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Orthodox Judaism

  • Israel’s marriage police: An aberration from Jewish tradition

    From interrogations to blacklists to computerized databases, Israel's rabbinical authorities have adopted a coercive system of oversight that punishes violators of Jewish law's bans on 'certain' kinds of relationships. By Akiva Miller Everyone knows that Israel’s Jewish-Orthodox-controlled marriage system must change. But while activists, lawyers and politicians struggling to reform it have won some important battles in recent years, one of the most important factors behind the crisis — the rabbinical authorities’ system of databases, investigative methods, and coercive powers — has received too little attention. This system is best understood as a marriage police, motivated by an unprecedented zealousness…

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  • 3 women arrested while praying at Western Wall in 24 hours

    Head of Women of the Wall was held in custody the entire night after trying to pray at the holy site while wearing a prayer shawl - a practice reserved only for men, according to Orthodox Judaism. Three members of Women of the Wall (Neshot Hakotel), a group of Jewish women which seeks to conduct prayers and read from Torah at the Western Wall, were arrested by police in the last 24 hours, during the "Rosh Hodesh Heshvan" (new month prayers) at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. The head of the organization, Anat Hoffman, was arrested last night…

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  • On racism, Foreign Ministry worried about image, not reality

    Diplomats warn that reports of Israeli attitudes and acts towards refugees may harm Israel's image, ignoring the acts themselves. Our Foreign Ministry finds itself in a quandary. Israel brutally expels refugees from South Sudan, and runs a vicious and racist campaign against refugees from Sudan. Ministers and MKs are competing to see who can lead a more beastly campaign of hatred. The current winner is Madam MK and former IDF Spokeswomen Miri "I did not intend to compare the refugees to human beings" Regev, but the race is far from over. This, reports activist Rotem Ilan (Hebrew), is how the…

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  • A call to support the Orthodox majority opposing extremism

    In the struggle within the Orthodox Jewish community between reactionaries who use Judaism as a weapon against democracy, and modernists whose worldview is based on integrating the two, the reactionaries have been the dominant voice - but the silent majority is starting to raise its own. By Rachel Liel It cannot be easy to be a modern Orthodox Jew in Israel today, not when leading voices in the community are calling for Israel to reject the modern, democratic world. The latest such declaration came from Benny Katsover, an “elder statesman” of the West Bank settler movement. “The main role of…

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