Religion and State in Israel – January 10, 2011 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

January 10, 2011 (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.

PM extends moratorium on civil conversion bill for six months

By Yair Ettinger January 10, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to extend a freeze on the advancement of a controversial civil conversion bill that was proposed by the Yisrael Beiteinu party last year.

In exchange for the extended moratorium, the Reform and Conservative movements agreed to hold off on their petitions to the High Court of Justice on the conversion issue.

Conversion bill moratorium extended another 6 months

By Jonah Mandel January 10, 2011

Israel’s Reform movement praised Netanyahu “for his dedication to the unity of the Jewish people.”

“We hope that the prime minister’s commitment will prevent any future unilateral legislation that would exclude the non-Orthodox movements and discriminate against them,” Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the movement’s head, said Monday.

Kariv stressed that the solutions needed for converts from all religious streams, in Israel and in the Diaspora, would be reached “by fortifying the moderate elements in the Orthodox world and curbing the trends of radicalization in Israel’s rabbinic establishment, and by not giving the factors behind these trends the monopoly on the issue.”

He was referring to the original conversion bill, which sought to give the Chief Rabbinate ultimate responsibility over conversions in Israel.

Jewish Federation head calls for extended moratorium, more dialogue on civil conversion bill

By Raphael Ahren January 7, 2011

“When you look at the bill there is some wording and some language that need to be changed,” said Jerry Silverman. “The bill became political and we need to move out of the politics and say what the original intent of the bill is.”

In its current form, the bill “will create terrible disunity and really create a crevice between [Israel and] Diaspora Jewry,” he added.

IDF conversion opposition: Rabbi Amar hypocritical heretic

By Kobi Nahshoni January 5, 2011

Those opposing the IDF conversions are escalating their battle against Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who is working to get them approved.

In pashkvilim (street announcements) distributed in haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem over the past few days, it was claimed that the rabbi was “famous for his hypocrisy” and that the members of the committee he chose to examine the issue are heretics.

Why army conversions are lacking

By Jonathan Rosenblum Opinion January 7, 2011

The writer is the director of Jewish Media Resources

All proposals for increasing the number of converts through creative new approaches “within Halacha” inevitably involve subterfuge.

At a recent session of the Jewish People Planning Institute, the Israeli Reform representative admitted honestly that any conversion in which Reform participates will not be an Orthodox conversion.

Hiddush slams civil unions law: ‘Only 15 couples used it’ January 10, 2011

Rabbi Uri Regev:

“During these past few months, the only ones who registered were those were were waiting for the implementation of the law. In the coming months, it is likely that even less will register, only a few dozen per year. As Hiddush warned, the civil unions law has not solved anything and has only caused harm.”

Civil Unions bill proposal

By Ronen Medzini January 10, 2011

The Ministerial Committee is also set to discuss a bill proposed by MKs David Rotem and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu) over the status of couples in civil unions.

Is there an excuse for not giving a “get”?

By Susan Weiss Opinion January 3, 2011

Not giving a get is not a religious right of a husband but a civil wrong – a tort—that entitles women to damages. Not given a get is an intentional act meant to cause great harm and emotional damages.

The Right to Divorce in Jewish Law: Between Politics and Ideology

By Avishalom Westreich, Academic Center of Law and Business

International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family, 2011

The paper discusses the deep, even emotional, debate surrounding no-fault divorce in Jewish Law.

Dancing on the steps of the Rabbinate – A Divorce Clip

נרקוד על מדרגות הרבנות – קליפ גירושין


Click here for VIDEO

Click here for article (Hebrew)

PHOTOS: Women of the Wall at Kotel

Women of the Wall Celebrate Shevat at the Western Wall January 4, 2011

This past week, dozens of newspapers ran articles about the new iphone application developed by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation that allows users to watch a live feed from the Western Wall.

The Kotel camera’s close-up footage only displays the men’s section. In reaction Anat Hoffman stated: “Once again, the women are hidden. From the perspective of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, they do not even exist.”

Click here for more PHOTOS

Female Israeli activist could be sent to prison for praying at Wailing Wall

By Adrian Blomfield January 6, 2011

In August, [Anat Hoffman] recalled recently: “They took me to the jail and told me: ‘we’re going to put an end to this behaviour; you won’t get away with it any more’.”

‘Rabbinic Judges Law’

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion January 9, 2011

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

Let’s focus on one simple question: how many rabbinic court judges accept the civil court of the State of Israel as a judicial authority whose decisions are not presumed to be “theft”?

Perhaps an affirmative answer to this simple question needs to be a condition for accepting a person as a potential candidate for a position as a rabbinic court judge.

Religious Zionism leader Rabbi Druckman: It’s a rabbi’s duty to voice opinions

By Kobi Nahshoni January 3, 2011

Rabbi Haim Druckman, one of the Religious Zionism movement’s leaders, published a statement Friday opposing the limitation on rabbis’ freedom of expression, after Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the initiator of the controversial rabbis’ letter, was summoned to a police interrogation.

Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu arrives in J’lem for investigation into ’08 incident

By Jonah Mandel January 3, 2011

Despite his declared intention to the contrary, Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu came to Jerusalem on Sunday for police questioning, the grounds being the suspicion of incitement to racism.

In related news, Eliahu’s attorneys on Sunday handed the High Court of Justice their preliminary response to the petition filed by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), which last month demanded of Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to re-open the criminal procedures against Eliahu.

Poll: Foreigners jeopardize Israel’s Jewish character January 4, 2011

Among the ultra-Orthodox, religious and traditional respondents, a vast majority believed that the State’s Jewish character was jeopardized (93%, 85% and 71% respectively), while some 43% of seculars responded similarly.

The race for gas and race

By Sefi Rachlevsky Opinion January 5, 2011

A more basic repair is needed. The wives of the rabbis draw their strength from the laws of the state, which do not permit the “interracial” marriage of Jews and non-Jews inside Israel.

This can serve as an opportunity to change marriage laws in order to educate society about the importance of freedom of marriage for all, regardless of their religion, race or gender.

(Bedouin) boy meets (Jewish) girl

By Oshrat Nagar Levit January 9, 2011

Far from the public debate, in the safe haven of their central Safed apartment, Rafiq and Dana are not letting Jewish law manage their lives. “Who is this Rabbi Eliyahu, I don’t know him and he won’t tell me how to live,” Dana says.

Israeli rabbi sees pressing need for pluralism

By Johanna Ginsberg January 5, 2011

Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum, a Masorti, or Conservative, rabbi in Jerusalem, offered dire predictions if advocates for pluralism in Israel don’t act now.

“The next 60 years will define the character of Israel. We must give everything we can to make it what we want it to be,” she said. “If we do not succeed, it’s very simple. The State of Israel will become a state ruled by haredim. The people in Israel will become haredim,” or fervently Orthodox.

Israeli rabbi: Diaspora pluralists must speak up

By Debra Rubin January 3, 2011

Rabbi Andrew Sacks:

“At one time Israel was viewed as a charity to which North Americans would give,” he said. “While funding is still key, the relationship between Israeli Jewry and Diaspora Jewry, in a global world, is mutual.”

As such, he continued, “when we say, ‘Out of Zion Torah goes forth,’ we must see to it that the Torah is a living representation of Judaism as we understand it.”

The Israeli Millet System: Examining Legal Pluralism through Lenses of Nation-Building and Human Rights

By Yuksel Sezgin, Harvard Divinity School, Israel Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 3, 2010

Israel still maintains a highly pluralistic personal status system (millet) that it inherited from the Ottoman Empire.

Under this archaic system, religious courts of fourteen ethno-religious communities, staffed with their very own judges who apply religious and customary laws of their own communities, are granted exclusive jurisdiction over matters of marriage and divorce and concurrent jurisdiction with the civil courts in regard to issues of maintenance and succession.

When the Messiah comes, Israel will deport him

By Bradley Burston Opinion January 6, 2011

When the Messiah comes, rabbis will treat him like Jesus.

They will brand him disloyal, diseased, Reform.

In wall posters, Sabbath sermons, ritual decrees and signed petitions, careful not to use his title, chief rabbis of cities and towns will warn of an existential threat to the essential Jewish character of the state. Under no circumstances are Jews to sell or rent homes or lots to someone like this. The rabbis’ wives will vilify him as a carnal threat to Jewish girls.

Did golden calf cause Carmel blaze?

By Yoav Zitun January 7, 2011

A poster at the Holon Rabbinate offices explains that the Carmel fire was caused due to the holding of pagan rituals, debauchery, adultery and desecration of Shabbat.

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Rabbi New Darling Of U.S. Jewish Establishment

By Gary Rosenblatt January 7, 2011

Chaim Amsellem has become an unlikely hero to many in the American Jewish establishment who closely follow Israeli life, including a new worldwide group being formed to support his positions.

Here in New York, businessman Salomon Bendayan helped sponsor the rabbi’s visit, and says he and other supporters from around the world are planning to gather in Israel next month to launch Am Shalem (A Unified People), a non-political, educational program that will promote Rabbi Amsellem’s social platform, with the goal of promoting Jewish unity.

Rabbi. MK. Heretic?

By David Horovitz January 7, 2011

For the first time in its history, a credible and hitherto dutiful insider has shown the guts to stand up and shout that Shas and its emperor have no clothes…

From within the ranks of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox political establishment, Amsalem has emerged to challenge the untenable norm which has seen the Ashkenazi Lithuanian haredi leadership encourage its followers to eschew military service and employment in favor of Torah study as the most elevated use of their time.

Shas (“rebel”) MK Rabbi Hayyim Amsalem speaks in NY

By Michael Pitkowsky January 8, 2011

He was vague about his political future, but maybe the biggest piece of news was that he is spearheading an organization called Am Shalem that will support the vision that he is working for.

This will be a world-wide organization with offices in different cities, with a branch in New York opening up in the near future.

VIDEO: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – “4 Minutes” (Hebrew)

ארבע : דקות – פרק 02 – הרב עובדיה יוסף “עובדה” – שידורי קשת


Click here for VIDEO


The rabbi who wants to be a freedom fighter

By Mordechai Beck January 6, 2011

Amsellem declares his intention to establish his own party: “I have growing support for such a step,” he says, citing independent surveys.

“They include 33 per cent of Shas voters.” Beyond Shas, he also has the growing backing of senior army people, engineers, doctors, lawyers, academics – people who wish to fuse Torah observance with the work ethic.

“This approach has recently been marginalised; the secularists took it to one extreme, the Charedim to another. Our way, of Torah V’Avodah, is disappearing. We want to return to this model.”

A Welcome At The Wall

By Steve Lipman January 4, 2011

The wall at their back is about 2,000 years old; the documents in their hands are brand new.

Hours after they arrived in Israel as part of 2010’s last group of immigrants, this group of the country’s newest citizens celebrated at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, flashing their Israeli ID cards.

The Jewish Peoplehood Hub has Closed January 3, 2011

The Jerusalem based Jewish Peoplehood Hub (JPH), a partnership between the NADAV Fund, UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Agency for Israel, has closed.

MK Hasson pushes for bigger immigrant aid grant

By Raphael Ahren January 7, 2011

The Absorption Ministry on January 1 increased the ‘sal klitah’ financial grant for new arrivals by 10 percent, but the lawmaker behind the augmentation says he will pressure the ministry to further increase the payments.

Netanyahu vows to double gov’t funds given to Birthright

By Gil Shefler January 6, 2011

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday night promised to double the state’s investment in Birthright, the program that brings Diaspora Jews aged 18-26 to Israel on free 10-day heritage trips.

Netanyahu Challenges Federations on Birthright

By Dan Brown Opinion January 10, 2011

As the Prime Minister indicated, [Taglit Birthright-Israel] “can dramatically help us strengthen Jewish identity and strengthening Jewish identity is critical for our common future.”

Can the community internalize, and then act on, this challenge? Only time will tell.

Oliver Worth elected WUJS chairman

By Stephanie Hodes January 4, 2011

Changing of the Guard

By Raphael Ahren January 7, 2011

Tel Aviv resident Oliver Worth was elected new chairman of World Union of Jewish Students. Worth was born in Nottingham in the U.K. but lived in Glasgow for most of his life.

In U.S., Israeli expats turn to growing number of Israeli rabbis

By Sue Fishkoff January 3, 2011

Many Israeli-born Chasidic rabbis also are serving various Chasidic communities in North America. But it’s the Israeli Chabad and Sephardic rabbis, along with individual non-chasidic Israeli rabbis, who represent a new phenomenon: Israeli rabbis in the United States reaching out to largely non-observant fellow expats.

Private donors fund new absorption initiative

By Ruth Eglash January 7, 2011

Disappointed with government programs to integrate French immigrant children into Israeli society and the education system in particular, private Jewish donors from France have initiated a new scheme aimed at improving the overall absorption process,The Jerusalem Post learned Wednesday.

Birthright Alumni Follow-Up Program Trims Its Ambitions

By Josh Nathan-Kazis January 5, 2011

Birthright Israel NEXT, which follows up with young Jews after they return from the free trip to Israel offered by Birthright, is rewiring itself after a major shakeup of its top leadership.

The multimillion-dollar nonprofit, founded three years ago to deepen the involvement of Birthright alumni in the Jewish community, is considering reducing and redirecting its programming as debate continues over whether its purpose is even worthwhile.

Jesus’s baptism site to open to public after 42 years

By Tovah Lazaroff January 6, 2011

After 42 years as a closed military zone, the site where John baptized Jesus along the shores of the Jordan River will permanently open to the public with a special ceremony on January 18.

Ousted Greek Orthodox Patriarch behind locked doors in Jerusalem

AP January 7, 2011

Six years ago he was the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Holy Land. Today, Irineos I claims he is a prisoner in the church’s Old City compound in Jerusalem, trapped by the successor who ousted him in a dispute over the sale of church property to Israeli settlers.

Addis Ababa Jews see no quick route to promised land

Reuters January 8, 2011

“Last month, the government of Israel decided to bring the last group of Falash Mura waiting in Gonder,” Alon Unfus-Asif, spokesman at the Israeli embassy in Addis Ababa, told Reuters.

“This decision aims to be the last chapter of organized immigration from Ethiopia to Israel,” Alon said.

Israel grants automatic citizenship to Jews who immigrate. Most Falash Mura must undergo a conversion ritual before receiving citizenship papers.

Lost & Found – Bnei Menashe

By Aryeh Tepper January 4, 2011

To the delight of the Bnei Menashe, in 2005 the Sephardi chief rabbi, Shlomo Amar, ruled that the community belongs to “the seed of [the people] Israel” and dispatched a rabbinical court to India to assist in converting members of the community formally.

But “mass conversion” is against the law in India, and the government ordered the rabbinical team to leave. Which brings us to the present situation, and the recent declaration by the immigration ministry urging the government to take action on behalf of the aspiring community.

Celebrating Ethiopian Ledet with Matanya Tausig

Click here for PHOTO gallery

By Rachel Neiman January 7, 2011

Freelance photographer Matanya Tausig has always been fascinated by religion and religious subjects. For his final project at Jerusalem’s Hadassah College, Tausig chose to document the priests from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Religion and State in Israel

January 10, 2011 (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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