Religion and State in Israel – July 14, 2008 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

July 14, 2008 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

First state-funded non-Orthodox shuls are a ‘drop in the ocean,’ say leaders

By Cnaan Liphshiz, July 11, 2008

Despite their recent dramatic achievements, Modi’in’s non-Orthodox leaders say their fight for equal treatment has just begun.

“What we achieved is a drop in the ocean,” says Yossi Aud, the executive director of Yozma – Modi’in’s reform community.

“Despite our achievement, we’re a long, long way from where we need to be. Parents who want to give their children Jewish, non-Orthodox education still need to pay extra.”

Despite their demand to receive equal funding from the state, Aud and Barkin both believe in separating religion and state and in doing away with public funding for religious institutions altogether. Barkin, 41, supports “the elimination of competition for resources,” a move which he says could promote greater mutual respect.

‘Who’d want to invite relatives to a bar mitzvah at a kindergarten?’

By Cnaan Liphshiz, July 11, 2008

The media buzz around the dedication in May of Israel’s first state-funded Reform synagogue in Modi’in drowned out an equally historic event which took place nearby a bit later: the opening of the Conservative Movement’s first subsidized place of worship in Israel. For the Conservatives, this represents a huge leap indeed.

Modi’in leads in getting state funding for three Reform synagogues

By Cnaan Liphshiz, July 9, 2008

Three non-Orthodox communities have received state funding for synagogues following the precedent-setting dedication of Israel’s first state-funded Reform synagogue in Modi’in, which opened its doors in May, following a compromise between the city’s Yozma Reform community and a representative of the Orthodox community.

Like Modi’in’s Reform community, Yozma, the Yedid Nefesh Masorti Conservative Congregation had been using a kindergarten as their place of worship before receiving their new synagogue.

A Jewish Wedding?

“So when I heard the [Masorti Movement] advertisement, I realized that this ceremony that we’re supposed to be doing just isn’t us. It’s not who we are and it’s not who we want to be. But we want to be married under a huppa (traditional Jewish wedding canopy).

So we will be meeting with one of the Conservative rabbis next week, maybe even with a woman rabbi, which would be great, because that would be egalitarian, which is how we live.”

…”Guli wanted me to listen to the advert,” Yossi says, “and what really caught my ear was the saying, ‘this is how Israelis get married.’ Yes, I am a Jew but I am also an Israeli. I want our wedding ceremony to reflect who we are.

Both of our families have lived in Israel for four generations. We speak Hebrew, we are part of this society. I don’t want some rabbi who wears a long black coat and represents values that I reject to be the one who performs our marriage ceremony.”

Jewish Agency outsourcing aliyah marks end of ‘aliyah of no-choice’

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 7, 2008

At present, a strategic cooperation agreement is being drafted. It is facilitated by unrelenting pressure applied by American patrons and the financial difficulties of the Jewish Agency that prevent it from effectively operating in the continent.

Apparently it is agreed that the Agency will focus on Jewish and Zionist education in these communities, whereas Nefesh B’Nefesh will be in charge of advocating aliyah.

Four young North American women pack up their lives, make aliyah for love

Click here for VIDEO

By Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, July 14, 2008

In recent months, the government agencies responsible for increasing aliyah have been getting creative in the way they entice Jews abroad to pack up, pick up and start over in Israel.

Some of the latest efforts include a plan to offer immigrants from Western countries tax breaks and temporary residency status, along with an exemption for several years from national service.

Those incentives may tempt some to take the plunge, but four new immigrants who arrived on Thursday as part of a group of about 200 were lured by a different benefit. They moved to Israel for love.

300 new olim arrive in Israel

NBN Live Aliyah Webcast

Click here for July 10th Aliyah flight landing and ceremony

Tough US economy is aliya incentive according to Jewish Agency

By Stephanie Rubenstein, July 8, 2008

“There has not been a huge increase [in aliya]. It’s been on the increase in small increments for the past few years.

A lot of energy and money has been invested in it and the numbers are not increasing greatly,” said Paula Edelstein, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency Aliya and Klita Committee.

“Many people come to Israel because living a Jewish life in America is very expensive,” Edelstein said, adding that she had met her husband at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem while on a one-year study program, and they made aliya together in 1972.

People can give their children a Jewish education in Israel without having to pay over $10,000 per child for the same education in the United States, she said.

“[The new olim] are young people who were bitten by the bug from birthright or Masa. They want to live here. They see it as a challenge and want to contribute to form the Israeli society,” Edelstein said.

Civic equality does not mean freedom of immigration

By Ruth Gavison, Opinion July 14, 2008

Ruth Gavison is founder and president of the Metzila Center for Zionist, Jewish, liberal and humanistic thought. The center is currently formulating proposed guidelines for an immigration policy for Israel.

There can be no self-determination for Jews in a democratic Jewish state unless a stable Jewish majority is secured

That is why, even after the advent of peace and a fixed border between Israel and all its neighbors, Israel will have to adopt an immigration policy aimed – within limits stemming from the need to respect human rights – at maintaining this majority.

Gaydamak: ‘I still have $2 billion’

By The Marker staff, July 8, 2008

At a press conference in January 2006, for example, Gaydamak promised to give $50 million to the Jewish Agency, to finance Jewish educational activities in Russia.

According to Jewish Agency sources, however, after a long-term program was drafted, Gaydamak transferred 10% of the sum. And that was that. Gaydamak says he halted the infusions because the Jewish Agency had reneged on its part of their agreement.

Whose money is it?

By Shlomo Avineri, Opinion July 14, 2008

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman July 14, 2008

“Where is everyone?” [sign: Rishon Tours]

What was the source of the money, and who are the donors?

The Israeli political system has for years suffered from the fact that certain groups among the Jews of the Diaspora who are not Israeli citizens and do not intend to come and live in Israel, have an influence over the reality and the political discourse here by way of their donations.

Student program’s exit deals new blow to Arad

NJ friends of Israeli town lament decision to relocate WUJS

By Gil Hoffman July 10, 2008

Hat tip: Dan Brown

“This is a temporary measure that we hope will work out well, but we don’t know what we will do long-term,” Sofer said.

“We like Arad and we are interested in further cooperation with the city. We’re taking this one step at a time and finding the best solutions we can. We’re making lemonade out of lemons. That’s the attitude of Hadassah.”

Terror victim’s brother dons an Israeli uniform

By Gil Hoffman June 19, 2008

Etan Flatow’s life, and his identity, changed dramatically on April 9, 1995, just before his 12th birthday.

Government’s plan for FSU aliya said to be deeply flawed

By Haviv Rettig, July 13, 2008

According to government figures, about 900,000 people in the FSU are eligible for aliya, of which some 470,000 are Jewish according to Halacha; an estimated 80% of the latter are intermarried. The population is also relatively old, with 70% of those eligible for aliya aged over 45.

These alarming figures, however, are misleading, said Elkin, a former adviser to the director-general of the Jewish Agency’s Education Department.

“The numbers are based on recent Russian and Ukrainian censuses, where people were simply asked how they define themselves,” he said.

But, said Elkin, intermarried FSU Jews “don’t usually define themselves as Jewish. They only tell the census they’re Jewish if they’re completely Jewish on all sides of the family, or if they have a strong Jewish identity and are involved in the community.”

Shaping Jewish Identity

A pair of researchers believes that the Birthright program could revolutionize American Jewish life

Leonard Saxe is convinced that the combination of pedagogy, ideology, dedication and organization that has created Birthright Israel just might change the Jewish world.

To know a woman

By Tamar Rotem, July 14, 2008

The members of Bat Kol are increasingly declaring their affiliation with the religious public, in the clearest and most natural way they know: by establishing households in Israel.

“Some of our members grew up in Jewish settlements in the territories, and their families have shunned both them and their partners,” she says.

“Yet, I see the relative ease with which young religious women of 20 are coming out of the closet today.

They are more aware and they have learned about the phenomenon via the Internet, media exposure, the parade – all of these have been influential and they have created a change from within.”

“Religious lesbians feel that becoming a family is something that is taken for granted. The fear in religious society is that if we accept this way of life, the whole institution of the family will collapse. But we are proof that the opposite is true.”

Peres to get hotel in Olympic village so he can keep the Sabbath

By Barak Ravid, July 10, 2008

The Chinese government has agreed as a goodwill gesture to house President Shimon Peres in a hotel within the Olympic complex so he will not desecrate the Sabbath when he attends the games’ opening ceremony on Friday, August 8.

The Chinese government, which has invited Peres to the ceremony, said that in contrast to other heads of state, Peres will be staying in accommodations just 200 meters from the stadium.

New green party seeks more than just eco-friendly voters

By Zafrir Rinat, July 10, 2008

Prominent figures in the new movement include Professor Alon Tal, founder of the non-profit group Adam Teva V’Din (the Israel Union for Environmental Defense) and formerly head of the environmental umbrella group Haim V’Sviva (Life and Environment).

The party advocates preserving Shabbat as a day of rest free of business or commercial activity, but allowing public transportation to operate and entertainment venues to be open.

Historic Precedent: MRI in Place of Autopsy

By Hillel Fendel, July 7, 2008

Following last week’s precedent-setting MRI on a corpse, the way may be paved towards a historic solution to the decades-old dispute between the hareidi sector and the government on autopsies.

Minus the dynamic bloodstream of a live body, an MRI image of a corpse is of lesser quality, and government authorities might still require autopsies in some cases.

New Halachic ruling forbids smoking

Jews are not allowed to smoke, and they are required to observe a healthful way of life, said Rabbi Moshe Shaul Klein, rabbi of Bnei Brak’s Ma’ayanei Hayeshuva Medical Center and representative of the halacha committee of one of the city’s leading rabbinical arbiters, Rabbi Shmuel Wosner.

Gesher survey July 12, 2008

Shoshi Becker, head of Gesher educational enterprises, said in response that “about 50% of the population studies (Judaism), while the ‘traditional teaching’ is still done through books, a group study or a formal educational framework, the latter being the most preferred. It’s interesting that more women than men said they would like to study.”

According to Becker, “Close to 19% of the seculars study Judaism and another 10% would like to. A fairly high percentage of the traditional sector would like to study Judaism, although they are not currently doing so.

Not in Heaven

“Not in Heaven” is a festival of Jewish and Israeli studies in the Upper Galilee (Kibbutz Kfar Blum).

The festival, which includes lectures, tours, study of classical texts, symposia and musical events, offers participants encounters with a wide variety of subjects and perspectives stemming from different Jewish disciplines and cultures. July 8-10, 2008

My Story: The screen test

By Matthew Kalman, July 14, 2008

It was the charity premiere of my first movie, Circumcise Me, an hour-long documentary about stand-up comedian Yisrael Campbell and the story of his three (count ’em) conversions to Judaism after a Catholic childhood in Philadelphia.

Do Ethiopian immigrants suffer from racism?

By Anshel Pfeffer, Opinion July 11, 2008

It’s true that at times, the government was reluctant to go to such efforts and had to be pressured in different ways to do so – but that wasn’t due to their skin color, but simply to the fact that due to their isolation and lack of full historical evidence, a significant proportion of historians, anthropologists and yes, even rabbis, are certain that they are not really descendants of the historical people of Israel.

…There were also serious mistakes concerning the Ethiopian immigrants, some of them still ongoing, but they had nothing to do with racism, which toward Ethiopian Jews is only on the margins, if at all.

Ethiopian Jews in Israel July 8, 2008

Click here for VIDEO

The community of immigrants from Ethiopia is an integral part of Israeli society. Since their arrival over 20 years ago the approximately 110,000 people who comprise this community, have penetrated into all aspects of national life.

However, the difficulties these immigrants have experienced and are still experiencing in order to find their place in Israel are numerous. In this article, takes a closer look at Israel’s Ethiopian community.

Ultra-Orthodox prohibition on entering Temple Mount splinters

By Nadav Shragai, July 8, 2008

The ultra-Orthodox rabbinical consensus on banning the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount is showing cracks. This comes in the wake of a decision by religious Zionist rabbis to lift the ban and the increase of religious Zionist visitors to the site.

Rabbi Moshe Tendler, son-in-law of the ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, visited the Temple Mount last Thursday with Temple Institute officials for the first time.

Feinstein was one of the greatest Haredi adjudicators in the United States in the previous generation. Tendler, a bioethics expert and Talmud instructor at Yeshiva University, New York, is known mainly for his rulings on transplants and genetics.

Recently several ultra-Orthodox rabbis visited the Temple Mount but unlike Tendler, none would have his name released, due to sensitivity to this issue.

Speedily rebuild, in our days

By Nadav Shragai, July 8, 2008

According to the Temple Institute’s director, Yehuda Glick, by the intermediate days of the Sukkot holiday, in October, 120 sets of priestly garments will have been completed.

The team of tailors, working under designer Aviad Jerufi, whose specializes in ancient clothing, will personally measure and fit, for each of the 120 lucky men, a set of priestly garments that includes a tunic, turban, belt and pants.

Priestly garments on sale in Jerusalem

AP July 8, 2008

If you are a descendant of the Jewish priestly class, a full outfit, including an embroidered belt 32 biblical cubits (48 feet, 15 meters) long, can be yours for about $800.

Future Temple Jewish Priests Get Fitted For Holy Garments

By Ze’ev Ben-Yechiel, July 7, 2008

Video of ceremonial fitting of Rabbis Nachman Kahane and Shlomo Riskin for their priestly garments, click here.

Photographs can be seen here.

On Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, Rabbi Moshe Tendler of Monsey, N.Y. and Yeshiva University, son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, ascended the Temple Mount with Yehudah Glick and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel of the Temple Institute.

To see pictures, click here.

Religion and State in Israel

July 14, 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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