Religion and State in Israel – June 22, 2009 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

June 22, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Rabbi Sherman annuls another conversion

By Kobi Nahshoni June 23, 2009

Rabbi Avraham Sherman, who last year retroactively disqualified thousands of conversions that had already been recognized by the Chief Rabbinate, recently annulled another conversion.

Sherman revoked the conversion after he found “flaws” in the process of conversion, which was conducted by the rabbinate.

Rabbi Moshe Klein, former deputy head of the Chief Rabbinate’s conversion program, said that the ruling was “one of the last nails in the burial coffin of conversions in Israel.”

Rabbinical Court proves subservience to ultra-Orthodox

By Yair Ettinger June 23, 2009

“All the Jewish people view them,” referring to the ultra-Orthodox rabbis in the decision, “as appropriate and authorized to instruct the Jewish people, and all the Jewish people are subject to their decisions to do what they teach and not to stray from their teachings,” wrote the rabbinical court in its ruling.

The ruling stated that all the Jewish People, including rabbis and dayanim, are subject to the rulings of the great ultra-Orthodox decisors.

As opposed to the regular format of rabbinical court decisions, Rabbi Sherman did not settle for quotes from previous rabbinic rulings, but instead quoted extensively letters and opinions of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis he follows, who oppose the present Israeli system of conversions.

Rabbinical judge: Most immigrants seeking conversion are misguided

By Yair Ettinger June 18, 2009

A judge of the High Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Avraham Sherman, says that new immigrants who want to be accepted as Jews according to halakha are “in the vast majority gentiles who want to convert out of self-interest, and the Orthodox rabbis who want to convert them are suffering from a “false and distorted perspective, a lack of understanding of halakha.”

Chief Rabbi Metzger supports conversions annulment

By Yair Ettinger June 18, 2009

A judge of the High Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Avraham Sherman, says that new immigrants who want to be accepted as Jews according to halakha are “in the vast majority gentiles who want to convert out of self-interest, and the Orthodox rabbis who want to convert them are suffering from a “false and distorted perspective, a lack of understanding of halakha.”

Sherman created a crisis over the issue when he wrote a ruling in April 2008 invalidating thousands of conversions approved by the state’s special conversion courts.

“A large percentage [of the converts] did not intend on accepting the mitzvot when they accepted conversion,” he said in his address to the conference.

Sherman ordered registrars in the religious councils to investigate the background of converts before registering their marriages – and not to accept conversions automatically.

“Every convert needs to be examined,” Sherman said.

MKs demand apologies from ‘racist’ rabbis who derided converts

By Yair Ettinger June 19, 2009

Tzohar, an organization of religious Zionist rabbis, also condemned the remarks, saying it was particularly upset that Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger praised Sherman and expressed support for his views.

“Instead of supporting the efforts of conversion court judges who operate under the Chief Rabbinate’s auspices, the chief rabbi caved in to a group of extremist ultra-Orthodox hacks who have made it their goal to sabotage conversion,” the group said in a statement.

MK Orlev: Prevent Rabbi Sherman from discussing conversion

By Kobi Nahshoni June 22, 2009

MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) called upon the president of the Great Rabbinical Court, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, to prevent Rabbi Avraham Sherman from discussing issues of conversion.

This comes on the backdrop of Rabbi Sherman’s revocation of a conversion carried out by the Chief Rabbinate.

Orlev said that Sherman’s ruling, which was first published in Ynet, is “a challenge to the religious court system and the Chief Rabbinate that must be addressed.”

He also announced that he intends to initiate a bill stipulating that only a special court headed by Rabbi Amar will have the authority to discuss nullifying conversions

Who is an Orthodox convert?

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion June 18, 2009

Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinical advocate, working at The Center for Women’s Justice

“What exactly is the issue here? What is so “complicated” about it?” asks Attorney Susan Weiss, who represents both petitioners.

“The State has to get its house in order and ensure that the Beit Din honors conversion certificates that have been signed by the chief rabbi, and endorsed with the official stamp of the Chief Rabbinate.

It just can’t be that the right hand denies what the left hand does. We live in a state committed to the rule of law, not in a community where each rabbinic judge or rabbi sets the individual standards for himself and his constituents.”

Trial Brings Light to Treatment of ‘Messianic Jews’

Click here for VIDEO

Christian Broadcasting Network June 22, 2009

“Christmas Eve in 2005, my wife and I and three sons came to the congregation in the morning and we saw many ultra-Orthodox people outside, and there were even more inside. They had already taken over the congregational time,” said Michael Cederburg, a member of Nachalat Yeshua.

Chairs were thrown and people knocked around as hundreds of protestors sang, danced and rioted. Despite a heavy police presence, the trouble continued for three hours. Cederburg’s son captured some of the events on camera.

“People were trying to take the camera from his hand. It was a violent demonstration,” he said.

Court hears Messianic Jews’ suit against Beersheba chief rabbi

By Dan Izenberg June 22, 2009

According to the suit, hundreds of Orthodox Jews held a demonstration without a permit, broke into the church compound, attacked worshipers, broke furniture and held their own prayer service. The protesters allegedly remained in the compound for three hours before police evicted them.

Members of the congregation also alleged that the demonstrators punched worshipers and surrounded a Korean man, kicked him in the ankles and said to him, “Go back to Thailand, you dirty Thai worker.”

The Nachlat Yeshua Messianic congregation is one of about seven such Christian congregations in the city.

The congregation has sued Rabbi Deri and the Yad L’Achim organization on various counts, including harming religious feelings, imprisonment without cause, trespassing and causing damage to the compound.

According to one of the congregation’s lawyers, Kevork Nalbandian, Deri organized the assault on the compound.

Haredim threaten boycott if Jerusalem elects Zionist rabbi

By Kobi Nahshoni June 23, 2009

“If there’s a rabbi whose level or halachic views do not correspond with the haredim’s demands – the spiritual leaders will call on the community to shun the Jerusalem rabbinate,” declared city council member Shlomo Rosenstein (United Torah Judaism).

Jerusalem mayor presses for Zionist chief rabbi for city

By Matthew Wagner June 22, 2009

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced Sunday night that he would back a “Zionist” candidate to serve as Jerusalem’s chief rabbi.

“I believe that a chief rabbi, like a mayor, should be able to embrace all elements of Jerusalem’s diverse populace and connect the entire Jewish people to Jerusalem, including secular Israelis who love Jerusalem and who serve in the army,” said Barkat in an emotionally charged speech at the municipality building.

“I am convinced that choosing a Zionist chief rabbi is a necessity in a city in which 70% of the population is not haredi and has special needs. That is the right thing to do – to appoint a Zionist rabbi alongside a haredi rabbi.”

Barkat Wants National Religious Chief Rabbi in Capital June 22, 2009

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat pledged Sunday to work towards appointing a national religious Chief Rabbi in Israel’s capital city.

At a conference held towards that goal in the city council, the mayor said that a national religious rabbi should be appointed along with a haredi-religious one.

“The rabbi will have the responsibility of representing the city and its residents,” Barkat said.

“I believe that a national religious rabbi is necessary in a city in which 70 percent of its residents are not haredi.”

Dispute over Bamba blessing underscores rabbinical power struggle

By Matthew Wagner June 17, 2009

What blessing should a pious Jew make on the popular snack Bamba and its many surrogates?

This arcane dispute, relevant to a religious minority of Jews, has been thrust to the forefront of a power struggle between two sons of Sephardi Jewry’s most influential halachic authority – Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual mentor of Shas.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Rabbi David Yosef, the two sons, are vying to become the next Chief Sephardi rabbi of Jerusalem.

By taking the Jerusalem Chief Rabbinate post, each son could potentially position himself to inherit the mantle of rabbinic leadership for Sephardi Jewry from the 89-year-old father, who has a history of heart disease.

Jerusalem Rabbinate Election Continues to Heat Up

By Yechiel Spira June 21, 2009

The upcoming election of new chief rabbis of Yerushalayim, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, is a source of tension in all communities, chareidi, dati leumi and secular.

The dati leumi and secular communities are more-or-less in tune with one another, both determined to prevent a ‘chareidi take-over’ of the capital, with the dati leumi camp comfortable with the knowledge that City Hall will support its candidate, as per the pre-election agreement that resulted in the dati leumi camp’s support for Nir Barkat’s mayoral bid.

MKs suggest 4 religious candidates for Supreme Court

By Aviad Glickman June 23, 2009

Three members of the Committee for Appointing Judges on Monday sent a letter to the committees’ chairman, Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman, suggesting four additional candidates for the Supreme Court – all of whom are religious.

A senior legal source told Ynet that these candidates are surprising and that Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch was likely not to accept most of the names on the new list.

According to the source, Justice Beinisch will fight with all her might to thwart the appointment of most of the new candidates.

Will new Orthodox IDF track increase soldiers’ service or reduce it?

By Anshel Pfeffer June 18, 2009

A new arrangement will permit hesder yeshiva students to spend more time in the army portion of their military service, and less in study.

The new arrangement will let participants in the hesder program, who divide their time between active service and Jewish religious studies, to spend two full, uninterrupted years in the army

Rabbis agree to longer army service option for hesder soldiers

By Kobi Nahshoni June 18, 2009

The association heads stressed that the program will operate alongside the older program and will provide an alternative to those young religious students who are less inclined to study Torah.

Ronski to remain Chief IDF Rabbi

By Amos Harel June 18, 2009

photo Yonhap News
The tenure of Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronski will be extended by another year; it emerged yesterday, despite claims that he is radicalizing religious elements within the army.

Since taking on the post, Ronski has increased the involvement of military chaplains in combat units, which are increasingly dominated by religiously observant conscripts.

IDF: Religious soldiers can’t walk out on women singing

By Amos Harel June 23, 2009

The letter, written by Major Neta Shmariyahu, assistant secretary to the Supreme Command, states there are directives that set guidelines for “appropriate integration” of male and female soldiers and guide the commanders in planning social cohesion activities in a manner that does not offend subordinates’ sensibilities.

“When the event begins and a soldier feels the nature of the proceedings on stage does not suit his faith, he is not required to look directly at or actively participate in them, and can stay in his seat and show respect for the event and the performers.

Leaving the event hurts his fellow soldiers and sends [negative] messages to all soldiers,” the letter said.

IDF Base Separates Men, Women in Swimming Pools

By Gil Ronen June 21, 2009

The IDF will soon decide if it wants all military swimming pools to set separate bathing hours for men and women.

The matter came up for discussion in a top decision-making body after Col. Yaron Boim, Commander of the IDF’s School for Platoon Commanders and Infantry Professions, asked the Chief Military Rabbi, Brig.-Gen Avichai Ronsky, for his opinion on separating men and women in the base’s swimming pool.

Col. Boim is not waiting for the high-level decision, however, and has already instituted separate hours for men and women in the base’s swimming pool.

73 Avreichim Join the IDF Sunday

By Yechiel Spira June 14, 2009

The Bakum induction base of the IDF, located at Tel Hashomer, operated on a mehadrin protocol on Sunday as 73 new Chareidi inductees were scheduled to arrive at 10:00am.

Their processing is being handled exclusively by male personnel, in compliance with guidelines agreed upon between rabbonim and the IDF.

The new inductees are not entering the popular Netzach Yehuda Nachal Chareidi unit, but they are being inducted into the navy and air force, most slated to do 2-4 years of service, many in intelligence units. 60 will be in army intelligence and 13 in the navy.

The new inductees are part of the expanding number of chareidim entering the armed forces, and they will receive mehadrin food with a hechsher of the Badatz Eida Chareidis as well as framework during basic training and during their service that is in line with their frum lifestyle.

Halakhic Electronics in the IDF

By Arnon Ben-Dror June 17, 2009

After numerous petitions from military rabbis and religious soldiers, Shabbat switches have been installed at 20 gates of the security fence in the Judea and Samaria region, which enable observant soldiers to open the gates on Shabbat without desecrating the holy day.

Another development of the Halakha and Technology Unit is the fridge-oven. Observant Israel Navy soldiers serving on boats during Shabbat, up until now could not eat hot meals for lunch on Shabbat. This was a problematic restriction, especially during the winter.

When the new tool is introduced in a few months, the IN soldiers will be able to cook their food on Friday and put it into the fridge, which will then automatically turn into an oven for lunchtime on Shabbat.

Some of the other devices that the Military Rabbinate is currently developing to allow religious soldiers to observe Shabbat include automatic water pumps, indirect car engine starting mechanisms, special Shabbat keyboards, screens and mice for computers.

IDF Developing Delayed-Start Car Ignition for Religious Soldiers

By Gil Ronen June 16, 2009

The IDF Rabbinate’s Halacha and Technology Department was only established last year but already has a slew of new developments in the works, most if not all of them Sabbath-related.

The IDF website reports that one such development is a Sabbath-friendly electrical socket, for connection of essential security and life-saving devices to the electrical current during the Sabbath.

Chabad “Conquers” Tzrifin IDF Chaplaincy

Source: 15, 2009

Last week, a group of rabbis from the French military chaplaincy visited the Rabbinical army base in Baratz-779, Tzrifin.

During their visit, they met with many Chabad Chassidim currently serving at the base.

There are a total of eight Chabad soldiers, serving as sofrim and in the adjutant’s office. Farbrengens are held at the base regularly.

After the High Holy Days, a special sofrus course is to open in Tzrifin for soldiers who have completed their training and wish to serve as sofrim in the army.

IDF to Emboss Ten Commandments Emblem on Military Korans

By Gil Ronen June 21, 2009

The IDF Rabbinate intends to emboss its emblem on military-issued Korans, according to IDF journal BaMachaneh.

The Rabbinate’s emblem depicts the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, as well as the sword and olive branches that appear in numerous IDF logos.

The IDF provides Korans for its Muslim soldiers. These include Bedouins, as well as non-Bedouin Muslim Arabs, who have served in the IDF as trackers and in other combat roles since its earliest days.

Army refuses to let Chabad Bochurim go to NY for Gimmel Tammuz

Source: June 22, 2009

The law allows yeshiva students up to the age of 21 to remain abroad for up to 30 days.

Anyone who remains abroad for a period of over 30 days or whose accumulated time abroad between the ages of 18 to 21 has exceeded 30 days is not granted permission to leave the country.

Stop. Kashrut certification ahead

By Orly Vilnai June 16, 2009

This could have been an optimistic story, but just as things were starting to go well, R. came up against the wall of the Chief Rabbinate. R. is traditional in her religious beliefs and practice, and her niece is devoutly Orthodox, but they have not managed to secure a kashrut certificate for their business.

In order to receive such certification, two things must happen: First of all, R. has to pay NIS 1,200 monthly to a kashrut supervisor who will come to inspect the small room where she cooks.

And as for her niece, the rabbinate does not grant kashrut certificates to businesses that are conducted in a home, they told her, for fear that the kashrut supervisor might be alone in an apartment with a woman.

She will have to rent a place, with all the attendant expenses, and only then will she be able to receive the certificate – after paying NIS 1,200 monthly, of course.

Update – Keeping it kosher

June 23, 2009

After a large number of phone calls that we made to the municipal rabbi of Kiryat Gat, Shlomo Ben-Hamo, he is to meet with R. this week and promises to quickly solve the matter of the kashrut certificate.

Rabbis take act to Maccabiah Games

By Cnaan Liphshiz June 19, 2009

Dozens of rabbis will descend upon hotels across Israel next month, as part of a plan to instill Jewish values in non-Israeli participants of the 18th Maccabiah, the Jewish Olympics, which open July 13.

The 50-odd rabbis, many of them hailing from English-speaking countries, are volunteers for Tzohar, a nonprofit organization working to “bridge the gap between religious and secular Jews.”

Religion and State in Israel

June 22, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

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