but that trend halted last year, it stated.

By Gil Shefler www.jpost.com March 26, 2012

The annual event, organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh together with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency for Israel, offered participants workshops and seminars on how to find employment in the Jewish state should they decide to make aliya.

www.jafi.org.il March 26, 2012

The caucus, which was initiated by The Jewish Agency, will act to strengthen the ties between Israel and the Jewish world. Measures will include legislation and an increase in dialogue between members of Knesset and global Jewish leaders. 

A particular emphasis will be placed on strengthening the connection between Jewish young people abroad with Israel, and with the world Jewish community. 

The caucus’s activities will be conducted in coordination with the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, and in partnership with the Jewish Agency, whose work strengthening ties with Jewish communities abroad is historic.

www.ynetnews.com March 22, 2012

Among the many extremist voices reverberating in the public arena, Rabbi Eli Sadan is trying to present an alternative, one that is halachically and socially moderate.

He claims that this is the voice of the silent religious-Zionist majority – "these statements represent at least 80% of the religious public," which is why he chose to write a pamphlet titled "A Direction for the Religious Zionists" that tries to help people from the sector of society to find the right words to avoid the general criticism," in his words.

By Yedidya Atlas Opinion www.algemeiner.com March 20, 2012
The author currently holds the rank of Lt. Colonel in the IDF reserves.

Mr. Hersh seems incapable of distinguishing between “Haredim”, “National-Religious” and “settlers”, since he mixes them all together as one group.

...Despite Mr. Hersh’s attempt to impugn Haredi soldiers, the nine cadets in question were identifiably of the “National-Religious” sector and not “Haredim.”

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon was not involved at all in their quietly slipping out the back row of the darkened auditorium, and was not involved in talks with the commanders of the unit or Officers Training School.

www.haaretz.com March 21, 2012

...There is no other university in the country that requires (Jewish) religious studies along with academic courses, and there is no other university in the country that restricts specific courses to men or women.
Is the requirement that women who participate in specific courses be married for at least a year more problematic than keeping men out of them, or Arab women who have been married for a year or more? [...]

Prof. Elimelech Horowitz
Talmudic studies department, Bar-Ilan University

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