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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘assimilation’

Chief Rabbi Lau Condemns Minister Bennett’s Visit to US Conservative School

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau criticized the visit of Minister of Education and Chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party Naftali Bennett to Conservative congregations in the United States and said that it is clear the minister did not consult with a rabbi about those visits.

According to Rabbi Lau, “The visit constitutes a recognition of congregations that are dangerous to the future of the Jewish nation.”

Rabbi Lau told religious Radio Kol Khai regarding Conservative congregations:

We must continue to educate Jews and explain to them the true values ​​of Jewish tradition and the nation of Israel. Don’t forget, in almost every Jewish family you’ll find a religious grandfather, an ultra-Orthodox grandfather, or even a grandfather who is a rabbi. You will not find a lot of families with a Conservative grandfather.

That is, in the end, when we talk about the future, Orthodoxy is the way.

Rabbi Lau said that in his opinion “the Conservatives are certainly Jews but, again, not because of their moral identity. We must tell them clearly: If you continue in this way, you will lose your children and your grandchildren.”

Rabbi Lau opposed Bennett’s visit to a Conservative School and said, “we should ask Bennett if he consulted with a rabbi before this meeting and I very much fear that he didn’t, [and] this behavior is unacceptable to the entire [nation of] Israel. When you speak to a general audience, of course you’re not going to ask whether everyone in the audience is Orthodox, but to plan in advance an appearance before a certain audience and legitimize its path, when this path removes Jews from the Jewish way, it is forbidden.”

The rabbi continued:

If Minister Bennett were to ask my opinion ahead of his visit, I would have told him clearly that ‘you can’t go to a place where the education removes Jews from the tradition, from the past and from the future of the Jewish nation.’

The Office of Minister Bennett’s responded in a statement saying: “Minister Bennett believes public leaders in Israel should bring Jews in, not ostracize them, and is strongly opposed to statements that keep hearts away rather than bring them closer. We are now in a state of emergency for Diaspora Jews, when assimilation reaches millions of Jews.

“As someone who is responsible for the diaspora issues in the Israeli government, Minister Bennett is proud to care for each and every Jew wherever they are, and will continue to meet with every Jew, no matter their denomination.”

JNi.Media

Comprehensive Survey of Israelis in Germany Finds They Are Secular, Educated Leftists

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

(JNi.media) About 85% of Israeli Jews in Germany are secular—as opposed to 46% of Israeli Jews in Israel; 62% have a university degree—compared with 46% nation-wide in Israel; and at least 70% defined their world-view in the Israeli context as “left wing,” Israeli German Spitz Magazine reported in its December issue. Spitz is an independent magazine, whose founder and editor Tal Alon is a journalist who used to work as news desk chief for Yediot Aharonot and Maariv. She has been living in Berlin with her family since the summer of 2009.

The initial findings of the study, the result of a collaboration between Wuppertal University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, were presented last Friday by Prof. Uzi Rebhun and Prof. Danny Krenz at the Moses Mendelssohn Center in Potsdam. Some 600 Jewish Israelis (born in Israel and Hebrew speakers) were surveyed online, and a few Dozen Israelis living in Germany participated in in-depth Personal interviews conducted by Prof. Krenz and Cultural Anthropologist Katja Harbi.

Incidentally, after cross-checking data from different sources, the survey’s authors have concluded that the number of Israelis in Germany is a lot smaller than was believed, not more than 16,000, in contrast with various reports claiming higher numbers in Berlin alone.

One of the most interesting findings of the survey, according to Spitz, is the fact that about 69.1% of respondents define their sociopolitical outlook in the Israeli context as “left wing,” 22.4% as “center” and only 8.4% as “Right wing” — results which are dramatically different from the results of the most recent Israeli elections.

Another interesting statistic is the fact that in Germany 84.7% of Israelis are secular, 10.7% described themselves as “a little religious,” 3.9%” “moderately religious,” and only 0.7% as “very religious.” By comparison, according to a study by the Israel Democracy Institute in 2009, only 46% of Israeli Jews define themselves as secular while 32% are traditional, and 22% say they are religious or ultra-Orthodox. Similarly, while 68% of Israeli Jews say they always fast on Yom Kippur, 77.9% of Israelis in Germany said they do not ever fast on Yom Kippur.

Here is another fascinating finding: according to Spitz, 46.5% of Israelis with higher education have degrees in the arts and the humanities, compared with only 18.3% Israeli Jews in Israel with similar degrees.

58.5% of the respondents have immigrated to Germany at ages 25-34; economic reasons were cited by the vast majority; 26.1% have a German citizenship; 54% live with a spouse who is a German national; and 54.4% have parents or grandparents who are Holocaust survivors.

JNi.Media

Survey: 95 Conservative Rabbis Say They Would Conduct Intermarriage Weddings

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

(JNi.media) An organization named “Big Tent Judaism” which seeks to embrace intermarried families in the Jewish fold (presumably without the expectation of a conversion of the non-Jewish spouse down the road), sponsored a survey of 249 Conservative rabbis which found that 38 percent— 95 rabbis, would officiate at the marriage of a Jew and non-Jew if the Conservative movement lifted its prohibition on these unions. This sample corresponds to roughly 15% or the Rabbinical Assembly’s approximately 1,700 members.

The survey finds that intermarriage is part of the daily reality addressed by Conservative rabbis and Conservative congregations. Eight in ten respondents have an intermarried family member; seven in ten work with an intermarried volunteer leader in their congregation. Four in ten respondents have attended interfaith weddings, usually of close family members; a handful already officiates at interfaith weddings under some conditions.

On the whole, according to the survey, Conservative rabbis will not marry a person of patrilineal Jewish descent to another Jew, citing halacha, but the survey suggests “their views on Jewish identity are nuanced, as many distinguish between Jewish identity and halachic status.”

In the hypothetical scenario that the Conservative movement’s policy would change, just under four in ten rabbis would officiate at interfaith weddings. Also, according to the survey, almost half of Conservative rabbis interviewed feel that some discussion of their movement’s position on interfaith marriages, recognizing patrilineal descent, and admitting intermarried rabbinical candidates is warranted.

Respondents in small Jewish communities are more likely (45%) to see themselves officiating in interfaith weddings if RA rules changed, compared with respondents in large Jewish communities (33%). Female pulpit rabbis are almost twice as likely to change their practices if RA rules changed (56%) when compared to male rabbis (35%).

Here’s a counter-intuitive discovery: when comparing respondents by age and ordination date, the survey found that respondents over 50 years old and those ordained before the year 2000 are slightly more likely to officiate at interfaith weddings. The authors suggest that the difference can perhaps be explained by the fact that older, more seasoned rabbis have “softened” their attitude toward interfaith weddings after having had to repeatedly turn away intermarried couples.

The survey’s presentation is rife with opinion, not to the point of skewing the results, but certainly to add spin to the numbers. The line in the above paragraph, explaining why older Conservative rabbis are more likely to conduct an intermarriage wedding, actually says the differences are explained “by the fact that older, more seasoned rabbis have “softened” their attitude toward interfaith officiation after having to repeatedly turn away intermarried couples, many of whom would have created Jewish homes.”

Paul Golin, Big Tent’s associate executive director, says the group isn’t advocating that the Rabbinical Assembly change its policy, but rather that it should open a conversation on it. But God—and advocacy—are in the details.

The section headed, “Half of Conservative rabbis believe discussion of some RA rules is warranted” is dizzyingly biased:

“The survey asked Conservative rabbis for their view on whether three specific issues should be opened for discussion among members of the Rabbinical Assembly: allowing officiating at interfaith weddings, recognizing Jews of patrilineal descent, and accepting intermarried rabbinical candidates to Conservative seminaries. Four in ten (39%) respondents agreed that the RA should open for discussion among its members the issue of officiating at interfaith weddings; a third (33%) agreed that the RA should open for discussion the issue of accepting patrilineal descent; and one in seven (14%) agreed that the issue of admitting intermarried or inter-partnered rabbinical candidates should also be opened for discussion. Half (51%) of the respondents disagree with all three statements and think that none of these issues should be open for discussion.”

JNi.Media

Obama Cashes in on Separating Israel from American Jews’ Concerns

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Obama knows how to capitalize on the bulk of American Jews, who want Israel to be a nice Jewish boy that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable

President Barack Obama declared that American Jews’ concerns are like those of Afro-Americans and other Americans, indicating that Israel is not one of those worries.

He unsurprisingly chose the left-wing and secular Forward to be the first Jewish newspaper ever to interview him.

Having embraced J Street and trying to manipulate public opinion into believing that it is speaks for mainstream American Jews, his choice of The Forward was natural. The newspaper for more than a century was known as “The Jewish Daily Forward.”
This year it became simply “The Forward.”

Its editor Jane Eisner told the Observer earlier this year that the newspaper has been trying “to understand who we are, who are readers are, who are readers ought to be….What we know is that most American Jews today are living a very pluralistic life—there’s a lot of intermarriage and interfaith relationships.”

The same Jane Eisner on Friday interviewed President Obama, who also likes to see American Jews as any other hyphenated ethnic community that views their old homeland as a fond memory that it relives, in the case of American Jews, by eating gefilte fish.

The president knows, as Eisner indicated to the Observer, that American Jews are a vanishing through an assimilation rate approaching 70 percent and that the number of Jews in the United States rises only by changing the definition of a Jew to embrace pluralism, the melting pot that is supposed to erase any outward indication that belies the belief in Mom, Flag and Apple Pie.

He knows that the hard-core pro-Israel Jews, those who view Judea and Samaria as a part of Israel, Jerusalem as the capital, and a strong Israel good for the security United States, are a minority.

Deep down in the interview with Eisner, President Obama said:

American Jews, like African-Americans or any other cohort of Americans, have a wide range of concerns. They care about student loans; they care about housing; they care about poverty; they care about women’s health issues. And so it’s not as if the American Jewish community makes decisions solely on the basis of a single issue

The “single issue,” of course, is Israel. He does not, nor do most American Jews, think too much about Israel, especially when it comes to the nuclear agreement with Iran, which was the focus of his comments to the Forward.

He explained:

I do get disturbed sometimes when I hear folks suggesting that those who oppose the deal are pro-Israel. We’re all pro-Israel. The issue is, how do we solve this very particular problem of making sure Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon….

I think we have to steer away from incendiary language that suggests that either those who are in favor of the deal are appeasing Iran or, conversely, that those who are opposed to the deal are not thinking about America’s interest.

If anyone has used incendiary language, it is President Obama, who has implied, as Eisner reported that she told him, “that even some of his supporters say that he has contributed to the incendiary language by implying that opponents of the deal are ‘warmongers.'”

She said that was the only time in the interview “that I saw him bristle and his back stiffen.” He replied:

What I said is that if we reject the deal, the logical conclusion is that if we want to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, military strikes will be the last option remaining at some point. It may not be under my administration; it might be under the next one. And that is something that has to be taken into account.

She did not respond, “What about more sanctions instead of war?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Religious Mailmen Complain They Have to Deliver Missionary Propaganda

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Religiously observant mailmen in Ashkelon are pleading with the Yad L’Achim  anti-missionary organization to intercede on their behalf so that they don’t have to deliver missionary material to tens of thousands of homes.

The mailmen had asked their employer, Israel Post, to be excused from the task on the grounds that it offends their religious sensibilities, but their request fell on deaf ears.

Yad L’Achim appealed directly to Israel Post to order that delivery of the offensive material, produced by a local Baptist cult, be immediately suspended. One of its legal advisers, Moshe Morgenstern, clarified that distribution of the flyers, in Hebrew and Russian, was a violation of the law banning attempts to entice minors to convert.

Morgenstern stressed that children, who arrive home from school before their parents and collect the mail, are the first to be exposed to the material.

Yad L’Achim launched a counteroffensive and distributed flyers to the city’s 35,000 households warning of the dangerous material in their mailboxes and calling on them to throw it out.

Israel Post told Israel Radio that the subject was “under investigation.”

Yad L’Achim stated:

It is encouraging to see how the Jewish heart is awake, as seen by the initiative taken by the mailmen in contacting us, and in the many Ashkelon residents who were shocked to see missionary material in their mailboxes and immediately called  us to express their pain.

On the other hand, it hurts to see time and again how the Israeli authorities to turn a blind eye to the missionary programs that continue unabated.

Israeli law does not forbid missionary activity among adults, and the law against proselytizing minors is not strictly enforced.

Missionaries have claimed that “more Jews have converted to Christianity than in the 1,900 years before that.”

Jews in the Diaspora also are under the constant zeal of missionaries, some of whom fanned out at the Celebrate Israel Festival in Los Angeles last week.

Jews for Judaism Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz wrote in the Los Angeles  Jewish Journal:

Dozens of missionaries descended on —– or invaded — the Celebrate Israel Festival in ways that I never thought possible….

Jews for Jesus distributed literature inside the park…. [A] second group of burly men.…could be described as bikers or former inmates who have accepted Jesus. Their T-shirts were…inflammatory, with statements that you must accept Jesus or go to hell. …

Beth Emunah Messianic Synagogue, which professes belief in Jesus as the Messiah and God, officially had a booth at the festival. I believe its members’ presence violates Jewish law and a long-standing understanding of The Jewish Federation and board of rabbis banning their inclusion in Jewish events….

Contrary to what some people say, the threat of missionaries targeting Jews for conversion has not disappeared. In fact, it is more prevalent than ever.

Rabbi Kravitz added that Israel’s Channel 2 recently reported that there are more than 20,000 “Messianic believers in Jesus” in Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Wasserman-Schultz Puts Stamp of Approval on Intermarriage

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has done somersaults after making a comment noting the “the problem of intermarriage” in the Jewish community and then insisting she does not oppose it.

It is a bit bewildering that Wasserman Schultz, who also is head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), felt the need to retract a comment that should not have raised too many eyebrows.

Her remarks were made at a Jewish Federation event, in which she said:

We have the problem of assimilation. We have the problem of intermarriage. We have the problem that too many generations of Jews don’t realize the importance of our institutions strengthening our community—particularly with the rise of anti-Semitism and global intolerance.

The playback must have sounded too committed to her and anyone, mostly in the Reform Movement, whose idea of “commitment” is not to be committed to anything, such as the Torah, that interferes with the individual as the judge and jury of what is wrong and right.

Here is how she backtracked:

At an annual Jewish community event in my congressional district, I spoke about my personal connection to Judaism and in a larger context about the loss of Jewish identity and the importance of connecting younger generations to the institutions and values that make up our community. I do not oppose intermarriage; in fact, members of my family, including my husband, are a product of it.

Is it guilt that was behind her repentance? Does she feel guilty for saying intermarriage is a “problem” when members of her family are a “product of intermarriage”?

Is it forbidden to say that intermarriage is a problem?

Apparently so.

Wasserman Schultz has implicitly put her stamp of approval on the “problem” of assimilation, which is estimated at 60 percent in the United States.

Reform Judaism does not officially oppose or favor intermarriage, although there is a clear trend of its clergy to officiate at weddings between a Jew and a non-Jew.

Polls show that only 25 percent of children of intermarried couples identify themselves as Jewish, and the term “Jewish” can be understood in its widest and most liberal interpretation that gives a person the self-satisfaction of calling himself a Jew while wolfing down a cheeseburger on Yom Kippur.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel quoted Ira M. Sheskin, of Cooper City, director of the University of Miami’s Jewish Demography Project, as saying, “There’s no question that there’s significant concern in the Jewish community over the percentage of people who are choosing not to marry Jews… From the point of view of a community that wants to see itself around in the next 100 years, it’s not a good trend.”

Wasserman Schultz’ Conservative synagogue Rabbi Adam Watstein told the Florida newspaper that “intermarriage is a feature of the reality of the Jewish community in the United States.”

That is true if the Jewish community accepts intermarriage. It is not true if it does not.

Prof. Sheskin mentioned that there is intermarriage in his own family, but that didn’t stop him from forecasting the obvious result of intermarriage for Judaism.

Wasserman Schultz couldn’t go that far, and her justification of what she admits is a “problem” is one more alarm siren for what remains of American Jewry.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Police Raid Homes of Anti-Assimilation Volunteers

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Police raided homes in Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, and central Israel on Sunday in a crackdown on the anti-assimilation group Lehava. Four members of the group were arrested.

Last week, police arrested 10 Lehava activists, including the group’s leader, Bentzi Gopstein. They were released on Friday, but police warned that they would face charges.

Lehava fights intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews in Israel, and in particular, marriage between Jewish women and Arab men. The group argues that Arab men are marrying Jewish women as part of a “silent Holocaust” in which Jewish identity is erased, and the next generation is raised as Muslim.

An estimated tens of thousands of Israeli Jewish women are in relationships with Arab Muslim men, anti-assimilation activists say. In contrast, marriages between Muslim women and Jewish men are virtually unheard-of, due in no small part to violent opposition to such marriages within the Muslim community.

Lehava came under scrutiny after several young activists were involved in violent attacks. Three Lehava activists were recently arrested for setting fire to a classroom in a mixed Jewish-Arab school. A short time later, a teenager who had volunteered with the group attacked his teacher during a class.

Police swooped in to detain members of the group. They are expected to face charges of incitement to commit acts of racially-motivated violence.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/police-raid-homes-of-anti-assimilation-volunteers/2014/12/21/

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