WASHINGTON – The latest battle over religious pluralism in Israel has unleashed a new barrage of criticism and calls for reform aimed at the Orthodox-controlled Israeli Chief Rabbinate.
The Plesner Committee, tasked with crafting an alternative to the Tal Law for haredi service in Israel, is reportedly drafting a proposal which would defer the enlistment of haredi men till age 22, offer financial incentives to yeshivot that have younger enlistment rates, and begin to levy economic sanctions on haredim who don't enlist by age 23.
The assembly of at least 2000 began by saying Slichot, led by Rabbi Yaakov Chanun, who is the baal tefilah at the Munkatch beit Midrash on the Yamim Noraim. The assembled repeated chapters of Tehilim, verse by verse, and sat down on the ground in mourning just as Jews do on the day of Tisha B'Av.
For many Tel Avivians, this past Shavuot seemed different. More than just another day to hit the beaches, and maybe indulge in some cheesecake, Israel's "White City" was dotted with groups celebrating the religious and spiritual aspect of the seminal holiday.
The Israeli government announced on Tuesday that, for the first time, it will pay the salaries of a small number of Reform and Conservative rabbis who are considered leaders in their communities, and will also recognize them as rabbis.
The new law will end the obligation of Jewish couples to be wedded only by the rabbi of their locale, permitting them to choose any recognized Orthodox rabbi in the country to perform their marriage.
The intensifying focus on legislating an alternative to the Tal Law has the ultra-Orthodox parties in the Likud-led coalition defensive yet intractable. Shas and UTJ - representing 15 seats in the government - have declared that they will not participate in the coalition committee on finding an alternative.
The mayor Tel Aviv told Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday that having an “ultra-Orthodox” majority in Israel would turn it “into a fundamentalist state like Saudi Arabia”.
Some 13 years after its establishment, and six years after the court case on the settlement's legality began, all the residents of Migron, a large outposts in Judea and Samaria, arrived Sunday night at their local synagogue and signed an affidavit to be submitted to the court, committing to leave their homes voluntarily and without any forced eviction in three and a half years.
The internet pamphlet plays on a popular Purim greeting, 'sameach u'mevadech' [happy and humorous], and asks rhetorically if people really know what Purim is about.
Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Lau responds with dismay to a resolution passed by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council to operate public transportation on Shabbat. He appealed to Mayor Ron Huldai, who supported the resolution, not to "allow the candle of Shabbat to burn out."