Religion and State in Israel – June 23, 2008 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

June 23, 2008 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Olmert calls for dramatic change in the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora

Click here to view video; click FULL screen June 23, 2008

PM seeks to redefine Israel-Diaspora relations

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 23, 2008

In his address yesterday to the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called for a dramatic change in the financial relationship between Israel and the Diaspora, arguing that the “situation in which Diaspora Jews are the philanthropists and Israel is the recipient cannot continue.”

He also said that the Agency will have to undergo a dramatic change in its organizational structure and its method of management. He suggested that the organization change its name from “Jewish Agency for Israel” to “Agency for Israel and the Jewish People.”

Task force to probe Diaspora investment

By Haviv Rettig, June 23, 2008

The Jewish Agency Board of Governors is expected to announce the new task force, called the “Committee for Strengthening the Connection to World Jewry” at a meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday. It will be a joint Jewish Agency and government initiative.

New Diaspora plan ‘meaningless’ if unfunded

By Haviv Rettig, June 23, 2008

Calling the new commitment “an extraordinary step forward” and “exactly the right thing to do,” Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Eric Yoffe nevertheless wondered if the Israeli government “is prepared to make it real in organizational and financial terms. This could easily get pushed aside.”

Indeed, though Olmert made “some good observations, does he mean what he said beyond a political statement?” wondered Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. “Will he consult with the Jewish communities?”

Olmert to Jewish Agency: Maybe It’s Time to De-emphasize Aliyah June 22, 2008

“We must understand that it is possible that the period of massive immigration to Israel is nearing an end,” he said.

Olmert said the new goal should instead be to focus on stemming the tide of assimilation abroad, rather than working to bring more Jews to Israel.

Jewish Agency scrambles to balance budget in shadow of dollar crunch

By Haviv Rettig, June 22, 2008

“We expected a dollar value of 4.25 shekels,” Richie Pearlstone, chairman of the board, told board members on Sunday morning. “Now it’s hit 3.22 and risen to 3.4.”

The net result is an estimated budget deficit of $30 million for 2008, a figure “we can’t afford to see for two years running.”

As budget falters, Jewish Agency wants gov’t ‘partnership’

By Haviv Rettig, June 17, 2008

Jewish Agency Chairman Ze’ev Bielski asked the Knesset on Monday to “encourage” the government to “partner” in aliya activities and programs that connect Israel and the Diaspora.

According to a Jewish Agency spokesman, the new concept of partnership with the government would not mean direct government funding of the agency’s budget, but rather allocating funds jointly to major educational and welfare projects through shared nonprofit corporations.

A blessing in disguise

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 20, 2008

Olmert’s team is talking about setting up a whole new Diaspora Ministry, which would only leave the [Jewish] Agency competing on a more crowded playing field, and with a reduced mandate.

…The Agency cannot become a ministry; its ability to operate and raise money in various places around the world would be severely limited if it were a government department.

But neither is there room any more for a mega-organization of this kind, with its multilayered structure of governance, so resistant to change and adaptation.

If there is any future for the Jewish Agency, it is as a coordinating body – meaning it would subcontract some of the activities it used to carry out in-house and close down most of the rest.

High Court rejects petition asking to ban Jerusalem Gay Pride parade

By Tomer Zarchin, June 23, 2008

The organizers of the parade responded that “all the parties in Jerusalem, including the police and the representatives of the ultra-Orthodox, have found ways to work together, so as to spare the city needless hate. The parade will be conducted quietly and with pride.”

J’lem Gay Pride to march Thursday

By Jonathan Lis, June 17, 2008

The Jerusalem gay pride parade, which has raised the ire of religious groups in past years, will take place as planned next Thursday, a gay rights organization announced yesterday.

The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance said it does not expect counter-demonstrations like those of last year, which forced the 2007 parade to be relocated to a closed stadium.

“We met with leaders of Haredi and national religious groups to reach an understanding,” the group said.

Jerusalem officials to High Court: Gay parade desecrates holy city

By Jonathan Lis, June 20, 2008

The municipality’s legal counsel, Yossi Havilio, who sent a separate response to the court, argued that the parade’s organizers are making every effort not to offend the city’s Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities.

“Based on the data presented to the municipality’s legal counsel, there is no intention of having the parade pass through, or close to, neighborhoods largely populated by members of the ultra-Orthodox sector,” Havilio wrote.

He added that the city is being guided by previous High Court rulings that said there is no reason to prevent the parade from taking place in Jerusalem.

Pride in the capital

Editorial June 23, 2008

But there is a larger issue at stake here.

Though Jerusalem may be the city of the Kotel and the Kollel, the Stations of the Cross and the Aksa Mosque, it is also the vibrant, cosmopolitan, international capital – attracting residents and tourists to its concerts, films, fireworks, cafes and pubs – of a pluralistic democracy that prides itself on freedom of expression.

Woe to this and any society that curtails such freedom.

US rabbi slams Haredi failure to protest J’lem gay parade

By Etgar Lefkovits, June 18, 2008

The haredi decision to avoid protests was criticized Tuesday by prominent New York anti-gay activist Rabbi Yehuda Levin of the Orthodox Rabbinical Alliance of America and the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the US and Canada.

“The local haredi community does not have a great deal of appreciation or knowledge of the international homosexual agenda or homosexual network,” he said. “They optimistically and mistakenly believe that if they ignore this, it will not touch their community.”

Levin, who organized a Monday night synagogue protest against the parade attended by Rabbi Moshe Sternbach, one of the senior rabbinical leaders of the Eda Haredit, has condemned haredi Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski and the city council for not attempting to prevent the parade.

“This is an abdication of their basic responsibility to Jerusalem residents who have indicated in polls that they do not want such a parade in Jerusalem,” Levin said.

Don’t march in Jerusalem

Rabbi Dr. Chaim Shein, Opinion June 23, 2008

The writer is a senior philosophy lecturer at the Shaarei Mishpat College

Those who demand that their lifestyle be respected should respect the faith of others. If the community’s independence day parade is so important, perhaps you should consider holding it somewhere else, at a location where most community members reside.

Rabbis against Pride Parade: God is testing us

By Ronen Medzini, June 17, 2008

One such protest rally took place on Monday, in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Beit Israel. Rabbi David Batzri called on the participants in the rally to “be zealous towards the lord, and to hate those that fail and the evil that they create. Zeal is atonement for all of Israel.”

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, who has headed the fight against the Jerusalem parade during previous years and succeeded in sweeping much of the ultra-Orthodox community into the protests, also spoke at the rally in Beit Israel.

He explained the reason for the parade to his followers: “The lord is testing us in this world and wants to see if we protest. If we don’t, there will be disasters. We are alone and they are many, but we are more in quality. They are evil criminals that have no place with the God of Israel.”

Religious leaders demand cancellation of Pride Parade

By Neta Sela, June 19, 2008

The municipality explained that “the Christian and Muslim populations are claiming that the Jews are holding the parade in order to provoke them and are thus violating the honor of the sacred city, which is under Jewish domain.”

Dayan Goldberg Shlita Supports Adi Organ Donor Cards

By Yechiel Spira, June 23, 2008

Jews who keep Torah and mitzvos may sign on to obtain an Adi organ donor card announced HaGaon HaRav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg Shlita.

…The dayan made his remarks in response to the relatively new law passed in Knesset pertaining to organ donations. The law was condemned by the chareidi community, and the Eida Chareidis even called on followers to sign a card opposing the organ donations.

Rav Goldberg adds the stipulation that one must be certain to sign the optional clause that the time of death is to be determined by a competent rav, one chosen by the family of the deceased, adding he advises that the name of this rav also be stipulated.

Long live Rabbi Eliahu

By Nadav Shragai, June 17, 2008

Hardly anyone talks now about the day after.

What will happen to the ultra-Orthodox-national-religious public and among an entire generation of knitted skullcap wearers, students of yeshivas and ulpanot (religious high schools for girls) when the man who is considered the last halakhic rabbinical authority and whose public decisions and halakhic rulings are unquestioningly accepted by this public, departs this world.

The next generation of national religious rabbis, which is younger, has still not produced in its midst a leader who is accepted to the same extent.

Bridge over stormy council

By Ronen Medzini, June 23, 2008

The construction of the new Chords Bridge leading into Jerusalem caused controversy in the city’s municipal meeting Sunday, as several of City Hall’s coalition members were enraged by reports suggesting several construction workers were spotted working on Shabbat.

Re-starting the Jewish heart

By Gershom Gale June 19, 2008

In Jerusalem recently interviewed Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander, a member of the nascent Sanhedrin responsible for relations with the gentile world and reestablishing the other functions performed by the Sanhedrin.

Q: There have been earlier, unsuccessful attempts to revive the Sanhedrin.

What makes this attempt different?

A: This is the first attempt to reestablish the Sanhedrin in the Land of Israel at a time when the people of Israel represent the majority of the inhabitants…

Today Israel is the center of Jewish life.

Thus it has now become a duty for the Jews in the Holy Land to try to establish a Sanhedrin.

God’s gift to women

By Matthew Wagner, June 19, 2008

Luckily, Spiers ran into Professional Women’s Theater.

A sort of Orthodox-minded impresario, PWT creates kosher venues of artistic expression for women.

Men are the problem, so PWT simply leaves them out.

Women-only audiences are brought together to enjoy women-only singing, acting and dancing.

Ethiopian-Israeli lawmakers split over continuing Falashmura immigration

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 19, 2008

How many people of Jewish descent are left in Ethiopia? Between 5,000 and 300,000, depending which Ethiopian-Israeli Knesset member you ask.

On one side is MK Mazor Bahyna (Shas), who claims, “There are more than 300,000 Jews in Ethiopia who are entitled to immigrate to Israel, and they should be helped to get here.”

On the other side is MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima), who supports the official government position that the immigration from Ethiopia should be ended.

Kosher cookworks

By Yaacov Heffstien, June 22, 2008

After several years in the making, the first ever Israeli Kosher Food Festival was launched in Petah Tikva last week.

The mass attendance surprised the festival’s organizers, as thousands of foodies flocked to the venue.

Sorely missing from the fiesta were several of Israel’s leading kosher restaurants. Considering the enormous popularity of the event, they will probably make sure to take part in next year’s festival.

Campbell documentary debuts in Israel

By David Brinn, June 19, 2008

Circumcise Me – The Comedy of Yisrael Campbell, an acclaimed documentary film which has appeared at Jewish film festivals in North America, will have its Israel debut on July 3 at the Lev Smadar in Jerusalem at 8 p.m.

Called “hilarious and moving” by The Economist, the film by David Blumenfeld and Matthew Kalman explores the life and stand-up routine of the American-born Campbell, who converted to Judaism three times (Reform, Conservative and Orthodox) and now lives in Jerusalem.

Have you heard the one about the son of an ex-nun who moves to Israel, grows side curls, starts wearing ultra-Orthodox attire after converting to Judaism — three times – and becomes one of Israel’s premiere comedians?

An intimate look at the “Matisyahu of comedy,” Circumcise Me: The Comedy of Yisrael Campbell shares Campbell’s hilarious stand-up routine and his topsy-turvy life story that inspires his jokes.

New Latin patriarch replaces Sabbah

Reuters, June 23, 2008

The Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land has appointed a new leader – the second Palestinian to hold the post. Archbishop Fouad Twal, 67, succeeds Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah in the Jerusalem-based position.

Sabbah was the first Palestinian appointed to the post. He retired after 21 years as patriarch.

Twal told a ceremony in Jerusalem:

“I am receiving from our Holy Church the responsibility of guiding our beloved Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Mother of all Churches.” Twal, who was born in Jordan, was named as Sabbah’s assistant in 2005.

He has served in Vatican diplomatic posts in Honduras, Germany and Peru, and studied church law in Rome’s prestigious Pontifical Lateranense University.

What are 300 Anglican clergy doing in J’lem?

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 23, 2008

Some 300 bishops – a third of the Anglican bishops in the world – arrived in Jerusalem this week to attend the Global Anglican Future Conference, organized by the traditionalist wing of the church, which is opposed to ordaining homosexual bishops.

GAFCON is being staged as a rival to next month’s Lambeth Conference in London, the Anglican Communion’s main event held every 10 years.

GAFCON has drawn some 1,000 participants: bishops, clergymen, and activists from Anglican congregations in 28 countries, led by Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria.

Anglicans gather in Jerusalem to protest secularization

By Matthew Wagner, June 22, 2008

Ordination of homosexuals, same-sex marriages and a perceived deviation from Jesus’s gospel have prompted some 300 hundred clergymen and hundreds more delegates from the conservative wing of the Anglican Communion to gather this week in Jerusalem.

A lost tribe of Israel returns – Bnei Menashe

By Sigal Emanuel, June 2008

Click here for VIDEO

Shavuot, Samaritan-style

By Steve Lipman, June 18, 2008

They celebrated the Feast of Weeks in Nablus on Sunday — a week later than usual.

They are the Samaritans, a two-millennia-old faith with Jewish roots that follows the customs of the Torah, the written law, but not the Talmud, the oral law.

Some 700 Samaritans live in Israel and the territories, half in Holon, near Tel Aviv, half in the Nablus area.

Religion and State in Israel

June 23, 2008 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

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