Religion and State in Israel – October 18, 2010 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

October 18, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Top rabbis: IDF conversions endorse gentiles as Jews

By Kobi Nahshoni October 13, 2010

Senior rabbis from the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community released a “Torah opinion and protest” against the IDF conversion track, while expressing support for marriage registrars who do not recognize former soldiers as Jews.

The extremists vs. the moderates

By Rabbi Seth Farber Opinion October 14, 2010

While the Chief Rabbinate still needs to make a more unequivocal statement supporting conversion in the IDF, it is clear that the issue of IDF conversions is now an ideological war between the moderates, who stand behind the soldiers who have joined our ranks fully, and the isolationist ultra-Orthodox, who don’t serve and don’t care about those who have.

Lithuanian rabbis protest conversions

By Jonah Mandel October 13, 2010

Yated Ne’eman’s Tuesday editorial was more specific, and spoke out against the “massive industry of fake conversions conducted by the army.”

Tuesday’s letter also calls on marriage registrars to “scrutinize and examine” every conversion certificate produced, to determine whether the convert indeed underwent the process according to Halacha.

Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox assail Sephardi chief rabbi over IDF conversions

By Yair Ettinger October 12, 2010

The Sephardi chief rabbi has been the target of withering criticism in the past for what many Haredim consider his exceedingly accommodating stance toward official state institutions.

Past chief rabbis, including the late Shlomo Goren and Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, have suffered similar criticism.

A nationality or a religion?

By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Opinion October 15, 2010

Rabbi Riskin is the founder and chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone Colleges and Graduate Programs and chief rabbi of Efrat.

Are we a nationality or a religion? The truth is we are both together and each separately.

…For Russian citizens of Israel whose fathers were Jewish and who serve in the IDF, there are even further leniencies, and it is certainly in our national interest to convert these citizens.

Yes, the Rotem law would not accept Conservative or Reform conversions in Israel; but it would open conversions to municipal rabbis who are not haredi (ultra-Orthodox). I truly believe it deserves universal support.

Judaism and religion

By Rabbi Reuven Hammer Opinion October 15, 2010

Rabbi Hammer is the head of the Rabbinical Court of the Masorti Movement and the author of several books, the most recent being Entering Torah.

[T]he alienation of Israelis from the religious component of Judaism – not only observance but even understanding and knowledge – is disastrous.

Some find Judaism quaint but irrelevant. But among all too many Israelis there is an aversion to religion, sometimes bordering on intense dislike. Yet, like it or not, Judaism throughout its history has been based on religious tradition. Take it away, and the heart of our being has been removed.

Orthodox monopoly ending?

By Yizhar Hess Opinion October 12, 2010

Attorney Yizhar Hess is the Director-General of the Masorati Movement in Israel

One poll after another in recent years show that the Israeli public has changed; that it has become more open in terms of its Jewish identity to a much greater extent than some people want us to know, that it does not fear different models of Jewish practice, and that it is happy to experience them.

…This welcome process, on all fronts, must continue. It is a harbinger of a better Israel; a more Jewish and more democratic Israel. Pluralism instead of fundamentalism. This trend had not yet been manifested politically, yet this too shall happen.

Haaretz Cartoon by Eran Wolkowski – October 13, 2010

“Jewish light, Jewish chair, Jewish kettle, Jewish cheese, Jewish tea, Jewish jam, Jewish bread”

Netanyahu orders change to loyalty oath

By Attila Somfalvi October 18, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman to redraft his proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act so that the loyalty oath suggested in it will apply to Jews seeking Israeli citizenship under Law of Return guidelines, as well.

The Jewish state: Analysis by Prof. Ruth Gavison

By Prof. Ruth Gavison Opinion October 13, 2010

Prof. Ruth Gavison is a law professor, a Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Israel Democracy Institute and founder of the Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought.

The controversy sparked over the government’s recent decision to demand all aspiring Israeli citizens to pledge their allegiance not only to Israel, but to a “Jewish and democratic” one, provides us with a unique opportunity to rectify one of the most common mistakes in such debates – the inability to differentiate between statements and symbols and pivotal legal and political arrangements.

Prof. Ruth Gavison: Loyalty declaration bill is bad legislation

By Dan Izenberg October 15, 2010

Hebrew University law professor Ruth Gavison, an outspoken supporter of characterizing Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview Wednesday that she was opposed to the loyalty oath bill approved in the cabinet earlier this week.

U.S. Jews want recognitions of Israel as Jewish state

By Avi Becker October 17, 2010

[I]t is nonetheless important to note that Jews in the United States feel the discussion on the issue of the Jewish state is an existential matter that pertains to them directly – just as issues of Israeli state and religion, and Law of Return, are crucial to them.

At play here is not a change in position, but rather the yearnings of hearts in the United States, which are sometimes overlooked by those Jews who reside in Israel.

Israelis owe a loyalty to Israel, not to Judaism

By Doron Avital Opinion October 17, 2010

And to the Jews of the Diaspora it should be said that we are pleased to have a national proximity between us, and they are invited, by virtue of the Law of Return, to join us and become Israelis.

We won’t force an identity upon them. We will honor their choice, and they will honor our choice – to be proud Israelis.

US Reform rabbis: Loyalty oath un-democratic

By Kobi Nahshoni October 17, 2010

“Our deep conviction that Israel is and must remain both Jewish and democratic is precisely what compels us to oppose this oxymoronic law,” CCAR stated.

“For in requiring non-Jewish citizens to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, this legislation greatly diminishes Israel’s Jewish character and compromises its democratic commitment.”

US Reform rabbis decry – but misread – ‘loyalty oath’ Editorial October 18, 2010

In its statement, however, the CCAR mischaracterized the amendment, claiming that it “requires all non-Jewish persons to swear allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in order to remain or become citizens of the State of Israel.”

In fact, the legislation is aimed solely at those seeking citizenship who are not eligible for it under the Law of Return. No pledge would be demanded of natural-born citizens.

VIDEO: CBS 60 Minutes – Jerusalem: City of David

Lesley Stahl reports from under the city of Jerusalem from a controversial archeological dig.

Click here for VIDEO

Woman fighting ‘kosher’ bus lines harassed over the phone

By Dor Glick October 14, 2010

The volunteer coordinator for a movement campaigning against Jerusalem bus lines instituting separation between men and women has received dozens of harassing phone calls over the past few days, Ynet reported Thursday

Protesters of Extreme Gender Segregation Report Personal Threats

By Elana Maryles Sztokman October 17, 2010

Tali Feldman, 28-year old activist with Elah, an international feminist student body fighting against sexual harassment at the university and other feminist causes, often rides the segregated buses, and refuses to sit in the back.

“It’s really frightening,” she says of the experience. “All these men screaming at me and staring at me — there have been times when I’ve been scared for my life. One time there was so much screaming that the bus driver pulled over and refused to drive.”

Rabbi take a stand to support women’s religious rights in Israel

October 18, 2010

“The launch of Rabbis for Women of the Wall is a defining moment that far surpasses Jewish denominational distinctions,” says Rabbis for WOW Co-Chair Rabbi Menachem Creditor.

“The status of the Jewish People in Israel, and therefore the world, is at stake, and we, the rabbinic community of North America, have an important voice.”

Update from Rabbi Miri Gold

By Rabbi Miri Gold Opinion October 18, 2010

While a majority of Israelis already accept Reform Rabbis, the government is still unwilling to recognize our legitimacy.

They want to designate funds for cultural, rather than religious, activities. Therefore the State has appointed the Ministry of Culture and Sport, rather than the Ministry of Religious Services, as the partner to find a solution.

This position has led to a real dilemma.

Knesset C’tee to Discuss Rabbinate Exams October 12, 2010

The Knesset State Control Committee is scheduled to discuss, on Wednesday, new procedures for examinations for candidates for the rabbinate and rabbinical courts.

The procedures were developed in the wake of complaints by candidates five months ago. Those complaints included a wait of 10 months to two years for results of the exams.

14-year old fights to become rabbi

By Raanan Ben Zur October 11, 2010

A 14-year old boy has petitioned the High Court of Justice against Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar with a demand to obligate the Chief Rabbinate to check his ordination exam. If the court rules in his favor, the boy will be in line to become the world’s youngest rabbi.

…A rabbinate official told Ynet that any divergence from the guidelines would be a slippery slope that could eventually lead to applications by women and [Reform Jews].

“Jewish Eye” – Jewish World Film Festival Ashkelon 2010

This is the seventh year of the festival on the Jewish culture and identity. It includes films from all over the world, features, documentaries and short films.

In the world there exist about one hundred festivals of Jewish films yearly, and “Jewish Eye” has a place of honor among them keeping gaining momentum.

Orthodox Women, Stunted Ambitions

By Elana Maryles Sztokman Opinion October 12, 2010

In lamenting the absence of religious women in positions of public leadership in Israel, Pinchasi asked, “Why don’t we have a Keren Neubach, Shelly Yachimovitch, or Ilana Dayan?

Why isn’t there a religious woman with a clear, polished, elaborate and committed ideological voice at the center of the public discourse? I mean the voice of a woman who does not deny her femininity but also does not play with it, and for whom it is not obsequious. The type who is both a mother and professional and has a critical public voice that you may not agree with but you cannot help but respect.”

VIDEO: Creating the first Torah scribed by women

Click here for VIDEO

Students, barred from Agency program during semester, protest ministry’s new restrictions on educational trips

By Or Kashti October 11, 2010

Education Ministry rules restricting educational trips abroad has rankled one group of high schoolers who were planning a trip later this year.

The students, from a high school in the North, are part of a Young Ambassadors delegation organized by the Jewish Agency.

How would peace deal affect ties with the Diaspora?

By Gil Shefler October 14, 2010

Starting on Wednesday, Jewish leaders and scholars from Israel and around the world will convene for a three-day conference in Jerusalem to debate that question and others affecting ties between Israel and the Diaspora.

In a bind over bonds

By Shuki Sadeh and Haim Handwerker October 15, 2010

The golden age of Israel Bonds as the country’s financial savior ended at the start of the 1990s, when the state realized it could also raise money selling bonds on the international markets.

Since then there have been voices, like Yossi Beilin’s, calling for the closing of the organization. Apart from the large sum the government pays Israel Bonds every year to cover administrative costs and salaries, the interest paid by the government of Israel is higher than the usual market rate for a U.S. government bond.

Jewish Agency switches focus to ‘peoplehood’

By Paul Berger October 14, 2010

Misha Galperin is adamant that the Jewish Agency for Israel is not changing direction.

“It’s changing strategy,” said Mr. Galperin, from his 31st-floor corner office near Grand Central Terminal in New York.

Making aliyah on board a yacht

By Itamar Eichner October 16, 2010

A 40-year-old Jewish woman from Mexico is currently making her way to Israel via a yacht in what is her very own private aliyah journey. Galia Moss, who departed from Veracruz on Tuesday, is expected to spend 65 days sailing through the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea and will eventually dock in the Herzliya Marina.

Reform aims to attract expats back to Israel

By Itamar Eichner October 13, 2010

A series of reforms put forward by the Interior Ministry aims to induce Israelis living abroad to visit and study in Israel, in an effort to convince more expatriates to resettle in Israel.

Ami conversion ulpan seeking language teachers

By Jonah Mandel October 13, 2010

The Ami conversion ulpan at Or Etzion is launching a new initiative to help and personalize the arduous journey into Judaism, by seeking language speakers in the periphery to be part of the teaching staff of their program aimed at olim.

CNN VIDEO: Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein – Why many Evangelicals back Israel

Click here for VIDEO

Israeli rabbi speaks of interfaith cooperation in Vatican

By Lisa Palmieri-Billig October 17, 2010

VATICAN CITY – Rabbi David Rosen delivered a historic speech on Wednesday to Pope Benedict XVI as over 250 bishops gathered in the Vatican’s Synod Hall for the Special Assembly on the Middle East On Thursday, Sunni and Shi’ite representatives spoke.

Rosen, adviser to Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, and the American Jewish Committee’s international director for interfaith affairs, was chosen as world Jewry’s sole representative.

The language of the Lord

By Sharon Udasin October 15, 2010

In recent years, an increasing number of priests and priests-in-training have been sent to ulpan by their seminaries.

Future Scientology center in Jaffa burns, police suspect arson

By Yaniv Kubovich October 13, 2010

The Jaffa building that is slated to become the national headquarters of the Church of Scientology was set on fire yesterday, and police said they suspect arson.

Seffi Fischler, a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology’s Israel branch:

“Scientology is recognized as a religion in 27 countries. In Israel we have yet to begin this process so that we can receive formal recognition as a religion.”

Religion and State in Israel

October 18, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.

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