One of the biggest challenges facing Orthodox Jewish communities is rarely spoken about publicly. By admitting women into the cadre of the religious hierarchy, those who traditionally hold this place must make room to allow new members to be part of their ranks. It comes as no surprise that those in power are reluctant to relinquish it and evoke women’s modesty, biology or formal position naming issues to hinder the negotiation between present demands and past traditions.
Jerusalem — Shimon, a student at the ultra-Orthodox Tiferet Israel yeshiva, says he is not prepared to serve in the military, even if a new bill calling on the draft of yeshiva students is passed in the Knesset.
“I won’t go into the army, even if there is a law,” says the army-age yeshiva bocher, who studies at the school from early in the morning until late at night.
“...with the advent of the Internet and genomic technology, genealogy has entered a new age. The past year has served up a series of high-profile revelations. The news that Barack Obama’s ancestors owned slaves was a bit more surprising than the news that Strom Thurmond’s did. ... And Henry Louis Gates Jr. ... was astounded to learn that half of his own ancestry was European, including Irish kinsmen on his father’s side and two Jewish women on his mother’s.” —Steven Pinker, The New Republic, Aug. 6
Growing up in Beersheva, Ilan Ramon didn't dream, as little boys in America did in the 1950s and 1960s, of being an astronaut. After all, no Israeli had ever been launched into space. He dreamt of flying, though, and soon learned to soar over his tiny country as a much-decorated Air Force pilot.
Now Ramon, 48, will do what he dared not even dream: He will travel into space.