Religion and State in Israel – July 21, 2008 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

July 21, 2008 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Court Rejects Group Appeal to Be Declared “Israeli” in IDs

By Gil Ronen, July 14, 2008

Click here for original article (Hebrew)

The Jerusalem District Court rejected on Tuesday a request by a group of citizens of myriad religions to mark the “nationality” box in their ID cards as “Israeli,” instead of “Jewish” or “Arab.” The judge ruled that their petition is not justiciable.

The request was filed by 21 citizens, composed mostly of Jews, but also including an Arab, a Druze, a Buddhist, a Georgian and a Burmese

…The state answered that what Jewish, Druze and Arab Israelis have in common is their citizenship, not their nationality. It added that any change in the national definition of Israelis has to be carried out by the Knesset and not by the court.

Judge Noam Solberg noted that the “nationality” box in Israeli IDs is left blank anyways since 2000. He determined that by determining that an “Israeli” nationality existed the court would be exceeding its bounds and legislating instead of judging.

The next haredi candidate?

By Peggy Cidor, July 20, 2008

According to an internal agreement between the two parties that make up UTJ, Lupolianski, a representative of the Degel Hatorah faction, obtained the rabbis’ blessing for the 2003 elections on condition that in the next mayoral race it would be Agudat Yisrael’s turn.

Yehoshua Pollack, 60, is a father of eight. He was born in Romania and made aliya with his family in 1961. He spent 22 years in haredi educational institutions, where he obtained rabbinical ordination.

“All my life has been inside the haredi world. I was married through a shidduch, and all my children, thank God, married also through shidduchim,” he says.

After the 2003 elections, Pollack was appointed deputy mayor and awarded the planning portfolio.

Before he became a city councillor, Pollack held various positions on the Jerusalem Religious Council, including director, treasurer and head of the Kashrut Department. His 20 years on the council, however, were controversial.

For the haredi public, his time there earned him the title “shpitz,” a term reserved for the exceptionally smart, and those who can easily juggle figures and negotiate legal issues. For the non-haredi public, his years there drew charges of mismanagement.

In Defense of the Western Wall

July 17, 2008

I do understand the critiques. But I’m not willing to let either conservatives or liberals steal my people’s most sacred space from me.

If progressives let the fundamentalists capture all the spiritual treasures of our tradition, we’ll be left with nothing but the dregs. And we’ll continue to lose the demographic battle, because we’ll be left with less to inspire us.

Progressive Jews are like that Hasid in the famous story — unaware of the great treasure that’s lying right in his home. Only it’s not that we’re unaware of it; we’re suspicious of it.

Out of the fold

By Anshel Pfeffer, Opinion July 18, 2008

But while Kiryas Joel and a few other Haredi ghettos are no more than pinpricks in the American firmament, in Israel these questions are of an entirely different magnitude.

More than 20 percent of the Jewish schoolchildren in Israel last year, some 215,000 kids, studied in ultra-Orthodox schools. Their proportion is growing, the younger the age group.

These schools come under varying degrees of government supervision, but the Education Ministry as a rule has little power over the curriculum taught there.

The ministry’s attempts to ensure that all schools receiving some kind of government funding teach at least a core of basic subjects (mathematics, Hebrew grammar, English and science at a satisfactory level, and not only religious studies) or else lose their funding, has met with fierce Haredi opposition.

How U.S., Israeli Jews Could Draw Closer

By Yoav Shoham July 16, 2008

Certainly, all Israelis are exposed to Judaism in everyday life in the form of laws and customs that mix state and religion, from public transportation and shopping that are often not available on Shabbat, to restaurants and hotels that keep kosher whether out of ideology or self interest, to marriage and burial controlled by the rabbinate.

But precisely because they are exposed to them with such intensity, usually without having a choice in the matter, and in the uniform flavor reflecting the Orthodox hegemony in Israel over Conservative, Reform or other brands of Judaism, the majority of Israelis conceive of religion in practical rather than spiritual terms. Indeed, they often develop antagonism towards religion, and the establishment that represents it in their minds.

Make aliyah, for soccer’s sake!

By Yaniv Kubovitch and David Marwani, July 15, 2008

Maccabi came up with an ingenious way of filling the position with an Israeli player: Find a foreign player who is Jewish or is of Jewish descent, give them Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, and the problem is solved.

Thus Sjaak Polak, an aging midfielder who used to play for clubs including Sparta Rotterdam and who is of Jewish descent, is on his way to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Last year, the same team signed French Jews Rudy Hadad and Jonathan Assous. Maccabi Tel Aviv also plans to expedite Armenian Ilya Yavruyan’s citizenship process.

Maccabi Haifa also sees the value of signing Jewish players – the team has signed Ukrainian-born U.S.-Israeli citizen Leonard Krupnik. “Show me where you can get a better defender than Krupnik!” Haifa coach Elisha Levi says.

Officials: Zimbabwe instability could double South African immigration

By Cnaan Liphshiz, July 21, 2008

Zimbabwe’s impending collapse will serve to double immigration from South Africa this year, absorption professionals in Israel and Johannesburg told Haaretz Sunday.

On Monday, 100 newcomers are scheduled to be welcomed at Ben-Gurion International Airport, after arriving on the largest flight of its kind from South Africa, leaving earlier Monday morning.

‘Israel to me is the safest place in the world’

More than 300 additional olim are expected to leave South Africa for Israel in 2008, bringing the total number of new immigrants to over 450, up from 178 in 2007 and 157 in 2006.

A Zionist kick in the pants

By Haviv Rettig, July 15, 2008

Aharon Horwitz and Ariel Beery founded PresenTense, a Jerusalem-based hub for a social entrepreneurship training institute, a magazine on Jewish and Israeli culture, a consulting and education service and a network of entrepreneurs, activists and professionals from around the Jewish world.

The work of PresenTense, now just in its second year, is already beginning to resonate in the boardrooms of large Jewish organizations.

Some of America’s largest federations, including those in Boston, Cleveland and New York, are interested in Horwitz’s and Beery’s ideas. Foundations and federations have begun to donate “chairs” at the institute that provides room and board for one aspiring entrepreneur in attendance.

Haredim threaten to boycott Dor Gas

By Nati Toker, July 17, 2008

About 1,000 ultra-Orthodox consumers will be leaving Dor Gas, a subsidiary of Dudi Wiessman’s Dor Alon group.

The boycott follows an ad in the religious paper Hamodia, which is leading the battle against Wiessman. The ad called on the religious public to cut off ties with Dor Gas, to protest the fact that the convenience store chain AM:PM, which Wiessman also owns, operates on Shabbat.

“The first step will involve about 1,000 customers who will stop buying, and we will continue to advertise this matter until thousands of Haredi consumers advise the company that they wish to do the same,” the organizers said yesterday.

Haredim sue Tiv Taam in Tel Aviv

By Nurit Roth, (hard copy edition) July 17, 2008

Ultra-Orthodox living in the Tel Aviv neighborhoods of Neve Sharett and Ramat Hahayal are demanding the closure of a nearby non-kosher grocery that opened just last week.

Three ultra-Orthodox residents of those neighborhoods sued the Tiv Taam chain and city of Tel Aviv, asking a Tel Aviv court to close the grocery on the grounds that it is operating without a license, is open on Shabbat, and sells pork products.

One of the three is on the Tel Aviv City Council – Rabbi Naftali Lobert.

No longer taboo?

By Yair Ettinger, July 17, 2008

The group exhibition “Adam-Ma?” – a play on words meaning “What is man?” as well as “Earth” – opened in Jerusalem, with 26 ultra-Orthodox and religious artists and sculptors exhibiting in an event catering to the ultra-Orthodox public.

In addition to this exhibit, there will also be one by the graduates of the Oman school, which operates in the same building. There are 120 women studying in the school in a professional track, which aspires to be the “Haredi Bezalel” (School of Art and Design), with departments of art, photography, ceramics and jewelry making.

A question of faith

By Noa Raz, July 16, 2008

The film “Halake” (“Upsherin”) premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

Director Avigail Sperber is somewhat familiar with this situation from her own life. “As someone living with a non-religious and a non-believer, this conflict is well-known to me,” she told Ynet. “It feels like the religious cannot give up anything – often times forcing the one with lesser faith to make compromises, which is very frustrating.”

Sperber is a graduate of the Maale Film School and the Idit Schori Scriptwriting School. This is her first TV drama as a director.

Environment in Jewish Thought & Law July 9, 2008

Click here for Volume IV, The Environment in Jewish Thought and Law – English Articles

Sviva Israel publishes an annual scholarly journal featuring academic papers by rabbinical scholars on the topic of The Environment in Jewish Thought and Law.

The journal is sponsored by the Israel Ministry for the Protection of the Environment, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ramat Shlomo Community Council and distributed free of charge to hundreds of synagogues and yeshivot throughout Israel

Speaking at the Jerusalem Conference on The Environment in Jewish Thought and Law 2008 were Israel Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger; Minister for Environmental Protection, MK Gideon Ezra and Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski.

Hat tip: Dan Brown

Support group for Orthodox divorcees aims to battle cultural stigmas

By Ruth Eglash, July 16, 2008

A support group run by the national religious women’s organization Emunah is aimed at helping observant women deal with the breakdown of the family unit and battle the cultural stigmas within the community. The organization runs several such support groups countrywide, including one in English in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

While many of the problems faced by divorcing religious women are the same as their secular counterparts, Ziederman points out that some of the issues are exacerbated by the cultural norms of the observant community and Jewish law.

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In addition to tackling these social and cultural issues in the support groups, the women provide each other guidance and support in dealing with the rabbinic court system, which can sometimes be extremely bureaucratic and daunting.

Interfaith meet signals thaw in Saudi hostility toward Israel

By Yoav Stern, July 18, 2008

Rabbi David Rosen, who is also the Chief Rabbinate’s adviser on interfaith dialogue, had been invited to the conference as Chairman of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations.

The conference organizers knew he was Israeli, following media reports to that effect last week. He met King Abdullah, told him he was a rabbi from Jerusalem and even received his blessing.

Anti-Darwinists turned away by Israeli academia

By Avital Lahav, July 15, 2008

A group of Muslim religious scholars arriving from Turkey to participate in a reconciliation conference at the Hebrew University claim that the head of the Social Sciences Faculty refused to greenlight the event, calling it off in short notice.

The Turkish lecturers arriving from Istanbul on a joint initiative between the research and scientific foundation they represent and the Interfaith Encounter Association, were planning to speak at the two Jewish-Muslim conferences at the Hebrew University’s campus on Mount Scopus and at Tel Aviv University.

Livni’s 17 Tammuz Faux Pas

By Yechiel Spira, July 21, 2008

The ministers on Sunday morning decided to respect the 17 Tammuz Fast Day and refrain from eating during the weekly cabinet meeting, all but one that is.

It appears that no one bothered telling Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the decision even though a memo was posted for cabinet ministers. One assumes the minister did not see the memo.

Torah Scroll Dedication on Board Tel Aviv Train

By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, July 15, 2008

A specially commissioned Torah scroll was dedicated on Sunday for use aboard a commuter train by a traveling prayer quorum on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line.

A group of commuters living in Beit Shemesh commissioned the small Torah scroll and custom-made carrying case for their daily prayers.

‘Sanhedrin’ against Beijing Olympics

By Kobi Nahshoni, July 17, 2008

Only three weeks are left before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games open, and the remonstration against holding the games is joined by the Sanhedrin rabbis.

The Sanhedrin’s judges, convening as an International Court of Law presided by Rabbi Adin Even-Yisrael (Steinzaltz), discussed the claims of Israeli athletes training in Falun Dafa (also called Falun Gong), a high-level Buddhist cultivation practice believed to bring great improvements in health and fitness.

As part of examining the case, the Sanhedrin sent emissaries to collect testimonials in Israel and abroad. The judges were also presented with documents by renowned international organizations supporting this harsh reality.

Religion and State in Israel

July 21, 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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