Religion and State in Israel – May 10, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

May 10, 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.

Free-market Judaism Editorial April 3, 2010

As in the Diaspora, potential converts in Israel should be permitted to operate as sovereign selves. They should be given the freedom to choose among the different streams of Judaism.

They should be allowed to join the Jewish people in a way that feels right for them. The same holds true for other religious services presently monopolized by the Chief Rabbinate.

Free market forces, which Netanyahu so adeptly utilized as finance minister to strengthen the nation’s economy, should be used to invigorate religiosity.

Pulling the wool over our eyes

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion April 4, 2010

MK Rotem met with many of the North American Jewish community leaders in an attempt to convince them that his proposed legislation would be good for all and harmful to none.

He failed to gain their support not because Diaspora Jewry disagrees with the aim of opening the doors wider to those who wish to become halachically Jewish. He failed because his arguments in support of his bill were specious and lacking in merit.

MK, Non-Orthodox Clash on Conversions

By Stewart Ain April 4, 2010

MK David Rotem also insisted that his bill “has nothing to do with American conversions. I think they are fighting a war for the wrong purpose.”

“I don’t need their support,” he insisted. “I don’t like it when people tell me that their support for the State of Israel hangs on this. This is what I was told. … I don’t like those kind of threats.”

U.S. Jews Fight Israeli Laws on Conversion

By Michele Chabin April 5, 2010

“We — and more importantly, our Israeli colleagues and their lawyers — believe that this language, if adopted as written, would further marginalize and hamper the Masorti (Conservative) and Reform movements in Israel,” the U.S. leaders said in a statement.

Conversion Kabuki Editorial April 5, 2010

We’re seeing the Kabuki dance of Jewish religious politics played out here, as the Orthodox rabbinate in Israel is unwilling to relinquish an ounce of power, while the more liberal denominations — who, let’s remember, represent the vast majority of religiously affiliated American Jews — insist on legitimization.

And in the middle, trying to broker a deal (or, at least, appearing to do so), is a nationalist party with major backing from Jews of Russian ancestry and with a serious image problem at home and abroad.

Conversion bill deters Israel Bonds buyers in US

By Ran Dagoni April 9, 2010

Sources in the Jewish establishment, who asked not to be named, told “Globes” that Israel’s estranged attitude to Jews outside of its borders was likely to have immediate and substantial effects, particularly on money raising through Israel Bonds.

Why Israelis Should Not (Legally) Marry

By Haviva Ner-David Opinion April 5, 2010

I recommend such couples marry in a ceremony of their design with a rabbi of their choice and simply not register as legally married.

Why? Because once a couple is registered as married in Israel, if they end up getting divorced, the procedure must go through the Rabbinate, even if the marriage was abroad.

But if the couple does not register as married, they can draw up a legal contract laying out the legal terms of their relationship, and if they end up divorcing, they can terminate this contract and draw up another if need be. That way, they can avoid the Rabbinate entirely.

My personal exodus

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion April 4, 2010

Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinic pleader who works at the Center for Women’s Justice

But, as we know, the exodus from Egypt is not good enough. You still have to make it to Sinai. Sharon needed a divorce.

This story took place twenty years ago. The Petah Tikva Rabbinic Court ruled: “We did not find any reason under the halacha to force the husband to divorce his wife … The woman should heed her husband’s request of reconciliation.

The Supreme Rabbinic Court overturned the decision of the district court recommending that the couple reconcile, but refused to order the husband to give the get.

Two years ago, when Sharon told me her story, she had still been denied a get – for over 18 years!

No secrets

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion April 6, 2010

Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinic pleader who works at the Center for Women’s Justice

The State, the halacha and the entire public expect Orli to build an entire world of lies surrounding the unfortunate child in order to save him from the stigma of mamzerut.

There are only a few people who understand the terrible price that this child will pay and the fact that in cases in which the woman does not continue to live with her husband – it is almost impossible to hide the secret from the child. The State does not follow up with these children to see if it indeed acted in their best interests.

Serving God and country

By Aluf Benn May 6, 2010

This year, the IDF recruited 400 yeshiva graduates for the various technical tracks in Project Shahar (the Hebrew acronym for Haredi Service). There are another 500 men in the Nahal paramilitary brigade’s Haredi battalion, which is celebrating the 10th year since its establishment.

What caused the change?

“The socioeconomic situation of the Haredim is dire. People are beginning to open their eyes, to see the developments among the secular population and the growing disparities, and they are also afraid of ignorance in Haredi society. Some are also aware of the growing social pressure [on that society] and don’t want to stretch the rope too tight.”

One, two, three, four, what are we guarding for?

By Matt Zalen May 7, 2010

“If you tell me that you don’t have enough manpower, but at the same time you exempt tens of thousands of people due to politics – because that’s really what we’re talking about when it comes to the Tal Law – then, well, come on,” he says.

Approved by the Knesset in July 2002, the Tal Law grants haredi men of military age the right to take a year off from their yeshiva studies without being automatically drafted.

In 2008, more than 50,000 yeshiva students were exempt from the army as a result of the law, and by 2012, that number is expected to reach 60,000.

While you were sleeping

By Amos Harel May 9, 2010

In 1990, 2 percent of the cadets enrolled in the course were religious; by 2007, that figure had shot up to 30 percent.

And this is how the intermediate generation of combat officers looks today: six out of seven lieutenant colonels in the Golani Brigade are religious and, beginning in the summer, the brigade commander will be as well.

Hareidi Jews’ IDF Enlistment Rises Tenfold in Two Years

By Gil Ronen May 5, 2010

The Shachar program for enlistment of hareidi-religious men to the IDF has seen a sharp rise in popularity in the three years since it began: from 40 hareidi conscripts in 2007, to 200 the next year, to 400 in 2009.

Ramon: Exempt Haredi youth from IDF

Ben Hartman May 3, 2010

Kadima Party council head Haim Ramon proposed totally exempting haredi youth from IDF service, to allow them to enter the workforce at enlistment age.

Ramon reportedly told a Kadima Party conference that such an exemption would encourage haredi youth to join the workforce and would free up further state funds for the army.

Takana powerless as Elon returns to teaching… online

By Jonah Mandel May 6, 2010

The recent launch of a Web site containing broadcasts of Rabbi Mordechai Elon giving Torah lessons was chaperoned into public awareness by quotes of unnamed sources in the Takana Forum speaking out against further involvement in the affair, but the official stance of the forum has not changed, Takana chairwoman Yehudit Shilat told The Jerusalem Post, and remains as it appears on its Web site

Religious Youth Sign Charter to be Presented to National Leaders

By Hillel Fendel May 3, 2010

Dozens of youths signed a “religious youth charter” relating to the State of Israel last week, following a Sabbath, during which they discussed in depth the complexities of their many-faceted relationship with it, facing them squarely.

Jewish Agency to focus on Jewish identity April 4, 2010

The strategic planning committee of the Jewish Agency approved in principle new strategic directions for the organization focusing on building Jewish identity of Jews around the world and in Israel.

“Today, as we are faced with weakening connections, our challenge is to increase the identification of Jews to their People and to Israel.”

Jewish Agency, JDC Stake Claims In Funding Fight

By Gary Rosenblatt April 5, 2010

It remains to be seen how the Jewish Agency and JDC will be reconciled, if at all, but the current saga offers a case study in the changing role of communal institutions and philanthropic decision-making.

All parties agree that the best solution would be more dollars raised to meet everyone’s needs, but they would also acknowledge that is not likely to happen at this time.

Officials meet plans of JDC, Jewish Agency with mixed reviews

By Jacob Berkman April 4, 2010

Sharansky is framing the shift as vital to staving off increasing assimilation and apathy toward Judaism by young Jews — and a way to secure future support for Jewish charitable causes.

The Jewish Agency’s New Vision

By Dan Brown April 3, 2010

Following the just concluded meetings in New York of the strategic planning committee, I had the opportunity to sit with the charismatic Sharansky for an in-depth discussion of these new initiatives and on the current state of funding for Jewish Agency programs in the countries of the FSU.

Sharansky on Funding in the FSU

By Dan Brown April 4, 2010

Strategic partnerships and more formalized relationships among organizations has become even more of a necessity for most as a result of the current funding environment.

JAFI not only recognizes this, but the proposed new strategic plan contains an addition, “commitment to work in partnership with other organizations, funders and governments as a modus operandi” for the organizations’ work.

Gov’t to develop ‘immigration marketplace’

By Haviv Rettig Gur April 6, 2010

In response to this harsh reality, the Absorption Ministry has decided to turn the problem on its head.

In recent weeks, it has been turning to local governments throughout the country with a simple message: You want more immigrants? Help pay for them.

Potential immigrants bemoan new requirements to show police records

By Cnaan Liphshiz April 7, 2010

A new government demand for prospective immigrants to provide police records is causing much concern among U.S. Jews planning to move to Israel, says a local immigrant professional.

Interior Ministry blasted for Olim policy

By Haviv Rettig Gur April 3, 2010

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad:

“We’re not doubting the intentions of anyone who wants to come to Israel,” she added, “but we see it as a legitimate response to a series of recent events to take measures to protect the safety and security of our citizens.”

VIDEO: Futurism panel: Jewish peoplehood circa 2110 April 5, 2010

Click here for VIDEO

In a spirited, vigorous discussion that spanned over an hour at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, the futuristic topic of “Jewish Peoplehood circa 2110” inspired a wide range of talking points which included (but were not limited to):

  • Tensions between religious and secular populations
  • The reconciliation of democracy and a Jewish state
  • Demographic issues

Jewish Peoplehood circa 2110 – Leadel LIVE Panel from Leadel dot Net on Vimeo.

Israel and America: A Roundtable on Deepening the Dialogue May 2010

Many have commented recently on the changing relationship between Jews in the United States and Israel — especially on what seems to be a greater distance felt by younger, non-Orthodox Jews, including those with intense relationships to Jewish life.

Quite how Israelis view American Jews is, it seems, less known, vaguer perhaps, with vastly different perceptions felt in the various sectors of Israeli society.

Sh’ma gathered together a small group with intimate knowledge of both communities to reflect on current attitudes. (Steven J. Zipperstein and Hillel Halkin)

Taglit-birthright event to mark ten-year anniversary

By Marc Rebacz April 6, 2010

Taglit-birthright Israel will mark its 10-year anniversary next week with a three-day event in which 3,000 young Jews from 10 foreign countries will travel to 18 cities across Israel, from Kiryat Shmona to Beersheba.

Higher learning: The Schechter Institute dedicates its new campus

By Gail Lichtman April 7, 2010

The $8.2m., five-story, 2,300-sq.m. Legacy Heritage Center for Jewish Studies, designed by Israel Prize Laureate Ada Karmi-Melamede, is slated to open in September and will include a beit midrash (study hall) for rabbinical students from Israel and abroad, 14 classrooms and lecture halls for Schechter’s more than 600 MA students and the TALI Education Fund Pedagogic Center.

When the 11,000-sq.m. campus is completed, it will also encompass the Liebhaber Center for Jewish Education and a new library.

Tradition! April 6, 2010

This week, the Schechter Institute, the chief educational institution of the Conservative movement in Israel, celebrated its 25th anniversary with the opening of two new buildings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Following decades of effort, the occasion marks a genuine milestone for the Masorti movement (to use its Hebrew name), a movement still struggling to establish a presence in Israel in the teeth of institutional opposition and public indifference.

Rabbi David Forman, 65, laid to rest

By Raphael Ahren May 7, 2010

Rabbi David Forman was laid to rest yesterday at a kibbutz outside Jerusalem, accompanied by hundreds of mourners.

Friends, colleagues and family members this week remembered the prominent Jerusalem-based Reform rabbi as much for his dedication as a family man as for being the political activist, communal leader, educator and writer that he was.

Rabbi David J. Forman dies at 65

By Jonah Mandel May 5, 2010

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Movement in Israel, described Forman as a true lover of Zion who created generations of Jews committed to the Land of Israel and the People of Israel.

“His love of Zion was expressed in his ongoing efforts to make Israel an exemplary society,” Kariv told the Post on Monday. “He didn’t let his love of Israel get in the way of his criticism of it, nor did he let his criticism of the state ever cast a shadow over his love of it.”

VIDEO: Shuli Rand wants to reconnect Jews to Judaism May 9, 2010

Click here for VIDEO

Shuli Rand, born in Bnei Brak to a religious Zionist home parted ways with Orthodoxy at the age of 26 to win acclaim in the theatrical arts.

Jerusalem: The city that drives people mad

By Dina Kraft May 5, 2010

Most of those diagnosed with the syndrome have a history of mental illness. But in a small number of cases, the person’s experience being in Jerusalem and at its holy sites appears to triggers psychosis for the first time, Katz said. In such cases the condition is temporary and easily treated by medication.

Brainy and proud

By Jonah Mandel May 6, 2010

Laura Bergman was the victor of the math quiz for religious Jewish girls, which was attended by over 700 people and broadcast live to 15 Jewish communities around the world. Yifat Aharon of Ohr Torah Stone Jerusalem and Atara Gutman of Tzviya Ulpana in Herzliya tied for second and third place.

New leftist, religious activism

By Gitit Ginat May 6, 2010

“The religious left-wing activists who are prominent today are mostly native Israelis who grew up in the post-1967 world,” says Klibanoff.

Getting to Know Our Christian Neighbors: A Different Part of Jerusalem

By Jennie Grayson April 6, 2010

On Friday 4/30, an oversubscribed group of about 30 Jewish residents of Jerusalem learned about a different side of their city.

They were taking part in a study tour to learn about the Christian communities of the Old City, an event created as a follow-up to the successful study session held at Kehillat Yedidya, on the topic of “Why Do Some Jews Spit on Christians in the Old City,” held on March 15.

One of the conclusions from that night had been that a root of the problem is that Jewish residents of Jerusalem know close to nothing about their Christian neighbors.

Reinterpreting the Crusades

By Jose Leyva April 4, 2010

Click here for VIDEO

The school has 620 Arab students from kindergarten through junior high school. Two thirds of the children are Muslims, and the rest are Protestant, Greek-Orthodox or Catholic.

“We live together, so we have to include them in our activities, and they also include us in theirs.” said Hazboun, who is also an active member of several interfaith dialogue groups in Israel.

Two faiths one classroom from Jose Leyva on Vimeo.

Muslims, Jews, Christians do Bethlehem-Jerusalem run April 29, 2010

It may sound like start of joke, but it’s true. Hundreds of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims participated Sunday in a marathon between Bethlehem and Jerusalem that kicked off Pope John Paul II’s sporting events, being held for the seventh year.

Religion and State in Israel

May 10, 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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