Religion and State in Israel – May 3, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

May 3, 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.

Haredi school segregation survives High Court challenge

By Chaim Levinson and Yair Ettinger May 2, 2010

The High Court of Justice yesterday instructed the Beit Yaakov school in the ultra-Orthodox town of Immanuel to figure out a way to run classes for both Ashkenazi and Sephardi girls without racial segregation.

This means the students would continue to be segregated, but not based on racist or ethnic criteria, representatives of the Immanuel ultra-Orthodox community said.

…The petitioners – Yoav Lalum of the Noar Kahalacha nonprofit organization and Dr. Aviad Hacohen, dean of the Sha’arei Mishpat law school; the Education Ministry and the court will have to agree on the criteria, Justice Edmond Levy ruled.

One of the parents, Yitzhak Weinberg:

“We maintain a separatist way of life, that’s the ultra-Orthodox way,”adding that the ethnic issue is of no concern to him, and that he and the other parents “only want religious and educational segregation.”

Deal on Emmanuel school reached

By Dan Izenberg April 29, 2010

The parties in the dispute over a haredi girls’ school in Emmanuel failed on Thursday to agree on the details of a compromise whereby 77 pupils who left the school to study in a pirate institution would return to the school where they are registered.

After several hours of talks that ended in deadlock, the court granted the parties another seven days to reach an agreement.

The general outline of the compromise was laid down earlier by justices Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel and Hanan Meltzer.

It called for the girls’ immediate return to the school, the acceptance of a hassidic track there, the drafting of a written constitution for that track which would not include any type of ethnic discrimination, and an appeal mechanism for families whose request to join the track was rejected.

Court to weigh sanctioning parents for school’s segregation

By Yair Ettinger April 30, 2010

The rabbinic leader of the Slonim Hasidim, to which most of the Ashkenazi families in Immanuel’s separate Hasidic track belong, said he personally would agree to sit in jail rather than abide by the High Court ruling.

In an unusual step, the rabbi said he was considering attending today’s hearing, and would also allow his followers to be interviewed by the non-Haredi press.

Religion or Pseudo-Religion: Orthodoxy and Torah Values

By Rabbi Marc D. Angel Opinion April 24, 2010

Is this religious behavior? Can schools that promote such vile discrimination be considered as religious?

On the contrary, these schools are repulsive examples of religion gone wrong.

No parents–of whatever background–should want their children to attend such schools. Schools that teach and enforce discriminatory policies are morally deficient and cannot be considered as bastions of Torah. Rather, they disgrace the Torah.

While passing themselves off as being religious, these schools (and all their administrators, teachers and parents who support the system) are mockeries of Torah religion.

Racist humor falls flat with Meretz councilman in Jerusalem

By Nir Hasson April 30, 2010

In a private meeting yesterday with a Meretz member of the city council and her aide, deputy Jerusalem mayor Yitzhak Pindros allegedly said in jest that “at Haredi education we do not accept Sephardim, monkeys, Russians and Ethiopians.”

Pindros denies saying that and says that Laura Varton, the city council member, is “a liar and an anti-Semite.”

Tel Aviv mayor: Haredim cultivate ignorance

By Yaheli Moran Zelikovich May 2, 2010

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai made harsh statements Sunday against the ultra-Orthodox education system, which he described as jeopardizing the future of Israeli society.

The haredim also teach whatever they want, and are unwilling to teach the civic core of subjects, which any modern country would want for its citizens, in order to know what democracy means and be able to sustain themselves as adults and not become a liability on the tax-payer.”

He further added,

“Today the State of Israel is probably the only country in the world where private education is being funded by the public, without it having to adhere to a minimum of educational demands.”

Huldai calls Haredim ignorant; Shas says TA mayor is bigoted

By Yair Ettinger and Noah Kosharek May 3, 2010

Huldai said he knew his remarks exceeded the bounds of political correctness, but that “there is no choice but to speak openly about the existence of two sides in Israeli society: those who contribute to strengthen it and make it flourish … and the other side, of those who are funded by [the first side].”

Only 1 in 8 pupils in Jerusalem is secular

By Ronen Medzini May 2, 2010

Among Jewish students, haredi students make up 61% of the first-grade age group. Just 19% are secular, and another 19% are National Religious.

The percentage of haredi pupils in that age group is double the relative representation of haredim in the adult Jerusalem population, which is a bit less than 30%.

Jerusalem Municipality ‘bolsters Zionist population’

By Ronen Medzini May 2, 2010

MK Einat Wilf (Labor) called to stop funding the haredi education system until it adopts the core study program.

“These shocking figures should worry all of Israel’s citizens. If the country continues to neglect the public education system and nurture the recognized but unofficial education system, we will all face a gloomy reality,” she said.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus of the United Torah Judaism Party said the figures “are indicative of the social trends in the city.

“The city is obligated to care for all of its sectors, including the haredi sector,” he said.

8 Har Bracha students AWOL

By Kobi Nahshoni April 28, 2010

Eight Har Bracha yeshiva students are missing from military service and are “wanted” by the army, including three combat soldiers from the Kfir brigade who left their base without permission.

Ynet has learned that they intended to turn themselves over to their commanding officers in the coming days so that the IDF would be forced to cope with their protest.

A Month After Passover, Eating Matzoh To Promote Inclusion

By Elana Sztokman April 28, 2010

In the spirit of Pesach Sheni’s powerful message of inclusion, this year for the first time, Pesach Sheni was marked on Monday, April 26 as the “Day for Religious Tolerance.”

The celebration, initiated by Bat-Kol, the organization of religious lesbians, and Kolech, an Orthodox feminist organization in Israel, was explained by Bat-Kol activists Dina Berman Maykon and Tamar Gan-Zvi Bick:

Sara Netanyahu: Bible appeals to secular youth too

By Kobi Nahshoni April 26, 2010

Sara Netanyahu added that the fact that third place was won by a 15-year-old secular boy who goes to high school near the university in Jerusalem, and whose hobbies are sports and theater, proves that the Bible also appeals to non-religious youth, who do not study in yeshivot or seminaries.

She added this has also increased awareness for bible studies among the secular youth.

Journey to Jerusalem: The Movie

By Rory Kress April 27, 2010

A video retrospective of our trip to the Middle East

Professor Ari Goldman, former religion reporter for the New York Times, has taught the “Covering Religion” course every spring for the past 16 years, preparing his students to write about religion for a diverse readership.

Journey to Jerusalem from Rory Kress on Vimeo.

How much do they really love Zion?

By Akiva Eldar (see second story) April 27, 2010

Before Independence Day, the Emek Yezreel College commissioned a survey of the attitude of young Jewish Israelis (Hebrew-speakers aged 20 to 30) toward the national anthem, “Hatikvah.”

Prominent among those who said the anthem does not represent them were people with low incomes (8 percent) and religious respondents (11 percent), as compared to 2 to 3 percent among people with average and high incomes and 1 percent among people who define themselves as traditional.

A Ray of Light in a Lion’s Den

By Avi Shafran Opinion April 30, 2010

“Boy, you’re brave,” said the first fellow to approach me at the table after the symposium.

The panel discussion, on Sunday, April 25, was the second time in as many months that I had made a presentation on the topic of Jewish religious pluralism in Israel.

Back in March, it was a University of Maryland conference on “Israel as a Jewish State.” Sunday’s symposium, sponsored by the Institute for Living Judaism and Hadassah’s Brooklyn branch, was entitled “The State of the Jews in the Jewish State: Religious Pluralism in Israel.”

‘Feminist’ religious lecturer loses appeal against dismissal

By Or Kashti May 2, 2010

Dr. Hannah Kehat said the only reason she was fired from her position at the Orot Israel teachers’ college was that she “dared raise a feminist voice in the national religious camp for women suffering from rape and sexual harassment, and worst of all, succeeded.”

Kehat, who is the founder of the religious women’s organization Kolech, said this week that religious society is waging a fight against religious feminism.

Read What Leading Rabbis Had to Say at Our Conference on the Future of Modern Orthodoxy April 28, 2010

Rabbi Yuval Sherlow

We don’t need to be an alternative rabbinate, we need to be the rabbinate, and in order to be the rabbinate we need first of all to decide that this is important to us-we haven’t yet decided that; we still haven’t determined that the question of the Jewish character of the state of Israel is important to us.

Rabbi Shaul Farber

The chief rabbi of my city (Raanana) won’t let me officiate at weddings, because I am ” too left-wing”. Is this an ideological issue? It’s a political reality. We have to find solutions to the question of the rabbinate.

Rabbi Daniel Sperber

Conversion: We have been de-legitimized. Our rabbis, our educational institutions, we have been suffering from the de-legitimization by the haredi and hardal public for too long.

Rabbanit Chana Henkin

Before the nineties there was an almost uniform design on all of the kippot in the Religious Zionist community. The dances at weddings and Simchat Torah were all similar. Today I see people who don’t want to label themselves, people whose individualism is loudly evident, and there are different points of view and opinion.

El Al employees complain of religious discrimination

By Zohar Blumenkrantz May 2, 2010

Three El Al employees who are observant Jews have complained the company discriminates against them because of their religious preferences.

All three are cargo operators who keep the Sabbath, which prohibits them from working on Friday night and Saturday.

They claim that their religious observance has affected their flight standing, and turned to El Al worker’s committee chairman, Yossi Levy, who delivered their complaint to the head of the company.

In lieu of policy, throwing money at the problem

By Haviv Rettig Gur Opinion April 27, 2010

An almost defunded Diaspora Affairs Ministry, a temporary absorption benefit for returnees, a Foreign Ministry department dealing with anti-Semitism that is virtually unmanned – these are not the ingredients of a serious Diaspora policy.

200 Yemeni Jews to immigrate to UK

By Danny Adino Ababa April 26, 2010

The 200 Jews living in Yemen under tight security will immigrate to Britain rather than to the United States as originally planned.

The move constitutes a dramatic change in the State of Israel’s battle over the Yemeni Jews against anti-Israeli haredi elements interested in absorbing them in the US.

Knowledge-Nation Israel: A New Unifying Vision

By Carlo Strenger Opinion Winter 5770 / 2010, no. 39

The concept of a knowledge-nation is highly inclusive. It can speak to a whole spectrum of Jewish lifestyles and worldviews.

It is, for reasons aforementioned, extremely relevant for the Jewish ultra-Orthodox world, predicated as it is on a culture of study.

The Haredi sector could easily find its place in a knowledge society.

Though many ultra-Orthodox Jews prefer to protect their children from the influence of the secular worldview, fields such as high tech, finance, or law pose no such threat, being all but divorced from questions of belief and philosophy.

Indeed, an increasing number of Haredim today are taking courses in such fields as computer science, law, and accounting.

Branding Israel for PR does more harm than good

By Scott Copeland Opinion April 30, 2010

Instead of turning to the world of advertisement and public relations, we ought to turn to cultivating and training the kinds of educators, rabbis, communal leaders, and public intellectuals who are not frightened to raise difficult questions, and not afraid to share with their students and communities that there are no simple answers, that real life is riddled with complexities, and that healthy communities – like healthy families – lay out dilemmas and challenges on the table and work to contend with them together.

The Impresario of Zionism April 28, 2010

Herzl was not the first theoretician of political Zionism, or the first to think sensibly about the steps needed to create a third Jewish commonwealth.

His unparalleled contribution was to put Zionism on both the Jewish and the international agenda. As the movement’s leading prophet, he waged a fanatically intensive yet tactically shrewd campaign that virtually willed the state into being.

Celebrating decade of Taglit-Birthright in Israel April 30, 2010

Over the past decade, Taglit-Birthright Israel has brought over 250,000 young Jews to Israel and Taglit-Birthright Israel’s activities have succeeded in creating actual change in how these participants, who live in the Diaspora, view their Jewish identity.

Taglit-Birthright Israel has even changed the attitude of students all over the world towards Israel.

Is JDC Bucking the System?

By Gal Beckerman and Jane Eisner April 29, 2010

A prolonged standoff over how to direct American Jewish funds overseas has led to a serious conflict over the community’s priorities: sustaining poor Jews around the world, or strengthening Jewish identities and ties to Israel?

JDC committee suggests changes to funding structure

By Jacob Berkman April 29, 2010

An internal policy committee at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is offering the organization’s board 13 formal recommendations for revamping how it raises money — many of which could have a major impact on the North American network of local Jewish charitable federations.

Birthright flourishes, potential competitor sinks

By Raphael Ahren April 30, 2010

Taglit Birthright-Israel plans to bring 21,000 Diaspora youths on free 10-day trips to Israel this summer, twice as many as during the 2009 season, the organization recently announced. Meanwhile, Oranim Educational Initiatives – which until last summer recruited roughly a third of all Birthright participants but launched a rival program after a falling out over ideological differences – will not be offering any free trips this season for lack of funds.

JNF sheds light on solar deal

By Raphael Ahren April 30, 2010

Keren Kayemet L’Israel-Jewish National Fund slammed a report this month in Globes that slammed its contract with a local solar energy company.

Calling it “one of the strangest deals in its 110-year history,” the Israeli business paper Globes last month described alleged problems in KKL-JNF’s $3 million investment in APC, a company located in Kibbutz Ketura that builds photovoltaic solar farms in the country’s south.

Responding to the Globes report, Yosef Abramowitz, the American-born head of APC, told Anglo File this week, “This relationship with the JNF is not only kosher, it’s glatt kosher.”

A Letter from Richie Pearlstone – Jewish Agency Strategic Planning Process April 29, 2010

In assessing the unique challenges of today under the leadership of Natan Sharansky, and in dialogue with our partners, we have suggested the following new articulation of the mission for the Jewish Agency:

Connect Jews throughout the world with their people, heritage and homeland, and inspire and empower them to build a thriving Jewish future and a strong Israel

Culture clash

By Coby Ben-Simhon April 29, 2010

Kibbutz rabbi Yoav Ende:

“I came here to build a special, idealistic community, and one that was also Conservative and pluralistic, where people live together equally and women are counted for a minyan (prayer quorum) and there is no barrier separating men and women in the synagogue,”

“But in the heat of the disputes, people forget to talk about the new life at Hanaton. And it does exist. Kibbutz Hanaton is basically the only kibbutz that belongs to the Conservative Movement, and after many years it is being renewed. It is going back to its beginnings.”

Religion and State in Israel

May 3, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.

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