Religion and State in Israel – June 14, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

June 14, 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.

US Jewish leaders still ‘concerned’ over conversion bill

By Jonah Mandel June 11, 2010

“The rabbis repeated their concern that no single religious stream has authority to oversee or approve conversions,” a statement issued by the JFNA read.

“Sharansky assured the participants that he would communicate their views to the prime minister and would work with the Knesset to ensure that any legislation moving forward would reflect these concerns.”

Conversion bill still troubles U.S. Jewish leaders June 9, 2010

“As we have consistently said, and as we reiterated yesterday, conversion must not be tied to one religious stream or point of view,” the statement from the U.S. religious leaders said.

“Any legislation pertaining to conversion is by its nature directly linked to the Law of Return and is therefore a matter affecting the world Jewish community.”

Conservative and Reform Leaders Meet with Sharansky and Silverman

The Jewish Federations of North America convenes discussion on proposed Knesset conversion bill June 9, 2010

Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky:

“The Jewish State is a state of all Jews and the Government of Israel must balance its political concerns with the concerns of the Jewish people the world over.

I am engaging in dialogue with all relevant parties at the request of the Prime Minister, fulfilling the Jewish Agency’s historic role as the nexus between world Jewish communities and the State of Israel.”

Shas proposal to put Torah into WZO platform angers veteran Zionist leaders

By Cnaan Liphshiz June 11, 2010

Six months after joining the World Zionist Organization, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party has angered prominent Reform and Orthodox members with a motion to change the organization’s ideological platform into a more Torah-oriented document.

Shas proposes to replace a passage which speaks of the need to work toward establishing a society “according to the vision of the prophets of Israel.”

Shas proposed the wording “according to the Torah” instead. The party also wants to replace a reference to the organization’s commitment to “observing the multifaceted nature of the Jewish people in Israel” to “love of the People of Israel.”

Shas enters WZO with controversial ideas

By Haviv Rettig Gur June 11, 2010

Asked whether the proposed changes to the Jerusalem Program targeted the liberal Jewish groups, [Shas representative Yigal] Bibi insisted,

“We don’t want to fight with the Conservatives or Reform or Meretz. Are we interfering in how they live their lives? Let them do what they want.”

Israeli Women’s Prayers Hit Reactionary Wall

By Michele Chabin June 9, 2010

Einat Ramon, the first Israeli-born female rabbi, said that her Masorti (Conservative) stream of Judaism agreed to honor the High Court’s 2003 ruling which, in addition to banning prayer shawls, ordered the government to develop Robinson’s Arch, a secluded section of the Western Wall for use by non-Orthodox Jews.

“Sending our daughters to be wrapped in tallit at the section of the Wall that is run according to Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law is a violation…of our agreement with the State of Israel,” Ramon said.

“It violates the moral-legal principle of minhag makom: respect for the customs of a certain place and for the rabbi and community that adheres to him.”

Conservative female rabbi slams ‘religious coercion’

By Tzofia Hirshfeld June 11, 2010

Julie Schonfeld, a 44 year-old New Yorker, was elected in October 2008 as head of the Rabbinical Assembly – the international association of Conservative rabbis.

“I’m very worried about the haredization of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate and the way in which it is becoming the sole determining authority in religious affairs in the country,” Schonfeld says in an interview with Ynet.

“This reality is of course very bad for the non-Orthodox streams in Israel but also bad for Israel in general.

The Western Wall isn’t the property of one segment of the community. It is for the entire Jewish people. Women should not need to hide if they want to wear a tallit.

This hurts me deeply – as a religious Jew, as a woman and as a rabbi – that anyone would have the nerve to tell me that my wearing a tallit is sacrilegious. This is an insult to which the state of Israel gives its stamp of approval.”

Find the husband

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion June 13, 2010

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

Miriam discovered that her husband was carrying on an affair with another woman and asked to divorce him.

The husband is willing to give her a get – but only if she withdraws the other lawsuits she filed against him concerning related matters, and in the meantime – go look for him abroad. The wife’s life has come to a standstill.

…How many more stories will I have to post on this site before we internalize the absurdity that a man can go on to start a family and have children, unlike a woman whose family life is meant to stop with the disappearance of her husband.

Gov’t committee to appoint nine new rabbinical judges

By Jonah Mandel June 11, 2010

A government committee is convening Friday morning at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem to select and appoint nine new rabbinical judges (dayanim) to serve in regional rabbinical courts and two for the High Rabbinical Court.

The first issue the Committee for Appointing Rabbinical Judges will have to decree upon, however, is whether to allow Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan continue as director of the rabbinical courts.

Modern orthodox advocacy groups, such as Kolech, Tzohar and Neemanei Torah V’Avoda have in recent weeks been active in trying to prevent the committee from convening and ultimately dismissing Ben-Dahan, who himself is closer to modern orthodoxy.

Update: Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan will not continue as director of the rabbinical courts (Hebrew)

Knesset approves revolutionary law allowing domestic ova donations

By Dan Even June 9, 2010

The Knesset yesterday approved a revolutionary approach to the fertilization of human eggs on behalf of childless couples.

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman agreed to support the law after receiving the approval of senior rabbinical figures and an amendment was introduced that makes it possible to identify the religion of an ovum donor, as well as a clause that stipulates the need for a baby born from the egg of a non-Jewish donor to undergo conversion.

The law obliges the religion of the donor and the recipient to be matched since, in Judaism, the religion of a newborn baby is determined by his mother’s religion. In future, a baby born to a Jewish family from a non-Jewish donor will have to undergo conversion.

Knesset approves bill easing restrictions on egg donation in Israel

By Dan Even June 7, 2010

The database will also allow egg recipients to ascertain the donor’s religion.

From the test tube to the bedside

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich June 13, 2010

In his editorial, Dr. Amir urged that Israeli ritual circumcisers – supervised by a joint committee of the Health and Religious Services Ministry – be persuaded to change the way they stop the bleeding (called hemostasis in medical jargon), an aspect of brit mila that is not dictated by Jewish law.

Religious & Zionist

By Rachel Gelfman Schultz June 1, 2010

Many religious Jews condemn modern Zionism as “forcing the hand of God”–intervening with the divine plan for history.

Religious Zionism, however, sees the State of Israel not only as practically necessary for the Jewish people but also as religiously meaningful. According to religious Zionists, the State of Israel is an essential step in bringing the Messiah.

US’s ‘Great Recession’ is boon for aliya

By Sam Cross June 10, 2010

“As paying for Jewish day school becomes a more and more significant part of their income, young parents who want their children to attend Jewish schools will move to Israel, where it’s dramatically cheaper,” he said.

Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency have both created departments to cater to the niche markets of young singles and families with young children.

With a little help from a friend…

By Rebecca Anna Stoil June 7, 2010

“One of Ezra USA’s goals is to strengthen its members’ connection to Israel. For Ezra USA members, Israel Beiteinu, with its strong Russian support base, represents the important role Russian Jews play in Israel.”

New Wave

By Ryann Liebenthal June 8, 2010

As a non-practicing American Jew living temporarily in France from a family with no particular Zionist passion, I had never really considered going to Israel, and I wondered what the big deal was.

Why would anyone want to leave a peaceful welfare state for a country in constant conflict? I never truly came to understand why these French Jews were abandoning everything they had ever known for a place they’d only loved on vacation, but a part of the agency pitch worked its way into that portion of my heart that yearns always to belong (and hates winter).

Head of U.S. Reform movement announces retirement

By Cnaan Liphshiz June 13, 2010

The head of the Reform movement in the U.S., Rabbi Eric Yoffie, announced over the weekend that he would retire in two years, when he will have completed 16 years in office.

According to Rabbi Uri Regev, the Israel-based director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Yoffie announced his retirement in advance to ensure a proper selection process for his successor.

Rabbi Yoffie’s Report to the Union’s Board of Trustees

By Rabbi Eric Yoffie June 10, 2010

My work as president of the Union has been extraordinarily fulfilling, endlessly challenging, and a great joy in every way. There is no more satisfying way to serve the Jewish people.

Still, I am aware that in June of 2012, two years from now, I will be 65 years old, and I will have completed 16 years as president of the Union–the equivalent of 4 terms of an American President. It is, therefore, my intention to retire as president of the Union at that time.

Israeli lawyer shortlisted for int’l social leadership award

By Ruth Eglash June 7, 2010

[Update: Irit Rosenblum of New Family wins award]

Photo: New Family

Israeli lawyer Irit Rosenblum, who most recently championed the rights of a gay father attempting to bring his children born to a surrogate mother in India back to Israel, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Oguntê Women’s Social Leadership Awards 2010.

Irit Rosenblum founded the New Family organization in 1998 to fill an important gap in the practice of law and human rights: to attain the right of every individual to establish a family and to exercise equal rights within it.

Israeli Knesset Conference on Democracy and Judaism in Israel May 27, 2010

Panel discussion (Hebrew)

Click here for VIDEO

Jacob Milgrom, 87, Bible scholar

By Raphael Ahren June 11, 2010

With the passing of Professor Jacob Milgrom on Saturday in Jerusalem, Israel has lost its second leading Bible scholar in three weeks.

Both Milgrom, who immigrated in 1994, and Professor Moshe Greenberg, who died last month at 81, were American-born Conservative rabbis and academics recognized as preeminent authorities in their field. Milgrom was 87.

Tefillin-Fest for “Getting Stronger” Jews in Bnei Brak

By Hillel Fendel June 10, 2010

For the second time in three months: Several dozen secular Jews from around the country gathered in Bnei Brak to receive a blessing from an elderly sage and to put on their own tefillin for the first time.

Rabbi Raanan heads the Ayelet HaShachar outreach organization, which is predicated on original, hands-on, long-term ideas.

Deaf kids celebrate bar mitzvah ceremony in Jerusalem June 10, 2010

The Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel’s Judaic Heritage Program for Israel’s Deaf and Hearing Impaired (JHPIDHI) held its annual bar and bat mitzvah ceremony late last month.

This year 52 deaf and hearing-impaired children celebrated their right of passage at the Beit Yaakov Synagogue in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood in Jerusalem followed by a luncheon and day-long program and tour of Jerusalem with their parents. For some it was their first visit to Jerusalem.

Christianity in the Middle East June 9, 2010

The draft document, “The Catholic Church in the Middle East,” exemplifies the tightrope walked by the Vatican with regard to the ever-worsening circumstance of Christianity in the region.

Messianic Group Loses Court Case

By Hillel Fendel June 7, 2010

The Magistrates Court in Be’er Sheva has ruled against a Messianic congregation that sued the city’s Chief Rabbi and Yad L’Achim.

The Nachalat Yeshua Messianic congregation, led by Pastor Howard Bass, has lost its lawsuit against Be’er Sheva Chief Rabbi Yehuda Deri – brother of former Shas leader Aryeh Deri – and the counter-missionary organization Yad L’Achim.

The congregation had sued the two for responsibility for a disturbance that occurred in December 2005, when members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Be’er Sheva tried to prevent the baptism of at least two Jews to Christianity by breaking into a messianic church compound.

CJCUC Statement on Christians in the Middle East June 8, 2010

We, the leaders of The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding, are distressed over the decline of Christians throughout the Middle East.

In the last 50 years, the Christian populations in the region have dropped significantly in every country except Israel. This trend has accelerated in the last 10 years.

The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, PhD, Chief Rabbi of Efrat

Rabbi Eugene Korn, PhD, American Director

David Nekrutman, Executive Director

Religion and State in Israel

June 14, 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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