Religion and State in Israel – June 22, 2009 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

June 22, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

A secular awakening

By Peggy Cidor June 18, 2009

Something is happening to the capital’s young, secular population, it seems. With a tailwind from the election of a secular mayor, they are fighting back against years of haredi hegemony.

“One thing is sure,” Hitorerut chairman and city councilor Ofer Berkovitch – one of the major figures in the secular demonstrations – tells In Jerusalem, “we worked very hard to promote this tremendous change, which culminated in the election of a secular mayor, and it means much more than the opening of some parking lot or other.

We’re talking about saving this city to keep it a pluralistic, open city for all of us.”

Controversial Jerusalem Parking Lot to Open on Sabbath June 22, 2009

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Monday that he would reopen the controversial Safra Square parking lot this coming Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

The parking lot was closed for two weeks after haredi-religious Jewish protests with police turned violent.

Barkat has negotiated with haredi-religious parties in the city council to come to an agreement on the issue, but with no success. The decision to reopen the lot may result in violent protest.

Barkat to open alternative parking lot

By Etgar Lefkovits June 19, 2009

The mayor has asked the owner of a privately-owned lot opposite the Old City walls if it could be used on Saturdays, an official said Thursday.

The owner said he would respond to the mayor next week after consultation with rabbis, the official said.

The privately owned lot is located underneath the Mamilla shopping mall, which also houses a new hotel that will be opened in the coming days.

In the first sign of compromise, an official with the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit sect, which organized the protests, said late Thursday that his group would not protest a hotel opening a parking lot on Saturdays, but that the issue had to be resolved by the rabbis next week.

Shabbat shalom Editorial June 18, 2009

The original plan to provide free parking at Mamilla strikes us as the way to go.

If, however, extremists persist in their efforts to intimidate, a variety of steps are called for:

  • challenging the not-for-profit status of the institutions behind the rioting (in coordination with foreign tax authorities);
  • prosecuting rioters to the full extent of the law;
  • deporting indicted foreigners;
  • instructing police to treat further outbreaks of haredi lawlessness as if they came from any other sector.

Violent extremists must not be allowed to rob Jerusalem’s majority, and those who come to visit, of the peace, tolerance and tranquility that epitomizes Shabbat.

Secular vs. Haredi tensions in J’lem parked at Barkat’s door

By Nir Hasson June 21, 2009

Secular activists in Jerusalem are planning a rally next weekend to support the Saturday opening of a parking garage, which the ultra-Orthodox call a violation of the Sabbath, and midweek could see tensions between the two groups, exacerbated in recent weeks, grow worse with the annual Gay Pride parade on Thursday.

J’lem haredi rabbis torn over Pride Parade protests

By Kobi Nahshoni June 20, 2009

Jerusalem’s Pride Parade is scheduled to take place next week, but this year, three years after the international gay pride events that sparked the city, and after two years of more minor protests, the rabbis of the city’s ultra-Orthodox community have decided not to demonstrate against the parade.

Barkat, don’t give in

Haaretz Editorial June 18, 2009

Yielding over the opening of the Safra parking garage, a single facility that Barkat and United Torah Judaism’s representatives agree would be operated by a non-Jew free of charge, came under threat of violence.

It is inconceivable for the municipality to accept the dictates of a violent group that does not recognize the rules of the democratic game and for them to determine the city’s way of life.

Capitulation to violence invites the belligerent minority to additional rounds of fear and coercion.

Haredi rabbi: Don’t protest gay parade June 17, 2009

Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, head of the ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit’s Rabbinic Court, has issued a directive to his community to refrain from demonstrating against the Gay Pride Parade planned to be held in Jerusalem next week.

Yaffo Archaeological Dig Placed on Hold; Eida Chareidis Warns About Kevarim (Graves)

By Yechiel Spira June 16, 2009

Planned archaeological digging in the area of Kikar HaSha’on in the Yaffo area of Tel Aviv will not begin this week as planned, as officials on Monday afternoon announced the start of the project has been placed on hold, apparently for a number of weeks.

The permits have already been issued to begin work on what is slated to become a new hotel but the area is known to be home to old graves, one of the reasons for the archaeological experts prior to start of construction.

The Eida Chareidis has learned of the planned digging and buses of people from a number of areas, including Yerushalayim, Bet Shemesh and Bnei Brak arrived at the location in a showing of defiance, stating clearly they will not permit disturbing graves to accommodate a hotel.

Ministerial Burial Committee Established

By Yechiel Spira June 16, 2009

At the behest of Minister of Religious Services (Shas) Yaakov Margi, his party has lobbied for and successfully brought about a ministerial committee to address burial in Eretz Yisrael.

El Al Flight Remains in Thailand to Prevent Chilul Shabbos

By Yechiel Spira June 21, 2009

In an effort to honor El Al’s commitment not to cause chilul shabbos, 120 passengers of an El Al flight who thought they would be in Israel for Shabbos spent the holy day in Thailand.

Porush Scores a Big Win for Talmudei Torah

By Yechiel Spira June 17, 2009

Deputy Minister of Education (Yahadut HaTorah) Meir Porush has scored a big win, succeeding in extending for five years the new law that would implement stringent restrictions for talmudei torah that are recognized by the state, and thereby receive funding.

8,000 Chareidi Housing Units in Hadera

By Yechiel Spira June 17, 2009

It appears that Hadera may indeed become a city with a significant chareidi population.

On Wednesday morning, registration for the first stage of construction began, addressing 2,135 housing units, according to adverts, intended for chareidi families.

Chareidi Families Heading for Haifa?

By Yechiel Spira June 19, 2009

It now appears hundreds of families may be setting their sights on affordable housing in Haifa, Laadat reports.

The Karliner askanim then decided to spread the news, and it now appears that other Chassidim are joining in, including Boyan, Vishnitz and Sanz-Karlin. There is also significant interest being exhibit by Toldos Aaron.

New Israel Fund Professional Training Empowers Ultra-Orthodox Divorcees June 15, 2009

Em Habanim’s Executive Director Aharon Malach said, “We are spearheading change in ultra-Orthodox society regarding divorce.

We are treated as though we are the organization of eczema sufferers. We’re told that if you recognize a problem exists then you encourage it.”

Some 60 new families join Em Habanim each year. The organization will soon be opening new branches in Betar Illit and Bet Shemesh to keep up with demand.

Haredim take on anti-fur bill

By Kobi Nahshoni June 19, 2009

A bill meant to protect animals from abuse and cruelty that was passed at the Ministerial Legislation Committee on Monday has outraged ultra-Orthodox Knesset members who fear it could severely affect the local shtreimel market.

Rabbis allow mentally challenged to marry

By David Regev June 23, 2009

Haredi community steps forward: In a progressive move several special-needs couples have been allowed to marry, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.

The ultra-Orthodox community prohibits the intellectually challenged to marry, for fear that their disability would keep them from properly observing matrimonial mitzvot.

The couples are being chaperoned by “supervisors” – family members or close friends who ensure they follow the relevant mitzvot of house and home.

New Web portal lets haredim have their Koogle and eat it, too

By Rachel Geizhals June 16, 2009

Last year, mastermind Yossi Altman, Shilitz, a few others, and a group of haredi rabbis got together and decided to make the Israeli Internet experience more palatable for the Haredi user.

It took about a year to get the project off the ground, and last month, Koogle made its official debut.

Rabbi Eliyahu at Western Wall Prayer Rally June 21, 2009

Click here for VIDEO

A prayer rally was held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in wake of the Iranian threat, the continuous attempts to uproot Jewish communities in the land of Israel and the statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu according to which he agrees to establish a Palestinian state.

The rally was attended by former chief Rabbi, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.

Chief Rabbi Backs Law to Block Inhumane Leather Products

By Yechiel Spira June 17, 2009

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Shlita on Tuesday issued a p’sak halacha supporting legislation to ban the importation of leather and other products produced at the expense of animals, in some case, removing the skins of animals while they are still alive.

Rabbi Metzger stated such actions, intentionally causing pain to animals negates Halacha and Israel must take steps to make such actions illegal, to be “a light unto the nations”.

New Rabbinate Lab to Examine Leafy Vegetables in Center June 22, 2009

The Chief Rabbinate is establishing a laboratory in the center of the country to carry out kashrut testing for companies marketing leafy vegetables.

Beit Shemesh rabbis issue modesty rules

By Kobi Nahshoni June 21, 2009

A rabbis’ committee in Beit Shemesh distributed over the weekend a detailed booklet instructing female residents to dress modestly in the city’s ultra-Orthodox areas. In the pamphlets, women are ordered to keep their hair tied and their shirts buttoned up to the very end and to wear long sleeves.

The “[modesty] squad” pamphlets were distributed in mailboxes in the city’s religious and secular neighborhoods.

Another page in the booklet includes a “prayer of a Jewish girl”, and states that “your modest and dignified clothing shows that you acknowledge the fact that you are the daughter of a king.

The modest clothing honors the woman and raises her value. There is so much to regret and to be ashamed of when a daughter’s king looks cheap and like a prostitute.”

Protecting the pedophiles

By Tamar Rotem June 16, 2009

In Ramat Beit Shemesh, the population consists mostly of ultra-Orthodox Jews from abroad, who are considered more open than the Israeli-born ultra-Orthodox. Most of them work and therefore are more connected to the world around them.

However, as new immigrants they are prisoners in the hands of the rabbinical establishment that is the captive of the most extreme Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy.

The parents’ reporting to the police in the three cases has been interpreted by the rabbis and school directors as traitorous to the community.

“There is denial here by an entire community,” says Helise Pollack, a former welfare officer from Ramat Beit Shemesh and an expert on children who have experienced sexual abuse, who is treating some of the children.

“They simply don’t believe the complainants. The people suspected of sexual abuse do not look like monsters. These are people who have families, regular people.

They make an excellent impression on their surroundings. What happens is that the victim’s family is put on trial.”

Modest swim suits, when less skin is better

By Michele Chabin June 19, 2009

A year ago, Devora heard about a modest-swimwear line called Sea Secret. Designed in Israel by two French-born Orthodox Jews in consultation with a respected rabbi, the company’s below-the-arm, below-the-knee swim-dresses adhere to the strict Orthodox Jewish dress code.

Religious Jewish girls in Israel like to rock

By Karin Kloosterman June 18, 2009

Today Ashira is making headlines around the world, for its women-only policy at concerts.

They are also striking a chord among Israel’s secular audience as well, despite the fact that their songs all have a religious theme. Their upcoming album will have a warning label: for women only.

Area of the not known

By Ruthie Blum Leibowitz June 18, 2009

Interview with Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

I have a strong emotional response to words, and the trouble with prayer is that it has so many, and that they’re normally said very fast, which cuts off the oxygen.

This is why the kind of prayer I prefer is slow and meditative. My synagogue is Yakar, where singing plays a very big part.

Aryeh Deri’s comeback

By Hagai Segal Opinion June 17, 2009

In about a month, Aryeh Deri’s seven bad years will draw to an end.

The “period of moral turpitude’ in the wake of his conviction will end. His sins will expire in legal terms.

There will no longer be anything preventing him from competing for public office.

Can Third Temple be built without destroying Dome of the Rock?

By Matthew Wagner June 22, 2009

A new Jewish interfaith initiative launched last week argues building the Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem would not necessitate the destruction of the Dome of the Rock.

“God’s Holy Mountain Vision” project hopes to defuse religious strife by showing that Jews’ end-of-days vision could harmoniously accommodate Islam’s present architectural hegemony on the Temple Mount.

“This vision of religious shrines in peaceful proximity can transform the Temple Mount from a place of contention to its original sacred role as a place of worship shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians,” said Yoav Frankel, director of the initiative.

Israeli State

By A.B. Yehoshua Opinion June 19, 2009

Does the exclusive appellation Israel or State of Israel preserve the state’s Zionist essence – namely the Law of Return, which is the only practical, legal expression of the Zionist principle? It definitely does.

There is no need to use the words “Jewish state” or “state of the Jewish people” to express the validity of the Law of Return.

Mass converts pose dilemma for Latin American Jews

By Florencia Arbiser June 18, 2009

Approximately 70 percent of Maim Haim members have filed petitions for aliyah with the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Their petitions are being held in abeyance while Israel’s Chief Rabbinate makes a determination as to their Jewish credentials.

A Polish Priest’s Dream of Aliyah

By Donald Snyder June 17, 2009

When Romuald Jakub Weksler-Waszkinel applied to immigrate to Israel as a Jew under the Law of Return last October, Israeli authorities delayed responding to his request for months.

Perhaps it was the priest’s white-band collar around his neck that had something to do with this.

“I am Jewish. And my mother and father were Jewish. I feel Jewish.”

Adopting Forebears’ Faith and Leaving Peru for Israel

By Simon Romero June 22, 2009

“It is getting very lonely here,” said Mr. Reátegui Levy, 52, an inspector at Peru’s national oil company, referring to the more than 400 descendants of Jewish pioneers who have formally converted to Judaism this decade, including about 160 members of his immediate and extended family. Nearly all of them now live in Israel.

“But when I was a child, my mother told me something that forever burned into my mind,” he said. “She told me, ‘You are a Jew, and you are never to forget that.’ ”

Beth Am’s guitar-strumming rabbi gets a new gig in Israel

By Amanda Pazornik June 18, 2009

Rabbi Josh Zweiback has landed a gig that just might be more exciting than making a hit record with his band, Mah Tovu.

Zweiback recently was named director of the Year-in-Israel program at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem — the first time a rabbi not previously living in Israel was hired for the position, he noted.

Religion and State in Israel

June 22, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

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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