Religion and State in Israel – September 23, 2009 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

September 23, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Rabbi of Western Wall wants immigrants’ welcome ceremony segregated

By Yair Ettinger September 23, 2009

The Jewish Agency is considering whether to halt ceremonies granting identity cards to new immigrants at the Western Wall plaza after the rabbi of the wall said the immigrants must be segregated by gender, Haaretz has learned.

In late July, the Western Wall administration demanded the agency separate men and women at the ceremonies. It also demanded no ceremonies be hosted by women, and that the events must take place even further from the prayer area, on the pedestrian route across the plaza.

Rabbi Rabinovitch’s letter of reply suggests he sees the Jewish Agency ID ceremony as a religious ceremony.

“The permission we gave to hold the ceremony was only given because the Jewish Agency told us this was an event of joint prayer of those passing into the gates of the Land of Israel for the sake of their successful settling in the Holy Land… as such, this ceremony must be held in accordance with the relevant regulations, which demand segregation,” Rabinovitch wrote.

His letter concludes that unless the agency segregates men and women, the ceremonies should be held in the Progressives’ prayer location.

Conversion bill to face 1st reading

By Kobi Nahshoni September 21, 2009

The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee debated amendments to the conversion bill Wednesday, ahead of its first reading in the coming weeks.

The conversion bill, brought before the committee by MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), aims to simplify the current conversion process, by having the Chief Rabbinate grant regional rabbis conversion authority, on top of its conversion courts.

State-employed rabbis barred from taking money for weddings

By Tomer Zarchin September 23, 2009

State-employed rabbis will no longer be allowed to accept money for conducting weddings, and will barred from officiating at more than two such ceremonies in one night, new regulations say.

The new regulations, which are the first regulations of their kind, will prohibit such rabbis from accepting money for conducting a wedding if one or both members of the couple live in the rabbi’s jurisdiction.

If the wedding takes places 15 kilometers or more from the rabbi’s jurisdiction, he is allowed to accept reimbursement for travel expenses, and in some specifically defined cases, remuneration for his time as well.

Rabbinate Okays death determination

By Matthew Wagner September 23, 2009

The Chief Rabbinate’s governing body approved legislation Tuesday night that could facilitate organ transplants after brain death.

However, the decision might spark a battle between more haredi rabbis and their more moderate peers.

In a unanimous vote, the Supreme rabbinical Council, which included the two chief rabbis of Israel and over a dozen city rabbis, agreed that present legislation, which provides directives for deciding when a person is official considered dead to permit disconnecting from life support and removal of organs for organ transplant, is in accordance with Halacha.

Converts’ marriage still unrecognized

By Ruth Eglash September 24, 2009

A pair of Nigerian-born converts to Judaism who were married two years ago in a ceremony conducted by a rabbi recognized by the Chief Rabbinate remain unable to register themselves as a couple with the Interior Ministry, even though the husband has been an Israeli citizen since 2005, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Rabbi Seth Farber, founder and director of Itim, a nonprofit that lobbies for improving the conversion process in Israel, told the Post that this is not the first such incident.

“We currently have a similar such case in the Supreme Court where the rabbinate recognizes the person but the Interior Ministry refuses to do so,” he said.

“The absurdity is that the Interior Ministry relies on the rabbinate to deny citizenship in some cases, while when it suits them, rabbinate approval is totally disregarded.”

Charedi women refuse bus gender segregation

By Anshel Pfeffer September 18, 2009

A new group has joined the fight over gender-segregated bus lines in Israel: religious women who do not want to be forced to sit at the back.

This month, four such groups boarded the “Mehadrin”, or especially stringent buses, running through Jerusalem, pointedly sitting at the front.

“Charedi women on the bus also joined us,” says Rachel Azaria, a religious member of Jerusalem City Council who is leading a coalition of local organizations against the buses.

The postmodern IDF melting pot Editorial September 23, 2009

Ten haredi young men who enlisted in the IDF a month ago, six of whom are married with children, started training this week to become electricians.

Upon completion of their course, which is funded by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, they will first work in the army in their new profession and, after serving their country, will make the transition back into civilian life with the means to support themselves and their young families.

We warmly support this initiative as an ideal model for integrating the young generation of haredim into mainstream society and into the job market.

With our sights set on the heavens Editorial September 18, 2009

Shas MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem suggested in a scholarly article publicized this week that rabbinic judges should be lenient in accepting non-Jewish IDF soldiers interested in converting to Judaism because their military service demonstrates the scale of their commitment to the Jewish people.

If conversion is a process in which a non-Jew makes a conscious decision to tie his or her fate to the Jewish people, argued Amsalem, what test of loyalty could trump the willingness to give one’s life if necessary for the Jews’ protection?

Hareidi Farmers to Volunteer in Border Police September 16, 2009

The commander of the Border Police’s rural southern division, Superintendent Chezi Naftali, met Tuesday with residents of Moshav Komemiyut, a Hareidi-religious agricultural settlement. The commander encouraged its community members to volunteer in the border patrol.

IDF Training Chareidi Soldiers to Earn a Livelihood as Electricians

By Yechiel Spira September 21, 2009

In cooperation with the Ministry of Industry & Trade, a number of chareidi soldiers are in a course training them as home electricians, providing them with a skill that will assist them following their discharge, possibility providing them with a trade that will facilitate earning a livelihood.

Cinema Paranoidiso

By David Chinitz Opinion September 21, 2009

David Chinitz, an associate professor of health policy and management at the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health, has served on a variety of citizens boards in Jerusalem.

Immigrants from North America, like me, are used to seeing things in various shades of colors. But, apparently, we are a tiny minority.

The vast majority of Israelis, including those who enjoy films in Technicolor at the Smadar, seem to have a need to see things in black and white.

So many Jews in Israel appear not to have any idea that there is a rainbow of ways of being “Jewish,” and dividing the world into “religious” and “secular” is not only destructive, it has little basis in Jewish law or tradition.

I propose removing the terms from the lexicon.

Jewish “Women of the Wall” Defy Law to Pray

By Kelly Hartog September 20, 2009

“A woman at the Wall is like a pig at the Wall.”

This was the statement made by Yehuda Getz, the late Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall in Jerusalem , following one of the most shocking demonstrations of violence at one of Judaism’s holiest shrines—the Kotel (Western Wall)—on a bleak December morning in 1988.

Twenty years later, Yael Katzir’s powerful documentary, Praying in her Own Voice, takes an up-close-and-personal look at the ongoing struggles of the Women of the Wall as the group continues to seek the right to read from the Torah at the Western Wall. It’s a battle that has seen the group take their case all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court.

Katzir: “I also hope people come away from this film with an understanding that Judaism still has a lot of places where things need to change.”

Click here for VIDEO.

Circumcision and its critics

By Dan Rickman Opinion September 23, 2009

The secularization of society and the popularity of “new atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, has increased the ongoing controversy over circumcision.

…secular Israelis are evidently losing interest in this rite, I’d suggest as much due to broader secular-religious tensions as anything else.

Hadassah sells popular Jerusalem olim center Merkaz Hamagshimim for $9 million

By Ruth Eglash September 16, 2009

The Hadassah Women’s Organization has sold its Jerusalem-based Merkaz Hamagshimim, an educational and communal facility that has provided a first home to hundreds of new immigrants arriving from English-speaking countries since the mid-1990s, it was reported by e-Jewish Philanthropy on the Internet Tuesday.

The center, which sold for close to $9 million, is located in the capital’s trendy Emek Refaim neighborhood and houses more than 20 single-room apartments, an English-speaking theater and a community hall, used for a wide variety of events.

Doctor: Closed clinic may mean future olim will die

By Ruth Eglash September 18, 2009

Dr. Arthur I. Eidelman, former head of pediatrics at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem:

“It does not make any sense. These people have already been recognized as Jews by a rabbinic authority, and the Israeli government has agreed to consider them for aliya, but there are no medical services to protect them from basic health problems,” he said. Their medical issues could end up following them to Israel, he said.

Religion and State in Israel

September 23, 2009 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

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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