Keeping non-haredim in Israel’s
poorest city is an increasingly difficult task.
A September 2009 New York Times travel article (“West Jerusalem Shows its Hip Secular Side”) praised the many “secular” attractions the city has to offer, from trendy new shops and restaurants to cutting-edge architecture.
While Israelis were gratified to read a positive article about their country for a change, portraying Jerusalem as a capital of tourism and not terror, many were amused by the use of “secular” and “Jerusalem” in the same sentence.
JERUSALEM — When northerners holed up in bomb shelters needed food during the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah, local municipalities contacted non-profit organizations, which in turn delivered the food at their own expense. Numerous other organizations and individuals delivered everything from medications and toys to the northerners, most of whom had fled to the hot, neglected shelters with little more than the clothes on their backs.
When I visited Israel for the first time, I fell in love.
Not with any individual, although, like seemingly everyone else in the Overseas Student Program at Tel Aviv University, I harbored a hormonally charged admiration for the tan, arrogant, gun-toting young sabras who roamed the land.
Reform and Conservative leaders are pointing to the findings of a poll — ironcially, commissioned by an Orthodox group — as proof that Israelis are increasingly receptive to the liberal streams of Judaism. The non-Orthodox leaders contend that the responses to six of 16 questions from a recent survey commissioned by the Orthodox Union, a large, mainstream American group, prove that the Conservative and Reform movements have gained significant recognition and support among Israelis in the religious pluralism battle.