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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘judaism’

Bennett and Netanyahu Clash over Rollback of Religious Reforms

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

 

The Cabinet Sunday morning approved amendments to the conversion reform law of the last administration and returned more power to Hareidim, over the objections of coalition partner Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home).

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett to vote for the changes, alleging that they were part of the coalition agreement with the Shas and Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) parties.

Bennett said at the Cabinet session, “I did not agree to this in coalition negotiations,” but the Prime Minister shot back:

All of the agreements obligate everyone.

Likud Parliamentary Group Chairman Ze’ev Elkin stepped into the fray and confirmed that Bennett opposed rolling back the reform, and the Cabinet passed the changes with Bennett and Bayit Yehudi Cabinet member opposing it.

Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party that is not in the coalition, also voted against it.

The amendments wreck all of the efforts in the previous government to take conversion out of the hands of Hareidi rabbis an allow local rabbinical courts to decide on the delicate issue that has the most impact on 300,000 Russian immigrants who are not Jewish according to Jewish law. Hareidi courts generally are far less willing to accept conversions than are national religious rabbis.

The Cabinet also transferred authority over the country’s rabbinical courts from the Justice Ministry to the Ministry of Religious Services, which is headed by another Shas MK, David Azoulay.

Refusal to accept reforms means that it is more likely that all of the children and future generations of the immigrants will not be Jewish. If the woman marry Jewish men, there would be even more non-Jews in Israel and would create complications that could affect their children’s future.

The need for Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a coalition forced him to accept the Shas and UTJ demands to put the conversion process back in the hands of Hareidi courts. Under the new amendments local courts still can process conversions but only with the approval of the Chief Rabbinate.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, son of the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, is part of the Shas movement that his father founded, so it is no wonder that the Shas party insisted on eliminating reforms.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau also opposed the reforms.

It only is a matter of time before reform once again will undo the Hareidi establishment that never misses an opportunity to forego bridging gaps with the non-Hareidi population and bring people closer to Judaism, simply because they insist on such a rigid approach to religion and concentration of power that pave the way for a backlash that could weaken Orthodox Jewish influence in Israel.

Safed Rabbi Arrested for Alleged Rape

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Police Thursday morning arrested a rabbi from Safed (Tzfat) whom a woman said raped her after giving her spiritual guidance several years ago.

A second woman filed a complaint Wednesday night.

The allegations were presented to rabbis in Tzfat last month, and rabbinical leaders, including Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, asked the alleged rapist to leave the city during the investigation. The rabbis informed the police, who were not able to act until one of the women filed a complaint, which she finally did this week.

The national religious rabbi, who is a Kabbalist, was arrested while he was on his way to Ben Gurion Airport. He has denied the allegations.

2,000 Year Old Mikvah Found Beneath Jerusalem Living Room

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Beneath a modern living room floor in the quaint and flowering Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem lies Judaism’s ancient secret to family purity.

During recent renovations carried out in that living room, however, the family living in the home discovered the secret beneath their home and called the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The IAA archaeologists were amazed to find a pair of wood doors beneath the stylized rug in the pleasant family living room, concealing a 2,000 year old mikvah (Jewish ritual pool used for purification.)

Today (Wednesday, July 1) the owners of the home were awarded a certificate of appreciation by the Israel Antiquities Authority for reporting their discovery and contributing to the study of the Land of Israel.

The mikvah is complete and quite large, measuring 3.5 meters long x 2.4 meters wide x 1.8 meters deep. It is rock-hewn and meticulously plastered in accordance with halacha (Torah law), and includes stairs leading to the bottom of the immersion pool similar to the mikvahs of today.

The rock-hewn stairs discovered under the living room floor lead down into the mikvah, the pool of ritual waters, as today.

The rock-hewn stairs discovered under the living room floor lead down into the mikvah, the pool of ritual waters, as today.

Pottery vessels dating to the time of the Second Temple (1 CE) and traces of fire that might constitute evidence of the destruction of 66-70 CE were discovered within the pool.

In addition, fragments of stone vessels were also found, which were common during the Second Temple period because stone cannot be contaminated; it is known to remain pure.

According to Amit Re’em, Jerusalem District archaeologist, “Such instances of finding antiquities beneath a private home can happen only in Israel and Jerusalem in particular. Beyond the excitement and the unusual story of the discovery of the mikvah, its exposure is of archaeological importance.

“Ein Kerem is considered a place sacred to Christianity in light of its identification with “a city of Judah” – the place where, according to the New Testament, John the Baptist was born and where his pregnant mother Elisabeth met with Mary, mother of Jesus,” the archaeologist explained.

“Despite these identifications, the archaeological remains in Ein Kerem and the surrounding area, which are related to the time when these events transpired (the Second Temple period), are few and fragmented. The discovery of the ritual pool reinforces the hypothesis there was a Jewish settlement from the time of the Second Temple located in the region of what is today ‘Ein Kerem.”

The owners of the place said, “Initially, we were uncertain regarding the importance of the find revealed below our house and we hesitated contacting the Israel Antiquities Authority because of the consequences we believed would be involved in doing so.

Gazing at this cozy living room one would never suspect that beneath the small throw rug lies the entrance to a 2,000 year old mikvah, a Jewish ritual pool of purification.

Gazing at this cozy living room one would never suspect that beneath the small throw rug lies the entrance to a 2,000 year old mikvah, a Jewish ritual pool of purification.

“At the same time, we had a strong feeling that what was situated beneath the floor of our house is a find of historical value and our sense of civic and public duty clinched it for us. We felt that this find deserves to be seen and properly documented. We contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority at our own initiative in order that they would complete the excavation and the task of documenting the discovery.

Chabad Emissaries Fight Arson Attack With Holy Fire in Los Angeles

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

A Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and his co-emissary wife in Los Angeles is determined to fight an arson attack the Jewish way.

Rabbi Sholom Ber Rodal, co-director of Chabad of Mt. Olympus with his wife Rochela called on “all Jewish women and girls to light the Shabbat candles, bless your loved ones and ask for security and health for us and for the extended community” last week.

He also announced plans for a “Great Tefillin Wrap” on Sunday morning for men and boys over age 13, to take place in his Los Angeles neighborhood Jewish center.

The mitzvah campaign came in response to a vicious arson attack on the rabbi’s car in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

“We were awakened by the blaring of a car alarm and what sounded like gunfire, explosions and fireworks,” Rodal told Chabad.org. “It was 2 am. My wife and I ran out to see what was going on. To our shock and disbelief, we saw our car engulfed in a blazing inferno of fire.

“There were explosions coming out of it every few seconds. We immediately woke up the children from their beds and we ran with them outside, far down the street – fearful that the fire would spread to the house.”

The flames incinerated the vehicle, destroying prayer books and other holy items, including tefillin (phylacteries) and mezuzahs.

Arsonists incinerated the car belonging to Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Sholom Ber Rodal in Mt. Olympus, Los Angeles, in front of his home.

Arsonists incinerated the car belonging to Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Sholom Ber Rodal in Mt. Olympus, Los Angeles, in front of his home.

Police and firefighters responded immediately to the alarm and miraculously the damage was contained solely to the vehicle. Security cameras in the area provided a time line as to what took place in the moments prior to the conflagration.

“Two people can be clearly seen breaking into my car and setting it on fire with prepared materials,” the rabbi said. “It is very clear that it was a deliberate and targeted arson attack, and potentially more serious, pending the investigation.”

Although the Los Angeles Fire Department arson division has launched an investigation, there have been no arrests thus far.

“We feel pretty secure,” the rabbi said, noting that police had increased patrols in the area. “In Chassidic tradition, we are taught that everything that happens is for a purpose and for the lesson to be drawn to inspire us for the future,” Rodal mused. “What is the lesson here?”

Numerous people have already responded to his call for increased mitzvahs, he noted, with college students from the community posting photos of their activities on Facebook. Those who are currently in Israel on the Taglit-Birthright program showed their candle-lighting just prior to the start of the Sabbath because of what happened, he noted. A young man sent a photo of putting on tefillin.

“We will not deviate from our mission to provide care for the spiritual and physical needs of our dear community,” the rabbi asserted. “While we take the proper security measures, we know and trust that God is guiding and watching over us and that we are protected.”

Shuvu International Friends Raising $1.6 Million in 24 Hours [video]

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

In celebration of Shuvu’s 25th anniversary, three generous donors have pledged to match every dollar donated today, quadrupling every single donation made online

Every donation counts in touching the lives of more and more Israelis, instilling within thousands of families a high level of secular and religious education.

Shuvu has been giving the gold standard of Jewish education in Israel for 25 years. With a network of 67 schools, kindergartens, after-school programs and parent outreach programs, Shuvu provides a dynamic educational and welfare network that reaches thousands of Jewish families each year through high-level academic and Torah study.

Initially founded to provide a much-needed education to children who emigrated from the former Soviet Union, Shuvu’s student population now includes many native Israeli children, new French immigrants and other students from diverse backgrounds.

The success of Shuvu’s programs is immense, with more than 22,000 alumni who have gone on to learn at Israel’s top yeshivas, serve in elite army units and land jobs at many distinguished companies. Shuvu has been lauded for its superior educational offerings, its remarkable Chessed programs, and its impact on Israeli society.

This year alone, Shuvu expanded its outreach and opened 29 new first grade classes in existing schools. Over 1,000 new students joined the Shuvu community.

As Shuvu’s founder Rabbi Avrohom Pam zt’l would always say, “It is beyadeinu – in our own hands!” The future of Jewish education calls upon you to help support Shuvu’s tremendous work. And for one day only, each dollar will quadruple! Today’s the day to begin building the future.

DONATE TODAY and help Shuvu pave the way for a brighter future!

Something UNBELIEVABLE is happening on Monday!

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

In honor of its 25th anniversary, the Shuvu Network of Schools in Israel has announced its largest fundraising campaign ever, to take place IY”H on Monday, June 22 – over a 24-hour period in 4 countries simultaneously!

The Shuvu Network was founded by Rabbi Avraham Pam zt”l in 1990, when the wave of Aliya from the former Soviet Union was at its peak. Rabbi Pam, together with other Jewish leaders, was concerned of the physical and spiritual welfare of these Russian Olim – and their children. They were in need of schools familiar with Russian culture and its high standards of education, and able to provide a basic Jewish education as well. After Russia’s 70 years of communism, many Russian Olim arrived in Israel with absolutely no knowledge of what it means to be a Jew. They had no sense of Jewish identity or Jewish pride. Shuvu aimed to fill this void.

From a mere 2 caravans, Shuvu has since developed into a major educational empire in Israel today, including 67 schools, kindergarten and outreach programs spread out across the country – from Akko up north to Be’er Sheva down south. Shuvu’s thousands of students receive a very high level of general education coupled with Limudei Kodesh, with an emphasis on Middos and Derech Eretz, and many exciting and educational activities throughout the year.

Seeing the unique Chinuch in Shuvu, many native Israelis over the years begged to have their children join the network as well. Today Shuvu can certainly be viewed as a “Kibbutz Galuyot” with children from Russia, America, Ethiopia, Israel – and recently many from Ukraine and France as well. Shuvu also operates many programs for the parents of the students, in order to connect them as well to the beauty of Judaism.

Shuvu is always doing more. This year alone, Shuvu has opened 29 new first grade classes, welcomed over 1,000 new students, and added programs in three of its campuses. With more support, Shuvu can continue inspiring the lives of more Jewish families. Sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned for Monday’s unbelievable news.

Fanatics Suspected of Arson of Church on the Kinneret

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

UPDATE: Police arrested 16 suspects for arson but then released them two hours later.

Arsonists caused heavy damage to the offices and rooms at the Church of Loaves Fishes at the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) early Thursday morning and left graffiti which, freely translated, read: “Cut off the false idols of the Galilee.”

The original verse appears in the second part of the “Aleinu” prayer, said three times day, in which it is written “You shall cut off their false gods.”

The church that was set on fire is where Christians believe Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians visit the site every year, and the Tourism Ministry in recent years has promoted the development of Christian sites and churches, including places where missionaries are hard at work to convert Jews.

Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said that firefighters arrived at the church at 3:30 Thursdays morning and found the graffiti, which is firm ground for suspicions that arsonists set the blaze.

There always is the outside chance that the graffiti was several months old, that an electrical fire caused the blaze, that the Shin Bet was behind it to frame Jews, or perhaps the Christians themselves lit the match to spread an anti-Semitic blood libel.

It would be great to discover that one or all of the above are true, but until proven otherwise, Jews are assumed to be guilt, justly or not.

The Torah, in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:3 states:

וְנִתַּצְתֶּם אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתָם וְשִׁבַּרְתֶּם אֶת מַצֵּבֹתָם וַאֲשֵׁרֵיהֶם תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ וּפְסִילֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם תְּגַדֵּעוּן וְאִבַּדְתֶּם אֶת שְׁמָם מִן הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא

And you shall tear down their altars, smash their monuments, burn their asherim [false gods] with fire, cut down the graven images of their gods, and destroy their name from that place.

If the arson was set off by idiots who decided that they are God’s direct missionaries, they forgot there is another verse in the same book, chapter 17, verses 14-15:

כִּי תָבֹא אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּה בָּהּ וְאָמַרְתָּ אָשִׂימָה עָלַי מֶלֶךְ כְּכָל הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתָי:

שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ מִקֶּרֶב אַחֶיךָ תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ לֹא תוּכַל לָתֵת עָלֶיךָ אִישׁ נָכְרִי אֲשֶׁר לֹא אָחִיךָ הוּא

When you come to the land the Lord, your God, is giving you, and you possess it and live therein, and you say, “I will set a king over myself, like all the nations around me,”

You shall set a king over you, one whom the Lord, your God, chooses; from among your brothers, you shall set a king over yourself; you shall not appoint a foreigner over yourself, one who is not your brother

In three weeks, Jews read the Torah portion of Pinchas, the priest who took a spear and killed a Jew and a non-Jewish woman form Midian for publicly joining idol worshipers.

God awarded him with the “covenant of peace” for his act, which stopped a plague that God brought on the people because of idol worship.

But Pinchas and only Pinchas could have done such an act and be rewarded. Anyone else would have been tarred and feathered.

The arsonists who torched the church this morning are not priests. They are not kings. They are not police. Their lunacy was an act of the low-life of low-lives.

They appointed themselves to carry out a commandment that is not necessarily directed at each and every Jew in Israel but at the entire people, who today have a country and a government.

It often does not function properly. It is not a religious government.

And there never will be religious government so long as some crazy people, possibly with a kippa on their heads, go around as if they are direct agents of God.

They even took a revered prayer and added the word “Galilee” on their authority.

And the truth is, they didn’t even cause much damage the church itself. They not only did not carry out a commandment, but they also violated several others, including the law of the Jewish country in which they have the privilege to live.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fanatics-suspected-of-arson-of-church-on-the-kinneret/2015/06/18/

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