Thursday, April 3, 2014

Religion and State in Israel - April 3, 2014

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.


On Monday, Deputy Minister for Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan participated in the monthly meeting of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate and re-emphasized the importance of the [Tzohar Law] and its implementation.

However, according to reports in the haredi media, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef expressed his ongoing opposition to the law, calling it “a serious blow to the world of the rabbinate.”

The chief municipal rabbi of Beersheva, Rabbi Yehuda Deri who is a member of the Council and brother of Shas chairman Arye Deri, said “we will not honor the law, it is preferably that the law for abolishing marriage registration districts be cancelled.”

The chief rabbinate issued a statement saying that the Council of the Chief Rabbinate would establish a committee to examine the implementation of the law, which will present its opinion to the chief rabbis.

“Until the recommendations have been submitted and the chief rabbis have given their authorization, couples will still need to present a certificate of single marital status and confirmation of Jewish status from the local rabbinate where they live,” the chief rabbinate stated.


[Haim Amsalem] was heavily critical of Bayit Yehudi’s stance on a bill proposed by Hatnua MK Elazar Stern for reforming the conversion process, and said he had decided not to join the party because of this issue.

“During my last contact with Bayit Yehudi some three weeks ago, it became clear to me that they have taken the hard-line national- religious and even Haredi position on the issue of conversion, which is something I cannot come to terms with,” Amsalem said.

He said that the most central concern of his at present was the prevention of assimilation and the adoption of a more accessible and reasonable conversion process.

“If Bayit Yehudi is going in the other direction, if there is no chance to solve this problem with them, then there is nothing for me with them [and] joining such a party would be a waste of my time,” he said.

By Rabbi Eliezer Melamed



May I humbly suggest we all place that empty chair at our seder table; let us raise the awareness that not only were we slaves thousands of years ago, but till this very day, there are Jews who are not freed from the chains of a broken marriage.

What is the current state of agunah activism? How can communities support agunot and the organizations that advocate for them? What are the different tactics used in Israel and America? This session will explore the current advocacy strategies employed by agunah organizations, as well as strategies to prevent iggun from happening to you or your family members.

Dr. Rachel Levmore and Rabbi Jeremy Stern. Presided by Beverly Siegel.

AUDIO: The WOW Factor: Women of the Wall

Recording from 2013 JOFA International Conference panel December 7-8, 2013 John Jay College, NYC
Speakers: Rahel Jaskow, Cheryl Birkner Mack, Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson
Moderator: Rabbi David Kalb

"How women choose to pray at the Kotel has incited controversy and clashes, making its way to the highest courts in Israel. What is really going on with the Women of the Wall and how does it affect Jews and feminists in the Diaspora?

Get the latest updates from activists and members of Women of the Wall. This panel will explore the monthly reality on the ground, the potential solutions for the Kotel plaza and the implications of these events for the Jewish and feminist communities in the Diaspora."

Anat Hoffman, IRAC/Chair of Women of the Wall, speaks about her Bat Mitzvah, her family and her journey as leader of WOW. (Forward to 26:44 mark)

First, I come to stand in solidarity and support of the Women of the Wall. I believe in the cause: women praying together at the Kotel according to their custom.

Second, because this is who I am. It’s one thing to believe in principles, ideas, ideals. It’s another thing to act on them.

Third, I do this in memory of my wife, who would want me to be here. Every month, in some way, I remember her.









  • 30% employees reluctant to work alongside ultra-Orthodox men
  • 37% employers preferred not to hire ultra-Orthodox men
  • 27% of employers preferred not to hire ultra-Orthodox women with children

Haredi women, each from a different stream of the Haredi mosaic, graduated from a new program that provides them with opportunities to work in Israel.

The project, which trains Haredi women to work in their communities as early childhood counselors, originated at the National Council of Jewish Women’s Research Institute for Innovation in Education at Hebrew University and is supported by the Hadassah Foundation.

According to Kenanie-Bram, who educates Haredi women on how to start businesses, the problem is that women entrepreneurs are not getting the support they need to get started, let alone succeed.
“Our culture and legal framework need to change. Women need to be given breaks when it comes to taxes and regulations,” she argued.




This summer the Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism, the leading Reform institution in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area, is teaming up with BINA Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture, to bring to life current critical social issues facing Israeli society and matters of Judaism & social justice in a new two week seminar for Jewish Educators, Leaders, Rabbis and Rabbinical Students.



By Rabbi Reuven Hammer

By Yisrael Medad

By Michael Freund

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.

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