Religion and State in Israel – April 18, 2011 (Section 1)

By ,

Religion and State in Israel

April 18, 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 is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

‘National religious rabbis have also annulled conversions’

By Jonah Mandel April 12, 2011

The dispute over the degree of leniency that Jewish law affords the conversion process is not one of halachic stringency, but one of nationalistic ideology, a prominent national religious educator said Monday.

“The State Conversion Authority has also annulled conversions,” said Rabbi Neria Gutel, speaking at a conference on religious educational attitudes toward Israeli non-Jews at the Rehovot campus of Orot Teachers’ College, which he heads.

“The question of whether to annul a conversion is not one that divides national religious and haredi rabbis.”

Passionately engaged, but not allowed to marry

By David Breakstone Opinion April 15, 2011

The writer is vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization and a member of The Jewish Agency Executive. The opinions expressed in this column are his own.

My own experience in working with rabbinical students from the Reform and Conservative movements suggests that the Jewish state’s treatment of their co-religionists has a far greater impact on their attitude toward Israel than does its treatment of the Palestinians.

These students know that should they move here after being ordained, it will be illegal for them to perform weddings, that the conversions over which they preside will not be recognized, that they will be prevented from officiating at funerals, and that they will be barred from applying for any of the hundreds of rabbinic positions funded by the state.

Israeli couple become first to be wed in civil union

By Jonah Mandel April 12, 2011

Svetlana Sadigursky and Gabby Liebeschitz become on Tuesday evening the first Israeli couple ever to be wed locally in a civil union, in a modest ceremony in Jerusalem.

The civil union law, initiated by Israel Beiteinu’s MK David Rotem and passed last year, enables [… two] citizens defined by the state as lacking religious denomination, to have a civil marriage in Israel and be recognized as a married couple.

Russian-American Christians seek new life in Samaria

By Rebecca Anna Stoil April 14, 2011

A group of American Christians, mostly of Russian origin, plan to convert to Judaism and establish kibbutz- style communities in Samaria – and MK Lia Shemtov (Israel Beiteinu) is eager to help them.

The group’s leader, Russian-language radio host Baruch Avrahamovich of Portland, Oregon, said on Thursday that around 1,000 people are interested in coming to Israel and living as Jews in the northern West Bank.

The new Christian settlers

By Yair Altman April 14, 2011

Officials at the Samaria Regional council confirmed that they were approached about the initiative, but noted that according to the Law of Return, only Jews can move to Israel and receive citizenship.

“If families from this group undergo proper conversion and move to Israel in line with the Law of Return, we’ll of course be happy to welcome them in Samaria,” one official said.

Tel Mond parents don’t want kids’ school adopting religious classes

By Or Kashti April 11, 2011

A group of parents in the Shelanu elementary school in Tel Mond are campaigning against the decision to join the TALI Education Fund network of schools, which is closely identified with the Conservative movement.

The parents say the schools’ shift from secular to traditional was done without their agreement, and that new Judaism related classes are being launched at the expense of core subjects.

Specter of Kashrut steers wedding venues away from same-sex ceremonies

By Gili Cohen and Yair Ettinger April 13, 2011

The Chief Rabbinate and local rabbis may not condition the granting of kashrut licenses on matters unrelated to whether Jewish dietary law has been met, according to the law on fraud.

This has become a hot potato issue with halls maintaining kosher facilities reportedly hesitant to serve as the venue for same-sex wedding celebrations. They fear their kashrut licenses will be revoked.

Vandals desecrate Ra’anana Reform synagogue for third time

By Gili Cohen April 15, 2011

Vandals smashed the windows of a Reform synagogue in Ra’anana and sprayed ominous graffiti on the wall before dawn yesterday.

“All the windows were shattered and broken glass filled the prayer hall and playground outside,” said Yael Galor, community coordinator of the Ra’anan Reform Synagogue.

Reform Jewish synagogue vandalized in Ra’anana for 3rd time

By Jonah Mandel April 14, 2011

“This is the third time in the past year that the synagogue is vandalized,” Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Movement in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“In the past we refrained from drawing media attention to such attacks, which we thought were isolated incidents committed by wild adolescents.

There were also no security cameras on the site, but that will probably change now,” Kariv said.

World Reform movement condemns Ra’anana synagogue attack April 17, 2011

The World Union for Progressive Judaism said that it “condemns all violence that is motivated by hatred and religious extremism.

As we approach the season of Jewish freedom, we call on all government and NGO agencies to show their abhorrence of these wanton senseless acts, we are confident that government leaders will take the lead in this condemnation and we call on Orthodox leaders throughout Israel to also show their disgust at this destructive inter-Jewish hatred.”

Netanya Masorti worshipers are stoned on Shabbat

By Jonah Mandel April 17, 2011

Masorti (Conservative) worshipers exiting their synagogue in Netanya on Friday night were stoned, just a few days after a Reform synagogue in Ra’anana was vandalized by unidentified assailants.

Executive Director and CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel Yizhar Hess said that “the vile wave of violence against non-Orthodox synagogues in Israel should be a warning signal to anyone who cares about democracy in Israel.

Survey on issues of religion and state

April 17, 2011

Fifty-seven percent of Israel’s Jews are in favor of separating religion from the State. The supporters for this move among the religious (23%) and haredim (14%) is significantly lower than the supporters among the seculars (77%).

Israeli media separating country’s secular, religious groups: Study

ANI April 16, 2011

The Israeli media groups are using their ability to select and present information to divide religious and secular groups of the country, says a research conducted by a Penn State Altoona political scientist.

Since most Haredi avoid secular media, the newspapers are the primary sources for the group’s members.

However, the Haredi press typically omits stories about religious public officials involved in crimes or scandals. Haredi reporters also use such phrases as “wonderful boys” or “brilliant young men,” to sarcastically describe secular political figures.

Exclusive photos: Justin Bieber finally visits the Western Wall April 15, 2011

After days of hiding from the public in his Tel Aviv hotel room, 17-year-old pop star Justin Bieber performed at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park Thursday night, and then slipped away unnoticed to Jerusalem.

Following a visit to Yad Vashem, Bieber arrived at the Western Wall around 3 a.m. Friday morning with his mother and a posse of nearly 20, mostly body guards.

VIDEO: Guma Aguiar donates property overlooking Kotel for new Chabad Education Center


Who can pray at the Western Wall?

By Lois Goldrich April 15, 2011

For women who are used to being counted in a minyan, the ongoing struggle of Women of the Wall to gather and pray at the Kotel once each month is both powerful and poignant.

Reform Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson, director of the Women’s Rabbinic Network:

“The [Kotel] has basically been turned into an ultra-Orthodox synagogue,” she said. “There have been many examples of mixed groups coming down to the Wall singing and walking together, and of them being harassed and intimidated. It doesn’t only happen to the Women of the Wall.”

Construction of New Visitor Center to Begin at Jerusalem’s Western Wall

By Baila Olidort April 14, 2011

Perched on a bluff facing the Wall with a view of the Temple Mount, the center will provide guests a quiet space to reflect on their visit to Israel’s holiest site. Inside, permanent and changing exhibits on high-definition monitors will explore the Rebbe’s ideas about Jerusalem, Israel and related themes, helping visitors anchor the spiritual experience at the wall.

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Unfinished Business

By Dr. Misha Galperin Opinion April 14, 2011

Dr. Misha Galperin is President and CEO of the Jewish Agency International Development.

The Jewish Agency is one of the few organizations which has tapped into these cultural strengths to connect Russian speaking Jews with other Jews, with our heritage and with a collective vision of a Jewish future.

‘Russian Jews were free to emigrate as they wished’

By Gil Shefler April 15, 2011

Israel did not dupe Soviet Jewry into immigrating to Israel during the late 1980s and 1990s, an official involved in organizing the great immigration of Soviet Jewry to Israel has insisted.

Arnon Mantver, who was the head of the Jewish Agency’s aliya department in the 1990s, denied claims made by retired Israeli official Yaakov Kedmi that Israel misled Soviet Jews by making them believe they had no other choice if they wanted to leave the country.

Making Our Story Matter

By Avi Herring Opinion April 15, 2011

Avi Herring is a student in NYU graduate dual-degree program between the Wagner School of Public Service and the Skirball Department of Jewish Studies.

First, unlike the fear narrative which dominated the Jewish communal agenda in the latter half of the 20th century, the 21st century will not see one Jewish narrative, but many.

Second, attempts to re-imagine the Jewish narrative will be much more successful than attempts to exaggerate the fear narrative.

While remaining aware of the potential for anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism, we must also candidly acknowledge that fear, while a powerful identity builder in the short term, will not lead to sustainable expressions of Jewish identity in this century.

Students asked to make video clips for Herzl Day

By Or Kashti April 12, 2011

The Education Ministry is holding a video clip competition for secondary-school students “in the spirit of Theodor Herzl’s vision.” The contest is part of Zionist education.

Journey to the End of an Era

By Bambi Sheleg Opinion April 14, 2011

The writer is editor of Eretz Acheret Magazine

I recently came back from a lecture tour in various Jewish communities in the United States. Who would believe that I would have the opportunity of flying coast-to-coast in America and that people would actually come to hear my lectures? The world is an amazing place and the Jewish world is the most fascinating place of all.

…Our world is about to change dramatically. The writing is on the wall and it is part of every news broadcast; however, nobody wants to read it. New centers of power are about to emerge. A change is about to take place in value systems. Survival will become the central issue of the period on whose threshold we now find ourselves.

Sacti-Rashi Foundation Elie Elalouf awarded Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement

By Oren Majar April 12, 2011

Elie Elalouf, the director of the Sacta-Rashi Foundation, will receive the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement along with Vered Hulda-Gurevich, who was honored for her volunteer work.

Ford Foundation to cut funding for local NGOs

By Natasha Mozgovaya April 15, 2011

One of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States, the Ford Foundation, has announced it will not renew a five-year $20 million grant program for Israeli non-profit organizations when it runs out in 2013.

The move is expected to be a blow for groups focusing on human rights and aiding minorities in Israel.

Start up offers free real-time interpretation services to new immigrants in English, Spanish, Italian

By Raphael Ahren April 15, 2011

A new Israeli company recently started offering free real-time interpretation services to new immigrants. Clients just need to dial a landline number in order be connected to a translator fluent in Hebrew who can translate into English, Spanish or Italian, according to the company.

In unusual U.S. visit, Israeli Knesset members try listening

By Uriel Heilman April 10, 2011

[MK Carmel Shama, Likud] said that after listening to American Jews, he now has a completely different view of the debate surrounding the controversial Rotem bill — proposed Knesset legislation that has upset an array of American Jewish groups for the way it would change how Israel handles converts from abroad and conversions at home.

…Perhaps more than anything else, the Knesset members said the trip showed them that Israel has much to learn from the liberalism, pluralism, diversity and tolerance that exists in the American Jewish community. Shama noted that it would be nice to have haredi Orthodox Knesset members go on such a trip.

“Talking About Israel, Educating for Israel: American Jewish Challenges and Opportunities” April 14, 2011

Chancellor Eisen and Dr. Ruskay will address the need for the creation of a new dialogue about Israel within the American Jewish community; a dialogue that is substantive, informed, and positive.

Ex-Shin Bet Head Wants To Double Birthright Quota

By Stewart Ain April 12, 2011

Avi Dichter: About 200,000 have come on Birthright but about double that register and cannot go. So the inevitable question is, why not double the project? Everybody agreed it should be doubled and it can be.

We are going to take that back to Israel and ask the government, because its contribution is about one-third [of the overall cost] — and it’s not that huge.

Why young US rabbis lean to the left on Israel

By Rabbi Scott Perlo Opinion April 16, 2011

The writer is a pulpit rabbi living in Los Angeles, and a graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.

We are not the generation of rabbis hoping to abandon Israel. We are the generation of rabbis who hope that God will give us the merit to be peacemakers.

There is a desperate need for peacemakers in the Jewish community, whether American or Israeli.

Shas rebel MK Chaim Amsellem founds new movement

By Kobi Nahshoni April 14, 2011

Five months after his expulsion from Shas, Rebellious Knesset Member Rabbi Chaim Amsellem confirmed Wednesday that it was his intention to run for the 19th Knesset with his new movement – Am Shalem (Whole Nation).

Amsellem was speaking at a launch party for the new movement held in Jerusalem. It is estimated that he will try to merge his new party with the united national-religious list ahead of the next elections.

Split in Shas Leads to Yet Another Religious Party

By Hillel Fendel April 14, 2011

“We will encourage Torah together with working for a living and academic education,” Rabbi Amsalem said.

“At the same time, we will strengthen full-time Torah study for those unique individuals who can do it.

We will encourage sharing the public burden for all, we will behave with tolerance and unity, and we will bring about an end to division.

We will endorse the controversial conversion issue according to the solutions that I suggested and that were agreed upon by our teacher Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.”

Former Shas head Aryeh Deri: Unity government in the interest of religious people

By Gil Ronen April 17, 2011

Deri added that a unity government is also in the interest of religious people because it will lower tensions between religious and secular Jews – a tension that he thinks hurts the religious more.

Religion and State in Israel

April 18, 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