Religion and State in Israel – May 2, 2011 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

May 2, 2011 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

VIDEO: “Stuffing us into a box” Free Marriage campaign


Click here for VIDEO April 28, 2011

‘Think of non-Jewish immigrants from FSU as close kin’

By Jonah Mandel April 27, 2011

Try to imagine non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union as close kin, who should be helped to return to the Jewish people, said head of the State Conversion Authority Rabbi Haim Druckman on Tuesday at a conference honoring converts on the day of the Mimunah celebrations that took place in Ashkelon, organized by the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry.

“If I had a cousin who came from there,” Druckman said, “who needed to convert – wouldn’t I do anything in my power to help her? They are all our cousins,” he said of the FSU immigrants.

Reform Jews: No to ‘kosher’ bus lines

By Kobi Nahshoni April 26, 2011

Following a High Court ruling that sex segregation must not be imposed on public transportation, the battle against “strictly kosher” bus lines is now using the weapon most identified with the ultra-Orthodox public – pashkevils.

Some 15 activists of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism and the Israel Religious Action Center last week got on “kosher” buses in haredi neighborhoods, dressed in white, and handed out leaflets explaining the High Court ruling on the matter.

Click here for PHOTOS

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner: Is it permissible for a man to sit next to a woman on the bus? April 29, 2011

A: It is permissible if there is no other place, as is found in Baba Batra 57. The most important thing is not to stare at her.

VIDEO: Orthodox synagogues refuse Bar Mitzvah for autistic children; Reform synagogue welcomes them (Hebrew)

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See also April 12, 2011

Are Some Israelis Being Passed Over?

By Lawrence Rifkin April 13, 2011

“If I were to grade Israel for religious freedom on a scale of one to 10, I’d have to give it a five,” Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), the umbrella organization for local Reform Jewry, tells The Report. “Five is very bad.”

“No one in Israel is preventing anyone from being a Reform Jew,” he says. “In that area, the score might be a nine. But everything having to do with religious freedom and freedom from religion is a major problem.”

“It’s not just the lack of freedom to marry and divorce where you want and how you want – it’s the impact on gender equality between the husband and wife that traditional religious values impose – and these values are not desirable to everyone,” he says, referring most notably to the matter of agunot, Hebrew for “chained women,” or women whose husbands will not grant them a divorce.

“Government money funds Haredi schools that overlook the core curriculum, not only regarding studies that prepare one to go out into the world, but also studies that educate toward democracy,” Kariv complains.

“This funding has been made possible by the institutionalization of matters linking religion and state. This threatens not only the country’s economic future, but its democratic values.”

Democracy in Israel cannot exist without a pluralistic Judaism

By Charlie Kalech Opinion April 20, 2011

Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar of the Likud and the Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni of Kadima recently flew to the United States at the invitation of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly to attend the R.A. convention in Las Vegas.

Their appearance together is indicative of a growing trend in Israel of partners working together for the greater good. In this case: religious pluralism.

Ad: Reform Jews oppose nomination of Rabbi Richard Jacobs to head URJ

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The Zionism of Rabbi Richard Jacobs – A Model for Our Times

Rabbi David Ellenson is President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). Rabbi Naamah Kelman is dean of the Jerusalem campus of HUC-JIR. Rabbi Michael Marmur, who resides in Jerusalem, is vice president for academic affairs at HUC-JIR. April 26, 2011

The current advertisement means that a handful of Reform Jews have now joined previously Right-leaning critics who in recent weeks have challenged the Zionist credentials of Rabbi Jacobs.

The claim is that Rabbi Jacobs’ involvement with groups promoting human rights and social improvement aligns him with crazed extremists. Here are five reasons why such a canard needs to be refuted with vigor.

Some Reform rabbis doubt new movement chief’s devotion to Israel

The new leader of Reform Judaism: A Zionist and lover of Israel

By Shlomo Shamir April 28, 2011

Later, he spent almost 20 years he living in Jerusalem off and on; he studied at the Shalom Hartman Institute, which awarded him the title of senior rabbinic fellow. Now Jacobs has an apartment in Jerusalem, and he and his family visit Israel often.

His congregation in Scarsdale started a “sister-congregation” in Mevaseret Zion, under the leadership of Rabbi Maya Leibowitz, the first Israeli-born woman to be ordained as a Reform rabbi.

An Extremist Coup at the Union for Reform Judaism

By Carol Greenwald, PhD Opinion April 29, 2011

The Reform movement has always leaned toward the political Left, but Rabbi Jacobs’ appointment has the potential to drive Zionist Jews out of the Reform movement and to create a schism with mainstream Jewry, much as J street has set itself in opposition to AIPAC, the Jewish organization long recognized by all religious branches of the Jewish community as representing their pro-Israel views to the Congress.

Do Israeli and American Jews Need Each Other?

By Yehudah Mirsky Opinion April 29, 2011

Book Review: Shtetl, Bagel, Baseball by Shmuel Rosner

America, for its part, has much to teach Israelis about how people of vastly different persuasions can somehow live together, how religion thrives precisely when it keeps its distance from city hall, and how Jewish identity not only takes its lumps from but can also flourish in the endless experimentation of freedom.

It comes down to this: for the two Jewish centers truly to engage one another on all levels, each would have to reach out fully to the other while fully holding its own. Sadly, the likelihood ofthat happening is a bet against very long odds.

Birthright is missing the target with condensed Israel tours

Birthright Israel tours are insulting young Jews’ intelligence

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion April 29, 2011

Just imagine the effect of a joint Israel-Diaspora global relief work project on its participants first of all. And then how about a worldwide year-long program of Jewish studies, with brightest academic stars taking students from the original biblical texts all the way to the great Jewish philosophers of the last century?

Taking place at 10 different locations on five continents, under the auspices of the leading universities in every country with a sizable Jewish community, freed from the shackles of religion but with the fervor of a yeshiva beit midrash.

How can Jews be ‘Orthodox’ without living in Israel?

By Gil Troy Opinion April 28, 2011

Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University and a Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

Anyone who feels commanded to live fully as a Jew should acknowledge Israel’s centrality in that mission. Moreover, Orthodoxy seems to be particularly rigid these days, with fanatic rabbis turning ritually autistic, blurring minor and major commandments, demanding blind observance to all religious dictates equally, passionately, fully.

…how do so many rigidly pious Jews ignore the commandment to live in Israel? How do they reconcile this contradiction? And why do their rabbis, who hector them about the most minor kashrut questions, avoid this subject in sermons?

Jews, Evangelicals Search For Ways To Discuss Israel

By Debra Rubin Religion News Service April 29, 2011

American Jews and evangelicals need a formal mechanism to discuss their differences and similarities on support for Israel, leaders from both sides said Thursday (April 28) at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum 2011.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, spoke alongside Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a board member of Christians United for Israel, about Jewish groups’ concerns over evangelical support for Israel.

‘July in J’lem’ program enters 5th year April 27, 2011

Yeshiva University announced recently that registration has begun for the fifth annual “July in Jerusalem Program,” a month-long Israel experience – combining Torah learning, volunteering and group touring – for college students with limited backgrounds in Jewish studies.

‘Just like in the movies’

By Ellen Schur Brown April 29, 2011

The Israeli teens are here as shlichim, ambassadors, but they’re also here to learn about American Judaism, touring Congregation Shaarey Tikvah (Conservative) and Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple (Reform) to learn about the various movements within American Judaism.

Meeting rabbis from different movements at a panel discussion was eye-opening, said the Israeli teens. Rabbi Aron Bayer of Fuchs Mizrachi School introduced the concept of Modern Orthodoxy, speaking alongside Rabbi Hal Rudin-Luria of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation (Conservative) and Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk of Fairmount Temple.

Egged Tours acquires Oranim Educational Initiatives

By Nadav Shemer April 28, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of Jewlicious

Egged Tours, a subsidiary of leading public-transportation operator Egged Cooperative, has completed its multimillion- shekel acquisition of Oranim Education Initiatives, the company has announced, in a move that will give it better access to the incoming tourism market.

In the Eye of Jerusalem’s Archaeological Storm

By Israel Finkelstein April 26, 2011

Israel Finkelstein is a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University.

Archaeological activity in Jerusalem has been sucked into a whirlwind of conflicting political agendas, and the site commonly referred to as “the City of David” is in the eye of the storm. At issue is a place of seminal importance for the Jewish people and indeed for anyone who cherishes the heritage of Western civilization.

When dealing with archaeology in Jerusalem, one must first know the facts. Otherwise it is easy to be led astray by unfounded historical interpretations or to succumb to misinformation from those pursuing their own political agendas.

Interview: Christian Group Seeks to Convert, Move to Yesha

By David Lev April 27, 2011

Hundreds of American Christian converts to Judaism could, if a plan works out, move to Israel, serve in the IDF, and take up residence in Samaria.

It’s not pie-in-the-sky, but a plan being developed by a Portland, Oregon radio host called Baruch Avramovich, claims MK Lea Shemtov.

New homes to keep Christians in J’lem?

AFP April 26, 2011

One of the chief problems is the lack of affordable housing, leading the Latin Patriarchate, which represents the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, and several Franciscan monasteries to team up to create new, affordable housing for Christians in Arab east Jerusalem.

They hope that by creating new housing options for Christian Palestinians, fewer will chose to join the hundreds who leave the Holy Land permanently every year.

Religion and State in Israel

May 2, 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.

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