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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

High Court Confirms Ariel University’s Upgraded Status

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

In a last ditch attempt to block the granting of university status to Ariel College, some Israeli universities turned to the Supreme Court to block the decision.

Three Supreme Court judges, including the court president ruled against the petition, stating that the process was done properly, confirming Ariel’s new upgraded status.

For a country that promotes higher education, surprisingly, Ariel is its first new university in decades.

Or not so surprising, as among other things, universities receive additional government funding, causing the existing universities to be concerned about the slicing of their pie, thus blocking new entries into the market.

For some of the universities, their opposition was also political, as Ariel University is located in post-67 Israel.

Unlike in the US, in Israel, universities are considered to be more prestigious than colleges, and only universities can offer a doctorate degree.

Court Suspends Rabbis’ Order to Require Woman to Allow Son’s Brit

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Israel’s Supreme Court has suspended a Rabbinical Court (Beit Din) order that a woman in divorce proceedings allow her baby son, now one year old, to be circumcised. The woman also was ordered to pay a fine of $150 for each day the brit mila is not performed.

She originally objected to circumcision because she said her son was not medically fit but since has said that a brit mila causes suffering.

The woman appealed the Netanya Beit Din’s decision to the secular judicial system, which put the rabbis’ order on hold until the judges reach a decision on whether the Beit Din has authority to order a circumcision.

Israeli Mother Going to Supreme Court over Son’s Circumcision

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

A mother in Israel has appealed to the country’s Supreme Court a rabbinical court ruling requiring her to circumcise her son.

In her appeal filed Wednesday, the mother said the rabbis cannot order her to circumcise her son, who is now a year old.

The Jerusalem rabbinical court last month upheld the ruling of the Netanya rabbinical court ordering the mother to have her son circumcised as per her ex-husband’s wishes or pay a $142 fine each day until the procedure is performed. The Netanya court presided over the woman’s divorce, according to Haaretz.

The boy was not circumcised on the eighth day, as per Jewish custom, due to medical problems, according to reports.

The Jerusalem court said it believes the mother is using the circumcision as leverage in her divorce, but she told Haaretz last month that she “started reading about what actually happens in circumcision, and I realized that I couldn’t do that to my son.”

The mother has not been identified in media reports.

Supreme Court Hears Rabbi’s Frequent Flier Case

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of a Minnesota rabbi who claimed he was cut from an airline’s frequent flier program for earning too many miles.

Oral arguments in the case of Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg were heard on Tuesday.

Ginsberg was one of Northwest Airlines’ top fliers when he was cut from its program in 2008. Northwest has since been absorbed by Delta.

The rabbi, who acquired his frequent flier miles by consulting with educational organizations, says the airline was targeting top miles earners. Northwest counters that Ginsberg complained too frequently — 24 times in a seven-month period.

The case hinges on whether federal regulatory discretion extends to routine lawsuits such as this one.

Ginsberg says Northwest’s actions were a breach of contract. Lawyers for the airline, backed by the Obama administration, say handing Ginsberg a victory could open the door to chaotic state-to-state differences on what is and is not litigable.

Israeli Mom to Ask High Court to Block Rabbis’ Circumcision Order

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

An Israeli divorcee who has fought for a year to prevent her son from being circumcised said she will appeal to the Supreme Court to cancel a rabbinical court order that she allow a brit milah to be performed on the baby.

The unusual case occurs at a time when there is growing pressure in Europe and some isolated parts of Canada and the United States to ban or control circumcision, which opponents say is a violation of human rights since the baby does not have the freedom of choice.

The order to the mother, identified as Elinor, to have her circumcised upholds a similar ruling last month by a Netanya rabbinical court. Her baby now is one year old, and she originally objected on medical grounds to circumcising her son after eight days, as prescribed by Jewish law unless there are medical reasons to postpone it.

The mother is fighting the father’s determination to have the baby circumcised, and the Jerusalem rabbinical court said that she may be exploiting  the act of circumcision “as a tool to make headway in the divorce struggle,” according to Haaretz.

The court ordered the mother to pay a fine of $140 for each day the boy remains uncircumcised.

No one is speaking about a ban in Israel of the Jewish custom that is part of the heart and soul of Judaism, but the case tests the authority of rabbinical courts and strikes at the very heart of Judaism at a time when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is insisting that Israel be known by the Palestinian Authority as a “Jewish state.”

Jewish law, like secular law, does not allow one to choose what law he wants to observe, particularly when it comes to circumcision that Jews have practiced for centuries at the risk of death by tyrannical regimes, dating back to the Roman Empire and more recently to the Communist regime in the former Soviet Union.

The mother’s opposition, as quoted by the newspaper, parallels that of anti-circumcision campaigners outside of Israel who are protesting that the procedure should be banned because it is painful and should not be done without the approval a child, who of course cannot be reasonably state his opinion until he is at least a teenager.

“I started reading about what actually happens in circumcision, and I realized that I couldn’t do that to my son. He’s perfect just as he is,” the mother told Haaretz. Jewish thought explains that one of the lessons of the Torah law for circumcision is exactly the opposite of what she said – that no one is born perfect and that everyone must make a “tikun” to repair the world, starting with himself.

The rabbinical court noted, “We have been seeing public and legal fights against circumcision in the United States and Europe for quite some time. The public in Israel stands united against this phenomenon, seeing it as another aspect of the anti-Semitic acts that must be fought.”

If the case reaches the Supreme Court it will have special significance due to recent legislation that diluted the authority of the Chief Rabbinate, which is dominated by the Haredi stream of Judaism, to decide where couple can get married and what conditions they have to meet for a marriage to be performed.

High Court Issues Death Knell for Homes in Six Yesha Communities

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

The Israeli Supreme Court on Monday backed a Peace Now petition and scolded the government for not having destroyed homes in six Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that were built on land whose ownership is disputed.

However, the case opened up the possibility for the end of the government’s turning a blind eye to illegal Arab construction on government land because the government told the court it examining how to regulate the building on land that never was privately owned.

Among the six Jewish communities named in the petition are  Givat Assaf, Givat HaRoeh, Mitzpeh Yitzhar and Ramat Gilad, which have been targeted by both Israeli police and Palestinian Authority terrorist’s dozens of times.

Police have often destroyed lone buildings and expelled families in the middle of the night, scattering their possession for Arabs to pick up and take home. Terrorists have harassed the communities, burning houses and fields and stealing sheep and goats.

Supreme Court President Justice Asher Grunis gave the government six months to comply with the order and added that it “does not aim to legitimize the state’s procrastination on the matter, the lack of law enforcement or the decision to leave illegal structure in place for so long.”

The court ordered the government to pay Peace Now’s legal expenses of approximately $7,100.

Legal Fight against Public Prayer Dates Back to Childhood Carols

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

The need for a firm barrier between church and state is as clear now for Susan Galloway as it was in grade school, when she was expected to sing carols at the Christmas show.

Galloway grew up in McHenry, Ill., a town northwest of Chicago with few other Jews, and the carols sung in school made ample mention of Jesus. Galloway refused to take part.

“It was against everything I was taught,” Galloway told JTA.

As an adult living in the Rochester, N.Y., suburb of Greece, Galloway encountered a similar problem. Each town board meeting would open with a Christian prayer that mentioned Jesus. She and a friend, Linda Stephens, both became uncomfortable.

Now the effort by Galloway and Stephens to stop it has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments were held last week in a case that could substantially redefine the scope of acceptable prayers in public venues across the country.

“They’re asking us to bow our heads, they’re asking us to join them in the Lord’s Prayer, they’re asking us to stand — all of this is in the name of Jesus Christ,” Galloway, 51, said in an interview last week. “This one guy went on about the resurrection. We have preachers who stand there with their hands in the air.”

Galloway’s day in court is the culmination of six years of legal battles that began after she started attending board meetings regularly in a bid to save the local public access television channel. Initially she and Stephens appealed to the board supervisor, but they were relegated to subordinates who told them to get over it.

“They basically told us we could leave or put up with it,” Galloway said. “I was offended.”

They sought backing from outside groups, but many turned them away. Especially hurtful for Galloway was the deaf ear from the Rochester Board of Rabbis.

“I presented the issue, and I hoped other rabbis would see it that way,” said Rabbi Simeon Kolko, a childhood friend of Galloway who agreed to make the case on her behalf. “There was not a willingness.”

Rabbi Larry Kotok, the board president, did not respond to a request for comment.

At first, Galloway said, she and Stephens felt ostracized; then it got worse. Threatening letters came in, some signed “666,” the Christian signifier of the devil. Stephens’ home was vandalized. Galloway believes hers was spared because she lives on a busy street.

But Galloway refused to be cowed — a product, she said, of an upbringing that stressed believing in the best of others. “I wanted to believe if you have a conversation with people and you explain to them a point of view and they understand something, there’s a way to work the issue out,” she said. “But they did not want to talk or negotiate or anything.”

With the assistance of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Galloway and Stephens pressed the issue. At first the town seemed responsive, opening up the sessions to prayers of other faiths four times in 2008. But the sides couldn’t settle and the matter went to the courts.

The fact that the Supreme Court is taking the case is not necessarily good news for Galloway. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled on her behalf, but when the Supreme Court considers appeals from lower courts it mostly intends to reverse the decision.

Still, Galloway has accrued the support — from Jewish and non-Jewish groups — she felt was missing in the case’s early days. An array of major organizations — including the Reform movement, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee — have filed friend-of-the-court briefs on her behalf.

“It sends a message to people who are coming that maybe they don’t belong, maybe they will be treated differently,” said Sammie Moshenberg, the Washington director for the NCJW. “It creates a climate that makes folks feel like they’re not necessarily part of the political process.”

The concern going into the oral hearing was that the court would substantially expand the definition of permitted prayer in a 1983 case, Marsh v. Chambers. That decision, based on a case related to prayers in the Nebraska Legislature, has been widely interpreted as allowing nonsectarian prayer in legislative bodies.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/legal-fight-against-public-prayer-dates-back-to-childhood-carols/2013/11/12/

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