Religion and State in Israel – July 13, 2009 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

July 13, 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.

Orthodox women may be ordained in Israel

By Elana Sztokman July 14, 2009

The rabbinic ordination of women – smicha – is one of the simplest items on the religious agenda today, according to Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun of Herzog College.

Speaking at the Sixth Annual Conference of Kolech in Jerusalem this week, Bin Nun argued that there is no problem whatsoever with women getting smicha, and that in fact, quite a few women have served as rabbis in Jewish history.

“The Orthodox community faces some serious halakhic challenges today, such as how to free agunot (chained wives) or how to fix the conversion crisis in the religious courts, in which religious judges are absurdly granting themselves the right to annul conversions,” Ben Nun argued.

“These are complex issues that demand a lot of attention and study. But women rabbis? That’s not a complex issue. That’s easy. Of course they can and should be rabbis. There is no issue”

Rabbi: Women can revive Jewish law

By Kobi Nahshoni July 13, 2009

“The introduction of women into the field of halachic rulings could lead to renewed thinking in many areas and to a revival, expansion and rejuvenation of the world of Halacha,” Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, head of the Maale Gilboa yeshiva and a Religious Kibbutz Movement rabbi said Monday.

He was speaking at the Kolech – Religious Women’s Voice Sixth Annual Conference.

Justice Dorner: Broadening rabbinical courts’ authorities detrimental

By Kobi Nahshoni July 14, 2009

Retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner criticized Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman’s suggestion to broaden the jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts, warning the religious courts “would persecute woman to death.”

Dorner urged religious women to unite politically in order to thwart the move, warning that otherwise “all will be lost for you. There will be no hope.”

Rabbinate refuses to marry couple over adoption suspicion

By Nissan Shtracuhler July 7, 2009

“You are adopted and therefore your Jewishness cannot be verified,” a rabbi at the Chief Rabbinate told Roman, who denies being adopted and says he has produced all the documents required by the Rabbinate to receive a wedding permit.

As a result of the rabbi’s decision, Sharon and Roman’s wedding was cancelled. One of the rabbis explained to Roman that his Jewishness was in doubt, and that in his opinion Sharon is Jewish, while he is not. “This was too much. It’s clear to me I’m not adopted,” he stated.

The distraught couple has meanwhile decided to get married in Prague in a civil wedding.

Rabbi offers unorthodox solution to marriage debate

By Yair Ettinger July 8, 2009

A national-religious rabbi frustrated with the impasse in talks on easing Israeli marriage procedures is advocating an unorthodox solution: competition.

Rabbi David Stav proposed Tuesday that couples be allowed to register to get married at any Chief Rabbinate office they please, as opposed to being required to sign up at their municipal branch.

Breaking the chains

By Ruth Eglash July 14, 2009

Interview with Susan Weiss, founding director of the nonprofit Center for Women’s Justice

“The goal of our center is to figure out how to unlock the secret of modernizing a patriarchal system,” says Weiss.

As for her ideal situation, Weiss says:

“I would love to see complete freedom of religion, with people here having the choice to be whatever type of Jew they want to be. It might be a little fragmented, but at least there would be freedom from coercion.

We need to move closer to the system that exists in the rest of the world, which even though is not perfect, is much better than what we have here.”

Dangerous religious radicalization

Haaretz Editorial July 9, 2009

…[In] recent months, these reexaminations have led to the revocation of dozens of conversions, all of women, many of whom had married and had children after converting.

Now their children, too, are no longer registered as Jews, and their citizenship may even be revoked – not to mention the difficulties they will have getting married in the future.

Parents request for 16 year-old to marry

By Hillel Fendel July 8, 2009

The parents explained their request:

“The girl wishes to establish a Jewish and kosher home, and as we are religious, it is desirable from a Halakhic standpoint to marry and not to push it off for no reason. The girl is more mature than others her age; she skipped a class in school and has even begun studying in a college… Financial backing exists, and both sets of parents agree.”

The judge turned down the request, noting that the request is based on the families’ religiosity, their desire for a wedding backed by the parents, and their fear of violating Halakhic prohibitions against pre-marital male-female contact.

Rabbi Eliyahu said, “It could be that the best approach would be for the judge to be religious himself, giving him the extra sensitivity to the community and their members’ sensibilities that is needed to make the most appropriate ruling.”

Ariel Picard on ‘unorthodox’ marriage in Israel July 8, 2009

Haaretz reports on a conference on Judaism at Israel’s far north Kfar Blum, in which Shalom Hartman Institute scholar Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard, director of the Institute’s Be’eri program of Judaic studies for secular Israeli high schools, offered an innovative way to break the deadlock for those Israelis who cannot marry under current rabbinical law and standards:

“Picard proposed having marriages be carried out according to traditions associated with Noah in halakhic texts. Such partnerships, he says, would offer an alternative to partners who aren’t recognized as Jews.”

Masorti necessary in Israel

By Rabbi Michael Graetz Opinion July 12, 2009

Rabbi Michael Graetz, Rabbi Emeritus in the Masorti congregation ‘Magen Avraham’ in Omer, is one of the Founders of the Masorti Movement in Israel, its first director and past president of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel.

I am profoundly sad at the degeneration of the “religious establishment.” If the old saying about power corrupting is true, and I think there is a lot of truth in it, then we see its application to the “power establishment” of religious Jewry in Israel.

Instead of having a vision of Jewish renewal, there is a definite tendency to keep the “old boys network” alive and well fed.

…We should publicly call on the Government of Israel to convene an international conference of all streams of Judaism, including the “hiloni” or secular, to reach agreed upon rules and procedures for conversion…

The Role of Religion in the Public Space in Israel and America June 30, 2009

Annual Robert P. Kogod Lecture at Shalom Hartman Institute

Speakers: William Galston, Ruth Gavison: Role of Religion in the Public Space, Israeli and American Perspectives.

Click here for VIDEO

U.S. rabbi envisions pluralistic utopia in planned Negev town

By Raphael Ahren July 10, 2009

Rabbi Lopatin added he would also reach out to non-Orthodox streams and even non-believers.

“As long as people are committed to Judaism and Israel – let’s open it up,” he said. Yet, as an advocate of the strict separation of church and state, he said his community would not try to be accepted by the Israeli rabbinate.

“Whatever they want to do is their own business,” he told Anglo File. “We’ll be different; we’ll be a marketplace of ideas.”

He said he is not deterred by the fact that in Israel the rabbinate regulates weddings and other life-cycle events. “There are lots of ways of getting around that. I have friends who got married outside the system and they say they’re fine.”

He added: “We will reach out to the local rabbinic establishment in friendship. We don’t want to push anyone away, but we won’t be dependent or let trying to be part of that system get in the way of being as inclusive as we can be.”

Israel Navy mashgichim must be combat ready too

By Yechiel Spira July 12, 2009

Israel Navy officials reported in the IDF’s weekly BaMachaneh magazine that mashgichim operating on naval vessels will be combat certified, quite a change from the usual image of a kashrus professional.

Metzger to Abdullah: Allow Jewish ritual July 14, 2009

Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger sent a letter to Jordan’s King Abdullah earlier this week, asking the monarch to personally ensure that Israeli tourists entering the kingdom be allowed to carry religious artifacts, Metzger’s office said in a statement Tuesday.

Israel rabbi proposes ‘virtual’ kashrut supervision – via video cameras

By Yanir Yagna July 9, 2009

The extended hours at Be’er Sheva bars and restaurants have brought the proprietors an additional expense: paying kashrut supervisors.

So the city’s chief rabbi, Yehuda Deri, proposed a solution: placing cameras in restaurant kitchens in order to send video feeds straight to the supervisors of Jewish dietary law.

Deri, the brother of former Shas leader Aryeh Deri, believes the idea will save businesses money while improving kashrut supervision.

Tzohar rabbis begin charging for services

By Matthew Wagner July 12, 2009

A group of modern Orthodox rabbis that has earned the esteem of secular Israelis by offering free religious services such as weddings, counseling and High Holy Day prayers, is now being forced to start charging to fight financial demise.

Though not directly affected by the Bernard Madoff scandal, the Tzohar Rabbis, a group of about 600 religious Zionist, moderate-minded spiritual leaders, has seen nearly one-third of its NIS 6 million budget cut this year alone.

Why our kids are abandoning religion

By Rachel Yurovitz Opinion July 7, 2009

Rachel Yurovitz is a member of the Realistic Religious Zionism movement.

Those in charge of the religious education system should address this problem and find a solution for this phenomenon within the schools.

They should provide real Torah education – one that not only says the Torah has 70 faces, but only accepts the face it sees in the mirror, but education that embraces the other 69 faces as well.

‘Want to get married? Plan on having 12 kids’

By Kobi Nahshoni July 10, 2009

Have at least 12 children, do not use birth control, and continue having children after 40.

This is the formula for overcoming sterility and long-term bachelorhood in the Religious Zionism movement put forth by renowned Rabbi David Batzri.

Chief Rabbi Metzger Opposes Israel Lands Administration Reforms

By Yechiel Spira July 12, 2009

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Shlita has released a halachic ruling opposing planned reforms that will impact the Israel Lands Administration, fearing the suggested reforms will facilitate the process by which Arabs may buy areas of Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Dov Lior: Phones may be used on Shabbat to stop IDF evacuations

By Elan Miller July 14, 2009

Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior has given permission to the residents of West Bank settlements to use their phones on Shabbat to report “suspicious IDF movements,” according to settlement activists.

Is Sharansky Double-Dipping? July 13, 2009

The Shalem Center Responds

“Natan Sharansky submitted his letter of resignation as the head of the Shalem Center’s Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies on June 30, 2009, after a week-long transition period in which he wrapped up his responsibilities as head of that Institute – a position he held since the Institute’s founding in late 2006.

Mr. Sharansky’s resignation went into effect the following day, and he officially joined the Jewish Agency as its head on July 1, so there was no overlap between his being employed by these two institutions.”

An Agency for the Jewish people

By Yehezkel Dror Opinion July 12, 2009

Only a complete revamping of the Jewish Agency into a “Jewish People Agency” can prepare it for its real 21st-century challenges. No partial reforms can meet the needs and prevent further decline. This is the critical task awaiting the Agency’s new chairperson.

A Divorce in the Birthright Family

By Sharon Udasin July 8, 2009

“Momo” Lifshitz is a legendary figure among Birthright Israel participants, a larger-than-life symbol of the free 10-day trip that more than 200,000 diaspora Jews have used to jumpstart their Jewish identities.

…But Lifshitz’s “message” — alumni say he routinely pushes aliyah, pressures participants to date only Jews and stresses that they should “make Jewish babies” — has drawn criticism over the years.

Solomon urges behavioral changes in Jewish community

By Haviv Rettig Gur July 9, 2009

Nearly all philanthropic giving to Israeli non-profits – between 88 and 92 percent, according to Solomon – “is imported,” mostly from the United States.

“That’s a huge risk” for a sector on which tens of thousands of Israelis increasingly depend.

Israelis have a role in closing that gap, according to Solomon. “Clearly, Israeli philanthropy has not grown at the same rate as the Israeli economy during the 1990’s and the early part of this decade.”

Jewish Tzedaka after Madoff July 9, 2009

Click here for VIDEO

Jeffrey Solomon, president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies and a former senior vice president of the New York Jewish federation.

Two new deans chosen for Schechter Rabbinical Seminary

By Matthew Wagner July 12, 2009

The Conservative Movement chose two new deans – a man and a woman – for Israel’s Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, Schechter announced Sunday.

At its June meeting in Jerusalem, the International Board of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary elected Rabbi Moshe Silberschein to serve as dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary and Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum to serve as associate dean.

Absorption Ministry woos Maccabiah athletes

By Yael Branovsky July 13 ,2009

The Immigrant Absorption Ministry will try to persuade as many Maccabiah Games athletes arriving in Israel as possible to stay in the country and make it their home after the event ends.

Planeload of Latin American olim arrives for first time since 2000

By Daniela Feldman July 12, 2009

An entire planeload of 150 immigrants from five South American countries will arrive on Thursday, evidence of the 15-20 percent increase in aliya from the region over past year.

“This is the first time that such a big group is coming together on aliya,” said Silvina Sofna, the Jewish Agency’s Latin American aliya director. The olim are from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, most aged 25-30, she said.

ORT America and ORT Israel Resolve Dispute in U.S. Court July 13, 2009

Pursuant to the settlement, ORT Israel has dropped its action to cancel ORT America’s trademark registration of “ORT” in the U.S. and has agreed not to use the ORT mark for fundraising in the United States.

The parties have also agreed to clarify that contributions to ORT America are not being used to support ORT Israel, its schools and colleges or educational activities in Israel. ORT America intends to pursue its own programs in Israel and other countries.

No Longer in Exile: Overhaul of Diaspora Museum Reflects a New Zionist Narrative

By Nathan Jeffay July 8, 2009

It is not only the Israel-centric mindset that will be challenged in the new displays. Women and Sephardim, who were given short shrift in the old displays, will be given more prominence in the new designs — as will non-Orthodox religious movements.

Interior Ministry set to open gates for 8,700 more Falashmura

By Nir Hasson July 14, 2009

Two Interior Ministry delegates will leave for Ethiopia in the coming days to examine whether 3,000 Falashmura at a transit camp in the city of Gondar are eligible to immigrate to Israel, Haaretz has learned.

Sources close to Interior Minister Eli Yishai believe that all 8,700 Falashmura there will be examined eventually.

The decision signals a sharp reversal of policy from the previous government, which sought to end aliyah from Ethiopia.

What countermissionaries believe

By Penina Taylor Opinion July 6, 2009

We are asking the Christian to exercise true friendship. The message we are sending to our Christian friends is this:

The Jewish people who live here would like to make a request of you. Please don’t proselytize while you are here. If you are truly our friends, you won’t.

Why? Because friends are friends with no strings attached. We understand that your faith and belief system compels you to share what you believe with all who do not, regardless of their own personal faith or lack thereof.

Pies for Jesus?

By Matt Beynon Rees July 12, 2009

The case looks set to provoke a battle between the more secular organs of the government and the state rabbinate.

It’s also a new point of conflict in the long battle between Israel — particularly its ultra-Orthodox community — and the Christian faith.

Religion and State in Israel

July 13, 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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