Religion and State in Israel – February 14, 2011 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

February 14, 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.

Interior Ministry gets tough on int’l Orthodox conversions

By Jonah Mandel February 11, 2011

Is the Interior Ministry attempting to encourage non-Orthodox conversions for people planning on making aliya?

Probably not, but the ministry’s current conduct appears to make it far easier for Reform and Conservative converts to be recognized for the purpose of immigrating and receiving Israeli citizenship.

“There is nobody speaking on behalf of moderate Orthodoxy. We will have to take this case to court if the Interior Ministry does not back down from its policy. There is nothing in the law that gives the ministry the authority it is exercising here,” Rabbi Seth Farber said.

Who Is A Jew Crisis Moves Into Immigration Sphere

By Michele Chabin February 11, 2011

Thomas Dohlan, who converted to Judaism in an Orthodox Canadian beit din, never anticipated that Israel’s Ministry of the Interior might question his Jewishness and block his bid to make aliyah.

But that’s exactly what’s happening, thanks to what appears to be a new policy that gives Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, and not the Interior Ministry, the ultimate authority to decide which Orthodox converts are kosher enough for immigration purposes.

…The irony, Rabbi Seth Farber said, is that the Rabbinate would not be scrutinizing these converts if they had undergone a non-Orthodox conversion.

Jewish? Rabbinate: Yes. Interior Ministry: No.

Knesset convenes for first-ever Jewish Identity Day

By Jonah Mandel February 9, 2011

One of the more interesting issues taken up as part of Jewish Identity Day was the situation in which the Interior Ministry refuses to grant citizenship to people the Chief Rabbinate has recognized as Jews, because the ministry does not recognize them as such.

Why is Patrilineal Descent Not Catching On in Reform Worldwide?

By Sue Fishkoff February 13, 2011

For three decades now, the American Jewish Reform movement has considered as Jewish the child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother who is raised as a Jew.

But most Reform Jews in the rest of the world still do not accept “patrilineal descent.”

That makes the debate about “Who is a Jew” not just between the Orthodox-dominated Israeli Rabbinate and American Jewish liberal movements, but also between American Reform Judaism and most of the Diaspora.

Lieberman mulls leaving Netanyahu government if conversion bill fails

By Barak Ravid and Jonathan Lis February 10, 2011

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is considering withdrawing from the government and bringing about a general election unless his party pushes through the military conversion bill that recently passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset.

Lieberman: Coalition may fall over IDF conversion bill February 9, 2011

In a closed party meeting, the foreign minister alluded to the controversial conversion law, saying that “the matter needs to be decided, and this decision could be a costly one.” He added that if the law reaches a “second or third reading, the price could be the dismantling of the government.”

Conversion, Between Crisis and Dialogue

This paper is a short summary of the comprehensive working paper prepared for the Institute’s conference on the future of the Jewish people, which was held October 20-22, 2010 in Jerusalem, and of the discussions held in the working group dealing with the subject of conversion (giyur) during the conference itself.

It contains several of the principles already presented in the background paper, but is mainly an attempt to incorporate into them the additional insights gained during the three discussions facilitated by Prof. Susan Stone, which were lively and, at times, tumultuous, while also including policy recommendations for the continued discourse around this crucial issue.

MKs told more education is needed to combat intermarriage in Israel

By Rebecca Anna Stoil February 11, 2011

Jewish Identity Day in the Knesset on Tuesday was sponsored by the Tzohar organization and by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), and featured a number of committee meetings, all focusing on aspects of Jewish identity in Israel. But not all the lawmakers thought that the subject was appropriate material for a committee hearing.

Expanding the tribe in the home of the brave

By Naamah Kelman and Elan Ezrachi Opinion February 8, 2011

Rabbi Naamah Kelman is the dean of Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem; Dr. Elan Ezrachi is an educational consultant to international Jewish organizations. They are married.

As the great-granddaughter of an Orthodox rabbi, [Gabrielle] Giffords would certainly be entitled to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return but then she would bear the brunt of endless bans and shunning. Her activity in the Reform Jewish community in her home town of Tucson, Arizona, would not be of help to her.

…While Judaism in Israel is become moving further to the margins and concentrating mainly on whom to push out of the fold – the convert, the foreigner, the half-Jew or the new immigrant serving in the Israel Defense Forces – in American Judaism a dynamic of acceptance, embrace and widening circles is developing.

This is another measure of the growing gap between Israeli society and the largest Jewish community in the world.

Israel to delay the deportation of the partner of slain gay youth

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion February 10, 2011

Rabbi Andrew Sacks is the Director of the Masorti [Conservative] Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in Israel

Scores of Jews by choice – of all denominations – have been left in limbo upon seeking to fulfill the Mitzvah of Aliyah. Virtually all converts of color (those coming from Ethiopia are in a different path to citizenship) must jump through hoops, not to mention engage the services of an attorney, if they are to have the slightest hope of obtaining the right to live in Israel granted by the Law of Return.

The Interior Ministry bars non-Jewish students from obtaining a student visa unless they plan to study at a degree granting institution.

Just today I had to tell a person who hopes to complete his conversion in Europe that he may have to turn down his acceptance to study at the Conservative Yeshiva, in Jerusalem. The Interior Ministry will not even allow such a recent convert to come to Israel on a Birthright trip unless it has been a year since the conversion.

Egged faces contempt charges over Haredi newspaper ads

By Ron Friedman February 10, 2011

Following the refusal of haredi newspapers Hamevaser, Hamodia and Yated Ne’eman to publish Egged-sponsored ads informing their readers of the cancellation of the “mehadrin” gender-separation arrangement, the Reform Movement threatened Wednesday to charge both Egged and the newspapers of being in contempt of a High Court decision.

The Israel Religious Action Center’s lawyer Orly Erez- Likhovski told The Jerusalem Post that the ads had featured inHaaretz and Yisrael Hayom, but that the haredi newspapers had flatly refused to run them.

27 rabbis, 7 days, 1 Jewish state: Bay Area rabbis take pluralism to Israel

By Dan Pine February 10, 2011

…But the rabbis hoped their show of inter-denominational unity would impress Israelis unused to such religious pluralism.

The rabbis got a different take from Anat Hoffman, head of the Israel Religious Action Center. She was one of the first to attempt to read from a Torah scroll at the Kotel years ago, and paid a price with arrest and physical violence.

“Here’s a tip,” she said at IRAC headquarters in Jerusalem. “If you want to be a social activist, get a folding table, and make sure it’s a light one because it may end up on your head.”

Orthodox rabbis see the other side of the spectrum

By Dan Pine February 10, 2011

[Rabbi] Dardik said he felt uncomfortable during a meeting with Anat Hoffman, head of the Israel Religious Action Center and the woman behind the Women of the Wall.

That movement seeks to open the Kotel up to women who wish to read from Torah scrolls, just as men may today. “It was a stretch,” he said of his meeting with Hoffman. “I feel I get it better. I also feel I accept it more.”

Institute appeals to High Court over Civil Marriage law

By Aviad Glickman February 10, 2011

The Jerusalem Institute for Justice appealed to the High Court Thursday demanding that the Civil Marriage Law for non-denomination Israelis be changed on the grounds that it discriminates, humiliates and harms the constitutional right to family life and equality.

Making Recalcitrant Husbands Pay — Literally

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen February 11, 2011

“This is the first time that an appellate-level court has confirmed a decision of Israeli Family Courts in which Jewish women who suffered from ‘get-abuse,’ trapped in marriages due to the husband’s refusal to give them a Jewish divorce (a “get”), were awarded tort damages as a result of their suffering,” said Susan Weiss, the Center’s founder and executive director, in a press release.

“It is also our hope that this case will serve as an important precedent for women all over the world who take the position that religious laws cannot be exploited to abuse them, or used as an excuse to infringe on their basic rights to autonomy and freedom.”

Renegade Jews in Israel

By David Brinn Opinion February 13, 2011

…And we heard through the grapevine that the chief rabbi was planning on paying a surprise visit to our Shabbat morning service.

We weren’t sure whether he was going to try and disrupt it, or attempt to speak to us about the ills of men and women sitting and praying together.

We were quite sure he wasn’t going to sit down among us and put his arm around the woman next to him and sing ‘Adon Olam.’

Secular rabbis to the rescue?

By Brian Blum February 9, 2011

Secular rabbis? Isn’t that an oxymoron? No, says Tmura, the Israeli arm of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, the rabbinic and leadership school of a small Jewish movement of about 30,000 members worldwide that’s mostly flown under the radar.

…The organization has graduated some 23 rabbis in the last three years and has a sister organization called Tkasim (“ceremonies”) that helps non-religious Israelis created humanistic life cycle events – weddings, funerals and bar and bat mitzvah’s – along with Shabbat and holiday celebrations.

Prosecutor: Indict Rabbi Elon for sexual assault

By Ofra Edelman February 11, 2011

The Jerusalem prosecutor’s office is recommending that Rabbi Mordechai Elon be tried on allegations that he engaged in sexual offenses involving two minors between 2003 and 2006.

However, Elon will have a chance to defend himself at a hearing where he will be shown the evidence against him for the first time.

Rabbi Moti Elon called to hearing on sex crimes

By Ron Friedman February 10, 2011

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office has called Rabbi Mordechai Elon in for a hearing, following which it will be decided whether to indict him on charges of sexual offensesagainst two underage plaintiffs.

Rabbi Moti Elon to be charged with sex crimes February 10, 2011

Before filing charges, Elon will be given an opportunity to argue why he should not be charged.

The decision was authorized by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein with the recommendation of the state prosecutor.

CEO of IKEA Israel: Shabbat Protected Us February 7, 2011

“The fact that we are a company that observes the Sabbath and has a kosher only restaurant protected us. A great miracle happened here in that the fire broke out on the Sabbath when the store was closed, so no was killed or even injured,” he said.

MKs clash on assimilation in Israel February 8, 2011

MK Chaim Amsellem (Shas) stated he feels the true assimilations issue is caused by over 300,000 immigrants originating from the “seed of Israel”. Amsellem said the State must do all that it can to integrate them in Israel.

“The current system probably can’t handle this,” he said. “This problem will continue to grow. We are creating a product that has never existed – Israelis rooted in the Jewish society but aren’t Jewish because the State isn’t prepared.”

Amsellem suggested to unify the conversion process and not separate the civil process from the military one.

Diaspora: A window into US Jewry

‘Reviving Sanhedrin may help bridge gaps with Diaspora’

Layoffs at Nefesh B’Nefesh due to fund-raising dip

Jewish Agency in ‘Zyklon B’ building

J Street: Playing Birthright for Self-Promotion

Knesset convenes for first-ever Jewish Identity Day

The Other Right of Birthright

Rethinking Peoplehood and Israel-Diaspora Relations

Irit Kohn takes helm of Jewish lawyers association

Birthright trips should be political, says sociologist Prof. Steven Cohen

VIDEO: Birthright Rejects J Street Trip: Prof. Steven Cohen’s Comments

James Tisch favored as next JA Board chair

Alan Slifka, 81, co-founder of the Abraham Fund

Alan B. Slifka, Abraham Fund: An investor of human capital

World ORT regains right to use its English name in Israel

German family fights to stay in Israel

By Ravid Oren February 9, 2011

The Foreign Ministry, however has expressed interest in the program. David Saranga, an official at the ministry and former Consul for Media and Public Affairs in the US presented the program in one of the school’s seminaries.

But this was not enough for the Interior Ministry. Last year, Dr. Kling’s work permit expired and he is currently residing in Israel on a tourist’s visa.

Goodbye Chicago, Hello Negev!

By Elyashiv Reichner Opinion January 28, 2011

Who said that Zionism is over? Quietly, far from the media, American Jews have moved to the Negev and are in the process of establishing the core of an interesting community.

Rabbi Lopatin, a prominent Orthodox rabbi in America, came up with the idea to settle in the Negev when JNF introduced him to the OR movement, an organization that works to encourage people to settle in the Negev and Galil.

Jewish Agency representative in Ethiopia focuses on aliya

By Ruth Eglash February 8, 2011

The challenge facing thousands of Ethiopians waiting for permission to make aliya is no longer about fighting for the right to immigrate but rather about better preparing them for a new life in modern Israel, the recently appointed Jewish Agency head of delegation in Ethiopia told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

The Possibilities of Peaceful Coexistence in Jerusalem—An Inspirational Encounter

By Rabbi Ron Kronish February 7, 2011

Last Thursday night, I was witness to a rare and beautiful opportunity for encounter and dialogue at the ICCI Education Center in Jerusalem.

Fourteen high school students from all over Jerusalem gathered in our center with their parents for the opening of the 11th year of the Face to Face/Faith to Faith program.

Eight Palestinian families—Muslims and Christians—and six Jewish families, religious and secular, joined together to begin an exciting year of dialogue and education.

Religion and State in Israel

February 14, 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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