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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘religion’

CNN Promotes Old City on Verge of Extinction Due to ‘Political Tension’

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

CNN last week promoted the Old City of Jerusalem as the first of 25 “magnificent structures on the verge of extinction” but implied that Israel is the reason this is the “last chance to see” the sites.

UNESCO’s designation of 48 endangered sites includes the Old City and states:

As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs.

It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham’s sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the different religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ’s tomb.

The term “Wailing Wall” dates back to the period before the re-establishment of the State of Israel and includes periods when Jew were allowed at the external wall of the  courtyard of the destroyed Temple Mount only on the Ninth of Av, the day that Jews bemoan the fall of the First and Second Temples.

Today, everyone in the world, except UNESCO and Muslim leaders, refer to it as the Western Wall, or “Kotel” in Hebrew.

CNN did not even mention the Kotel or “Wailing Wall.”

It told its viewers last week:

No other site has spent more time on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. The Old City of Jerusalem has held a spot since 1982. As holy city for three different religions, it attracts millions of tourists with over 200 monuments, including the majestic Dome of the Rock.

Then came the punch line. Why is it still endangered?

But political tension has hardened relations with Israel and UNESCP, preventing any preservation plans for moving forward.

CNN added a grave warning to people concerning all of the 25 sites it listed:

Go see them now, before it’s too late: threatened by neglect, the elements, changing architectural trends of ruthless developers. These outstanding buildings are all fighting a hard battle for survival.

Another website, known as “whenonearth.com,” lists UNESCO’s 48 endangered site, not to be confused with CNN’s list of archaeological sites that it chose, and states:

Why it’s special: It has significance religious implication to Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It contains hundreds of monuments with great artistic works and architectural structures. It also hosts Christ’s tomb.

Why it’s in danger: the continuous conflicts among different religions are demeaning the city and its walls. Some of the structures have also been destroyed due to conflicts and improper maintenance plans.

Neither UNESCO nor the two websites mentioned above state that the Old City is the site of the First and Second Holy Temples, the existence of which is increasingly being denied by Palestinian Authority and Arab world clerics who are trying to manufacture a new history that erases any link between Judaism and Jerusalem.

All of the sites serve that purpose very well by simply saying that the Old City is holy to Jews as well is Muslims and Christian, without any explanation why it is holy to Judaism. The Muslim Dome of the Rock is noted. “Christ’s tomb” or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is mentioned.

Nothing is said about Jews. No Temple Mount history. No Wall, Wailing or Western. Zilch.

But CNN took the trouble to mention Israel when it explained its version of why the Old City is on UNESCO’s list of sites that supposedly are endangered.

The network furthered UNESCO’s political aim to take control of the Old City by alleging that preservation plans have not advanced because of “political tension [that] has hardened relations” between Israel and the U.N. agency.

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.

ISIS Beheads Two Women for Sorcery and Witchcraft

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS) has beheaded two women, along with their husbands, for allegedly practicing witchcraft and sorcery, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

The executions took place Sunday and Monday in two different villages. ISIS previously has executed dozens of women, but usually for adultery and by stoning or by a firing squad.

It also has beheaded foreign women, but this is the first time the Satanic Islamic group has decapitated women for not following Sharia law.

For the record, according to the Observatory, ISIS had has been busy the past 12 months executing 86 women and 74 children among its 1,800 civilian victims,

The executioners earlier this month crucified two children for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Its thirst for displaying the most terrifying pictures possible would seem to have left no room for more monstrosities, but that has been said in the past and has been disproven every time.

An Observatory official explained that the beheadings of the alleged sorcerers may have been an attempt to scare other women into showing up at mosques for prayers five times a day.

The world keeps trying to fight the ISIS from the air, but there has been no unified and determined alliance to make eliminating the insane group the most urgent and important priority.

The only unified mission that United Nations has been able to come up with is the U.N. Human Rights Council condemnation of Israel for the sin of Jews living in half of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights Judea and Samaria.

If there were only some way to get the Jews out of those areas, maybe the ISIS would disappear, right?

It sounds stupid and almost funny, but if you don’t think it is true, click here.

Tzohar Rabbinic Group Focuses on Anglo Immigrant ‘Fit’

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Can an English-speaking immigrant ever truly fit in within Israeli society?

This question forms the centerpiece of this year’s summer conference of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization. Planned for July 8 at the Jerusalem Convention Center (Binyanei Ha’Uma), the gathering will feature a dedicated track for English speakers.

Among the subjects to be discussed is the question of whether English-speaking immigrants to Israel have any influence in Diaspora Jewish communities.

Renowned for its work within Israeli society using Jewish tradition to bridge gaps between communities, Tzohar’s Rabbi Reuven Spolter says the organization has identified many unique issues that deserve to be asked.

Within the “anglo” community, many are coping with questions of Jewish identity and practice, he says.

The conference will include a day-long series of sessions and panels on contemporary issues relevant to Israel and Judaism, including the issue of a “good fit” for English-speaking olim.

“Tzohar has proudly shown that Israel’s rabbinical and communal leadership has a voice that deserves to be shared with people of all backgrounds, which of course includes the English-speaking community,” said Rabbi Reuven Spolter.

“At the same time, we need to appreciate that we as Anglos face unique challenges living and raising our children in Israel. This conference will highlight that understanding while creating a dialogue on many of the key issues important to Anglo olim.”

Among the subjects to be discussed are the challenges and opportunities of parenting Anglo teens within a Hebrew-speaking culture, if and how Anglo-Israelis can influence Diaspora Jewry and a session on maintaining intimacy in marriage.

“The Anglo community in Israel is not simply growing in terms of numbers, but also has a large influence on the character and makeup of our country and in particular within the Religious Zionist world,” says Tzohar’s founder and president Rabbi David Stav. “It was therefore important to us to include an English component to our annual conference and we very much hope that this will be welcomed and embraced by many.”

To find out more or to register to attend, click here.

Chief Rabbinate Bows to Pressure to Extend Rabbi Riskin’s Term

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

The attempt by the Chief Rabbinate to oust Rabbi Shlomo Riskin as Chief Rabbi or Efrat is doomed, and the rabbis will extend his term after meeting on Monday, the Hareidi Kikar Shabbat website reported.

If the rabbis could have their way, they would vote against Riskin, but they fear a media and public backlash, according to the report.

The issue arose several weeks ago when it was reported that rabbis in the Chief Rabbinate do not like Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion and his liberal attitude towards women.

He has reached the age of 75 and needs permission from the Rabbinate to continue serving.

An argument broke out in the Rabbinate between the majority of rabbis and the legal department, which said that a rabbi’s medical condition is the only grounds they can use to refuse to extend his term.

After the attempt to oust Rabbi Riskin was exposed, Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Naftali Bennett said:

I do not accept the attempt to demote a public servant because of his opinions and then say it is because of his age. Rabbi Risking helped established Efrat, and he has merits that do not allow his being used as a political target.

He is allowed to have a different opinion, and shutting the door to other opinions is prohibited.

The attitude of the Chief Rabbinate can be discerned from a recording of comments by Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, who was quoted earlier this month by Kikar Shabbat as saying:

We say in daily prayers every morning, ‘God has not made me a woman,’ not like someone from Efrat who comes up with all kinds of new ideas makes news and wages wars.

 
The phrase “”make news and wage battles” is a reference to another prayer in the morning prayers, in which  it is recited that God “brings about new developments and is the Master of wars.”

A senior official in the Chief Rabbinate told Kikar Shabbat:

We estimate that his term will be extended. The rabbis in the council have an interest that Rabbi Riskin will commit himself to be subject to the Chief Rabbinate. There is a strong doubt that he will agreed to do so, but the rabbis will try.”

Legally, they cannot vote to oust Rabbis Riskin without medical proof that he is not fit for office.

Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion and women do not fit in with the Hareidi Orthodox model.

The Chief Rabbinate, still a bastion of Hareidi power, has lost the trust of Israelis who once respected it, especially when Hareidi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau was in office. The charismatic rabbi never let his opinions get in the way of reaching out to all Israelis with understanding, something that is totally lacking in the Chief Rabbinate today.

Their refusal to accept any other opinion in the Orthodox world only makes them more vulnerable to a collapse of their authority under the weight of pressure from the Reform community.

 

Below is a video of Rabbi Riskin’s explanation on this week’s Torah reading of Balak:

Jewish Agency for Israel Calls for Special Diaspora Conversion Courts

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

The Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel is calling for the establishment of special religious courts in the Diaspora to handle conversions outside the State of Israel.

A resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority of the board at its meeting Wednesday (June 24) said that in the absence of such courts, the Agency would send rabbis to assist local communal rabbis in the endeavor.

“In light of The Jewish Agency’s responsibility to help ensure the unity of the Jewish people and in recognition of the existence of many interfaith families in various Jewish communities, The Jewish Agency wishes to facilitate these families’ full integration into the Jewish people via conversion, as well as through the possibility of Aliyah. In the absence of conversion courts able to serve those who wish to convert in many Jewish communities, The Jewish Agency will cooperate with the special conversion courts established for this purpose by sending rabbis to assist local communal rabbis.

“The Jewish Agency will accompany the converts through their process of preparing for Aliyah, for those who choose that option.”

“The Jewish Agency serves the needs of Jewish communities around the world,” said Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Agency.

“This is one of the very real needs voiced by various Jewish communities. The time has come to respond.”

The issue of Jewish conversion both in Israel and abroad is one that is complex, controversial and fiercely debated between individuals as well as communities.

Recently the community leadership position of a major Anglo-Israeli rabbinic figure came under question, it was believed, in part due to the controversy generated over this topic.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-agency-for-israel-calls-for-special-diaspora-conversion-courts/2015/06/24/

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