Religion and State in Israel – March 21, 2011 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

March 21, 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.

‘Wanted’ on International Aguna Day

By Rachel Levmore Opinion March 16, 2011

The writer has a PhD from Bar-Ilan University, is a rabbinical court advocate, coordinator of the Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the Council of Young Israel Rabbis and the Jewish Agency, and author of Minee Einayich Medima on prenuptial agreements for the prevention of get refusal.

It is incumbent upon the rabbis not to leave the problem frozen in time. Today’s rabbinic judges must shoulder the responsibility to actually neutralize the power of the recalcitrant husband.

There are processes within Jewish law which provide for rabbis to abrogate the power of the husband to turn his wife into an aguna.

Women’s rights groups mark International Agunah Day

By Jonah Mandel March 17, 2011

The International Coalition for Agunah Rights organization will be marking International Agunah Day on Thursday, calling attention to the plight of women whose husbands are unable or unwilling to grant them a Jewish divorce (get).

Batya Kahana-Dror, head of Mavoi Satum:

The solution can either be the rabbinate forcing recalcitrant husbands to give divorces, as was the custom since the time of the Mishna.

Another solution being promoted by ICAR is prenuptial agreements, which impose financial penalties on the recalcitrant party, thus providing a financial incentive not to refuse a divorce.

“Agunah Day” in the Israeli Knesset

By Rachel Levmore Opinion March 2011

Photo: Ma’yan

Like Esther, the agunot of the present era do not want to be in the marriage in which they find themselves. Like Esther, many women who are refused a get live in fear of their spouses and live a double life. Like Esther, the aguna, a victim of get-refusal finds herself lacking control of her own freedom.

In this manner all who concern themselves with having a just, stable Jewish society rise to the challenge. “Agunah Day” symbolizes awareness of the general public. It serves as a rallying cry among the people calling for the eradication of this destructive phenomenon in a healthy, balanced society.

In proclaiming “Agunah Day” by the Israeli Knesset the people come together to declare that the abandonment of a wife or the refusal of a get is not tolerated in the State of Israel.

‘Secret’ pre-nuptial makes getting a get simpler

By Jonathan Lis March 17, 2011

A new survey shows that most Israeli couples are unaware of the existence of a special pre-nuptial agreement, which prevents a woman from eventually becoming an aguna – a woman whose husband denies her a get (religious divorce) and can, therefore not remarry.

This pre-nuptial agreement, which has existed for 37 years and must be signed before a marriage registrar, nullifies the halakhic requirement that a man must agree to his wife’s divorce request for it to be fulfilled.

Recognizing Shame on International Agunah Day

By Rachel Levmore Opinion March 9, 2011

Have the rabbis not felt the necessity of developing deep halachic reasoning and mechanisms, thus taking action to prevent their own daughters from becoming agunot? Apparently denial is a stronger force than shame.

Nevertheless, there is one type of shame to which Orthodox rabbis and their followers are sensitive: the shame of chillul Hashem – desecration of God’s name.

Add the ongoing media coverage – with people of all religions (and unaffiliated Jews whom Orthodoxy wishes to attract) witnessing the plight of the agunah – to the shame of the Orthodox Jewish community’s inability to resolve that human tragedy.

How tragic this compounding of shame before the eyes of the people of the world! But is it shameful enough to cause the rabbis to take back power from the truly shameful get-refusers?

Taking a page from Esther’s book

By Tamar Rotem March 20, 2011

While holding separate Megillah readings just for women is a growing trend in the religious Zionist sector, these ceremonies are not replacing the central Megillah reading held by men on the eve of the Purim holiday.

The women’s events are for the most part held later, after the Purim banquet. There are dozens of female prayer quorums held not only in Jerusalem, the bastion of the liberal religious, but also throughout the country.

Shulamit Phillips:

“Maybe two publics are actually developing here,” she muses aloud. “The Hardalis who are pushing for total separation, for example at weddings, and the liberal public, which is moving closer and closer to the concept of an egalitarian synagogue.”

Megila readings find widening appeal among the seculars

By Jonah Mandel March 18, 2011

The modern Orthodox rabbinical group Tzohar will also be hosting megila readings and Purim celebrations in more than 100 locations throughout the country, including shopping centers, absorption and community centers, high school gyms, Jerusalem’s Begin Center and the Tel Aviv Ichilov Medical Center’s lobby.

A minyan for Russian speakers will be held in Petah Tikva, and young members of the Ethiopian community in Gedera will also hold a Tzohar reading.

The Bina Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture will be furthering the outreach of Purim in offering a megila reading on the sixth floor of Tel Aviv’s central bus station, where foreign workers and others tend to mill.

VIDEO: Purim – The Social Media Version

Click here for VIDEO


Purim, the ultimate soap opera. What would happen if you put the story on Web steroids and add a slight modern day twists?

Well, you’d get the definitive viral video for Sunday school 8th grade teachers and people that had just one too many drinks (this is even better to watch with alcohol of your choice)

See if you can follow, here are a few clues: A love story that incorporates green energy, feminism, money fraud, Wikileaks, corporate capitalism, fashion designers, activism, computer hacking, and dress-up parties and a cat.

Fall head over heels for our contemporary Shushan characters, as you get sucked into the innocence, drama, idiosyncrasies, and political satire that is Virtual Purim 5771 (2011) !!!

Purim Bridges Religious Gaps in Israel

By Dena Wimpfheimer March 8, 2011

The “Together for Purim” program was inspired by Tzohar’s “Praying Together” Yom Kippur program which has been taking place for over 10 years and grows by thousands of participants each year.

“Israelis welcome a refreshing opportunity to embrace their Jewish Identity in a way that is not coercive or forceful” Rosenberg says. “Programs such as this promote Jewish unity, a national value that is deeply existential in our eyes”.

PHOTOS: Mea Shearim celebrates Purim

By Harel Stanton March 18, 2011

Click here for PHOTOS

Several years ago, I was asked by the Foreign Ministry to deliver a series of lectures in the United States. The subject I chose to explore through the lens of my camera was the haredi communities. This photographic project has been going on for years.

Nowadays the camera is just an “excuse” for me to look beyond stereotypes and prejudices and meet the people of the different haredi neighborhoods, particularly Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim.

The rising stakes of kashrut certification

By Naomi Darom March 18, 2011

Osem, one of the country’s largest food manufacturers, today has strictly kosher certification for more than 90 percent of its products. This is in addition to kashrut certification from the state-funded Chief Rabbinate, which is required for all Israeli food products marketed as kosher.

[Shahar Ilan, vice president for research and information for Hiddush] attributes the rise of mehadrin to a number of factors.

“One is that ultra-Orthodox economic clout is growing and making this possible, and the other is that there is no large and organized public for which it is important not to eat mehadrin.

And of course ultra-Orthodox society has a big problem providing jobs for people with a Torah education. Therefore, in fact, ultra-Orthodox society has an interest in the mehadrin industry just continuing to grow. The secular companies, for their part, think this will increase their profits, or are afraid to lose a market to competitors.”

Kashrut costs

By Naomi Darom March 18, 2011

At the moment kashrut supervisors continue to receive their salaries from the businesses or from temporary-labor companies, which deduct mediation fees.

“The problem is in fact the cost of supervision: Who will bear it?

On the one hand the state says there is no religious coercion, no one is forced to be kosher. On the other hand it is aware that 70 percent of the population demands kosher food. Until they regularize the situation there will be no solution to all the problems.”

Secular neighborhoods unite to counter ultra Orthodox takeover

By Gili Cohen March 20, 2011

Secular activists fighting the influx of ultra-Orthodox families into their neighborhoods across the country have begun meeting and exchanging advice, Haaretz has learned.

The meetings are reportedly being organized by Yaron Yadan, a well known anti-Haredi activist, but they have yet to produce a new nationwide group.

Israelis, it seems, are more conservative than they let on

By Amalia Rosenblum Opinion March 20, 2011

Why then do most secular couples in Israel decide to marry?

Perhaps agreeing to get married shows that most Israelis are more conservative than they let on, and that despite their protest against “religious coercion,” they identify with the patriarchal values at the basis of the sale-and-purchase deal called marriage.

Bank of Israel Governor Fischer: No reason Haredim should be poor

By Yossi Nissan March 16, 2011

Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer:

“I am pleased that everyone emphasized that the employment situation and poverty need not exist in Hared cities, and that there is no reason for this to continue. It contributes nothing to the things that are important to use as Jews and Israeli citizens.”

Incoming Nat’l Security Council head Amidror slams rabbis who encourage insubordination

By Jonah Mandel March 16, 2011

The incoming head of the National Security Council, Maj.- Gen. (res.) Ya’acov Amidror:

“The danger that refusing orders poses is to Israel’s national security, and there is no room here for rabbinic considerations – rabbis don’t know about national security, and their pretentiousness to understand it is like their pretentiousness to understand medicine.

“The rabbis must understand that a sovereign country can make decisions,” he stated. “If we heed those rabbis, we will damage Israel’s national security…and bring down the State of Israel.”

The strictly Orthodox soldiers

By Simon Rocker March 17, 2011

Rabbi Tzvi Klebanow, a former computer design engineer from Boston, might seem like any emissary who comes to the UK to raise funds for Orthodox causes.

But his is unique: he is director of an organisation which provides spiritual and educational support to Nachal Charedi, the Israeli army’s battalion of strictly Orthodox soldiers.

Ultra-Orthodox and the Army March 16, 2011

Q: How can we understand the fact that the Ultra-Orthodox do not go to the army?

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner: This is truly difficult to understand. Have patience, they will slowly go to serve.

Arab victim ‘stabbed 10 times by Haredim’

By Hassan Shaalan March 20, 2011

Alber Halul, who was stabbed Saturday night by a group of masked men he claims are haredim, recounted the attack Sunday. “They threatened to shoot us if we resisted and stabbed me 10 times – in my head, my leg, and my neck,” he told Ynet.

Teen: 30 Haredim attacked us

Haredim suspected of assaulting secular boys

By Ahiya Raved March 15, 2011

“Seculars aren’t allowed here, you’re Russian thieves,” – this is what Haredi youths told A. before beating him and three of his friends while holding them in a warehouse in Haifa on Monday.

Ad censored due to ‘mischievous eyes’

By Ari Galahar March 16, 2011

Ultra-Orthodox newspaper Hamodia has refused to run an ad of the Osem food company due to the model’s “mischievous eyes”.

The ad was prepared as part of an advertising campaign for the company’s new pretzel snack. It shows a haredi man winking as he hands the snack to the readers.

Bikur Cholim chairman resigns as Litzman reportedly balks

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich March 16, 2011

Dr. Yoram Blachar, former chairman of the Israel Medical Association, who had been making a last-ditch effort to save Jerusalem’s 143-year-old Bikur Cholim Hospital, on Tuesday night informed the hospital management and doctors’ union that he was resigning as chairman of the voluntary organization running the institution.

Baby Formula in Short Supply

By Sumathi Reddy March 16, 2011

Kosher grocery stores are facing depleted stocks of an imported Israeli baby formula popular among Hasidic Jewish families.

Materna, the manufacturer, is no longer able to make shipments to the U.S., leading to shortages of one of the few dairy-based formulas that conforms to the religious laws followed by Hasidic Jews.

Being a Chabadnik in ‘sin city’

By Ravid Oren March 15, 2011

In Tel Aviv of 2011, the ultra-Orthodox world is still perceived as closed and isolated, fearful of any peek into secularism.

But David Malach and Eitan Gurion, two Chabadniks who are among the café owners, are undeterred. In the past two years they have opened a number of bars in Tel Aviv with their three secular partners.

Shul of hate

By Akiva Eldar March 15, 2011

A new study, which will be published in the forthcoming issue of Israel Studies in Language and Society under the title “Talking Peace – Making War,” shows that the Torah leaflets distributed by the thousands in synagogues encourage racism, xenophobia and incitement to violence.

Revered as Business Guru, Rabbi Faces Questions About His Organization’s Finances

By Josh Nathan-Kazis March 16, 2011

Rabbi Pinto described his network of yeshivas and social service organizations as a decentralized web of independent operations to which he provides inspiration and guidance.

These operations include three yeshivas in Ashdod, two in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, one in Kiryat Malachi and a newly built yeshiva in Rishon LeZion, which, all told, are training 500 students to be rabbis.

There are also two large schools for girls in Ashdod and a professional training school for women in Ashkelon. A soup kitchen in Ashdod serves 3,500 hot meals a day and gives out 11,000 food baskets on holidays.

One of the Israeli yeshivas also provides living stipends to 180 widows. Followers of the rabbi also provide wine, challah and candles in hospitals around Israel on Fridays.

Deputy PM Shalom presents long-weekend plan to business leaders

By Nadav Shemer March 17, 2011

Under his proposal, Friday would be a shorter work day – to account for the beginning of Shabbat – and workers would make up for those lost hours on Monday through Thursday.

Greek Orthodox church sells Jerusalem land to Jewish investors

By Ranit Nahum-Halevy March 18, 2011

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate sold most of its leasing rights to large swaths of Jerusalem to a group of Jewish investors last week. The NIS 80 million agreement puts an end to the long draw-out land affair – at least for the next 140 years.

Religion and State in Israel

March 21, 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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