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

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Religion and State in Israel

November 2, 2009 (Section 2) (see also 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.

The ‘Third Templars’ Editorial October 27, 2009

Now a diverse group of mostly post-Zionist settler rabbis, messianic followers of the late Lubavitcher rebbe and practicing “Third Templars” – abetted by a smattering of ultra-right-wing Knesset members – have banded together to force the “hand of God.”

Ostensibly, they are calling upon the Jewish masses to ascend the Mount and assert a Jewish presence there; we suspect that what many of them really want is to make the Muslim shrines “disappear”, put up a Jewish Temple and recommence animal sacrifices.

Where’s the compromise over the Temple Mount?

By David Kirshenbaum Opinion November 1, 2009

The characterization of those who seek to change the status quo on the Temple Mount as “post-Zionists,” “messianic followers” of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and “Third Templars” is false.

Dare to dream of a rebuilt Temple

By Michael Freund Opinion October 28, 2009

So let’s stop bad-mouthing those who want to visit or pray where our forefathers once stood. And let’s bear in mind one very important rule: The real extremism is not to dream of a Temple, but to attempt to silence those who do.

What would Maimonides say about Temple Mt riots?

By Matthew Wagner October 27, 2009

In the year 1165, on the sixth of the Jewish month of Heshvan, which fell 844 years ago this past Sunday, Maimonides, arguably the single most important rabbinic authority in Jewish history, visited Jerusalem and may have gone onto the Temple Mount.

…Jewish spiritual leaders who belong to the Zionist stream of Orthodoxy such as Rabbi Israel Ariel of the Temple Institute and Rabbi Nahum Rabinovitch, head of the Birkat Moshe Hesder Yeshiva in Ma’aleh Adumim, see this account as clear proof that Jews are permitted to go up to the Temple Mount.

Educ. Min. Agrees: Temple Mount in School Trips

By Hillel Fendel October 27, 2009

A top official in the Education Ministry on a tour of the City of David in Jerusalem said his office would approve and even pay for school trips to the Temple Mount if there is a demand for such.

Yechezkel Azrieli, head of the Youth and Society Department in the Education Ministry, added that the Defense Ministry must approve such trips from a security standpoint

Rabbi Cherlow: ‘Human Rights’ Includes Jews Worshipping on Mount

By David Lev October 27, 2009

Jews have a right to worship freely on the Temple Mount, says Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, head of the Yeshivat Hesder in Petach Tikvah.

But they have more than a right to worship there, he says: They have a need to do so, because the Temple Mount – where the Holy Temple stood – is so much a part of Jewish tradition.

And as such, preventing Jews from doing so is not just a matter of religion, but of basic human rights.

Religious Zionism confronts Rabin legacy

By Matthew Wagner October 30, 2009

How should religious Zionists mark the anniversary of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination?

This question stood at the center of debate among rabbis and educators Thursday as a large portion of media air time, public school activity and politicians’ speeches were devoted to remembering Rabin, the only Israeli prime minister to be murdered and whose death poses the most extreme example of the dangers of an internecine clash between religious and secular, Right and Left.

In contrast to haredim, who have no desire to form strong bonds with secular Israeli society and therefore completely ignore the day of remembrance for Rabin, religious Zionists see themselves as full participants in all aspects of the modern Jewish state.

New prayer book adds religious context to Rabin memorial October 29, 2009

Israel will mark Thursday the anniversary of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. The Amit religious school system felt that the memorial for Rabin is not sufficiently rooted in the religious world and decided to publish a special prayer book for the 14th of Heshvan (the Hebrew date of Rabin’s death).

The prayer book, called “K’tov Zot Zikaron” (Write This as a Memory), includes passages of psalms, including specific passages ascribed to the letters of the late statesman’s name, sections of Mishna to be learned for the transcendence of the soul, a prayer for the peace of Israel, and a prayer for the love the Israel.

In addition, the prayer book brings forth verses condemning murder, such as: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.”

Female Orthodox scholars helping women talk about sex

By Dina Kraft October 29, 2009

Lau is the coordinator of an accreditation course for these consultants at Nishmat, an Orthodox seminary for women. It is the only one of its kind in the Orthodox world, and most of its graduates live in Israel.

Lau and the 60 other certified ‘yoatzot’, as the consultants are known in Hebrew, have been become accustomed to women stopping them without notice, often with a whispered, urgent question about Jewish law.

Whether on their doorstep, in the synagogue or at the supermarket, women have questions for which they ache for answers but are hesitant to ask a male rabbi, especially when it comes to family purity laws — the laws relating to sex.

Generation Birthright Israel: The Impact of an Israel Experience on Jewish Identity and Choices

Click here for Study [pdf]

Jewish Marriage Tied to Birthright Israel Trip

Birthright Israel Experience Significantly Lowers Rate of Intermarriage

Birthright strengthening Jewish identity abroad, research shows

Birthright funders look to upbeat study to boost fund raising

Study finds Birthright alumni less likely to marry out

It’s hip to be Jewish

Op-Ed: Growing Birthright Israel should be a no-brainer

Birthright: A tonic for the Jewish world

Is Natan Sharansky Jewish Agency’s last, best hope?

By Dina Kraft October 26, 2009

Sharansky first must meet another challenge: the drastic downturn in funding from the Jewish Federations of North America (formerly the United Jewish Communities), which has had an especially crippling effect on the agency’s work in the former Soviet Union.

His main effort on that front, Sharansky told JTA, would be fund raising intensively among Russian-speaking Jews.

“The time has come for the Jewish community there to take responsibility for their own Jewish institutions,” Sharansky said in a brief interview following his opening address to the agency’s board of governors meeting Sunday.

Sharansky vows not to cut Jewish Agency budget

By Haviv Rettig Gur October 26, 2009

This week’s Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem is the first in many years that won’t be discussing significant cuts to the organization’s budget.

In an effort to refocus the organization away from its shrinking financial base and to bolster the sense of mission among its educators and activists, agency chairman Natan Sharansky has vowed not to make any new budget cuts in 2010.

Jewish Agency to send 100 advocates to U.S. College campuses

By Raphael Ahren October 27, 2009

The Jewish Agency plans to send more than 100 well-trained emissaries to North American college campuses within the next two years, Chairman Natan Sharansky announced yesterday. Currently, about 20 JAFI emissaries work on American universities.

The new JAFI representatives will be tasked with explaining to students the “realities of the Middle East, and to show what Hamas and Hezbollah are doing and what Israel is doing to bring some justice and democracy to Palestinians.” The plan is mentioned in a proposed resolution of JAFI’s task force on anti-Semitism, which is expected to pass.

‘Israel has distorted view of Diaspora’

By Haviv Rettig Gur October 28, 2009

“The government of Israel has a very distorted and shallow view of Diaspora Jewry, and this is the result of far too many gatekeepers blocking a genuine dialogue between Israeli Jews and the Diaspora,” according to Toronto Jewish Federation President Ted Sokolsky.

Pushing the envelope

By Haviv Rettig Gur October 30, 2009

Interview with the new leaders of the Jewish Federations of North America, chief executive Jerry Silverman and incoming top lay leader Kathy Manning.

The federations also look outside themselves for inspiration, says Silverman.

“One of the most up-and-coming organizations, based here in Israel, is PresenTense. In Boston, they’re doing PresenTense innovation training that will lead to programs in the community,” he notes.

Multi-denominational LA rabbis find their unity – in Israel

By Tali Minsberg and Rebecca Baskin October 28, 2009

They also believe that they have something to teach Israelis about pluralism – that Judaism is much broader than just Orthodox and secular. The rabbis hope that they can serve as a model of the need for a pluralistic environment.

“We can send a powerful message to Israelis. As an Israeli I know that we [Israelis] think in black and white. Yet we [the group of 18 rabbis] stand together as one and confront all challenges. This is a message that all Israelis should hear again and again and again,” said Dayan.

Kligfeld believes that liberal Judaism in Israel is “vitally important. It’s sad to me that I come as a rabbi to Israel and can’t perform a wedding.”

“A large number of Jews don’t want to describe themselves as ‘religious’ or ‘secular,'” he said. “There are many in Israel who won’t be turned on to Orthodoxy but who want to live as Jews, and could be drawn to a moderate balance of both.”

L.A. rabbis in Israel seek to model tolerance

By Richard Boudreaux October 31, 2009

The Western Wall is a unifying spiritual magnet for Jews the world over. It is also a place of contention over a rule by its Orthodox custodians that forbids women from standing beside men while praying there.

So how to worship was a sensitive question for 17 leading Los Angeles rabbis, including two women, as they strolled toward the sacred site one evening this week.

…”Thank God L.A. is not run by a reactionary rabbinate, like the one that exists here,” said Rabbi David Hartman, an Israeli philosopher of contemporary Judaism.

Roadmap for a just society

By Raphael Ahren October 30, 2009

Rabbi Jill Jacobs – the rabbi-in-residence at Jewish Funds for Justice in New York

Speaking this week in Jerusalem, Jacobs, who is currently on sabbatical at the Mandel Leadership Institute, said that rather than focusing exclusively on ritual law, Jews and the State of Israel should revive aspects of the civil law.

Does Eli Yishai understand American Jews?

By Matthew Wagner Opinion October 27, 2009

Yishai’s perspective is that of a Jew who has never known what it’s like to live as a minority in a non-Jewish country.

Obviously the ideal situation, if one’s main concern is Jewish continuity, is to maintain a strict adherence to Orthodoxy, something which the vast majority of Jews have failed to do in the US.

He probably does not fully understand the dynamics of living in a place like the US where there are endless possibilities for self-expression and self-identity.

He probably does not appreciate the fact that in a situation where most Jews are not only totally alienated from an Orthodox way of life, they’re also totally unfamiliar with many of its basic demands.

In this environment it’s probably better, at least from the point of view of Jewish continuity, that there is Reform Judaism around.

Leviev’s King City in Eilat may open on Shabbat

By Dotan Levi, Calcalist October 26, 2009

Will religious businessman Lev Leviev be forced to allow one of his businesses to be open on Shabbat? Elran Real Estate Ltd., which is owned by the Dankner family, recently announced in a presentation to its investors that it is looking into opening the King City in Eilat – which it co-owns with Leviev’s Africa Israel company – on weekends and Jewish holidays.

The announcement was made in light of the project’s financial difficulties, which are making it difficult for the companies to pay back their bank debts. The company wrote in the presentation that it would work to open the park to visitors on Shabbat and on holidays.

The original contract signed between the park’s founders states that the park would not be opened on Jewish days of rest, following a request made by Africa Israel (whose subsidiary controls 37% of the project).

In the spirit of culture

By Peggy Cidor October 29, 2009

The Eighth Jewish Music and Theater Festival of Gush Etzion caused a great deal of dissonance within the religious Zionist community.

“We’re talking about a revolution,” says poet and Kibbutz Kfar Etzion resident Eliaz Cohen, artistic director of the festival in the Gush and co-founder and head of the poetry review Meshiv Haruah and its annual poetry festival.

Study finds sharp decline in ‘Jewish’ Internet searches

Click here for Study

By Tali Minsberg October 29, 2009

August 2009 release of 4Wall LLC’s Jewish Internet Metric Study, a project to help the Jewish community understand the hurdles and opportunities presented by the Internet.

The top five declining terms over the past for years include “Judaica”(-54%), “Reform Judaism” (-66%), “Anti-Semitism” (-74%), “Jewish Dating” (-85%) and “Kabbalah” (-87%).

The top five searches found were “Jewish,” “Israel,” “Holocaust,” “Jerusalem” and “Kosher.” Nevertheless, these terms now generate significantly less traffic than they did in the past four years.

Some 150,000 take their prayers to Rachel’s Tomb

By Tovah Lazaroff October 30, 2009

Click here for VIDEO

Close to 150,000 people who arrived from all over the country to mark the anniversary of the biblical matriarch’s death by praying for her help at her tomb during a 24-hour period that started on Wednesday night and ended Thursday.

New Tram to Connect Jewish Quarter with Kotel Plaza

By David Lev November 1, 2009

Visitors to the Western Wall could have an easier time getting to the holy site soon. A new tram will visitors to reach to the Kotel Plaza from the Jewish Quarter, enabling visitors who have difficulty walking up and down the many steps between the two sites to more easily visit the Kotel.

New Archaeological Excavations near Western Wall October 22, 2009

Click here for VIDEO (right click: Zoom – Full Screen)

State ceremony to honor Ethiopian Jewry

By Ruth Eglash November 1, 2009

After 30 years of Jewish immigration from Ethiopia, the State of Israel will finally mark the community’s flagship festival, Sig’d, in an official ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Monday.

Religion and State in Israel

November 2, 2009 (Section 2) (see also 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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