Who opposes Knesset member David Rotem’s proposed conversion legislation?
In Israel, Bibi Netanyahu, the Likud prime minister, who has displayed vision and political courage in rebuffing efforts to pass it in its current form this week; and Labor, Kadima and Meretz, joined by a number of Likud members. This opposition reflects something Rotem, a member of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, does not appreciate: a clear recognition of the importance of the Reform and Conservative movement worldwide to Israel and the Jewish people.
Crises are a fact of Jewish life. Some are just a product of ephemeral Jewish angst or artificial hype and pass quickly. However, others have profound and long-term consequences. How these are resolved will affect tens of thousands of individual Jews as well as the future of the entire Jewish people.
The margins have become the mainstream—and the vast majority of Jews today are not actively connected with a “temple” (a.k.a. synagogue). So it seems unlikely that a mid-summer day of mourning for the destruction of two ancient temples in Jerusalem could have much to recommend it. Throw in the prohibitions on eating, drinking, and shmoozing and the ruin of Tisha B’Av itself seems certain.
Remembering Rabbi Yehuda Amital, who helped found Meimad party and challenged religious Zionist orthodoxy.
Rabbi Yosef Blau
Special To The Jewish Week
Rabbi Yehuda Amital, who died last Friday in Jerusalem at 85 after a long illness, was a unique blend of Talmud scholar and political activist who balanced his love of Israel with his advocacy for territorial concession to save lives.
If you happen to know a child of almost any age, you probably have heard about Silly Bandz. If you don’t, you likely haven’t, even though these rubber band bracelets have taken the country by storm, following in the footsteps of the great fads of prior decades like Pet Rocks, Beanie Babies and Cabbage Patch Kids.
The State of Israel is currently facing one of the most daunting and serious challenges in recent history. There is a war against organized state-sponsored terrorism, exacerbated by increased negative world opinion, propaganda, political posturing and harsh rhetoric that threatens the physical and political reality and stability of the Jewish state.
I’m a rationalist. I’m not into mysticism or spirituality or New Age stuff. An “intellectual,” I like to fancy myself. Yet there I was in Jerusalem one Saturday morning a few weeks ago, putting two kvitels, little notes, into the crevices of the Western Wall. One was a petition for a friend; the other a personal plea. I laughed to myself as I pressed them deep into the cracks, knowing that like untold others, I somehow ascribe special powers to that Wall and the missives it bears. I had done this before and will do it again. So much for rationalism.
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.