Religion and State in Israel – January 11, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

January 11, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Religious advocates decry rabbinate statement calling conversions reversible

By Cnaan Liphshiz January 8, 2010

A precedent-setting statement this week by the Chief Rabbinate, which said all conversions may be retroactively annulled at any time, is adding fuel to a legal battle over the status of state-sponsored conversions in Israel.

“This is an immoral, inhumane and anti-Halakhic assertion,” said Rivkah Lubitch, a Rabbinic Court advocate from the Center for Women’s Justice. “Let us hope that the High Court of Justice finds it is also illegal.”

“This is a significant blow to converts,” said Seth Farber, who heads the Jerusalem-based nonprofit ITIM. “We are slowly splintering into two peoples.” An American-born rabbi, Farber is a key opponent of the controversial phenomenon.

On Tuesday, Shas MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem, formerly chief Sephardic rabbi in Geneva, spoke out against retroactive nullifications when he launched a book he had penned, detailing his research of the attitudes of great past Jewish sages to conversion.

MK Rabbi Amsallem: Old-New Conversion Solution

By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz January 4, 2010

Knesset Member and Rabbi Chaim Amsallem (Shas) will present a book he wrote on the subject of conversion to the Knesset Speaker on Tuesday.

In the book, Rabbi Amsallem puts forth an encompassing solution to the conversion of non-Jewish descendants of Jewish forebears, specifically designed for implementation in the State of Israel.

Entitled Zera Yisrael (“The Seed of Israel”), Rabbi Amsalllem’s book offers a carefully researched halachic (Jewish law) position that he believes should serve the needs of most of Israel’s non-Jewish immigrant population.

Houston woman in sex scandal undergoes conversion in Israel

By Matthew Wagner January 8, 2010

A woman from Houston who got mixed up in a sex scandal with a prominent haredi rabbi from Monsey, New York, arrived in Israel clandestinely and was converted to Judaism on Sunday in Alon Shvut by Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Hebron-Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior and a third rabbi who preferred to remain anonymous.

The decision by Eliyahu, Lior and the third rabbi to convert Orand after they were convinced of her sincerity is seen by some Zionist rabbis as part of a larger battle between warring camps in the Orthodox rabbinical world.

The fact that these three rabbis, who in recent years have not been involved with conversions, went out of their way to help Orand is seen both as a strong stamp of approval for Orand’s pure intentions as well as a clear message to the haredi rabbinic world.

“This is an answer to Haredi rabbis’ stringent approach to conversions,” said Rabbi Israel Rosen, former head of the National Conversion Courts and a serving conversion court judge, who helped facilitate Orand’s conversion.

…Eliyahu said that as a member of the Chief Rabbinate’s government body, he was operating within the framework of the local rabbinic establishment.

Orthodoxy and scandal

By Rabbi Seth Farber Opinion January 7, 2010

The writer is the founder of ITIM: The Jewish Life Information Center and rabbi of Kehillat Netivot in Ra’anana

I believe that Orthodoxy needs to rethink the particular issue of conversion – particularly regarding the vulnerability of candidates and the possible abuses of centralization and delegitimization.

But at the same time, we also need to recognize the bigger picture and develop tools that properly balance the prohibition of lashon hara and chillul hashem with the responsibility of being honest and candid both in and to the modern world. I don’t believe God expects any less from Jacob’s children.

Advocates for ‘agunot’ find new voice on YouTube

By Ruth Eglash January 8, 2010

Bubbe Bikorta’s “Never Ending Story,” which is replete with bedtime lullabies, is one of five short video clips – one in English and four in Hebrew with English subtitles – aimed at highlighting the horrors of a marriage gone wrong and the unfair treatment of women in the religious judicial system in Israel that were launched on YouTube this week by the Center for Women’s Justice.

Created to raise public awareness of the plight of the estimated hundreds of agunot‚ “chained women” whose husbands refuse to grant them divorces, each clip is based on a true story, Susan Weiss, the center’s founding director, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

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The “Other White Meat” is Not Welcome in Jaffa January 3, 2010

A retired Jewish cardiologist is set to make history — and generate a bit of controversy — with Israel’s first ever cookery book devoted to pork.

Religion and State in Israel

January 11, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

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