Religion and State in Israel – September 7, 2009 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

September 7, 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.

High Court puts off decision on Tal Law

By Dan Izenberg September 8, 2009

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday unanimously postponed its decision on five petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Tal Law by 15 months.

The Tal Law enables yeshiva students to perform truncated military service, or a year of public service, instead of being drafted under regular standards.

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote in the decision that “what began as resurrecting the word of Torah after the Holocaust evolved into the sociology of an entire society, which barely partakes in a central burden of the State of Israel,” referring to the fact that the majority of haredi men do not serve in the military.

High Court: State ‘dragging its feet’ on Tal Law

By Aviad Glickman September 8, 2009

“I can only empathize with the discontent we all feel in light of the slow implementation of the arrangement with regards to the recruitment to the military and national service,” Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch said.

Earlier this year, Beinisch said an additional problem with the law is that it doesn’t seem to encourage military service among the haredi community.

“It seems that most of the state’s efforts involving young men from yeshivot involve civil service, rather than military service,” she said.

Former Nahal Haredi soldiers: No real effort to draft Haredim

By Yael Levy September 8, 2009

Former soldiers with the Nahal Haredi Brigade criticized the High Court for its decision to postpone its ruling on petitions filed regarding the Tal Law.

According to religious servicemen placed with the brigade, many haredi youth “want to serve their country and are just waiting for someone to reach out.”

“The brigade has a certain quota to fill. The (military) decided that it’s simply to hard to draft the haredim, so they chose the easy way out – ask the hesder yeshiva rabbis to refer people who would have enlisted anyway.

“The result is a brigade made mostly of religious soldiers, but with very few Orthodox men.

Generally speaking, the public has been led to believe that there is an appropriate cadre for haredim in the IDF, but that simply isn’t the case.”

Ethiopian students finally enrolled in Petah Tikva schools

Petah Tikva religious schools start playing offense

Blaming it on racism is too easy

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion September 6, 2009

It may be useful for opportunist politicians, especially Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, to frame it as racism, but that is just a convenient cop-out, to avoid addressing the country’s more fundamental problems regarding immigration, education and religion. The Petah Tikva saga is a result of all of these.

As long as the government maintains an incoherent policy on the Falash Mura, allowing thousands of additional Christian Ethiopians to arrive while forcing them to convert to Judaism; as long as inflexible ultra-Orthodox rabbis are allowed a stranglehold over the conversion process; and as long as a largely unregulated “private” school system is allowed to exist at the public’s expense, this problem is not going to go away. Blaming it on racism is far too easy.

Discrimination in the name of Judaism

Haaretz Editorial September 8, 2009

The affair of the rejection of Ethiopian children by schools in Petah Tikva raises tough questions about the country’s attitude toward those who arrived here via the Law of Return, with its various implications.

…Israel owes the Ethiopian immigrants a basic correction: to enable them a conversion based on leniencies in the halakha (religious law) and the experience of a decent absorption. The Ethiopian immigrants are already here.

They are Israeli citizens, and they are entitled to an egalitarian education in the school system of their choice – not only in the state religious schools – and to a normal life, without humiliating and threatening examinations.

Who will teach Israel’s Ethiopians?

By Anshel Pfeffer September 3, 2009

The parents and rabbis who founded the private schools claim that, in reality, the Ethiopian children do not observe a religious lifestyle and that the schools were set up for families who wanted their children to learn in a more Torah-intensive environment.

“Our children study Torah and Talmud four hours a day,” says one parent. “How can anyone expect a child who can barely read Hebrew to be happy in such an environment?”

Petah Tikva’s ‘shanda’

By Pnina Radai Opinion September 2, 2009

The writer arrived in Israel in 1984 with Operation Moses and is involved in numerous social change organizations on behalf of the Ethiopian community.

The real problem is not just these schools, but the general lack of consensus on this issue as a whole; numerous schools manipulate the situation regarding Ethiopian children, and only because this was a big group did the media become aware of the scandal.

The Zionist Melting Pot Boils Over

By J.J. Goldberg September 2, 2009

The dispute in Petah Tikva reflects a different problem, at least superficially. Integration of Ethiopian immigrants, always a challenge due to cultural and racial differences, has become far more complicated in recent years.

We’re no racists, insist parents at private school in Petah Tikva

By Yair Ettinger September 3, 2009

Teachers and non-Ethiopian parents at the school expressed outrage over the accusations of racism that the controversy engendered.

They said the dispute had its origins in an internal struggle within the religious community over the status of state religious schools and jealousy on the part of some in the religious community over the success of Darchei Noam, an elite private school.

‘We must all ask forgiveness from the Ethiopian community’

By Rebecca Anna Stoil September 2, 2009

Kassahoun Wanda of the “North America for Ethiopian Jews” organization said that the situation was not limited to Petah Tikva, but that similar and even more serious cases of discrimination could be found throughout the country.

Wanda said that at the Yeshurun School in Rishon Lezion, 75% of the students are of Ethiopian origin and at the Rashbi School in Be’er Ya’akov, 100% of the students are Ethiopian.

Why Jews see racism in Israel

By Joshua Mitnick September 1, 2009

The religious schools, which are partially funded by the municipality and the Education Ministry, have defiantly resisted efforts by the national government to intervene. Spokespersons for the schools and the municipality denied accusations of racism.

Tzachi Lieber, a spokesman for all three elementary schools, said they already have 30 Ethiopians enrolled and that the staff considers it an “honor” to have the immigrants enrolled there: “That proves it’s not an issue of racism.”

Dozens of Ethiopian kids miss first day of school in Petah Tikva

Ethiopian students still left out of classrooms

Beit Shemesh Chabad school ‘on strike’ over principal

By Abe Selig September 2, 2009

While other children across the country were beginning their first day back in class, pupils at a Chabad elementary school in Ramat Beit Shemesh were joined by their parents on Tuesday morning in a protest over the Education Ministry’s decision to hire a new principal for the institution.

A potential Torah university

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich September 5, 2009

The prominent billionaire industrialist from Tefen, Eitan Wertheimer, established the Halamish program, now based at JCT, that awards scholarships to the most-promising haredi yeshiva students.

Their rabbis give individual permission to participate, and some are sons of prominent rabbis.

But there are about 100,000 haredi yeshiva students from age 20 to 60, so academic study is not yet a ‘danger’ to their yeshivot.

Going to college, getting a degree and earning a living is common among haredim in the US, but not yet here, Bodenheimer notes.

Report: Two Channel 2 Correspondents Anti-Chabad Activists

By Yechiel Spira September 8, 2009

According to a Maariv report, two senior Channel 2 correspondents are actively working with a non-profit organization to oppose Chabad ‘kiruv’ activities in Ramat Aviv.

Mission to Moscow

By Amir Mizroch September 4, 2009

There is a dramatic increase in the interest young Jews here show in the wildly successful Taglit and Masa programs.

Studies show that participation has dented assimilation rates. Enrollment in these programs has jumped, but while funding for Taglit (which introduces youth to Israel on a 10-day blitz) remains strong, donations to the less sexy, but more substantive and expensive Masa are falling.

Sharansky faces a tough challenge indeed to find partners to keep it going, and he also needs to create post-Taglit programs to build on the momentum that short trip creates.

Where is all this money going to come from?

Sharansky inspires Jewish students in Moscow

AP September 2, 2009

His message at the Lipman Jewish Day School, however, was serious. He described how pleased he was to see a new generation of Russian Jews free to attend Jewish schools and visit Israel.

From Russia with love

By Roni Sofer September 6, 2009

Sunday’s cabinet meeting marked 20 years since the beginning of the massive wave of immigration from the former Soviet republics.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, 993,000 people immigrated to Israel, 90% of them from Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus.

Only 5-6% of all immigrants returned to their home country or continued to other destinations. Another 800,000 remained in the former Soviet Union.

Russia Jewish programs to be expanded

By Amir Mizroch September 3, 2009

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Genesis Philanthropy Group have reached a general agreement on widening the scope of mutual cooperation in the field of Jewish education and strengthening Jewish identity of Russian-speaking Jews on the territory of the Russian Federation and other FSU countries.

”Post’ Web site leads US Jewish market’

By Rebecca Anna Stoil September 2, 2009

A recent study – not commissioned by The Jerusalem Post – has revealed that of all Jewish news Web sites, is the clear leader in the United States, garnering more than twice as many readers as its closest competitor, and almost twice as many readers as all American Jewish news Web sites combined.

Birthright Adjusting To New Trip Demographics

By Gary Rosenblatt Opinion September 1, 2009

While the small group of major philanthropists continue to pull their weight, Birthright is hoping to find additional financial and planning support from among its growing numbers of participants.

We project having alumni on our steering committee and other leadership positions,” Mark explained. “We want them to own Birthright.”

Not only the program’s future, but the future of diaspora-Israel relations rests in large measure on Birthright’s continued success.

Momo Returns

By Sharon Udasin September 1, 2009

After splitting from Birthright Israel two months ago, he’s back.

Shlomo Lifshitz — more commonly known as “Momo” — is president and founder of Oranim Educational Initiatives, formerly the largest Birthright Israel trip provider.

Personally greeting each one of his nearly 50,000 travelers at Ben Gurion Airport, Lifshitz was a visible presence on each trip, where he eagerly promoted personal messages like “make Jewish babies” — messages that clashed with the more low-key approach of the program that is committed to offering free 10-day trips for young diaspora Jews.

Couple engaged after Aliya flight lands

By Zeev Ben-Yechiel September 8, 2009

A young couple celebrated their arrival in Israel in a very personal way – they got engaged. Zach Taylor proposed to Nechama Dina Simon shortly after their Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN) flight landed on Tuesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport, capping off a momentous day for aliya.

Seeking love on board the singles flight

By Itamar Eichner September 7, 2009

Interestingly, the number of single girls arriving on board the flight is higher than the number of men – 57 young women as opposed to 24 young men.

Dozens of single immigrants make aliyah; looking for true love in Israel

By Yael Branovsky September 8, 2009

Some 204 immigrants from North America arrived Tuesday morning at Ben-Gurion Airport on a flight nicknamed “the bachelors’ flight.”

Rabbi Ovadia: Messiah will rule Sephardic-style

By Kobi Nahshoni September 8, 2009

“We cannot determine that we were correct until the Messiah comes and will make us one people.

Only the Messiah can do this… When Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will rise up in the revival of the dead, what will they say? They will start to say they were from Halabim, from Aleppo.”

Rabbi Ovadia claimed that the Ashkenazi method of pronunciation will also give way to the Sephardic pronunciation, and the Ashkenazis will “be reformed.”

Benizri gets first visit in jail

By Amnon Meranda September 6, 2009

Benizri was placed in Maasiyahu’s religious cellblock. The block holds 80 other inmates, who are allowed to spend a large portion of the day studying Torah.

Tearful Benizri gets hero’s welcome outside prison

By Yuval Azoulay September 3, 2009

He was escorted to the gates by Shas chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias, Shas MKs and dozens of activists.

The crowd blew shofars, handed out stickers with a picture of Benizri and the word “innocent” and verbally denigrated the media and the judiciary, while the Shas leaders met with the head of the Prisons Service, Lt.-Gen. Benny Kanyak.

Benizri will remain in the religious wing of the minimum-security prison, sharing a cell with five other prisoners.

Religious-wing inmates are allowed to perform various chores inside the prison compound, to study Torah and to work outside the compound under Prisons Service supervision.

Rabbi Ovadia: if send your children to secular schools, ineligible to blow shofar in synagogue

By Kobi Nahshoni September 8, 2009

During the lesson, the rabbi also ruled that a man who sends his children to a secular school is not eligible to act as a cantor or to blow the ram’s horn in the synagogue during the High Holidays, even if he himself keeps the commandments.

Rabbi Cherlow: Alcohol abuse in religious public alarming

By Kobi Nahshoni September 7, 2009

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, one of religious- Zionism’s most prominent figures, urged the sector to curb its alcohol abuse, which he defined as “alarming”.

According to Cherlow, the past few years have seen the Hassidic community’s sanction of drinking seep into the religious-Zionist sector.

“We have to deal with it now, just as we began addressing the problem of drug abuse several years ago,” he said.

Autism and the Jewish community

By Loren Sykes September 6, 2009

This is Thursday morning at Camp Yofi: Family Camp for Jewish Families with Children with Autism, and for many of these families, this ceremony marks something that some thought was impossible: public celebration of the life of a child with autism in the Jewish community.

Spiritual girl

By David Brinn September 6, 2009

Jewish mysticism has transformed Madonna, Karen Berg, the co-founder of the worldwide Kabbalah Center, told The Jerusalem Post Thursday in an exclusive interview.

Berg said that Kabbalah has also filtered into Madonna’s music and her message.

“Look at ‘Ray of Light,'” she said, referring to the singer’s 1998 album and song. “There’s a direct Kabbalah reference to it.”

Mystical Madonna visits Safed tomb of Kabbalistic great

By Eli Ashkenazi September 4, 2009

Pop music icon Madonna, who took Israel by storm earlier this week with two back-to-back concerts in Tel Aviv, wrapped up her tour with a visit Thursday night to the Safed tomb of a Kabbalistic great.

Rabbi Isaac Luri – or the Ari – was one of the founders of kabbalism, a tradition Madonna has embraced over the last few years.

Diverse pool of performers set for religious verse festival in Jerusalem

By Yair Ettinger September 6, 2009

The participants, who hail from various backgrounds, including secular and ultra-Orthodox homes, arrived yesterday at Beit Avi Hai in the capital for a rehearsal. This group demonstrated the diversity of the creative world of religious verse, or Piyut.

Those performing in the Second National Piyut Festival also span a wide range of ages.

A liturgical renaissance

By Peggy Cidor September 4, 2009

Piyutim, the annual fall festival of traditional liturgical music, may only have taken place for the first time last year, but it is already making a name for itself among the city’s music festivals.

Setting the stage for ‘kosher’ theater

By Abigail Klein September 4, 2009

Seven years ago, Lober founded an acting school at Aspaklaria. Some 400 students have since passed through its doors in Givat Shaul, virtually all of them Religious Zionist. It is the only such institution offering separate classes for men and women.

The universal covenant

By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Opinion September 3, 2009

The writer is the founder and chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone Colleges and Graduate Programs, and chief rabbi of Efrat.

It’s no secret that during the past two years I have become seriously involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue.

In fact, here at Ohr Torah Stone in Efrat we’ve established the Susan and Roger Hertog Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation, and many hundreds of Christians regularly attend classes and seminars to gain a better understanding of the Jewish roots from which Christianity sprouted.

…Now that we as a people and a nation have returned to history, and the Christian world is beginning to recognize the continuing legitimacy of its elder brother’s covenant, grafting itself onto us as a branch is grafted to the roots, we must each complete our return to God, join hands and bring a religion of love, morality, pluralism and peace to a desperate, thirsting world.

3,000 Pilgrims to Jump-Start Israeli Missionary TV

By Hillel Fendel September 2, 2009

The Israeli branch of the missionary Trinity Broadcasting Network has begun broadcasting Christian programming in Russian, with the hope of reaching a million Russian Israelis.

The broadcasts, which appear as Channel 177 on the Yes cable network, began four months ago, but will make their official debut this coming week.

Pastor Igor Nikitin, head of TBN’s Russian operations, said that the opening of the station in Israel “is a true miracle for us and for the entire Russian-speaking public in Israel.

A family channel on such a scale, built on spiritual and ethical values, which are a must in today’s Israel, is the fulfillment of our hopes linked to our dream to strengthen the Holy Land.”

Funding for Kollel Chabad Cause for Controversy

By Yechiel Spira September 8, 2009

It appears that among the many organizations that are earmarked to receive funding this coming year from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his organization, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, including Kollel Chabad, slated to receive NIS 1.2 million.

Evangelical pastor vows to rid Israel of swine flu

By Josiah Daniel Ryan September 7, 2009

Dr. Lee, speaking in Hebrew, promised to perform signs and wonders, bring blessings upon Israel, heal its sick, and even eradicate the swine flu virus from the nation.

“You will see that the swine flu will go away from Israel when I pray tonight and tomorrow,” said Lee.

In faith, in love and in peace

By Greer Fay Cashman September 5, 2009

The Sisters of Sion are extremely well disposed toward Jews and reach out to them not for proselytizing purposes but to foster understanding.

In fact, part of their calling is to give witness in the church and to the world to God’s love for the Jewish people.

Religion and State in Israel

September 7, 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.

All rights reserved.

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