Religion and State in Israel – March 21, 2011 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

March 21, 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.

Who’s an (Orthodox) oleh?

By Jonah Mandel March 17, 2011

The Chief Rabbinate, Interior Ministry and State Attorney’s Office are currently drawing up new procedures to determine the validity of Orthodox conversions for the purpose of aliya, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar said on Wednesday.

…There are currently at least six such cases of Orthodox converts wishing to make aliya awaiting the Interior Ministry’s decision on their cases.

Head of the Reform Movement in Israel Rabbi Gilad Kariv, who attended the discussion, proposed in a statement a practical line of action to his Orthodox brethren in the Diaspora, one he said has already proven successful:

“We suggest that Orthodox leaders in the Diaspora who oppose this haredi takeover [of conversion in the world] learn from the experience of the Reform Movement and exert direct influence on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.”

Israeli Government Rejects Orthodox Converts’ Bids To Immigrate as Jews

By Nathan Jeffay March 16, 2011

The right of people who convert in the Diaspora under Reform or Conservative auspices to make aliyah, or immigrate to Israel and claim citizenship as Jews, is detailed in Israeli law — a reaction to various attempts by ultra-traditional, or Haredi, politicians to bar them.

But it has always simply been taken for granted that all Orthodox converts have immigration rights under Israel’s Law of Return, which permits entry and instant citizenship to Jews everywhere.

But now, the Interior Ministry, which sets immigration policies, has begun discriminating from among the Orthodox.

Chief Rabbi Amar: Foreign Orthodox rabbis convert for bribes

By Yair Ettinger March 17, 2011

Orthodox rabbis overseas have been converting people in exchange for bribes, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar charged yesterday.

Attorney Daniel Solomon of the Interior Ministry outraged [Kadima MK] Plesner when he was unable to produce a list of which overseas rabbis are recognized and which are not. But he insisted there is nothing new in the ministry’s policy of consulting the rabbinate on this issue.

‘Nativ will continue, but IDF conversions won’t be revised’

By Jonah Mandel March 17, 2011

“Nativ will not be closed, and nothing about the military conversions will change, as they are perfectly good,” Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar said on Wednesday.

“I was also initially concerned about the non- Orthodox content being taught in Nativ,” Amar said, “but then saw that it was not actually an inherent part of the military conversion process. Even Jews participate in the said course.”

Israel’s Chief Rabbi: Some Diaspora clergy allow conversions for cash

By Yair Ettinger March 16, 2011

Rabbi Seth Farber of ITIM, the Jewish Life Information Center:

“Clear criteria must be set under the Law of Return as to what constitutes a recognized community, and then we should rely on the local professionals,” said Farber.

“The Interior Ministry doesn’t have enough information to determine what is or isn’t a recognized community.”

Jewish peoplehood, not religion, should be basis for Right of Return

By Rabbi Dow Marmur Opinion March 2, 2011

Rabbi Marmur is spiritual leader emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto. He now divides his year between Canada and Israel.

Israel isn’t a religious state but a Jewish state. Therefore those who want to take upon themselves the obligations of citizenship should be accepted with open arms, whatever their religious background and current faith commitment.

And those who convert in the Diaspora, where religious affiliation is more important, should also be exposed to Jewish peoplehood; perhaps the curriculum should include a visit to Israel with a suitably designed programme to stress and celebrate Jews, not only Judaism.

Toward a more assertive liberal Judaism

By Alex Sinclair Opinion March 20, 2011

Dr Alex Sinclair is the director of programs in Israel Education for the Jewish Theological Seminary.

A new world Jewish movement is needed: a movement of Jews who are no longer prepared to remain quiet and cede Jewishness to a fundamentalist, incorrect orthodox narrative.

This orthodox narrative must be confronted, challenged, refuted: vocally, diligently, persistently. May this be the first step.

Thinking about Women Reading Megillah…Again

By Emily Shapiro Katz Opinion March 17, 2011

This year, I will be attending Women of the Wall’s megillah reading at the Kotel for the first time. There was a time in my life when WOW’s agenda would have seemed too radical, even offensive, to me.

Now, when I read WOW’s mission statement: “to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall,” I am shocked that this is not just a given. Of course women should be free to wear tallit and read Torah at the Kotel. And, of course, women should be welcome to read Megillat Esther at the Kotel.

Yet, on Rosh Hodesh Adar II, we were told by police that women are now not allowed to dance at the Kotel. Who knows what new prohibition might arise when we take out our megillah on Monday morning?

Sarah Palin visits Western Wall

By Yoav Zitun March 20, 2011

Palin began her trip by visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where she met with the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, who escorted her on part of her a tour.

Rabinovitch said Palin obliged his request to not walk along the Western Wall square so as to not disturb the reading of the scrolls at the time.

Rabinovitch mentioned that Palin shared her views on United States-Israel relations, saying she believes there are no disagreements between the two countries. She also voiced her “absolute” support of Israel.

“We’re happy to accommodate Jews and non-Jews visiting the Western Wall. You could feel Palin’s love towards the people of Israel and her great interest in the story of Purim,” said Rabinovitch.

VIDEO: “Mehadrin” Flights (Hebrew)

Click here for VIDEO

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

טיסות למהדרין from bhol on Vimeo.

Egged Bus Announcement on Gender-segregated “Mehadrin” Bus Lines

Reforms at Jewish Agency spur executive to resign

By Raphael Ahren March 18, 2011

A senior Jewish Agency official resigned this week after working for the organization for a quarter century, following the institution’s historic reorganization that eliminated the department he headed for eight years.

Jewish Agency spokesman Haviv Gur told Anglo File that Cohen – one of the agency’s top 10 officials – disagreed with the vision of the organization’s chairman Natan Sharansky…

‘Mini Me’ helps young Jews make a big difference

By Joshua Hammerman March 18, 2011

“Giving small amounts of money to young people at a critical point in their professional development can have a huge impact,” said Gorlin.

“We want this to be known outside of our online network as a philanthropic model that people should consider for funding young Jewish innovators.”

Marketing Israeli Nonprofits to the Diaspora

By Sharon Udasin March 16, 2011

In order to more effectively market themselves to the Diaspora, Israeli nonprofits need first to focus on targeting donors at home, improve their usage of technology and refine their administrative skill sets, field leaders say.

“The Israeli nonprofit has found it easier and more lucrative to look for funds abroad rather than in Israel. That was great during the formative years of Israel when we were a small, fledgeling country.”

What are my odds?

By Raphael Ahren March 18, 2011

For 35 years Ra’anana resident Maurice Singer counseled potential immigrants through his work for the Jewish Agency.

Recently, he turned that experience into a new business model, appraising potential immigrants’ prospects of a successful absorption experience in Israel as a private consultant.

New immigrants increasingly choose to live in Jerusalem

By Melanie Lidman March 17, 2011

Pini Glinkewitz, director of the Municipal Absorption Authority, said that the majority of Jerusalem immigrants today are middle and upper-class families from North America or Western Europe who are national religious or haredi.

North American immigrants lead in Israel’s nonprofit sector

By Dina Draft March 17, 2011

Seth Farber, a Modern Orthodox rabbi who immigrated from the United States and founded ITIM, the Jewish Life Information Center, knows all about persistence. He fights what he says often seems like an interminably uphill battle to help Israeli and Diaspora Jews navigate the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, which holds a monopoly on issues of religion like conversion and marriage.

Another American-run Israeli NGO involved in efforts to reduce tensions between religion and state is Tzohar, founded by a group of Modern Orthodox rabbis in 1996, soon after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist.

The organization’s current executive vice president is Nahum Rosenberg, an American immigrant.

Young Jewish leaders discuss future

By Miri Arbiv March 20, 2011

Approximately 40 young people arrived for the London conference from various world locations including the US, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Holland, etc. They gathered to discuss issues connected with leadership and working with the young generation in regions that have active Jewish communities.

See also: Partnership 2000

VIDEO: Great Britain Chief Rabbi Sacks speech at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Click here for VIDEO

Rabbi Lichtenstein to Zionist rabbis: “Some humility, please”

By Motti Levi, Walla! March 15, 2011 Translated by Susann Codish

Original Hebrew article can be found here.

The translation has not been reviewed by Rav Lichtenstein

A conversation with Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein, one of the senior/leading rabbis of the religious Zionist stream, who harshly criticizes rabbis trying to explain current events as being the will of God: “I don’t have God’s phone number, the way some others seem to have.”

Q: Lately, the separation of religion and state has again become a subject of public debate. Many feel that religion is destroying the state and vice versa. Is it time for such a separation?

The Knesset’s Feminist Awakening

By Elana Maryles Sztokman Opinion March 16, 2011

This feminist platform has the potential to realign voting blocs. The Haredi parties, which never have women on their lists, are currently the greatest opponents of pro-women legislation.

What happens when their obstructionism runs up against increasingly assertive female politicians?

Perhaps in the next Israeli elections we will begin to see a shift — instead of the left against the right, the battle lines may increasingly be between religious parties and women. Now that would be very interesting.

Single Women Who Want to Have a Baby

By Rabbi Yuval Cherlow February 28, 2011

I ask you to bravely write an answer to a question that has been disturbing me very much for quite some time. I am a thirty-six years old woman, rather pretty, educated and well taken care of, who has been attempting for over fifteen years to get married, but to no avail…

I want to have a child!!! I dream all the time about him and I want a child!!!

I beg of you: please articulate for me the entire issue from the very beginning till its end. with a specific conclusion. Am I allowed to bring a child to the world while I am not married? To be exact “How may I have a child?”

Hard Going in the Homeland

By Dan Ephron and Joanna Chen March 20, 2011

This year Israel marks 20 years since the Ethiopian migration, dubbed Operation Solomon. Among the dazed newcomers wrapped in traditional white cloths who climbed off the planes that day, a few individuals have done well.

Some have received advanced degrees or risen through the ranks of the Army. But the overall picture for the community, which has swelled to 120,000, is not good.

Philosopher Leibowitz finally gets street named after him

By Gili Cohen March 17, 2011

After years of wrangling, the Herzliya municipality decided yesterday to name a street after Yeshayahu Leibowitz – the first time an Israeli city has chosen to commemorate the left-wing Orthodox Jewish philosopher this way.

See also: Local uproar over plans to name Herzliya street after Professor Leibowitz

Tnuva dedicates new synagogue at headquarters March 14, 2011

In an emotional celebration, Tnuva Food Industries Ltd. yesterday dedicated a new synagogue at its headquarters at Pi Glilot outside Tel Aviv.

Executives and hundreds of employees began the day by participating in the event, surrounding and dancing around a canopy beneath which the Torah Scrolls were carried.

A killer line for all time

By Ben Shalev March 18, 2011

Then Banai sings the sentence that I at least will always remember from this song, which mentions local Tel Aviv landmarks: “I stand on the Halakha Bridge, looking for Derekh Hashalom.”

To translate these lyrics literally, however, he is singing: “I stand on the bridge of rabbinical law, looking for the path of peace.”

עומד על גשר ההלכה, מחפש את דרך השלום


Religion and State in Israel

March 21, 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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