Religion and State in Israel – June 21, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

June 21, 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.

*Articles on the Haredi school segregation case will be included in an upcoming special edition.

Israel’s Conversion Bill May Change

By Stewart Ain June 16, 2010

The bill’s author, Knesset Member David Rotem, told The Jewish Week that he too wants to preserve Jewish unity and is therefore willing to amend his bill in light of concerns raised by Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist leaders he met with here in April.

He said he is offering to add a clause that would “say the law will be considering only conversions being done in Israel.”

“So American Jewry has nothing to worry about,” Rotem said. “Their conversions will be recognized and accepted.”

The leader of the Conservative movement in Israel, Yizhar Hess, said he was unaware of Rotem’s offer but quickly dismissed it.

Mazal tov, Zach Emanuel

By Yizhar Hess Opinion June 14, 2010

The writer is executive director and CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel.

The site chosen for the event, known by many as the Masorti Kotel, was the archeological park adjacent to the more familiar Western Wall.

…The Masorti Movement has never relinquished its right to pray at the Kotel, but has agreed, in compromise and with great pain, to hold its prayers at the archeological park.

‘New marriage protocols a violation of the law’

By Rebecca Anna Stoil June 16, 2010

MK David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu), the force behind his party’s bills to change the way both marriages and conversions are recognized in Israel, fired off a terse missive Tuesday to Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi (Shas), saying new rabbinic marriage protocols violate the law.

“These directives are in violation of the existing law,” Rotem wrote. He concluded the letter with a request to be informed as to “what Margi planned to do to cancel the guidelines.”

Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility June 2010 Jewish Weddings

Sanctifying Endings

By Melanie Malka Landau June 2010

Civil Marriages in Israel: A First Step

By Rabbi Naamah Kelman June 2010

A Journey Toward Marriage

By Haviva Ner-David June 2010

Women’s group seeks female director for Rabbinic Court Administration

By Ari Galahar June 19, 2010

Kolech, the Jewish Woman’s Voice organization, has approached Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman and urged him to appoint a woman director for the Rabbinic Court Administration, following a decision to end Eli Ben-Dahan’s term as director-general.

In a letter sent to the minister Sunday, the group said, “We turn and ask you to lead an historical move in respect to the management of rabbinic courts by appointing a woman to this position.”

Eli Ben Dahan, did politics play a role in your ouster from the rabbinical courts?

By Yair Ettinger June 15, 2010

On Friday the Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinic Judges voted unanimously for the initiative by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to “limit” Ben Dahan’s term.

Ben Dahan: “There has been no situation where a rabbinical court refused to divorce a woman. The person who did or did not grant a divorce is the husband, and sometimes the rabbinical court doesn’t have reasons or halakhic solutions for forcing him to grant a get.”

Social Barriers, Not Halacha, Keeps Orthodox Women From Rabbinate

By Elana Sztokman Opinion June 15, 2010

There are no halachic problems with women becoming rabbis, and virtually no rabbinic functions that women cannot perform.

So argued Dr. Hana Kehat last week at the inaugural Limmud Modi’in conference — a Jewish learning festival modeled on the famous Limmud conferences of England. Kehat, the renowned scholar and founder of the Orthodox feminist organization Kolech, spoke on a panel (along with yours truly) about the subject of Orthodox women rabbis.

Israel’s Sex-Segregated Buses Riding High

By Nathan Jeffay June 16, 2010

Keeping away from women other than one’s wife and family members, said the 20-year-old Tel Aviv resident, is basic Jewish law, and he tries his best to travel only on segregated lines. To show the way he keeps his thoughts pure on nonsegregated lines, he gestured, raising a hand to each side of his eyes, like blinkers.

This young man, a Hasid from the Skver sect, has grown up in a Haredi world with enough political and financial clout to get Israel’s Transportation Ministry to establish niche services catering to his religious lifestyle, like the mehadrin buses.

He believes Haredim should continue to push for segregation in other areas of public life.

Chief Rabbi to mark imported beef unkosher if slaughtering process not changed

By Cnaan Liphshiz June 18, 2010

Israel’s chief rabbi intends to label 80 percent of the meat currently imported into the country as not kosher unless “cruel” slaughter practices are ended, Anglo File has learned. The decision came after pressure from American-Israeli animal welfare activists.

A danger called constitution

By Aluf Benn Opinion June 16, 2010

But a constitution that seeks a broad compromise will at best not change a thing, and at worst will bolster the status of the religious and Jewish law.

Constitution by Consensus, backed by former Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar, promises “stability, public transparency, equality and unity.”

To get there, its authors offer the religious a deal: closing down malls on Shabbat and preserving the rabbis’ control over marriage and divorce in exchange for “civil unions” – a second-class form of civil marriage.

If this is the constitution they are offering, it would be best to give up and stick with Ben-Gurion’s tradition of no constitution. This was also Ariel Sharon’s position.

WZO gets 1st religious-Zionist chairman

By Haviv Rettig Gur June 16, 2010

In what may be a sign of the slowly growing demographic and organizational influence of Orthodox Jewry in the Diaspora, the World Zionist Organization on Tuesday elected its first-ever chairman from the modern-Orthodox “Mizrahi” camp.

The Orthodox parties comprise over a quarter of the delegates to the quadrennial Zionist Congress, largely because at the last election to the Zionist General Council, held in 2006 in Jewish communities throughout the world, Orthodox organizations such as the US-based OU and others organized to encourage their constituency to cast their votes.

First Time for Number Two

By Cnaan Liphshiz June 18, 2010

For the first time in its 113 years of existence, the World Zionist Organization this week elected a representative of a religious denomination as its number two man. David Breakstone, the U.S.-born representative of Merkaz – the Zionist political arm of the Conservative Movement – was voted deputy chair and acting chair of the organization.

WZO congress opens in Jerusalem, with new vision for Jewish state

By Nir Hasson June 15, 2010

Shas also seeks to increase the power within WZO of Israeli representatives at the expense of Diaspora Jewry, especially Americans.

At present, congress delegates represent in roughly equal numbers Israeli and U.S. Jews as well as Jews from the rest of the world.

Shas proposes that half the delegates come from Israel. Another 10 percent would come from the Diaspora but be selected by Zionist institutions in Israel.

World Zionist Congress

By Elliot Jager June 15, 2010

[T]hree years after the birth of Israel, the congress met for the first time in Tel Aviv, where delegates sought to map out the relationship between movement and state.

By contrast, the prosaic issue confronting today’s congress involves the possibly baleful influence of the WZO’s newest constituent, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party—undoubtedly nationalist, but with no philosophical connection to Zionism—on religious pluralism inside the movement.

The World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency Struggle to Find Meaning

By Dan Brown June 14, 2010

Where are our Diaspora leaders while all this is taking place? Basically, asleep at the switch. When might they wake-up? While we heard faint stirrings in the past couple of days, it will probably not be until Shas takes their new found power to the Jewish Agency Board and proposes to amend Sharansky’s Identity programs with the words, “according to Torah” and remove “mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people” from the agenda of the Jewish Agency.

“Ghost Zionism” Haunts the World

By Gil Troy Opinion June 16, 2010

Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University in Montreal and a Shalom Hartman Research Fellow in Jerusalem.

[T]his year, Shas, having recently joined the World Zionist Organization, is trying to change the iconic Jerusalem Program.

That Johnny-come-lately politicos are quibbling over wording while neglecting so many other pressing issues borders on the comic.

That the proposed changes will feed stereotypes of Israel and Zionism as conservative, theocratic, and alienating Diaspora youth, makes the episode tragic.

First look: The Jewish Agency’s new strategic vision—the actual plan

By Jacob Berkman June 18, 2010

It’s not a radical redoing of the agency, but it certainly is a shift that flip-flops the focus of the organization, and drastically de-emphasizes aliyah and some of its modalities of the past.

The Agency seems to have come to the realization that if it is to remain relevant it must do away with its old sensibilities – namely that for the better part of last century, the world Jewish community was consumed with founding the state of Israel, establishing it and settling it.

Group slams JA’s new Jewish identity focus

By Raphael Ahren June 18, 2010

The Council of Immigrant Associations in Israel has sharply criticized the Jewish Agency for recently shifting its focus away from immigration and toward fostering Jewish identity.

“Immigration groups protest and condemn the policy of the Jewish Agency, which decided to forfeit the centrality of working to encourage immigration, which for 100 years has been the essence of Zionism.”

Breeding Zionism

By Adam Kirsch June 15, 2010

[The] whole premise of Birthright is opposed to the classical Zionist idea that Jews, to flourish as Jews, must settle in the Jewish State.

Birthright trips are round-trip, not one-way; as Kelner provocatively puts it, “since the program’s inception, it has funded the departures of almost 200,000 Jews from the Jewish state.”

Really, the tours are not Zionist enterprises but “diaspora-building” ones, meant to increase Jewish consciousness among American Jews once they return to America.

Jewish Agency holds aliya expos across N. America

By E.B. Solomont June 14, 2010

Riding a wave of increased aliya, the Jewish Agency for Israel is hosting a series of major immigration expos across North America this week.

At a gathering billed as the largest of its kind, some 1,000 people were expected to turn out at the kick-off event in New York on Sunday, where olim were to learn, one-on-one and in groups, about Hebrew-language programs, housing, health care and absorption.

Simon Rockower 2009 Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism June 17, 2010

Nefesh B’Nefesh Award for The Story of Aliyah

First Place

Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

“The ‘Lone Soldier’ Experience” by Josh Sayles

Second Place

Forward, New York, NY

Writing in My Father’s Footsteps Series by Jonathan Kesselman

Hagai Merom, has the time come for the World Zionist Organization to end its historic role?

By Nir Hasson June 16, 2010

Q: What is your opinion about Shas joining the WZO?

Hagai Merom:

Their proposals, which at first glance seem replete with a love of Israel, include a kind of rejection of other streams, and a decision of this kind could not get the required majority in the Congress. So that will be their first test and [we’ll see] whether they remain members.

But as I understand it, Rabbi Ovadia’s decision is a firm one and it is not intended as a short term one, and it says ‘we will serve in the army and we are Zionists.’

WZO elects Shalom Simhon as JNF chair

By Amiram Cohen June 18, 2010

The World Zionist Congress yesterday elected Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon (Labor) as chairman of the Jewish National Fund.

…Simhon’s supporters insisted the election did not violate the prior order; the court will decide that issue shortly.

Court: Simhon’s appointment as JNF chairman needs vote

By Mazal Mualem June 16, 2010

Labor party chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak suffered an embarrassing setback this week: The Petah Tikvah District Court barred him from appointing his crony, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, as chairman of the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund without a formal election by party organs.

WZO to boost environmental practices

By Ehud Zion Waldoks June 18, 2010

The World Zionist Congress voted nearly unanimously in favor of four resolutions Thursday which would significantly improve its – and its subsidiaries’ – environmental practices.

Keren Hayesod bids farewell to world chairman

By Greer Fay Cashman June 20, 2010

This year’s conference had a bitter-sweet component as it was also a farewell to Keren Hayesod World Chairman Avi Pazner, who decided to step down after twelve years in office. A separate official farewell was held for him at the Mount Zion Hotel the following evening.

VIDEO: Israeli company of immigrants

“Hakhel” for Schools – Jewish Identity Education for Israeli Government Schools June 24, 2010

Panim for Jewish Renaissance in Israel will be holding a “Hakhel for Schools“, to give principals and teachers from state elementary and high schools all over Israel the chance to become acquainted with the variety of approaches within pluralistic Judaism and with Jewish pluralistic organizations, as well as the tools, teaching methods, and government budgets available for education towards Jewish, Israeli, and democratic identity.

The Spirit of Limmud Comes to Modiin

By Michal Bergman June 18, 2010

Limmud Modiin is now behind us. After preparations, deliberations, ups and downs, we are “after.”

Only the feeling of euphoria, the feeling of the joy of learning, the joy of people and the joy of community – these feelings are still with us, as well as our hope that they won’t fade away too quickly.

Tourists seek enlightenment (or Madonna) in Israel

Reuters June 15, 2010

In this hilltop town above the Sea of Galilee, black-clad Hassidic Jews throng stone alleys where sandal-shod New Agers offer biblical jewelry and organic hummus to tourists seeking enlightenment – or Madonna.

Welcome to Safed – also known as Tzfat – where the tourism boom Israel is enjoying with a lull in violence comes with a spiritual twist, thanks in part to the interest the Queen of Pop takes in Jewish Kabbalah mysticism, which has roots in the town

Israel, Vatican closer to resolving differences June 15, 2010

Israel and the Vatican appear to have moved closer to resolving financial and other outstanding issues that have clouded bilateral relations for years.

A plenary session of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the two states took place Tuesday at the Vatican.

A statement said the plenary “welcomed the progress” accomplished by the commission’s working committee and had “agreed on the next steps towards conclusion of the Agreement.” It said the meeting took place in “an atmosphere of mutual understanding.”

Religion and State in Israel

June 21, 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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