Religion and State in Israel – April 11, 2011 (Section 1)

By ,

Religion and State in Israel

April 11, 2011 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Israel Reform & Conservative Movements demand: Appoint non-Orthodox IDF Rabbi

By Kobi Nahshoni April 8, 2011

The Progressive Judaism and Masorti movements are demanding that the defense minister and Israel Defense Forces chief of staff appoint a Reform or Conservative military rabbi to provide religious services to non-Orthodox Jewish soldiers.

In a letter sent by leaders of the two moments to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, they claim that the current Military Rabbinate cannot or is not interested in providing the religious needs of soldiers with a different worldviews, and therefore the IDF must give them an alternative

New Reform Head on Conversion Issue

By Stewart Ain April 5, 2011

Turning to Israel’s controversial Conversion Bill — which is now on hold because of non-Orthodox opposition to its attempt to give Israel’s Chief Rabbinate responsibility for all conversions — Rabbi Jacobs said it is a sin that the Jewish people have not yet found a way to convert as many as 300,000 Russians who have been living in Israel for years.

“I’d love to see a broader definition of the conversion process,” he said. “If there are official [conversion courts] with narrow parameters, there should be others” with a broader definition.

Each would have standards satisfactory to the different movements of Judaism, and the State of Israel would recognize them for the purpose of marriage.”

VIDEO: Is Orthodox conversion kosher? New solutions for an ‘unsolvable’ problem March 24, 2010

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo Click here for VIDEOS: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Joining the Jewish people was always a sensitive issue, but in today’s open global society, the issue of conversion truly stepped into the spotlight. What are the criteria to be Jewish? What where they 500 years ago? What should they be today? And maybe the most interesting question is: Why?

Rabbi Cardozo discusses the heart of this issue, in his opinion, the question of “not who is a Jew, but what is a Jew?” In addition, he shares his personal story of conversation and the wisdom and insight from decades of dealing with this profound question.

Feminists in Focus: Divorce, Deadbeat husbands and DVDs

By Amy Kronish April 5, 2011

Recently, a new and informative documentary has been produced on the subject, called Women Unchained by Beverly Siegel and Leta Lenik. The women in this film live in both Israel and North America and are plagued by the blackmail being legitimized by the rabbinical courts. The film talks about the toll that is being exacted – the stress, money, turmoil, and emotional pain.

…Perhaps Jewish halacha (law) will find a way to solve this agunah problem, especially since legal creativity has solved other issues of Jewish law. Already there are forward-thinking and compassionate rabbis in both Israel and North America who are searching for ways to handle these cases of vengeance and control. The extortion that has become too common must cease.

“A place of prayer for all people”

By Deborah Blausten Opinion April 7, 2011

There is nothing more natural or more authentic than a group of Jews who wish to share together in a collective expression of their faith.

The same women on the women’s side who told me that they would pray for my soul as I joined the group and scowled, tutted and pointed as we prayed, batted no eyelids at the far greater affront to their Jewish practice that several men on the women’s side of the mechitzah presented.

Click here for Women of the Wall Photo.

Not allowed at the Kotel

By Aaron Howard April 4, 2011

Whose Kotel is this? Is the Kotel a national space for all the Jewish people or a private Orthodox synagogue?

And, if it is a shared cultural space, why are non-Orthodox Jews excluded? Why is it impossible to have a Bat Mitzvah at the Wall? Why is it asur (forbidden) for a woman to pray aloud or read from the Torah, if that is her authentic custom?

Rosh Hodesh Nisan

By Raya Even-David Opinion April 7, 2011

Translated with permission by Emily Shapiro Katz

I do not understand why it is against the law to pray out loud at the Kotel, or if it is in fact against the law, or why the policeman picked me and not the men screaming in loud voices far more provocative and loud than me.

I prayed from the heart, with eyes closed, not in anger, not to hurt anyone, God forbid – only to greet the arrival of Nissan with women and friends who believe as I do in our right to pray as an organized group at the Western Wall.

Rabbis endorse ‘educational’ initiative on Pessah sacrifice

By Jonah Mandel April 7, 2011

An initiative to raise the awareness of the centrality of the Pessah sacrifice is gaining momentum, after central rabbis from major streams have endorsed the educational effort.

[Rabbi Yehuda Glick] noted the wide support of leading rabbis for his initiative, including from Chabad-member and Kiryat Motzkin Chief Rabbi David Meir Druckman, Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, Rabbi Benaya Shmueli, the Admor of Erloy Hassidic court, Rabbi Shmuel Shapira and of course Kanievsky.

…Asked what his organization will do with the money accumulated if redemption does not come in time for this Pessah and sacrifices are not offered, Glick said that half of the funds would go to charity, and half to yeshivas and kollels dedicated to studying about the Third Temple.

Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu calls for sacrifice on Temple Mount

By Kobi Nahshoni April 5, 2011

The annual attempts to resume the Passover sacrifice received a first significant rabbinical backing recently. Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, a prominent religious Zionism leader, has called on the public to perform the sacrifice mitzvah on the eve of the Jewish holiday, in about two weeks.

Moscow Patriarchate speaks out against J’lem gay pride

By Jonah Mandel April 7, 2011

The Moscow Patriarchate has slammed the existence of gaypride events in Jerusalem, in an attack that actually appears to indicate criticism of internal Russian affairs.

The executive director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance noted the diversity of Jerusalem, as well as the violence facing LGBT members in Moscow.

“While extreme religious leaders in each of the three faiths, who consider Jerusalem a holy city, would like to see a Jerusalem like the one described now by the Russian Patriarchate – the majority of the practitioners of these faiths envision a Jerusalem that celebrates its diversity,” said Yonatan Gehr, in response to the Moscow announcement.

Muslims offended by Trinny & Susannah April 8, 2011

Newspaper ads for the “Trinny & Susannah Do Israel” show have sparked a row among Muslims, as they show the two British fashion advisers dressed in immodest clothing against the backdrop of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Western Wall.

Channel 10 apologized for the incident on Wednesday evening and promised to change the ads immediately.

VIDEO: Kotel Cleaned and Notes Removed for Passover

Photo Gallery: Western Wall notes removed to make room for new in annual clean

By Nadav Shragai April 4, 2011

As masses of Jews begin intensive preparations for the upcoming Passover holiday, employees at Jerusalem’s holy site, the Western Wall, have embarked on a spring cleaning of their own.

Photo Gallery: Kotel undergoes spring clean for Pesach

By Jonah Mandel and Marc Israel Sellem April 6, 2011

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which gives the Kotel such a face-lift twice a year – before the upcoming Passover and ahead of the Jewish New Year – are considering a third annual clean-up, due to the growing influx of requests and notes.

Click here for Photo Gallery

Between the cracks

By Roy Arad April 7, 2011

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi of the Western Wall, tells me that this year there are many notes. I’m trying to figure out if that means there are more problems to be dealt with or if there’s more hope. Then, he says forcefully, “More people come here.”

The “Little Western Wall” creates tension in Jerusalem’s Old City


Safed Chief Rabbi says struggle to keep the city Jewish moving forward

By Eli Ashkenazi April 8, 2011

The chief rabbi of Safed issued a statement this week proclaiming that efforts to keep the city Jewish are beginning to progress and must be widened, though he also added a plea for non-violence in the “struggle.”

What should be the Character of the Chief Rabbinate?

By MK Zvulun Orlev Opinion April 9, 2011

For the last few years, the Chief Rabbinate has been criticized by some elements within religious Zionism.

This was based on the fact that the Rabbinate first ignored the concept of the beginning of the redemption and then even adopted an approach that denies this status.

It sometimes appears that the Rabbinate acts out of fear of the Chareidi approach, which denies the concept of the beginning of the redemption, and it sometimes seems as if it is a rabbinical body belonging to a specific Jewish sector.

Everybody who cherishes the Chief Rabbinate should pay attention to this criticism and should do all he can to return it to the original approach.

U.S. Dept. of State 2010 Human Rights Report: Israel April 8, 2011

Many Jewish citizens objected to exclusive Orthodox rabbinic control over aspects of their personal lives.

Approximately 310,000 citizens who immigrated, either as Jews or as family members of Jews, are not considered Jewish by the Orthodox Rabbinate. They cannot be married, divorced, or buried in Jewish cemeteries within the country.

What Is the Jewish Agency That We Need?

By Professor Michael Chlenov April 10, 2011

Professor Michael Chlenov is Secretary-General of Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

We believe the main goal of JAFI today is to be a bridge between the Diaspora and Israel, to bring everything and anything Israel to the aged Jewish communities in different parts of the world.

This is a task that no one else can do, and should become JAFI’s main task. JAFI should try to restore its severely tarnished reputation, restore the educational programs, devote serious time to Hebrew studies, bring information about Israel to our communities, and organize programs that will allow our Jews to visit Israel, to see and feel Israel.

What did the Israeli lawmakers learn about the U.S. Jewish community?

By Natasha Mozgovaya April 9, 2011

The relationship between Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora has been complicated for many decades.

…Recently, one of my Israeli readers wrote to me following an article I published: “They [the U.S. Jews] are in love with the idea of Israel, but they do not know us – and I am not sure they are interested to meet the real Israel. I do not blame them, it can be ugly”.

Knesset caucus to focus on relations with American Jews

By Jordana Horn April 10, 2011

A program to promote better relations between Israeli leaders and the American Jewish community has led to plans to form a caucus in the Knesset on Israeli-North American Jewish relations, MKs told reporters in New York on Friday.

…Saying Israelis were “undergoing open-heart surgery on the question of the character of the Jewish state,” Ben-Simon said Israelis could take a page from the American playbook in terms of tolerance and diversity.

Education is key in a changing U.S. Jews-Israel relationship

By Jonathan Sarna and Jay Ruderman April 4, 2011

Jonathan Sarna is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History. Jay Ruderman is president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which has offices in Boston and Rehovot, Israel

…If every measure considered by the Knesset carried a “Diaspora impact statement” (analogous to our environmental impact statements), consciousness of how Israel’s actions impact upon world Jewry would be heightened.

Time to untie Israel Bonds

By Matti Golan Opinion April 7, 2011

The irony is that today there is really no economic justification for the existence of Israel Bonds. A large proportion of the money raised goes on salaries and other payments to the organization’s employees. And what about strengthening the tie between Jewry and Israel?

“When you look at who buys the bonds,” says Sheetrit, “you find that the buyers are mainly US banks and pension funds, more than individual Jews around the world.”

Avraham Burg answers readers’ questions on anti-Semitism in the modern world April 4, 2011

Avraham Burg is the former Jewish Agency Chairman and Speaker of the 15th Knesset

There is here a very confusing mixture in terms and concepts. What is Jewish? A religion, a national definition, a cultural expression, civilization power?

There are so many different definitions for the same word and therefore so many misunderstandings come out of it. However, any definition of Jewish will contain a very serious religious component that leads to a very serious question: Should any modern state have a religious ingredient in its definition? The answer is no. More precisely, definitely no.

Yiddishe cowboys to make aliyah?

By Adi Gold April 10, 2011

Tony Gelbart, CEO and founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh, explains that they are planning to broaden their activities in Texas through individual contacts and parlor meetings.

“All of our research shows that there’s something about Texas Jews that is very Israeli, and I don’t mean only the love of barbequing. Their love of nature and wide open spaces brings many of them to the periphery of Israel.”

Why I choose to return

By Eran Davidi Opinion April 6, 2011

The writer is a Master of Laws student at Columbia University in New York

My name is Eran and I’ve been living for almost a year now in New York, in a nice apartment near wonderful Central Park. I also study at a top-notch private university. In a few months I’ll be completing my studies, and naturally I’m thinking about the future.

…So why will I be returning to Israel? It’s precisely the stay here that made me realize that we have no other place except our country.

Ford Foundation, Big Funder of Israeli NGOs, Pulling Out

By Nathan Guttman April 6, 2011

After being a target for political attacks during the past year, progressive nongovernmental organizations in Israel are now bracing for another hit: the loss of one of their largest donors.

The Ford Foundation, which has provided $40 million to civil society NGOs in Israel since 2003, will not resume its funding for programs in Israel once its current grant round ends in two years. The reason, the organization explains, has to do with changing priorities, not with politics.

…The foundation’s decade-long partnership with the [New Israel Fund] was fraught with criticism over its choice of grantees and causes, which were mostly on the liberal end of the political spectrum.

Russian billionaire to found ‘Jewish Al-Jazeera’ April 7, 2011

Russian “oligarch” and Jewish philanthropist Alexander Mashkevich announced on Wednesday his intention to found a Jewish version of Al-Jazeera.

“Every day and every hour people get negative information about Israel,” Mashkevich said at the Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal conference in Washington D.C. “Therefore, the most important thing is to represent Israel on an international level, with real information.”

Israel Bonds denies allegations it paid for Netanyahu’s travels April 7, 2011

Israel Bonds denied Thursday allegations that they funded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trips abroad, claiming the Knesset paid for his travels, with the fundraising organization covering only the travel expenses of his wife, Sara.

Interview with Rabbi Richard Jacobs, the new leader of the Reform movement

By Shmuel Rosner April 4, 2011

When Rabbi Jacobs was still a rabbinical student, he tells me, he had coached Israeli teen-agers on a basketball court of a community center in Jerusalem.

“I want members of the Reform movement to have such bond to all Israeli society,” he says. And of course, he also wants the Israeli wing of the Reform movement to which “I’m very committed” to grow stronger. “To have Israel become the inclusive place it was meant to be.”

New Reform Head Walking Pro-Israel Tightrope

By Stewart Ain April 5, 2011

He said he wholeheartedly supports the work of the New Israel Fund, a group dedicated to civil rights and religious pluralism in Israel.

Noting that he was proud to sit on its international board for a decade, since 2001 he has chaired its pluralism grants committee, which he described as “helping to shape a more tolerant Israel.” The grants, he said, include a prayer service attracting secular Israelis in Tel Aviv as well as Modern Orthodox groups fostering tolerance.

Canadian Christian Zionists host MKs

By Gil Hoffman April 7, 2011

A delegation of MKs from the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus will wrap up a weeklong tour of outreach to Canadian Christian Zionists and native Canadian “First Nations communities” on Thursday.

Friends of J’lem bombing victim grapple with her loss

By Tovah Lazaroff March 31, 2011

Bible translator Mary Jane Gardner lived among the Ife people for 20 years in the Togolese Republic, but when asked to describe herself, she said that she was just an ordinary Christian.

…Gardner had left Africa for Israel to study in the Home Bible Translators program, which is part of the Hebrew University.

Religion and State in Israel

April 11, 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.

No comments yet.

Your Thoughts