Religion and State in Israel – April 26, 2011 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

April 26, 2011 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Group formed to battle ultra-Orthodox ‘invasion’ of secular neighborhoods

By Gili Cohen April 22, 2011

In recent months Fruman has established a national forum to preserve the secular way of life in several neighborhoods countrywide where residents feel their very home is threatened.

The forum objects to the Habad and Breslau centers that have opened up in secular neighborhoods and are acting to change the communities’ way of life. They are also opposed to ultra-Orthodox organizations whose activists go around preaching and persuading people to lead a religious lifestyle.

Local residents up in arms after work starts on ultra-Orthodox school in Haifa

By Revital Hoval April 26, 2011

The residents of the Haifa neighborhood of Neveh She’anan are furious after building work commenced last week on an ultra-Orthodox school in the community without consultation. The site had previously been earmarked as a potential health clinic.

The protestors say that the establishment of the school was approved in recent weeks by the local committee in a rushed and irregular procedure, without proper consultation.

Four surveys yield different totals for Haredi population

By Yair Ettinger April 21, 2011

There is no clear information on how many ultra-Orthodox people live in Israel, or how belonging to that minority is defined by the state, according to a new report by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The 59-page report, compiled by nine statisticians, compares four studies released by the bureau in recent years – each of which attempted to identify the size of Israel’s Haredi population, but with disparate results.

The silent Charedi revolution: How the ultra-Orthodox are being helped into work

By Anshel Pfeffer April 21, 2011

“The best solutions for the Charedi community can come from within the community, and nowhere else,” says Yossi Deitch, chairman and one of the founders of the Kemach Foundation, as he looks through the personal files of some of the thousands of Charedi men and women who his organisation is helping into the workplace.

“So many committees have been set up to try to solve the problem of Charedi employment over the years, and have achieved nothing.

We succeeded because we know the sensitivities and the nuances between the various groups, and also by not going about our work with any fanfare. In over three years of existence, we have done no PR, it’s all word of mouth.”

Lessons of ‘Only Yesterday’

By Aluf Benn Opinion April 22, 2011

This is how Israel is in 2011: Westward-facing Tel Aviv versus ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem where the rabbis are in control and the residents live on National Insurance. A state where politics are dictated primarily by attitudes toward religion. Agnon understood this when the Turks ruled here and the Jewish community numbered a few thousand.

Meanwhile, generations passed, the British Mandate came and went, the Holocaust mowed down European Jewry and millions are now living in the independent Hebrew state – and yet nothing has changed in 100 years.

VIDEO: Shahar Ilan discusses Haredim in the workforce (Hebrew)


Click here for VIDEO

April 16, 2011

Gevalt! A cellphone in Yiddish

By Amitai Ziv April 18, 2011

Partner will launch a new cellphone soon with a Yiddish user interface. Alcatel’s local importer, Accel Telecom, hired two Haredi translators for four months to complete the project in Israel – and the company is already advertising the new phones.

Poster calling to boycott stores where Arabs work with Jewish women spotted in Jerusalem

By Adi Dovrat-Meseritz April 22, 2011

The problem the authors of the broadside (pashkevil, in Hebrew ) have is that Yesh, the Haredi arm of the Super-Sol supermarket chain, allows Arab men to work alongside Jewish women.

TheMarker has discovered that the organization behind the pashkevil is Lehava, a Hebrew acronym for “Preventing Assimilation in the Holy Land.”

J’lem Haredim find gentile hametz buyer has taken it!

By Jonah Mandel April 21, 2011

A gentile man taught a Jerusalem haredi community an important lesson when he acted on his right to take their leavened products bestowed upon him ahead of Pessah in what was obviously more than just a symbolic act.

Over 50,000 visit Hebron on Passover

By Yair Altman April 23, 2011

More than 50,000 people visited the West Bank city of Hebron during the Passover mid holidays, sources in the city’s Jewish community estimated Thursday.

Hebron’s Jewish community celebrates twice a year, on Sukkot and on Passover, when the Cave of the Patriarchs is fully open to Jews, including the sacred room of Isaac, which is located on the side which is usually open to Muslims only.

VIDEO: Passover at Western Wall


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April 21, 2011

Photo gallery: Thousands gather at Kotel for Birkat HaKohanim April 21, 2011

Ten thousand Jewish worshipers gathered at the Western Wall Plaza on Thursday to take part in the bi-annual Priestly Blessing, which usually occurs on the secondintermediate days of Sukkot and Pessah.

Noam Federman stopped at Temple Mount with kid-goat in tow

By Jonah Mandel April 18, 2011

Jerusalem police on Monday detained right-wing activist Noam Federman nearby the entrance to the Temple Mount for fear that he was at the site to offer a Passover sacrifice. Two other Jews were arrested nearby on the same grounds, one of them a minor – Federman’s son – with a kid in his possession, presumably the animal that would have been sacrificed.

Peres explains why this Pessah is different from all others

By Greer Fay Cashman April 21, 2011

As has been his custom for several years, President Shimon Peres on Wednesday paid Pessah visits with Shas spiritual mentor and former Sephardi chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef and with the current Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger.

Peres makes a point of visiting Yosef and the chief rabbis during the High Holy Day season as well.

In the image of God

Passover Feature: My revolution of choice

By Tzvia Greenfield Opinion April 18, 2011

Dr. Tzvia Greenfield, a mother of five, heads the Mifneh Institute for Democracy and Jewish Identity, and was the first ultra-Orthodox woman to represent the peace camp in the Knesset.

The revolution I am striving for views religious and ultra-Orthodox groups among the People of Israel as continuing the grand journey of the Jewish culture that they have undertaken, while at the same time being willing to reconsider the terms of Judaism and to create a new spiritual and religious language, which knows both how to contain and give expression to all of us as free persons.

Arab bakers say they’ll keep low profile over Pessah

By Jonah Mandel April 18, 2011

Arab pita bakers from around the Sea of Galilee and the northern Mediterranean coast will make every effort to avoid selling leavened bread (hametz) to Jews over Pessah.

This follows a meeting on Sunday with Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee Ayoub Kara (Likud), during which he asked the bakers to be sensitive to the religious feelings of Jews on their holiday of redemption and freedom.

Arab MKs launch anti-chametz campaign

By Tzvika Brot April 19, 2011

Israelis who plan not to eat chametz (leavened food) throughout the Passover holiday are receiving surprising support from Arab Knesset members.

The lawmakers have launched a campaign urging the Arab public to avoid selling pita bread and other leavened products at main intersections and other public areas, within and outside Jewish cities, so as not to offend Jews traveling across the country during the holiday.

Falashmura immigrants celebrate first Passover in Israel

By Dana Weiler-Polak April 18, 2011

Over a thousand new immigrants from the Ethiopian region of Falashmura will celebrate their first Passover in Israel.

The newly Israeli citizens will either celebrate the Jewish exodus at home with their families, or alongside thousands of Ethiopians at seders organized by the Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, to be held at 16 absorption centers throughout the country.

See also: Olim celebrate 1st Passover in Israel

Israel Celebrates Mimouna

By Gavriel Queenann April 26, 2011

Israel’s President Shimon Peres, Sephardic Chief Rabbi “Rishon Lezion” Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat, Knesset members, and soldiers from the Givati Brigade were on hand Monday night to kick off the annual Mimouna festival in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood.

Also this evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah are enjoying an open house in Or Akiva, where the traditional Mimouna delicacies will be served.

$2M help needy Jews mark Passover April 19, 2011

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, has provided $2 million to help as many as 200,000 needy Jewish people throughout Israel and the former Soviet Union receive packages of food for their Passover celebrations.

Guma Aguiar unveils plan; Jerusalem municipality: Not so fast April 21, 2011

Billionaire Guma Aguiar unveiled his grandiose plan earlier this week to convert his private residence overlooking the Western Wall into a bustling visitors center.

Yet sources in the Jerusalem municipality say that an arduous path still awaits Guma in procuring the proper permits to convert a residential property in a public one.

Justifying a banishment

By Admiel Kosman April 24, 2011

One of the many examples of the commentaries disseminated in the Sabbath bulletins on the subject of banishment and population transfer is the one that was written by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, head of the Har Bracha yeshiva in Samaria.

…Melamed’s article is full of misreadings and distortions of ancient Jewish sources.

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger: Obama must free Pollard

By Kobi Nahshoni April 20, 2011

Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has slammed US President Barack Obama for refusing to pardon jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

During the “High Shabbat” sermon (the Shabbat before Passover) at Jerusalem’s Yeshurun Synagogue, Metzger said Obama could prove his commitment to Israel by releasing Pollard.

Psalmist of the secular

By Ben Shalev April 24, 2011

Today, once again, [Kobi Oz] is reinventing himself, this time with the “Mizmorey Nevochim” (Psalms for the Perplexed) project, whose second album, “Mizmorim Nosafim” (Some More Psalms ) came out this month.

When the album “Psalms for the Perplexed” came out about a year ago, quite a few people asked Oz if he had become religious. “People didn’t know what to make of this album,” he says. “What is it – is it funny? Is it proselytizing? Is it kabbala?”

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner: ‘We Must Not Ascend the Temple Mount’ April 20, 2011

A conference on the subject whether Jews may ascend the Temple Mount at the present time was held at the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who spoke at the event, said it is totally forbidden for Jews to ascend the mount.

Jerusalem’s time tunnels

By Nir Hasson April 24, 2011

In the future, visitors may even be able to enter the Western Wall tunnels and continue all the way to the Via Dolorosa, in the heart of the Muslim Quarter. From there, it is a quick walk to the immense Zedekiah’s Cave under the Muslim Quarter buildings. All told, this means that visitors could potentially spend hours on end exploring subterranean Jerusalem from end to end of the ancient city (though not including the Temple Mount), barely seeing the light of day.

Joseph’s Tomb remains source of conflict

By Jonah Mandel April 26, 2011

Besides the monthly busloads of visitors, who sign-up in advance for the coveted permission to make the trip, unauthorized and unprotected clandestine visits are regularly held by small groups of Jewish worshipers – most notably Breslav Hassidim, who give special significance to prayer at the burial sites of holy Jewish figures.

The Ethiopian experience in English

By Raphael Ahren April 22, 2011

An exclusive group of Jewish educators will be treated to a special presentation of Ethiopian-Israeli theater in Jerusalem that has been translated for English-speaking audiences. …will be performed for Birthright tour organizers, so that they have the option to make them a part of their Israel trip curriculum.

This Year we are Free

By Don Seeman Opinion April 17, 2011

It is more complicated because Ethiopian Jews like others today live in a globalized world of intimate connections across national and cultural boundaries in which it is difficult to pigeonhole anyone.

…Yet there is also a simplicity here that deserves attention. The people who walked across the desert carrying little more than Psalms have found their own distinctive way into the Israeli pottage. They vote, serve in the army and struggle to save a few shekels like everyone else. This year they will sit with family at a Passover seder like everyone else and laugh or argue about whatever it is that big families laugh and argue about. But they will do it in the land that their grandparents only dreamed of.

Dimona’s African Hebrews: Recalling their show of strength

By David Sheen April 22, 2011

The African Hebrew Israelites have recently achieved a modicum of respect in Israeli society. Members of the community have represented Israel in international competitions, most notably the Eurovision song contest. Many of their children serve in the Israel Defense Forces. A few dozen members have even received full Israeli citizenship.

In 2008, President Peres celebrated his 85th birthday in Dimona with the Hebrews, and told them, “Your community is beloved in Israel.” But 25 years ago, the situation couldn’t have been more different.


Ahead of Easter, thousands mark holy fire rite in Jerusalem

AP April 23, 2011

The small doorway to the traditional site of Jesus’ tomb cracked open to reveal a bright flame and tens of thousands of worshippers cheered ecstatically, marking the pinnacle of Easter Week’s holy fire ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Police firepower safeguards Holy Fire in Jerusalem as Orthodox Christians celebrate annual miracle

By Nir Hasson April 24, 2011

Tens of dozens of Christian worshipers yesterday took part in the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Christian pilgrims flock to Jerusalem for Good Friday

AP April 23, 2011

Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of old Jerusalem to mark Good Friday, commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion in the city two millennia ago.

Religious politics foil fire exit at Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulcher

By Matti Friedman AP April 21, 2011

Thousands of Christian believers will fill the medieval chambers of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on Saturday for a ritual known as the Holy Fire, packed shoulder to shoulder and holding burning candles as pilgrims have done for centuries. And, as in centuries past, the church will still have only one door and no fire exit.

Galilee hiking trail for Christian pilgrims unveiled

AP April 20, 2011

Israel hopes to attract Christian tourists with a new pilgrimage route unveiled in the Galilee, a network of footpaths, roads and bicycle paths linking sites central to the lives of Jesus and his disciples.

Photos: Samaritans celebrate Shavuot atop Mt. Gerizim

Reuters and Ben Hartman April 24, 2011

Members of the Samaritan sect gathered atop Mount Gerizim to watch the sun rise early Sunday morning as part of the traditional pilgrimage marking the holiday of Shavuot.

Photo-op on Mount Gerizim

By Chaim Levinson April 22, 2011

In recent years, the relative security lull encouraged Israelis, especially photography buffs, to venture into the West Bank and turn the Samaritans’ ritual on Mount Gerizim into an obligatory outing. Last year, a record 10,000-plus people were in attendance, and dozens of buses were forced to let their passengers off a few kilometers from the sacred site.

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Religion and State in Israel

April 26, 2011 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.

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