Religion and State in Israel – March 14, 2011 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

March 14, 2011 (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.

Israeli rabbis launch initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women

By Yair Ettinger March 11, 2011

Rabbis from the religious Zionist community have launched an initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women – with some surprising successes.

All the matches were arranged by Rabbi Areleh Harel of the West Bank settlement of Shilo. He teaches at a yeshiva in Elon Moreh and has a name in religious circles as the go-to rabbi for homosexuals.

Harel said all his couples receive close support from a team of psychologists, marriage counselors and social workers.

They also consult frequently with rabbis, including Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan Yaakov Ariel, and especially Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Puah Institute, which specializes in halakhic solutions to fertility problems.

Gays and the Rabbis who may harm them

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion March 8, 2011

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

So it comes as a surprise that several prominent rabbis, here in Israel, have backed an initiative by an organization called “Kamoha” – a GLBTQ Orthodox organization – that has set up a fund a charity to pay for “conversion therapy” for religious men aged 18 to 25 who are attracted to other men.

A spokesperson for Kamoha stated, “We consulted many rabbis on the issue – Zionists and haredim – and they all welcomed the initiative and congratulated us, and some even donated money.”

This support for conversion therapy is a violation of everything Jewish.

A curious disappearing act

By Einat Hurvitz Opinion March 7, 2011

The writer is director of the legal and public policy department at the Israel Religious Action Center.

Since 2001, the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) has been monitoring demands by haredi extremists to introduce gender segregation in the public sphere.

…It is impossible to ignore the fact that demands for segregation invariably involve relegating women to the back of a given space; sometimes they also imply their conceptual exclusion from the space.

Ed. Ministry appoints Haredi supervisors, petition looms

By Jonah Mandel March 7, 2011

The Education Ministry announced on Monday the selection of 14 new supervisors for the haredi educational system.

Despite initial apprehension from within the haredi world, all of the new supervisors conform to the broad definition of ultra-Orthodox.

The legality of the standard tender published by the commission in October for supervisors was challenged as discriminatory by the Haredi Clinic for Human Rights at Kiryat Ono Academic College and Rabbi Haim Havlin of Jerusalem, who, despite being an ordained rabbi with many years of experience as an educator, was denied the possibility to compete for a slot as a supervisor as he lacks an academic degree.

Jerusalem builds fence between secular, religious playgrounds

By Nir Hasson March 7, 2011

Secular parents demonstrated yesterday against a fence built on a Jerusalem playground to keep children from a secular nursery school from playing with peers at an ultra-Orthodox one.

The Jerusalem Municipality completed the fence yesterday, which drew criticism from some Orthodox parents as well.

Ultra-Orthodox supporters of the fence, in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, said it was there to keep their children from seeing other little boys in T-shirts and without skullcaps.

The new Israeli barrier: a fence that splits Jewish nursery in two

By Harriet Sherwood March 7, 2011

One ultra-orthodox parent, picking up her daughter, said she was saddened by the fence but reluctantly accepted its necessity. “I don’t want my children to see immodest women,” said the mother, who did not want to give her name.

Playground fence symbolizes Jewish split in Israel

By Batsheva Sobelman March 10, 2011

Some see the playground as a metaphor for the bigger picture.

“This case encapsulates the entire story of religious-secular relations in Israel,” said Aliza Gershon, director general of Tzav Pius, an organization advocating conciliation and dialogue within Israeli society.

“I am saddened by the segregation. Such separation is unnecessary, certainly at such a young age.”

Wedding once in 60 years

By Roman Yanushevsky March 13, 2011

The Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City hosted a wedding Tuesday night for the first time since 1948, following its renovation and reconstruction.

The happy couple, Avi Pashnov and Racheli-Orly Jorno, joined a distinguished list of couples who were married at the synagogue, including the son of the first British high commissioner of Palestine, Herbert Samuel, who was married there in 1920.

Hurva Synagogue is home to first wedding since 1948

By Joshua Haberman March 9, 2011

During the ceremony, Pashnov said he and his wife were “only a tiny chain link that brings together the past and the future.”

The next wedding is scheduled for Sunday. Couples had married at the synagogue’s ruins before the rededication ceremony.

Israel trip has missionizing bent, charge participants

By Or Kashti and Yael Gaton March 11, 2011

This winter, 11th grader Noa Possek took part in the Israel Journey, a weeklong educational program operated by Mibereshit, a movement set up by Rabbi Moti Elon and cosponsored by a private foundation and the Education Ministry. She found it to be strange.

The program of the Israel Journey was coauthored by society and youth department staff from the Education Ministry. Mibereshit, whose name plays on the first book of the Bible, from Genesis (Bereshit), began operating the program five years ago, and to date more than 60,000 11th graders, mostly from state schools, have taken part.

MK Hotovely, is Women’s Day a happy day for Israel’s women?

By Mazal Mualem March 8, 2011

Q: Have you ever been discriminated against as a woman?

No. Let me think. Maybe about security issues there is a feeling that the male milieu doesn’t like women expressing opinions. Personally, I appreciate remarks based on knowledge when it comes to matters of state.

Q: And in the religious environment in which you were raised?

I come from religious Zionism. Women are empowered there. It’s something I always take with me. In my world there are no real barriers.

Nat’l-religious rabbis, educators support social workers

By Jonah Mandel March 7, 2011

Fifty national-religious rabbis and educators issued a public letter Monday in support of the striking social workers and their demand for better working conditions.

“We rabbis, educators and social-national activists wholeheartedly support the social workers, their life work, their dedication and essential contribution to the State of Israel, and call for an immediate improvement in their terms of employment,” the short message read.

City planning for the Haredi community

By Gerard Heumann Opinion March 13, 2011

The writer is a Jerusalem architect and town planner.

While recognizing the severe land shortage, more Betar Illits or Modi’in Illits are not the answer. The present government’s policy of planning new, exclusively haredi cities – Harish in the North and Kasif in the Negev – should be reexamined. Political and social considerations aside, such dispersion is extremely costly in terms of infrastructure, and unsustainable.

How can architects and planners design economic new haredi neighborhoods truly reflecting their inhabitants’ unique social structure and way of life?

Kfir Brigade troops threaten mutiny

By Yair Altman March 9, 2011

Soldiers from the Kfir Brigade stood firmly by their colleague who deserted following the destruction of his home in the West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad by the Civil Administration.

Two of Shimon Weisman’s friends told Ynet they placed loyalty to their rabbi above obeying their commander, and others threatened the brigade commander with mutiny.

IDF trains Haredi men for classic female role

By Jonah Mandel March 13, 2011

The IDF completed on Thursday the first-ever training of haredi soldiers who will now begin to fill the function of “conditions of service” non-commissioned officers (NCOs) in haredi units.

Part of a standard military unit is the presence of a soldier, usually female, who is trained to fill a function similar to that of a social worker.

Haredim: Call off Jerusalem food festival

By Ari Galahar March 8, 2011

A food festival planned for the end of the month at Jerusalem’s Old City has managed to stir a row among residents of the Jewish Quarter due to the sale of non-kosher food in the Christian and Muslim Quarters during the event.

Jewish Quarter Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl sent a letter to Shlomi Atias, CEO of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, urging him to prevent the festival from taking place.

Rabbinate, J’lem City Hall at odds over food festival

By Jonah Mandel March 10, 2011

[The] head of the rabbinate’s kashrut division, Rabbi Ya’acov Sabag, sent Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat a letter last week protesting that an event including un-kosher eateries is taking part under the auspices of the city.

“The city of Jerusalem – beyond its historic sanctity – serves as a metropolis for tourists from all around the world,” Sabag wrote. “We respectfully ask that only kosher food stands would be included in this project, for the benefit of the public – and preventing the misguidance of the public.”

New Harish homes to suffer noise nuisance

By Zafrir Rinat March 8, 2011

The state is advancing with plans to build neighborhoods in the new ultra-Orthodox city of Harish, despite the future homes’ proximity to the Trans-Israel Highway.

The homes would suffer noise up to four times the permissible levels, claim Housing and Construction Ministry officials.

Super-Sol partners with Haredi charities in marketing push

By Nati Tucker March 9, 2011

Super-Sol wants a larger chunk of the ultra-Orthodox community’s Passover spending: it’s offering a membership card that grants a 4% discount at its Yesh groceries. It’s launching the club in conjunction with two ultra-Orthodox charities, Va’ad Harabanim and Kupat Ha’ir, which manage social safety net programs. The two will help marketing.

Pamela Anderson says ‘L’Chaim’ to animal rights in TA

By Sharon Udasin March 8, 2011

Among those crowded around Anderson was MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), who drafted a Knesset bill banning the trade of animal fur in Israel – excluding fur in haredi apparel, such as shtreimels – in conjunction with Israel’s International Anti-Fur Coalition.

The bill is being prepared in the Education, Culture and Sports Committee headed by MK Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) for its second and third (final) readings in the Knesset plenum.

Budget chief: Mortgage subsidy is ‘populist’

By Meirav Arlosoroff March 13, 2011

Through the bill, Atias is seeking to help primarily his ultra-Orthodox constituency, but they’ll also be hurt by the measure, Nissan said. The bill would subsidize mortgages for first-time buyers in the periphery by NIS 140,000.

Rabbi Wolpo regrets inciting remarks

By Kobi Nahshoni March 9, 2011

Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo, chairman of the SOS Israel and Our Land of Israel movements, is taking back his call to fire rubber bullets at Israel Defense Forces soldiers and beat them up in response to similar actions on their part during the evacuation of Jewish communities in the West Bank.

Peace Now calls on AG to investigate rabbi for incitement

By Ron Friedman March 8, 2011

In response to Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe’s call on Saturday evening for settlers to violently resist evacuations of outposts, Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer wrote a letter to the attorney general on Tuesday, asking that he investigate Wolpe for incitement.

Rabbi to settlers: Shoot back at troops

By Jonah Mandel March 8, 2011

“The army has decided to fight against the Jewish settlers of the Land of Israel,” Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, head of the Eretz Yisrael Shelanu movement, told Israel Radio’s religious Reshet Moreshet station last week.

“So when Jews or Arabs come the way they did at Gilad Farm to destroy homes, and they shoot rubber bullets, they should have rubber bullets shot back at them. And if they come to beat people, they should be beaten back,” he said.

Rabbi Wolpo: Fire rubber bullets back at soldiers

By Kobi Nahshoni March 8, 2011

Former Shas head Deri angered by apparent mock political sabotage campaign

By Gil Hoffman March 10, 2011

Former Shas leader Arye Deri expressed outrage on Wednesday over a campaign that was apparently launched in an effort to prevent his return to politics.

Some 10,000 people received automated phone calls Tuesday night asking if they wanted Deri to “return to leadership and unite the people of Israel.”

Newspapers were sent mock advertisements with Deri’s picture and campaign promises about returning the Left to power.

A Monk in Confinement, Waiting to Reclaim a Title

By Isabel Kershner March 7, 2011

Like a figure in a medieval drama, the monk Irenaeus I has been cloistered for the last three years in a third-floor apartment in the compound of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate high above a narrow, bustling alleyway of Jerusalem’s Old City, unwilling or unable to leave.

The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation collaborates with Zion’s Gate International March 9, 2011

“We have always looked at Rabbi Riskin as a visionary for his people, but the willingness to open the first orthodox Jewish center to religiously dialogue with Christians is truly historical,” commented Gary Bachman.

He added that “Christians and Jews are two different covenanted communities of interpretation. However, the commonalities that bind us such as telling the world about a God of love, peace and morality far outweigh our fundamental differences. CJCUC has created that platform.”


By Daniella Cheslow March 10, 2011

Chani is one of the last 8,000 Ethiopians claiming Jewish roots who will immigrate en masse to Israel, following a government decision in late November. It marks the end of a dramatic transfer of Ethiopia’s entire 2,000-year-old Jewish community, which began fleeing pogroms and persecution in 1970s.

…But as the newest immigrants arrive and settle in Israel, the 120,000-strong Ethiopian-Israeli community has seen only limited success in integration.

A Friday in the Old City of Jerusalem: March 11, 2011

Day Three in Photos: March 12, 2011

Israel Council of Higher Education report: Future of Judaism studies at risk

By Tomer Velmer March 9, 2011

A new report presented to the Council of Higher Education warns of a grim future in the field of Jewish philosophy studies, following a drastic decline in research funds and the number of faculty members in the field.

While the global interest in Jewish thought has been surging, Israeli universities opt to invest funds in more “financial” departments.

Religion and State in Israel

March 14, 2011 (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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