Watch this hilarious Israeli video that actually explains what being Jewish in Israel entails. Then you may want to read about the growing haredification of Israel’s rabbinical courts. These courts tend to decide family matters and conversions and are used mostly by non-haredi Israelis (haredi, or ultra Orthodox Jews, tend to resolve domestic matters privately using their own Rabbis). This trend is likely to expand the rift between Orthodox and secular Israelis and is in fact creating divisions amongst those identified as Modern Orthodox. Besides the problems this trend creates with issues related to conversions and agunot, such divisions threaten the continued viability of the State of Israel itself.

Frankly, I don’t see any short term solutions to this issue. Each side is firm in its resolve. Secular Israelis continuing to bash all religious Jews almost indiscriminately and sidestepping the authority of the religious courts by, for instance, getting married in Cyprus. Even more Liberal Orthodox Jews are being encouraged to do without the religious courts:

Last week, veteran religious feminist Dr. Hanna Kehat told a conference that young women, especially secular ones, should be discouraged from getting married under the auspices of the rabbinate, because it puts them at the mercy of dayanim if they have to divorce. Her statement, which caused a minor uproar, was an early signal that even many religious Israelis with a basic commitment to Halacha are becoming so disillusioned with the rabbinate that they are willing to divorce from it.

The Haredim for their part, continue to maintain and even extend their death grip on all aspects of civil life in Israel, unconcerned with the dangerous rift that will be caused by their overly fastidious promotion of humra over humra (overly strict interpretations of religious law).

I am so not excited right now.

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

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