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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Orthodox Judaism’

Coalition Kills Core Curriculum Prerequisite for Haredi Schools

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

After the previous Netanyahu cabinet set a prerequisite requirement for all Haredi educational institutions to teach core curriculum subjects such as English and Math, a new bill will change the rules to absolve the same institutions of those requirements, Israel’s Channel 10 News revealed Wednesday.

During the coalition negotiations for the current Netanyahu government, United Torah Judaism and Likud agreed that the core curriculum law would be revoked. Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) has objected to this move earlier this year.

According to Channel 10, the elimination of the obligation to teach core curriculum subjects will not result in reducing the budgets of Haredi yeshivas who pass on the extra material. This way these institutions will get more money but will not incur new expenses.

The current law sets three prerequisites for declaring Haredi educational institutions as eligible for state funding: teaching core curriculum subjects, testing to measure growth and effectiveness, and eliminating discrimination against students from non-Ashkenazi ethnic groups.

According to the emerging legislation, advanced by Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (UTJ), Haredi institutions will be absolved of having to teach any foreign language at all. They will also not be obliged to teach math if they don’t want to. These same institutions will also be absolved of participation in testing.

The only change the new legislation introduces is stronger controls on the prevention of discrimination in Haredi yeshivas.

David Israel

8 Women Receive Orthodox Ordination in Largely Political Endeavor

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

On Tuesday night, according to a report by Ynet, eight women received certificates of Orthodox Jewish ordination in Jerusalem and selected for themselves various equivalents to the commonly used “Rav” or “Rabbi” by males: some picked “Rav,” instantly making the title unisex; others went with “Rabba,” which would be the female conjugation of the male title, although the term is not in everyday use; some went with “Rabbi,” which in the genderless English grammar has been a common title for Reform and Conservative women clergy for decades.

One preferred to go with “Doctor,” possibly recalling the shamanist attributes for which some Jewish scholars were once renowned. Or more simply, because she has a PhD, but no ordination.

No one went with the prevalent “Rebbetzin,” presumably because to become a Rebbetzin one doesn’t need to study, just marry well.

The ordination was given personally by Rabbi Daniel Landis, a YU graduate who is the head of the Pardes Institute, an open, co-ed and non-denominational Jewish learning community, based in Jerusalem and operating programs worldwide. Landis is also a senior member of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC).

In his message to the freshly ordained Orthodox female rabbis, Landis explored the fact that his graduates are different from ordinary ordained Orthodox rabbis not merely because of their sex, but in their emphasis on Jewish studies, and on any studying at all for that matter:

“I very quickly abandoned the ambition to achieve only rabbinic expertise, and moved on to the more important initiative of promoting you as creative scholars, with integrity, sensitivity and courage, who have access to the members of their generation,” Landis said.

“Yes, but can they pasken on a chicken?” you might ask. It appears that ruling on the mundane needs of rank and file Orthodox Jews was not the top priority of this ordination, which is not a comment on the quality of scholarship of the graduates. They simply appear to put a different emphasis on their future roles in the Jewish community:

Rav Avital Campbell-Hochstein, one of the graduates, said at the ordination ceremony: “Receiving the ordination is not merely a score for knowledge. Ordination, or permission, like halakha itself, is focusing on human beings, on the image of God. Human beings must be seen and heard. The halakha and the Torah are sensitive to the slimmest signs of humanness.” And so, she continued, “in order for halakha, which is an emanation of the will of God, to be relevant and applicable, we must first and foremost be attentive. Human dignity is our driving force. Halakha can be a divider and it can be a meeting ground. It can be a wall and it can be a bridge. Choosing between those component depends on the human beings who use it, and who represent it.”

So, basically, no paskening on chickens for now. Instead, there was a lot of talk about advancing the status of women in halakha and in Orthodox society. You may have to rely on someone else for your kashrut decisions, but in areas of marriage, conversion, and burial, these ordained female rabbis will make sure, as Rav Naama Levitz-Applbaum put it, “that women will be counted, in the full meaning of the word, and to feel as full partners along the path.”

Perhaps as the number of ordained Orthodox female rabbis grows and as each ordination ceases to be viewed as a revolution and starts to be more commonplace (as has been the case in every profession women have entered over the past two centuries) we’ll start hearing about women Orthodox rabbis who are not so heavily invested in the feminist politics of their role but in caring for their congregations. At which point we should be able to assess this fledgling but growing movement not based on our political views but instead on the concrete scholarship and the halakhic contribution of these female rabbis. Because, let’s face it, Orthodox Jews need rabbis to interpret halakha for them. They have plenty of social workers doing everything else.

JNi.Media

National Religious Rabbi Appointed Supreme Rabbinical Court Judge While Court Facing Shutdown

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Following a six-hour debate, the nine-member committee to appoint religious court judges on Monday agreed on only one judge out of the seven who must yet be appointed, by order of the State Supreme Court. Over the objection of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Rabbi Eliezer Igra, a national religious scholar, was elected by a vote of seven in favor and two Haredi members abstaining, to be a Supreme Rabbinical Court Judge, and serve on the very committee that had just elected him.

But the singular appointment of Rabbi Igra will not fulfill the ultimatum issued by Israel’s State Supreme Court, which back in January ordered all the missing positions on the Supreme Rabbinical Court to be filled by Thursday this week, or else all the temporary appointments on the court would be revoked and the court would cease to operate.

Nevertheless, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) called the vote “a tremendous achievement for Habayit Hayehudi,” adding, “I’m very pleased.” She said that the non-Haredi bloc on the committee, which holds a majority of five members, have been suggesting several candidates for the Supreme Rabbinical Court, and they had all been rejected by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas).

Rabbi Igra studied for ten years at the hesder yeshiva Kerem B’Yavneh, served in the IDF Armored Corps and fought in the Yom Kippur War. He was the Talmud study partner of Yoni Netanyahu, the prime minister’s late brother.

The committee ran into several stalemates on Monday, leaving the Supreme Rabbinical Court short-handed, after several of its members have retired. The Haredi committee members were able to torpedo the proposed appointments of Rabbis David Bass and Uriel Lavi to the supreme religious court, and the National Religious members, for their part, were able to block new appointments the Haredim desired to several local rabbinic courts.

The only reason Rabbi Igra received his appointment had to do with the bad blood between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis, according to the website Haredim 10. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau joined the National Religious to usher in Rabbi Igra as revenge against Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef for appointing Shas member Moshe Dagan as the Chief Rabbinate CEO over Rabbi Lau’s fierce objection.

David Israel

Rivlin Embraces Reform and Conservative Jews as Part of ‘One Family’

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

President Reuven Rivlin embraced the Reform and Conservative movements in a speech to the New York UJA-Federation on Friday during his visit to the United States.

Rivlin, like his predecessor Shimon Peres, is a full-fledged secular Israeli and is silently uncomfortable with the authority of the Orthodox Rabbinate in Israel.

Two days after lighting the Hanukkah Menorah at the White House, Rivlin stated at the meeting, which included Orthodox Jewish leaders:

It is important for the State of Israel to show full respect and sensitivity to all American Jews. It is important that we remember, not only on Hanukkah that we are all one family.”

All communities represented here today share the love of Israel and a deep commitment to the future of the Jewish people and to the positive image of the State of Israel.

We must never forget that even the major differences between us are an honest expression of concern shared by all of us, whether we are Orthodox, Reform or Conservative.

No one questions his generalities, but when it comes down to specifics, Orthodox Judaism inherently cannot accept American “Jews” who are converted under non-Orthodox rabbis who do not accept traditional Jewish law.

It could be compared with the idea that the American Medical Association would accept alternative medical practitioners as “doctors” even though they have not studied in recognized medical schools.

President Rivlin tried to reach out to the common interests of all Jews, such as the nearly universal Jewish celebration of Hanukkah and the solidarity for victims of terror “in Israel and all over the world.”

Conservative Jewish Rabbi Steven Wernick complained that we “can’t do marriage, can’t do divorces [and] can’t do conversions” in Israel.

President Rivlin did not dip into the dangerous political waters of explicitly promoting the Reform and Conservative agenda for “equality in Israel, but he made it a point to call Wernick a “rav,” Hebrew for rabbi.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Hollywood Star Zooey Deschanel Converted to ‘Judaism’

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Another Hollywood star has discovered and converted to Judaism, but it is not clear if the change was carried out according to Jewish law.

Zooey Deschanel revealed she converted, shortly before giving birth to a baby girl, at the request of her husband, Jacob Pechenik in June, while she was pregnant. Pechenik is producing an upcoming movie in which his new wife stars.

A wild guess is that it was not an Orthodox conversion, which means that their child is not recognized as Jewish by traditional Jewish law.

Her mother is a Catholic, and her father is a Quaker, but she said they did not object to her conversion.

The star of the New Girl sitcom was quoted by US Weekly as having said:

I don’t attach myself to any one religion. My family is liberal. I was raised in the ‘you can be whatever you want’ kind of way. And in the end, I was like, ‘Eh.’

Zooey, 35, and her husband named their daughter “Elsie Otter,” which sounds as Jewish as “Zooey.”

She said on the Today Show:

We just really liked the name Elsie and then we both love otters, they’re very sweet and they’re also smart. They use tools…they hold hands while they sleep…They’re wonderful animals.

Zooey previously was married to a non-Jew and divorced after two years.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Islamist Stabs Jew, Punches Rabbi in Marseille, France

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Rabbi Yehuda Malul of the Menuchat Shalom synagogue in Marseilles, France, was attacked this past weekend with another congregant while on their way to morning prayers.

The synagogue is located in the center of the southern French city, where there are many hareidi-religious Jews, synagogues and yeshivot.

According to a report posted on the Hebrew-language website Bhadarei Haredim, the attacker was a “young man of Arab appearance.”

The rabbi, who spoke with a writer at the website, said the attacker yelled, “Yahud, Allahu Akbar!” The attacker punched the rabbi with his fists, and he shouted again, “Itbah al-Yahud!” as the rabbi fell to the ground.

When the rabbi’s companion went to the rabbi’s side to try to protect him, the attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed the man in the abdomen.

The rabbi told the site that he was “not hurt” and continued on to the synagogue. However, his companion was rushed to the hospital where doctors “said it was a real miracle, and that the knife was blocked due to the heavy coat he was wearing. If not for the coat, the injury could have been critical.”

The attacker had been released only a few days earlier from prison, according to the rabbi, who said the incident was “frightening” when taken in context of the normal Marseilles lifestyle.

“Here in Marseilles, it’s not like Paris,” he said, “ we have had no anti-Semitic incidents; that this has happened at a time of stabbings in Israel is frightening, especially since after the stabbing the stabber continued to curse the Jews after being arrested by police.”

On Sunday, the Jewish community in Marseilles is set to hold a solidarity rally for Israel, walking from the city center to the Israeli consulate.

Hana Levi Julian

Court Rules Jimmy Kimmel Can Make Fun of ‘Flying Rabbi’

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

(JNi.media) A New York court sided with funny man Jimmy Kimmel and found the use of “flying rabbi” Daniel Edward Sondik’s popular YouTube clips was not a violation of intellectual property. Daniel Edward Sondik, a resident of Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he is known as the “flying rabbi,” is a Jewish street preacher. He argued that the skit made him into a “laughingstock,” and appealed the initial decision over the parodic segment that showed the Catholic late night host receiving advice from Sondik in Yiddish. Bob Tolchin, Sondik’s attorney, expressed dismay at the ruling, which he said was “unfortunate,” according to the Daily News. Tolchin described his client as a “sweet, earnest guy,” and added, “What happened on a human level was not a fair thing. You take a guy who is a little eccentric and make a joke out of him. That was deeply hurtful to him. That was a sleazy thing they did.” Then Tolchin stated: “Jimmy Fallon (another late night host) is funnier.”

In a 2010 show, Jimmy Kimmel made parody of LeBron James’ meeting with high profile rabbi Yeshayahu Pinto and then featured himself consulting with the zealous Borough Park personality after saying that he also asks advice of Rabbi Pinto. Although the footage of the gag was taken directly from Sondik’s YouTube videos, Justice David Schmidt said that since the clip was used as part of a comedic routine, the event itself (i.e. LeBron James meeting with Rabbi Pinto) was newsworthy and Sondik looks nothing like Rabbi Pinto and could not be mistaken for him, the appearance of the video could not be deemed as “commercial use.” A New York Law Journal noted that Sondik’s image was “not used or advertising or trade purposes.”

Jimmy Kimmel seemed to be poking fun as much at LeBron James as he was “the flying rabbi,” when he designed the skit around a photo of the athlete seeking business advice from Rabbi Pinto, then showed himself, Kimmel, appearing to converse with Sondik. An argument could be made that once someone puts a large number of posts on YouTube, they have turned themselves into a public figure and may be available to ridicule. Then again, at the risk of being perceived as unkind, perhaps comedians should be cautious and only dish it out to true celebrities, who can take it and may actually benefit from it. However, since Kimmel has won the case, there doesn’t seem to be a disincentive for these kinds of pranks in the future. Of course, even if Kimmel had lost, there is little doubt he could have handled the settlement, given his salary at ABC.

In 2011, the New York Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by Sondik. He bolstered his case using California as well as New York law, since the clip was created in California, where common law has certain regulations on appropriation of a likeness, and in New York the claim was that Sondik’s image was used for advertisement and trade. The court threw out the claims based on California law, since Sondik is a New York resident, and said Kimmel’s use did not violate New York Civil Rights law because it was within the public interest. Attorney Tolchin said that the fact that the show made millions of dollars was enough reason for Sondik to claim he was being exploited. “If you’re a private citizen,” said Tolchin, “you shouldn’t find yourself being used for skits.”

The clip showed Sondik dressed in Chassidic garb and chanting somewhat incoherently at Jimmy Kimmel, who looked at him with a confused expression on his face. The clip drew more applause than laughter from the audience, although Sondik said the clip was intended to make him look “like a fool.” Judge David Schmidt denied that the comedy sketch was mean spirited: “Even though the plaintiff is not a public figure, there is no allegation in the complaint or inference that can be drawn from the DVD suggesting that the use of the plaintiff’s clip was mean spirited or intended to injure such that its use would be excluded from First Amendment protection.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/uncategorized/court-rules-jimmy-kimmel-can-make-fun-of-flying-rabbi/2015/09/30/

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