Religion and State in Israel – August 10, 2009 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

August 10, 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.

Alternative wedding ceremony of Nico & Olga with Havaya & the New Israel Fund August 11, 2009

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Russian Jews defy Israeli rabbis’ ban on marriage

By Jonathan Cook August 6, 2009

Mr. Tarosyan, a computer engineer, said that, although he failed to impress the rabbis, both his parents were considered Jews in Russia. In Moscow, he said, neighbours had daubed anti-Semitic graffiti on the family’s door.

They may say I do but what to do when the state says, no you don’t?

By Jason Koutsoukis August 6, 2009

For many Israeli Jews such as Olga Samosvatov and Nico Tarosyan, getting married is not as easy as it sounds.

…Although Mr. Tarosyan’s parents were Jewish, and he is an Israeli citizen who served in the Israeli army, because he has no written proof that his mother was Jewish he cannot be legally married in Israel.

”It was important for us to get married here in Israel under the chuppah in a meaningful Jewish ceremony together with our family and friends,” says Ms Samosvatov.

”I hope (the wedding) will serve to change the law in Israel so that people can have whatever type of Jewish wedding they want.”

Sex-crazed husband gives ‘get’

By Matthew Wagner August 11, 2009

An eight-year saga involving a recalcitrant husband, a “chained” wife and an out-of-control libido came to an end in a regional rabbinical court in Rehovot this week.

A man who had refused for the last eight years to divorce his wife finally acquiesced to a rabbinic court demand, the Rabbinic Courts Administration announced.

The prurient, headstrong husband had been told eight years ago by the rabbinical court of Rehovot that he must divorce his wife due to his abnormal sexual appetite.

According to the woman, her husband demanded sex three to four times a day, 365 days a year, including on Yom Kippur and when she was menstruating – times during which intercourse is prohibited according to Jewish law.

The husband refused to give his wife a get (writ of divorce), choosing instead to go into hiding and live on the streets.

In Israel, the shtetl rules

By Rabbi Seth Farber Opinion August 9, 2009

Rabbi Seth (Shaul) Farber received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University and his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University. He is the founder of ITIM: The Jewish Life Information Center and rabbi of Kehillat Netivot in Ra’anana.

Can the State of Israel suffer its marriage registrars rejecting the state’s own conversions?

Imagine the following scenario: A man is stopped by a policeman and asked to produce his driver’s license.

Upon examination, the policeman states: “I’m sorry sir, but your license is invalid because it was issued in Jerusalem.”

The result would be chaos, at best. The State has to stand behind its own institutions or anarchy will pervade.

Israel Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar: A “Central Database” for Conversion, Marriage, Divorce

By Avraham Shmuel Lewin August 5, 2009

What is your message to American Jewry, to American rabbis?

I think my proposal to set up recognized batei din was a good start, but another vital step that must be taken is that there must be uniform registration in every country. I explained this to the RCA leaders when I met with them.

For instance, all rabbinates should print up identical forms and when a couple registers to marry they will get a copy of the form, the rabbi will get one and a third one will be filed away in a central database where one will be able to see which rabbi performed the marriage.

Likewise, when a person converts anywhere in the U.S., every rabbi will be able to know who performed the conversion since it will be filed away in this central database. The same with regard to divorces.

Scholars: Program to tackle agunot issue

By Jonny Paul, London August 6, 2009

Academics at a British university claim to have devised a more comprehensive approach to the problem of agunot – Jewish women whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious divorce.

The Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester has put together a “road map” that it says will resolve the issue. T

“There is no single magic bullet to solve the problem,” said Prof. Bernard Jackson, the director of the Manchester center’s research.

“Indeed, our proposals may commend themselves initially only to particular Orthodox communities.”

Divorcing couples forced to wait

By Miriam Bulwar-David August 9, 2009

The growing number of couples wanting divorces is leading to longer queues at rabbinical courts around the country, and the rabbinical court in Netanya is feeling the pressure, reports

Despite Netanya’s rabbinical court being considered one of the quickest and most efficient in Israel, couples seeking a divorce there are being told they must wait at least five months before they can have their first appearance.

Chief IDF rabbi: Army magazine shouldn’t cover gays

By Anshel Pfeffer and Jonathan Lis August 10, 2009

Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi Brigadier General Avihai Ronski has slammed the army’s weekly magazine Bamahane for publishing a series of features on the subject of gay officers.

Ronski wrote the army’s personnel department and education corps to express that he did not find homosexuality to be an appropriate topic for a publication that reflects the IDF’s way of life.

The rabbi took particular offense to a particular interview with Major Yehoshua Gortler, an openly gay religious officer. In the interview, Gortler described his life as both a religious Jew and a gay man.

Military magazine ‘unfazed’ by rabbi’s anti-gay statements

By Daniel Edelson August 10, 2009

Former IDF spokeswoman, MK Miri Regev (Likud) said that the gay community should receive even more coverage than it does.

Not only did she condemn the remarks made by Brig. Gen. Ronsky, she also added, “Bamahane and Army Radio represent all IDF soldiers.

These media outlets must support the minority groups within the IDF in need of support.

Religious homosexual soldiers send letter protesting chief rabbi’s comments

By Ofri Ilani and Anshel Pfeffer August 11, 2009

The soldiers, all graduates of hesder yeshivas or religious pre-army academies, said they “believe it is everyone’s right as a private individual” to hold racist or homophobic views.

“But because you are an IDF officer and serve as the IDF’s chief rabbi … we expect you to be the rabbi of all IDF soldiers, including religious homosexual soldiers,” they wrote.

80% of hesder yeshiva students join combat units August 5, 2009

Over 500 youths studying in hesder yeshivot as part of a program which combines advanced Talmudic studies with military service, joined the army on Tuesday.

Among the August 2009 class of yeshiva recruits, over 80% will serve in combat units. The rest of the recruits will spend their service in Home Front units according to their medical profile.

Torah Procession at JFK Airport August 6, 2009

Seventy Jewish high school students danced through the departure hall with a Torah scroll at New York’s JFK International Airport Thursday.

The students from the Achva summer program of the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) were en route an El Al flight to Israel, where they will donate the Torah scroll to the IDF.

The Torah Scroll is being given to the soldiers through the Sefer Torah Program, a joint initiative of the NCYI and the Rabbinate of the IDF.

This was the 181st Torah Scroll that the NCYI has donated to the IDF to be used on remote army bases throughout Israel, so that soldiers on active military duty are able to maintain their religious practices while serving in the army.

Second Nahal Haredi battalion being considered after best draft yet

By Yaakov Katz August 6, 2009

Due to the high enlistment on Wednesday – in March the unit enlisted 160 soldiers – the IDF is considering establishing a second battalion.

The army also recently approved the establishment of a Nahal Haredi reserve battalion that will draft soldiers from the unit’s more than 2,000 graduates.

National Religious Lead in Enlistment to Combat Units August 9, 2009

A new study released by the IDF and Ministry of Education reveals that youth from the national religious sector are most likely to join combat units.

According to the study, the two high schools with the highest percentage of enlistment to combat units are both from the national religious sector.

In first place is the Sdeh Eliyahu High School located in the Beit Shean Valley and in second place is the Yeshiva High School of Chispin, located on the Golan Heights.

VIDEO: Lobster Farms in Israel

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Israel Channel 2 TV August 9, 2009

Report: Chief Rabbinate Shchita Abroad

By Yechiel Spira August 10, 2009

The following is a translation of an article appearing in the shabbos Yediot Acharonot “Musaf Shabbat” magazine, written by Techiya Barak.

Note from Yechiel Spira: I pondered publishing this but decided that it appeared in the nation’s leading newspaper, backed by evidence amassed by Yediot, thereby rendering it newsworthy and perhaps incumbent upon me to bring it to the attention of the English-speaking public.”

“During all the years in which I worked as a mashgiach and knife inspector in various factories abroad, I encountered kashrut problems. Nevertheless, it was possible to find solutions and somehow continue”, explained Menachem.

“This time, the flippant attitude of the team left me with the feeling there was nowhere to go. I felt that no one cares. It got to the point I would not eat from the meat we slaughtered”.

…He concludes in a letter to Hariri and Sabag about two months ago, writing “simply one who wishes to survive on the team must hear nothing, say nothing and see nothing”.

One veteran shochet added “if they slaughter donkeys (not kosher) and use forbidden animals don’t say anything for if you do, you are in trouble”.

Placing Notes in the Kotel August 5, 2009

Rav Aviner:

It is therefore permissible to place notes in the Kotel, but we recommend praying directly to the Master of the Universe, who does not need notes.

Religious public: We’re not represented by the Media August 6, 2009

Most of the respondents, 83%, agreed with the claim that the national religious public and its opinions were not sufficiently represented in the Israeli media.

A majority of 90% said that the media gave too little attention to positive aspects in the life and leadership of the religious public.

Yarmulke Exhibit Moves to Jerusalem

By Hillel Fendel August 6, 2009

Dozens of knitted kippot of all sizes and colors comprise a new exhibit attempting yet another way to define the religious-Zionist community.

Ex-defense official held for posing as rabbi, raping women

By Yuval Goren and Yossi Melman August 6, 2009

A retired senior Defense Ministry official allegedly raped and defrauded women for 15 years, claiming to be a rabbi who could cure their problems, police said yesterday.

Based on the testimonies, Aharon would call women in distress, convince them becoming religious would solve their problems, and mention a senior Jerusalem rabbi. A few days later he would call from a private number, pretending to be the rabbi.

Police say Aharon would tell the women he had curing powers and that they needed to touch him as much as possible to “absorb the holiness.”

Rav Aviner: Question on Swine Flu August 10, 2009

Rav Aviner:

Because of the outbreak of Swine Flu, one doctor requested that we ask the public not to kiss the mezuzah on the door of the health clinic (which many have in Israel) since it may transmit the illness.

If this is so, then we should also refrain from kissing the mezuzah in hospitals and, in fact, everywhere. There is no halachah that we must kiss the mezuzah.

A scandalous request

Haaretz Editorial August 11, 2009

This is the second time in a matter of weeks that Yishai has attempted to blur the distinction between the authorities, a touchstone of every democracy.

The first time involved the case of a yeshiva student, Itamar Biton, who was accused of running over a woman; Yishai appealed to the judge not to convict him. That time, too, the accused was a person close to Shas.

Shas party asks Peres to pardon imprisoned former MK Benizri August 9, 2009

“As a public servant, as a Jew of Middle Eastern descent and as a deputy prime minister, I am of the opinion that there is no request for clemency more justified than this,” Yishai wrote of Benizri.

A cultural struggle where hate is the enemy

By Jay Shofet Opinion August 6, 2009

Jay Shofet is chairperson of the Reform community Yozma in Modi’in, a member of the executive of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, and coordinator of the religious pluralism project of Shatil, the New Israel Fund’s Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations in Israel.

The Kulturkampf in Israel — the real cultural struggle in our society — has been sizzling for a while now and this summer is boiling over.

The lines have been clearly drawn: it’s the haredi (fervently Orthodox) fundamentalists against everyone else.

At stake is the very nature of religion and our state and all the existential questions that comprise it: who is a Jew, who is a rabbi, and what will be the fate of our civic and human freedoms and conveniences, should they run counter to the belief system of the haredi rabbis and politicians?

Analysis: Why Nefesh B’Nefesh changes everything

By Haviv Rettig Gur Opinion August 9, 2009

The new American aliya may never be great in numbers, but it will play a social role unlike any previous aliya.

This is aliya as education, an essentially American phenomenon through which American Jews take ownership of the Land of Israel for their own purposes – not statehood, but identity.

To survive and flourish, American Jewry doesn’t need Jewish political sovereignty. As parts of the community drift away, the community wants to tap into the organic ethnicity and authenticity of Israeli life and “landedness.”

In a world of chosen identities and individualism, American Jewry is using Israel as part of its own path to spiritual and institutional survival.

Other Jewish communities come to Israel; American Jews, even in aliya, are bringing Israel to America.

Abayudaya Ugandans dream of Israel

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Religion and State in Israel

August 10, 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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