Religion and State in Israel – April 11, 2011 (Section 2)

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April 11, 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.

17 yeshivas to lose state funding, asked to return money April 4, 2011

The Education and Finance Ministries have said that 17 out of 1,500 yeshivas reviewed by the state will not receive further financial support, and are requested to return funds received in the last period, Israel Radio reported Monday.

State offering yeshiva dropouts lessons in Torah – and technology

By Lior Dattel April 7, 2011

The Education Ministry plans to include 500 Haredi teenagers in a technology matriculation program next school year.

The program will combine core classes with religious studies, and is intended for 15- to 16-year-old boys who dropped out of yeshivas.

Rabbis will teach the students religious subjects.

Haredi rabbis: Don’t volunteer in Magen David Adom

By Kobi Nahshoni April 6, 2011

Ultra-Orthodox leaders are calling on the religious public not to volunteer in Magen David Adom, claiming that serving in the rescue organization leads to serious religious prohibitions and leads to spiritual danger.

The ad is part of the ongoing battle between haredi rabbis and the national emergency organization, following MDA’s attempt to recruit young ultra-Orthodox people for civilian service.

Bad fences make bad neighbors

By Tamar Rotem April 8, 2011

Oshrat Parzam, a first-grade teacher: “I’m sorry to hear that the Haredim are claiming that our children could have a bad influence on theirs. I understand the differences in education, in their religious worldview at school age, but at this age there’s no place for separation. What’s the meaning of putting up a fence in the middle?”

“They said that they’re afraid their children will be influenced by the secular children,” says Kirmaier, “that they’ll learn curses from our children, that they’ll see children without a skullcap.”

The story of the fence is not an isolated incident. It needs to be understood against the backdrop of a long series of disagreements in the neighborhood in recent years.

New org to educate Haredi community on animal rights

By Sharon Udasin April 5, 2011

[Ezra Zohar] has teamed up with a haredi community activist, Yehuda Shein of Beit Shemesh, to co-found a haredi animal rights advocacy group called Compassion, whose Hebrew letters are also an acronym for “haredi recruits for animals.”

The organization will serve to spread knowledge about the cruelties endured by animals as well as general environmental issues, according to the team.

“Recently, we’ve received the support of important rabbis from all streams in our campaign to ban battery cages for laying hens, among them Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Rabbi Benjamin Lau, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner and Rabbi David Rosen.”

Charedi media fall foul of the rabbis

By Nathan Jeffay April 7, 2011

Israeli rabbis have launched a bitter attack against Charedi newspapers and magazines which operate without their approval.

The two main Charedi newspapers in Israel, Hamodia and Yated Ne’eman, which between them sell 45,000 copies daily, are both are overseen by a rabbinical board who keep tight control over what they publish.

Barkat’s ‘Culture Center’ Plan May Backfire, Say Jerusalemites

By David Lev April 8, 2011

Known far and wide as a city dedicated to the spiritual, Jerusalem has long had a secular side as well – mostly centered in the Talpiot industrial zone, with nightclubs and restaurants of all types.

Barkat’s plan aims to capture that spirit and transfer it to the city center and the Russian Compound – but that plan, many believe, will doom the city to endless rounds of protest and controversy, as those areas border Hareidi neighborhoods like Me’ah Shearim and Geula.

First of all, teach the core subjects April 6, 2011

Letter to Editor

In response to, “Don’t ask what a Haredi can do for his country, help him,” March 30
Avirama Golan is wrong – Israeli society should not stop worrying about whether the ultra-Orthodox study the core subjects. On the contrary, standing firm over the obligation of every school to teach these subjects is the only chance to save Haredi children from ignorance, poverty and dependence on their leaders.

By Laura Wharton

Jerusalem city councilor for Meretz

Innovative No More

By Philissa Cramer April 4, 2011

The stakes of radically revising that system are existential, according to Tel Aviv University economist Dan Ben-David, who also heads the Jerusalem-based Taub Center for Public Policy, where annually he compiles and analyzes statistics about the country’s progress.

Those data have convinced him that the country will soon become unable to shoulder the burden of supporting the ultra-Orthodox who opt out of the workforce—and that education is the only sector that can help the country avert economic disaster.

1 in every 5 new olim won’t participate in Passover seder

By Jonah Mandel April 10, 2011

Some 12% of all the secular people surveyed won’t be holding a Seder, a figure comprised of 18% of the new olim surveyed, in contrast to only 6% of the Israeli-born populace.

Head of Bina Center Eran Baruch: “The fact that 18% of the new olim do not mark the holiday in any way is very worrying, and indicates a trend of severe alienation experienced by the immigrants toward Judaism and the rabbinical establishment, which represents Judaism to them.”

4 Ways of Connecting your Seder to Israel

Unfortunately in Israel today, religious pluralism barely exists:

  • Conservative/ Masorti and Reform Rabbis are not recognised by the Chief Rabbinate
  • Non-Orthodox synagogues receive no financial support from the State
  • Weddings or conversions carried out according to Conservative/Masorti tradition are not approved by the Rabbinate
  • Women are not accepted as equals in religious practice, even leading to being arrested for praying in public places like the Kotel

Had He only built us the Temple, and not rebuilt the Jewish State

Had He only rebuilt the Jewish State, and not brought Jews to Israel from over 100 different countries of the Diaspora

Had He only brought Jews to Israel from over Diaspora, and not brought religious pluralism

L’Shana Haba לשנה הבאה equal in Israel. ! דיינו

After criticism, institute promises to find a seder for every blind person

By Dana Weiler-Polak April 8, 2011

The Jewish Institute for the Blind in Jerusalem has promised that every blind person looking to celebrate Passover will have a seat at a seder table.

The center’s assurances follow a report in Haaretz earlier this week, in which other organizations voiced concern that blind celebrants would be left with nowhere to observe the holiday.

Israelis to send chametz to Japan

By Akiva Novick April 10, 2011

In the coming days, volunteers of the My Israel movement plan to visit homes across Israel, wait at the entrances to supermarkets and try to collect all the Israeli chametz and send it, with the Foreign Ministry’s help, to tsunami-hit areas in Japan.

Machon Meir launches kids TV series on Pessah

By Jonah Mandel April 8, 2011

Head of Machon Meir Rabbi Dov Bigon, whose institute is behind the television stations, said that the idea behind opening the station’s content to an English-speaking audience came to him while on a trip to the US. While there, educators bemoaned the lack of educational and Jewish content available to Jewish children.

Photo and Audio Essay: Bar-Ilan students, faculty welcome spring with a blessing

Click here for Photo and Audio Essay [right click and view in Full Screen]

By Mordechai I. Twersky April 7, 2011

On this first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, which the Bible considers the advent of spring, scores of students and faculty streamed from university buildings to recite the special blessing, Birkat Ha-Ilan, for the blossoming of the trees.

African migrants celebrate freedom at ‘Refugee Seder’

By Ben Hartman April 8, 2011

Around 500 African migrants broke unleavened bread with Israeli friends and volunteers at an early Pessah Seder held in south Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park on Thursday night.

More than a dozen NGOs helped put on the event, including Amnesty Israel, the Hotline for Migrant Workers, the UN Refugee Agency, the Bina Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture, and the African Refugee Development Center.

Mumbai attack orphan to be among beacon-lighters

By Greer Fay Cashman April 5, 2011

Four-year-old Moishe Holzberg, whose parents Gavriel and Rivka, Chabad emissaries in Mumbai, were killed in a terror attack in November 2008, will light one of the 12 beacons of hope and triumph this Independence Day, the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry announced this week.

Moishe Holzberg, who is being raised by his maternal grandparents, Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg and his wife Yehudit, was chosen along with his grandfather to light the beacon at the Mount Herzl military cemetery, as representatives of the Chabad light that emanates into the darkness of the world.

Israel’s Torch Lighting: In Chabad’s Name? April 7, 2011

Adapted from an essay written by Rabbi Dovid Meir Drukman

The writer is Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin

So, are Lubavitchers Zionists or not?

Correct, we are Zionists. But not the so-called Zionists who created the State of Israel, rather we are Zionists who pray thrice daily that “G-d lay His eyes upon Zion”.

The difference is immense.

…I beseech of those who do choose to go to light a [torch], to do so in honor of the State of Israel. Do it in honor of Theodor Herzl. Speak of the greatness of secularism and Israel’s own accomplishments, omitting G-d’s name, and definitely don’t mention the Rebbe and his Shluchim.

Ascent in Safed Doubles Size

By Rivka Chaya Berman April 7, 2011

Ascent, a center for Jewish edu-tourism in Safed, offering mystical Jewish experiences since the early 1980s, signed a mortgage on the nearby Tel Aviv Hotel in time for the Passover tourism rush.

Ascent’s hostel remains open, and the new acquisition – freshly painted, carpeted, and spiffed up – increases the center’s total capacity from 70 to 250 guests.

NGO to launch biggest-ever campaign against abortions

By Ruth Eglash April 6, 2011

The campaign is part of the ongoing efforts of non-profit organization Efrat, whose goal, according to its website, “is to inform women faced with unwanted pregnancy that there are choices.”

…In addition to the video clip, Efrat, which claims its message is not necessarily entrenched in religious beliefs, will launch simultaneously a series of television and radio commercials encouraging women thinking about aborting a pregnancy to come forward and seek help.

IDF mission plans Japanese-style Seder

By Kobi Nahshoni April 4, 2011

When Tzvi Yehuda Mansbach took his officers course and became an Israel Defense Forces rabbi, he never imagined that one day he would be providing religious services for dozens of soldiers at the ends of the earth.

But then the earth shook and Mansbach, the Home Front Command’s Central District rabbi left his office in Zrifin and got on a plane – destination: Japan.

Orthodox IDF soldiers accused of abusing Palestinian prisoners

By Anshel Pfeffer April 6, 2011

An Israel Defense Forces soldier from a unit made up exclusively of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men was convicted on Wednesday in the Central Military Court of illegal use of a weapon and disgraceful conduct.

Young Israel Donates 190th Sefer Torah to the IDF

By David Lev April 9, 2011

Although generally thought of as an American organization, the Young Israel movement has been very involved in Israeli life for decades – and last week, the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) and the Israel branch of the International Young Israel Movement dedicated, for the 190th time, a Sefer Torah to the IDF.

Did rabbi sexually assault bride?

By Yair Altman April 6, 2011

Well-known Jerusalem Rabbi David Tovol was arrested last Sunday on suspicions that he committed indecent acts against a newlywed bride who sought his advice, Ynet has learned.

An Orthodox Jew Leads Toledo to a Women’s National Basketball Title

By Elana Sztokman April 6, 2011

Shafir received rabbinic approval to pursue her dream from Chaim Burgansky, rabbi of Hoshaya.

“The halachic rationale is based on the fact that although the Halacha says that it’s forbidden to jump and run on Shabbat, someone who derives pleasure from it can do it. But exercise is forbidden,” he told the Forward in an e-mail.

“Practice is in the category of ‘exercise’ and therefore forbidden, but the game itself is fun for the player. Who wants to sit on the bench?”

VIDEO: Arts and Culture Day for Religious Education Students

By Elad Benari and Yoni Kempinski April 4, 2011

Click here for VIDEO


A special day of arts and culture for students of Israel’s state religious schools was held last week in the city of Lod as part of the weeklong celebration of Religious Zionist Education in Israel. The day featured workshops by some of Israel’s top artists in the fields of theater, music, dance, drama, cinema and more.

Yigal Amir kept from prayer group

By Ofra Edelman April 6, 2011

The assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin will be held in isolation for an additional six months, the Petah Tikva District Court ruled yesterday, despite an earlier Supreme Court decision allowing Yigal Amir to pray with others.

Israel Electric Corp pulls the plug on Maimonides’ grave over huge unpaid electric bill

By Eli Ashkenazi April 6, 2011

The Israel Electric Corporation has cut power to the grave site of the preeminent philosopher and Torah stage Maimonides – also known as the Rambam – in Tiberias, a site visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year.

The lack of electricity has forced the organization that operates the site to close it down in the evening.

Unpaid bill makes holy site go dark

AP April 7, 2011

Rabbi Israel Deri, one of the managers of the site in the Galilee city of Tiberias, admitted Wednesday that the bill “fell between the cracks.” As a result, the tomb – where people come to pray around the clock – is now closed to night visitors.

“We accumulated a debt. We didn’t pay. And we’re working on it,” Deri said. Signs at the entrance announce that the site is closed at night “due to a power glitch.”

VIDEO: Prayer at Joseph’s Tomb: 2,000 Attend

By Gil Ronen April 5, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

About 2,000 people attended a nighttime prayer session at the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem Monday night. The prayers were held to mark Rosh Hodesh – the first day of the new month of Nisan – and was organized by the Samaria local authority and the “One Shechem” group.

Rabbi: ‘Intermarriage in Yafo Due to Mixed Arab and Jewish Schools”

By Elad Benari April 7, 2011

According to Rabbi Yuval Alpert, who heads the Gar’in Torani (Torah core group) in Jaffa, the city’s public schools, in which Jews study side-by-side with Arabs, have led to high intermarriage rates.

Messianic Temptations

By Yehudah Mirsky Opinion April 7, 2011

For his part, [Rabbi] Zvi Tau, grasping the significance of the steady intellectual and spiritual collapse of classic political Zionism, has replaced it with a powerfully suggestive interpretation of the metaphysical significance of Jewish statehood.

Those who hope to steer Zionism—and religious Zionism in particular—by more humane and sustainable lights would do well to ponder his example, and propound other interpretations.

The criminal campaign against Y.

By Yehuda Ben Meir Opinion April 10, 2011

In the next few days, the government is expected to approve Yoram Cohen’s appointment as the new head of the Shin Bet security service.

…These groups’ inappropriate intervention demonstrates their continued degeneration into behavior best described as sectarian, tribal and provincial; behavior that is antithetical to the fundamental principles of the original concept of religious Zionism.

Will rabbis allow brainy Shabbat driving?

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich April 8, 2011

As the interface between brain and machine moves from science fiction to reality, rabbis will be debating whether a vehicle one merely sits in and drives solely with brain activity can be used on Shabbat.

Bank of Israel Gov. Fischer would like Sundays off too April 7, 2011

Shalom proposes that Israelis work Friday mornings in exchange for taking Sunday off, as per practice in most of the world. He proposes that the Friday workday end at 1 pm during winter and 2 pm during Daylight Savings Time. He claims that the long weekend will boost productivity and improve efficiency through better coordination with the world.

Trash troubles pit Bahai Center against local kibbutz & village

By Jack Khoury April 5, 2011

The Bahai Center has objected for years to garbage trucks passing near the site, which has received international recognition as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The Bahais are demanding that the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intervene on their behalf, since Israel is obliged by international covenants to preserve holy sites.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s daughter Adina Bar Shalom in peace plan: Withdraw from Golan, E. J’lem

By Mazal Mualem April 6, 2011

Former security chiefs, academics and businessmen have drafted a peace plan they hope to use as a platform to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to renew deadlocked talks with the Palestinians.

Also members are businessman Idan Ofer, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s daughter Adina Bar Shalom…

Chabad Friend “Fights Father, Forgoes Family”

By David Yisraeli April 3, 2011

In an interview with the Sof Hashavua magazine, daughter of Shas spiritual leader and former Israeli Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Mrs. Adina Bar-Shalom spoke of her brother’s choice to “leave the family.”

The sacred layers of holy cities

By Gray M Beltran Opinion April 9, 2011

As I walked through the winding alleyways of the Old City, shaded by tall walls of Jerusalem stone, I experienced a sharp twinge of déjà vu.

It was my first time in Israel, yet something about the environment—the centuries-old architecture, the nourishing, Mediterranean sunlight—recalled an earlier time in my life.

Religion and State in Israel

April 11, 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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