by Michele Chabin
Jerusalem — Suddenly, it’s hip to be square in the Holy Land. Since the beginning of the year in Old Katamon, a historic, tree-lined neighborhood here, at least two dozen singles in their 30s and 40s have announced their engagements.
Although there is nothing unusual about Israelis getting hitched (by the age of 40 more than 90 percent have been married at least once), many, perhaps most of the above-mentioned brides and grooms met their soulmates through a professional or amateur matchmaker.
Into the fray comes the Reform movement. On Sunday, members of the Conservative movement were verbally accosted by some ultra-Orthodox teenagers while praying in a mixed-gender service at the Western Wall on Shavuot morning. There was pushing and shoving as well, according to eyewitness accounts.
by Michele Chabin
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.
Washington — He won’t be here for the summit, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be all but unavoidable in Washington this week on a quite different mission: taking his case to the American public for bucking President Clinton’s proposals to rekindle a gasping Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Jerusalem — Alice, a 15-year-old with a blue kerchief around her head and a cigarette dangling from her fingers, was clearly upset to be living in a supervised home for troubled girls in Jerusalem.
She was displeased, too, about speaking with visitors on a UJA-Federation mission from New York.
“She has a real in-your-face attitude,” observed one of the visitors, Jane Grauer of White Plains.
The Israeli government this week detained a family of black, Jewish-American converts from entering the country, triggering concern by Conservative movement leaders who fear the emergence of a pattern of racial and religious discrimination.