Religion and State in Israel – August 24, 2009 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

August 24, 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.

1 in 3 Jewish preschoolers attends ultra-Orthodox kindergarten

By Or Kashti August 20, 2009

Every third Jewish kindergartner in Israel attended a Haredi kindergarten last year, according to data published by the Education Ministry yesterday.

By comparison, only 26 percent of Jewish kindergartners attended Haredi schools in 2001.

Nonetheless, the Education Ministry employs only four inspectors to see whether Haredi elementary schools are teaching the core curriculum. These inspectors are responsible for overseeing 615 schools with some 170,000 students.

During the 2008-09 school year, the ministry’s inspectors concluded that compliance with the core curriculum requirements was almost 100 percent.

However, ministry officials admitted that this finding is less than reliable, since it is based almost exclusively on reports about their curriculum submitted by the schools themselves.

Moreover, the ministry failed to fine a single one of the schools that did admit to not teaching the core curriculum fully.

New Classrooms for 16,000 Chareidi Students in Beit Shemesh

By L.S. Wasserman August 20, 2009

The Chareidi Education Department at the Beit Shemesh Municipality is hard at work laying preparations for the city’s 16,000 students enrolled in chareidi schools, compared to 10,000 in the city’s government and government-religious schools.

The chareidi education system now accounts for 60 percent of the city’s education system.

Haredi school gets no special status in key labor rules case

By Tomer Zarchin August 21, 2009

The ultra-Orthodox Hinuch Atzma’i school system is subject to the same standards as other public bodies when it comes to employer-employee relationships, the High Court of Justice ruled yesterday in response to a petition by a long-time employee who had been fired.

Hinuch Atzma’i is a private but state-funded school system affiliated with the party United Torah Judaism.

…In short, the court said, Hinuch Atzma’i violated the principles of good faith and fairness that are incumbent on all public bodies, and ought to conduct a “thorough housecleaning.”

Controversy Over Beit Shemesh Language & Culture School

By Yechiel Spira August 19, 2009

Beit Shemesh’s Language and Culture School, home to about 200 students, is the focus of a mounting controversy as city education officials wish to divide the school three ways, for chareidi, dati leumi [religious] and secular students.

New Classrooms for Chareidi Schools in Jerusalem; Bnei Brak

By Yechiel Sever and L.S. Wasserman August 20, 2009

In Jerusalem, the budget for chareidi education is being increased by NIS 16 million ($4 million) and the renovations budget for talmudei Torah is being doubled in order to strengthen “exempt” institutions.

In Bnei Brak the City Council approved the preparatory budget for the 5770 school year submitted by the municipal education department.

The budget comes to over NIS 11 million ($2.9 million), which will be provided through municipal budgetary funds, the Education Ministry and the Mifal Hapayis assistance fund.

Education Ministry: Petah Tikva schools must accept Ethiopian kids

By Or Kashti August 23, 2009

The Education Ministry will not back down on its demand that all schools in Petah Tikva accept children of immigrants from Ethiopia, said the ministry’s director-general, Shimshon Shoshani. He threatened the schools with sanctions if they do not come around.

Ethiopian students still shut out at Petah Tikva religious school

By Or Kashti August 21, 2009

About 100 Ethiopian-immigrant children in Petah Tikva have still not been accepted at city schools – 10 days before the opening of the school year.

Private religious schools in the city, which use a curriculum similar to the state religious system, are refusing to accept the students who were assigned to them by the municipality unless the schools can determine first if they suit the character of the schools.

A senior municipality source said the condition is almost certain to result in the schools’ refusal to accept the students.

Poll: Cut budget of schools that discriminate August 21, 2009

With the school year about to start, a special survey conducted for Ynet found that 55% of the population believes that schools unwilling to accept Ethiopian students into their student body should be punished and their budgets cutback.

Of the secular and formerly religious population, 58% believe that a school’s budget should be cut, while 27% percent even claim that a discriminating school must be closed. Only 15% believe that the only step that should be taken is persuasion not to discriminate against minority students.

Of the Haredim, on the other hand, 17.4% support closing a school in such a case, while 21.6% support budget cutbacks, with the overwhelming majority, 61%, supporting only persuasion efforts to curb the offending schools discriminatory behavior.

“Leaving the Fold”

Click here for VIDEO online

LEAVING THE FOLD is a documentary film, which tells the story of five young people born and raised within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world who no longer wish to remain on the inside.

As children they grew up in a closed society where deviation from the rules of conduct is often punishable by ostracism, intimidation or worse.

As young adults they pay a steep price for abandoning their parents and community to seek the freedom to make their own choices.

From the Hasidic enclaves of Montreal, Brooklyn and Jerusalem come stories of conflict, coercion and struggle.

Tinged with pain and unexpected humor, Leaving the Fold documents the process by which our five heroes emerged from a strictly controlled society into a baffling secular world of endless choices: What should I wear? What shall I become? Who will I marry?

Once everything was decided for them. Now they must decide for themselves. But the answers don’t always come easily.

See also Forward review: Folding, Twisting or Burning Bridges

Leaving The Fold from Bunbury Films on Vimeo.

Losing the Secular Public

By Jonathan Rosenblum Opinion August 24, 2009

No Torah Jew finds it difficult to justify Israeli government expenditures on Torah education. For us, it is clear that without the citadels of Torah that all the efforts of the IDF to protect us from the dangers all around will be for naught.

But obviously few secular Israelis share that view.

From their perspective, the most notable aspect of Torah education – at least that of males – is that it leaves many of its recipients lacking basic numeracy and unable to enter the workforce at anything above menial jobs, which will, in any event, prove insufficient to feed their large families.

At most, some will acknowledge that the intellectual acuity attained in Talmud study makes it possible for many chareidi men to acquire later some of the missing skills and knowledge.

…If we’ve lost [writers] Yemini and Gordon, we’ve gone a long way towards losing any chance of convincing secular Israelis of the justice of our position.

Rabbi Elyashiv: Don’t visit Western Wall on Shabbat

By Ari Galahar August 19, 2009

Supporters of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, leader of Israel’s Lithuanian haredi Jews, issued a dramatic statement last week saying that Jews must not visit the Western Wall on Shabbat due to security cameras placed at the holy site, desecrating the Jewish day of rest.

“There are people in Rabbi Elyashiv’s courtyard who are interested in making a name for themselves through tougher halachic rules at the expense of others,” the source said.

US Ambassador visits Ultra-Orthodox Community in Mea Shearim

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US Embassy Tel Aviv April 2009

On April 23, 2009 U.S. Ambassador to Israel James B. Cunningham, his wife, and several Embassy representatives visited ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Mea Shearim. They visited synagogues and met with several leading rabbis.

Most Haredim want secular higher education, survey finds

By Matthew Wagner August 19, 2009

Over half of haredim would be interested in receiving advanced secular education in preparation for a profession if they could be assured of a religious, gender-segregated classroom environment, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

While 53 percent said they would be interested, 63% of female respondents said they would, while only 41% of males were interested.

Hassidim were more open to secular learning, with 59% answering in the affirmative, while only 42% of the Lithuanian respondents said yes.

According to Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry data, 49.1% of haredi women of working age participate in the labor market, higher than the 37.4% rate for haredi men aged 20 to 64, but lower than secular women’s at 70%, and secular men’s at 79.9%.

Kissing the Swine Flu Goodbye

By Sharon Udasin August 18, 2009

Rabbis in Israel are taking a stab at the swine flu with a brand-new proposal — no kissing. A mezuzah, that is.

In a joint statement issued last week, Israel’s chief Sephardic rabbi, Shlomo Amar, and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas Party, declared that Wednesday, Aug. 19 would be a nationwide fast day in an attempt to combat the swine flu.

Meanwhile, haredi reporter Ozel Vatik interviewed seven Israeli doctors about the dangers of spreading germs by kissing mezuzahs, but only one would correlate the disease spread with that religious tradition, fearing the wrath of the rabbinate, Ynet also reported.

Prosecution: ‘Starving mother’ may have abused other children

By Aviad Glickman August 23, 2009

Jerusalem’s District Court heard Sunday that a woman from the Mea Shearim neighborhood accused of starving her son may have also abused her other children. The prosecution said it held evidence to this effect and asked to aggravate the conditions of her arrest.

Privacy of Frum Women at Separate Beaches Compromised

By Yechiel Spira August 23, 2009

According to the report … some frum women on separate beaches in Tel Aviv and Herzliya, photographed by AP photographers without their knowledge or consent, boldly deciding to ignore their modest lifestyle and compromise their religious standards of modesty.

Israel’s IRS Turns to Rabbonim, Mohalim & Kabbalists for Payment

By Yechiel Spira August 23, 2009

Israel’s Internal Revenue Service, is moving against rabbonim, mohalim, and Mekubalim, seeking revue payment, demanding they submit income tax returns.

According to a Yediot Acharonot report, “tens” of well-known rabbonim and Mekubalim along with “hundreds” of rabbonim, mohalim and mesadrei kedushin (rabbis performing weddings) are instructed to submit income tax returns.

Assorted zealots and puzzling protests

By Peggy Cidor August 23, 2009

The diversified yet unanimously extremist zealots of Jerusalem have always managed to embroil themselves in the strangest of situations…

One of the community’s leaders, Yoelish Krauss, has a sign on his door stating that “Here lives a non-Zionist Jew” and drags himself daily to a nearby Arab village to purchase some “non-Zionist” milk and bread for his large family. Lest it be said otherwise, he refuses to accept even one Zionist shekel from the National Insurance Institute.

Hebrew University Barred from Selling Kiryat Yovel Buildings

By Yechiel Sever August 20, 2009

The Jerusalem District Court issued a comprehensive injunction against Hebrew University, banning it from selling two dormitory buildings on Rechov Stern in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Yovel neighborhood.

The court order was issued following a petition by the attorneys representing an organization that is suing the University for canceling the tender illegally.

Haredim protest ‘Shabbat desecration’ in Jerusalem

30 Hotels Follow Directives Set by Rabbinical Committee

By Yechiel Sever August 20, 2009

Establishments were required to remove or disconnect television sets, disconnect wireless Internet, designate separate buffet bars for men and women, ensure the staff follows a basic dress code and make certain the pool area is completely covered.

Ex-Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu hospitalized after fainting

By Yair Ettinger August 24, 2009

Former Sephardic chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu was hospitalized on Monday after he had fainted in his Jerusalem home.

Magen David Adom emergency services rushed to Eliyahu’s home, gave him emergency treatment and took him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the city. The condition of the 80-year-old rabbi was described as stable.

OU Issues Statement Following Troubling Article

By Yechiel Spira August 19, 2009

An extensive article posted this past Sunday on YWN regarding the OU Hashgacha in Israel, has prompted the organization to issue the following statement, and dispatch their Senior OU Rabbinic Coordinator to Israel next week.

Mystery surrounds Haredi man’s death

By Yaakov Lappin August 18, 2009

A man with one hand cuffed who was found dead in an empty building in Beit Dagan last Friday was identified as Raphael Miriashvili, 25, of Lod, following the lifting of a media gag order by police on Tuesday.

The circumstances of Miriashvili’s death, and the fact that he had served time in prison for attempting to forcefully break up a Jewish-Arab couple, led to speculation that the dead man had been the victim of a revenge slaying.

Miriashvili, who was a member of Lod’s Chabad community, had been missing for approximately a month, prompting police to launch a missing persons inquiry in late July.

Theorizing on Motives for Attack on “Kotel Rabbi” August 21, 2009

Police are investigating the Thursday night rock attack on Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz of the Western Wall other Holy Places.

The rabbi was attacked by hareidi religious demonstrators as he left the Jerusalem home of Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv. He was unharmed, although his car was damaged.

Lod: Rabbis’ pictures put end to public urination

By Yaffa Nevo August 21, 2009

The Lod religious council has come up with an original solution to stop the indecent act of residents urinating on one of the walls outside its offices – one of the council’s employees adorned the wall with pictures of rabbis and holy symbols, and ever since, no one has dared to relieve themselves there.

The wall features pictures of many prominent rabbis, such as Maimonides, Nahmanides, the Pinto dynasty, Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, and more.

A legacy of love

By Yael Brygel August 23, 2009

The sense of loss and despair was raw and the tears were still flowing, but in spite of that, just one month after her father Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach passed away, Neshama Carlebach took to the stage to launch her professional career and lifelong mission: to fill the void she feels was left in the world when her father died.

Now, 15 years later, her resolve to carry on her father’s legacy is as strong as ever.

Religion and State in Israel

August 24, 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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