This is from Ha’aretz:

Hillary Rubin felt she was living out her ancestors’ dream when she decided to move to Israel in 2006. Now she says she is being forced to leave the country to fulfill her own dream – getting married.

“Zionism runs in my family,” the Detroit native says, adding that her grandfather’s uncle was Zionist leader Nahum Sokolow.

But after filing for a wedding license and being told she needed to prove the Jewishness of her maternal lineage for four generations, she is wondering whether she made the right decision in immigrating to a Jewish state that doubts her Jewishness.

“I’m furious with this country right now,” the 29-year-old international relations student told Anglo File this week. “I’m the great-great-niece of a prominent Zionist and I am always a supporter of this country, but this really frustrated me and I can totally understand why a lot of my Anglo friends left this country.”

Rubin, who was raised in a Conservative household, produced letters from four Conservative rabbis and one Chabad rabbi attesting to her Jewishness. But the Herzliya Rabbinate said the letters were not enough and asked her to bring ketubot, or religious wedding contracts, as well as birth or death certificates of her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother.

“It was made very clear that without ketubot and without birth certificates from four generations, I would need to go to the Beit Din [local rabbinical court],” Rubin told Anglo File this week. “I told him, time and time again, that my grandparents are Shoah survivors [and thus their ketubot no longer exist] and I was told that wasn’t his problem.”

The Herzliya Rabbinate responded that it kept to strict standards “of Moses and Israel” for affirming one’s faith.

I cannot produce 4 generations of evidence of Jewishness and neither can either of my Jewish parents.

The Chief Rabbinate and its many subsidiaries have hijacked all material civil law in Israel and shifted it toward their extremism. Make no mistake, these are zealots. They’re loonie-tunes. They’re the folks who made the Kotel into an exclusionary ultra-Orthodox shul. They’re the jokers who force many Israelis, who unlike these rabbis and their followers actually served in the IDF, travel to Cyprus in order to marry. These are the extremists who stand in the way of the hundreds of thousands in Israel who would like to convert or affirm their Jewishness but cannot because they are expected to become Orthodox.

The lunatics are running the asylum. Stop them.

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  • In 1954, when my parents were married, there was no way they could have met the standard of producing four kesubot back on each side. Impossible. So by this standard, I could not have been born.

    You’re right about the inmates and the asylum, and I’m afraid that the result will be loss of support for Israel among US jews.

    • Well, the who is a Jew bill that almost came to a vote in the Knesset last week would have torn apart many relationships with US Jews. Of course, that bill was created to appease these lunatics.

  • The Supreme Court is responsible for the current status quo at the Kotel. Had it been left to the Haredim, the Robinson’s Arch part of the Kotel wouldn’t be an available option for egalitarian or non-Orthodox services.

    I am totally sympathetic to Hillary’s plight. If I wanted to get married and the local rabbinate asked me for the sort of documentation that they asked of Hillary, there’s no way I’d be able to find it. But then I’d take it to Rabbinical Court – which Hillary wasn’t willing to do because, according to the article, she erroneously thought that the court would or could declare her a non-Jew, which they can’t.

    In any case, I think a great solution is for all those outraged by this decision to move here in large numbers, have lots of babies and vote.

  • Honi soit…, but the only ones that can actually provide such paper work as they’ve already had four generations after WW2 are …

    … drumroll …

    (The first one to come up with an answer will win some prize or another.)

    CK, in a democracy, she shouldn’t have to argue her case in front of a religious court.

    Shmuel, those that destructed the Temple didn’t reason along such lines.

  • froylein: Originally, in Democracy, citizenship was only awarded to males born of a father who was citizen and who had done their military service. In classic democracy, women never had the vote. So things evolve! Is Israel a pure democracy? Or is it democratic? Giving people certain benefits by mere dint of their religion is not considered democratic. As such the foundation of the State of Israel as a refuge for Jews and the Law of Return granting automatic citizenship to (almost) anyone Jewish, these are not democratic except insofar as they were instituted democratically.

    In any case, Chelsea Clinton was married on Shabbat. I look forward to her and her husband’s aliya to Israel!


    • Why would anybody move to Israel, ck, when civil law is governed by these lunatics? Are you kidding? This young woman, for example, a dedicated Zionist who made aliyah and wants to live in Israel and raise her family there, is being stymied by these extremists. Who would you rather have there?

      And Israel’s High Court had nothing to do with the lunacy we are witnessing with respect to the question of who is considered Jewish and who isn’t. The “status quo” to which they agree at the Kotel, by the way, is only the status quo because the Orthodox have been permitted to run the Rabbinate.

      • Sigh. Again. If it were up to the Rabbinate, not only would there not be egalitarian services at the touristy Kotel, but also at the Robinson’s Arch part of the Kotel as well. The status quo as it currently exists was mandated by the very secular Supreme Court. Why do you make me repeat myself every time you insist on stating erroneous facts TM? The Haredim run the Rabbinate and most civil affairs because that was the platform for which they got elected. By all means, tell all your like minded friends to come to Israel en masse and vote as they see fit. Seriously. Do it fast. In about 2 years more half the children in the school system will be Haredi. Already, under 55% of otherwise eligible men actually end up serving in the IDF. Our dedicated Zionist could have pleaded her case in the Rabbinic Court. She chose not to. Oh well – keep handing the Haredim victories.

  • CK, in an original democracy, families were considered the smallest political and social unit, so unmarried men had no vote either. In an original democracy, people threatening to democratic values could be sent on exile through public vote. There was general military service for males, and it was an honour for them to serve for their country, paying their taxes was done with the same understanding. Now those that oppose the country on eschatological premises and avoid their share of civil duties on grounds of feelings of entitlement are in charge of telling who is a citizen with full rights?
    The founders of the modern state of Israel came from Europe with the modern understanding of women’s suffrage, the need for not permitting state-run religious discrimination; they considered their Eastern shtetl brethren uneducated etc. (The rise of Chasidism put an end to educated Orthodoxy in Poland for instance.) They didn’t re-establish a Jewish kingdom for a reason, and it’s not a religious one.
    Things evolve, but in this case, they’ve evolved backwards.

    Also, you might want to consider that secular Jewish women in Israel are ten to fifteen years older than Charedi girls when they can responsibly and reasonably have their first child – thanks to education, military service, and establishing themselves in professions. They are about the last ones to be blamed for the disproportionate population growth among Charedi circles. They are busy sustaining them.

    Furthermore, if you don’t reply to me on gmail-chat, I’ll post pictures and recipes of all the cakes I baked last night. Pffft.

  • I too would not be able to prove that I am Jewish, simply because my mother’s ancestors hid their official status in Wales (Yes, the one in Britain), so that they could have a chance to prosper. It wasn’t until they came here to the United States that they embraced being Jewish – but only as secular Jews. So there is nothing on my great-great grandmother’s birth certificate, no religious ceremonies at all. I am the first religious Jew in my family since the early 1700s.

    I guess I would be completely unwelcome in Israel.

  • The problem here is not the lunatics but the fact that they have so much power over the much larger non-orthodox group of Israeli citizens. Israel’s ‘founding fathers’ chose to institute a parliamentary form of government rather than one similar to that of the U.S. and it has come back to haunt them. I don’t know how or if it can ever be changed.

  • Acknowledging the Rabbinic Court by having them decide on your status is handing the Charedim victories.

    When a hotel has changed owners and doesn’t make its former patrons feel welcome anymore, it’s pointless for those patrons to keep visiting. It’s not their thing to do to restore the old charm of the place.

  • Let’s be clear – This is NOT a problem of Jewish Law.

    It’s a problem of political wrangling using religious matters as a cudgel.

    These demands reflect EXTREME interpretations of Halacha held only by the Haredi minority.

    After decades of poo-pooing the Chief Rabbinate as part of the Zionist enterprise, they are now cynically trying to take it over so as to milk its opportunities for patronage and nepotism posts.

    These are the same folks who retroactively invalidated perfectly kosher conversions by “National Religious” Rabbis – breaking a thousand-year-old precedent for political purposes.

    Notice that the demands came from a local, haredi rabbi.

    Despite the misinformation about the Rotem bill – its major purpose was to wrest the conversion process from the extreme haredi elements lodged in the municipal rabbinates, and give sole authority over conversions to the Chief Rabbinate – which is still under mainstream religious zionist control, and likely to remain that way.

    Also, the Rotem bill in no way impugned the Jewishness of diaspora Jews. Please do your homework, folks.

  • why in the hell are we using the palestinian daily as a source???

    yes…for most yiddin, going back 4 generations to prove jewishness is virtually impossible

    but all this article is set up to do is cause more hate

    as for the clinton marriage…it was a shanda….and proof that raising a child in a so called conservative jewish home is no better than no jewish education at all

    that ceremony made a mockery of kidushin…i wanted to throw up

    want to thank the clintons for helping in their own small way, the continuation of the destruction of american jewry

  • ck, you are correcting me? Allow me to remind you what that High Court ruling stated. It prevented women at the Kotel from wearing talitot or tefillin because it might incide the ultra-Orthodox to violence. They deemed this a “threat to public security.”

    Now, one can respect the Court and support its right to make rulings while mocking the justice of the ruling. In this case, justice and morality are mocked. Goodness is vilified and violence is rewarded.

    Let’s take this a step further, shall we? Imagine a woman walking down a street in Jerusalem wearing a short-sleeved shirt and some Haredim walk by. Apparently, it is her fault if they spit on her, hit her or brutalize her in any fashion. Imagine an Israeli walking into a shopping mall in an area deemed by Palestinians to be Palestinian territory and blown up in a suicide bombing. Apparently, that is also acceptable because the Israelis shouldn’t be walking around there lest they incite the Palestinian terrorist to violence. They are a “threat to public security,” not the Palestinian and not the Haredi.

    What’s next? Let me guess. A person driving on the Sabbath is guilty of any violence foisted upon him by those who would attack him for this violation. In fact, all violence by zealots who might react violently is apparently kosher, while taking any reasonable action that challenges THEIR notion of what is right and wrong can be deemed a threat to public security.

    As Froylein points out, for Hillary Rubin to allow the Rabbinate to continue to dictate whether she’s a Jew or not, whether she can marry in Israel or not, whether four Conservative rabbis’ confirmation is sufficient to indicate her truthfulness, and whether she can participate fully in Israeli civil life by submitting to the authority of lunatic zealots, would be unconscionable. By moving through the process any further, she would have acquiesced to its ridiculous, cruel, immoral, unJewish and hypocritical assertions.

    Obviously, the young woman has some backbone and a fine sense of what is right and what is wrong. If she leaves Israel because of this, one should not be surprised at all and the loss is Israel’s. For that matter, the “status quo” with the haredim is also Israel’s loss.

    Oh, and please don’t brag so much about the insane population explosion in the Haredi world. It’s easy to have a population explosion when others are defending your borders and paying the taxes that subsidize your huge family and the (anti-Zionist, medieval) education the kids require.

    • Why on earth would I be bragging about anything having to do with Haredim? Am I Haredi? No. The point is that it wasn’t the Rabbanut that instituted the status quo, it was a secular court taking into account all the interests involved. Did the Rabbanut instruct people to respond violently against the Women of the Wall? I have never heard of such an instruction, though please by all means feel free to show me otherwise. Your examples make a mockery of a Supreme Court of Israel decision made by some of the country’s mist respected jurists. Secular jurists I might add. It’s a classic balance of interests scenario and does not justify the rape of a provocatively dressed woman. Nor does it justify any assault against any person for any reason. That’s a gross oversimplification of the decision.

      So I will once again repeat my tiresome refrain. If you want to make a real difference, do what Hillary did and move here, have babies, vote and pray often at the Kotel. You may not like what the Rabbanut and the Haredi parties are doing but it’s all been 100% perfectly legal and Democratic.

      • Naive jurists, it appears, at the very least ill-informed as far as matters of Charedi theology and religious practice are concerned. Or just indifferent. A secular person educated on the matter would not have come to such a decision; if they were religiously educated, they’d know the Charedim are infringing on the women’s rights in Judaism. The attacks on women on buses etc. must have been known to those jurists. I used to think the writing on the wall was written in bold letters.

        Re: what Tom said, you cannot expect people that aren’t granted full civil rights in a country to move to that very country to change matters. This is the real life, not a Greek epos.

  • Thank you so much for sharing the article about our struggle to get married. I did not read all the comments but I want to make something clear: I am still a Zionist and I still love the State of Israel. I may be disappointed in the Rabbanut but I love Israel. The Rabbanut will not stop me from having a Halachic wedding in Israel. They can only stop that wedding from being legal – which forces us to go elsewhere.

    That is the point of the article. We shouldn’t be forced to go abroad because someone thinks we are not Jewish.

  • Dude, a woman in short sleeves is NOT provocatively dressed, a woman wearing a tallit is not being provocative and even woman reading the Torah aloud is not being provocative. As to whether the Rabbanut or anybody else ordered the haredim to respond violently, I haven’t a clue. All I know is that this fear was the basis of the ridiculous decision by the High Court which established the status quo which sucks so mightily, even if you don’t have a problem with it.

    The only mockery here is having a bunch of lunatics ask a young Jewish woman for ridiculous proof of her Jewishness and actually having the authority to use this request as a basis for rejecting her rights to marry inside Israel.

  • Some lessons here to apply in our country. Blacks, Hispanics, and gays and lesbians should just shut up and have babies.

    • I never said that anyone should shut up. Those unhappy with the status quo have options other than knowingly engaging in an illegal course of action that they know will incite violence. I suggested they get more involved in the political process, that they become citizens and vote here, that they show up and pray at the Kotel more often and in larger numbers. That they and their children become more enfranchised in order to effectuate both long term and short term change. Yes, for those that admire Hillary, simply do what she did. Move here and promote change from within which she managed to do without recourse to actions likely to cause a riot and endanger the safety of others.

  • Ah, so violence wins the day? Way to give in to the loonies.

    I want you to note that you would entirely reject this course of action if it pertained to terrorists.

    • The decision was not based on violence. It took into account the nature of religious beliefs involved, who used the touristy Kotel more etc. Women of the Wall gather once a month and in relatively small numbers. Orthodox Jews however are constantly present at there. The court sought a solution that allowed WOW to exercise their right to pray while still taking into account the rights of non-egalitarian worshippers. Robinson’s Arch is no less holy than the touristy Kotel. What WOW are doing by creating incidents has more to do with political agitation than it does with prayer. Political protests are totally permissible of course but those rights are more proscribed – for instance you need to coordinate with the police and get a permit and protest in a place that takes public safety and welfare into account. This has little to do with violence and even less to do with the Rabbinate.

  • Oh my goodness. Israel Supreme Court Jurists are not clowns. They are amongst the the most esteemed and learned Jurists in the country. Their decision had nothing to do with theology, Haredi or otherwise. Haredim are not the only traditional Jews that use the Kotel for prayer and prefer non-egalitarian worship. They are not the only Israeli citizens that prefer the status quo and/or are turned off by the use of the Kotel to further an agenda best promoted in court or in Parliament.

    This isn’t to say that women on buses should be attacked. Or women dressed in a manner deemed to be inappropriate should be spat upon. These are acts of assault and ought to be governed as such with the perpetrators arrested and tried for their crimes. Anyone have a quote from anyone in the Rabbinate saying it’s ok to spit on women and assault women on buses?

    Once again, in terms of prayer, Robinson’s arch is just as legitimate and holy a part of the Kotel as an any part of the touristy Kotel. It’s part of the same structure, separated only by the walkway to the Mughrabi gate entrance to Har Habayit. If WOW want to protest against growing Haredi influence in Israel, that’s great. I’ll probably even support the bulk of their agenda. Just don’t do it at the Kotel. Sure it makes for very dramatic press clippings but at what expense??

    Lets not forget that the actual holiest site in Judaism is controlled by the Waqf and Islamic authorities. I’d love to openly pray on the Temple Mount, but I can’t because it’ll cause riots. OK. I’m cool with that. I have alternatives. If I can accept that compromise with Har habayit, WOW ought to be able to accept that with the touristy Kotel.

  • Nothing from the Rabbinate, but printed calls from the Vaad in Yiddish could be found as scans on the internet when news first emerged women had been attacked with acid for wearing something “improper”. The attacks were known as well as the forces behind them.

    As I’d said before, not everybody is bound by a compromise made between two different parties.

    Anyhow, the issue of this post is the growing Charedi (note, not all Chasidim are Charedi) influence on an aspect of civil law in Israel; civil law in a democracy, that is. Would anybody make a fastfood franchise owner head of the FDA?

  • Yeah, so Roe v. Wade should only apply to Roe and Wade. Brown v. Borad of Education should only apply between Brown and the Board of Education. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire only applies when Chaplinsky is in New Hampshire. I know you’re in Germany which is a civil court jurisdiction and perhaps you are unaware of the intricacies of case precedent. The 2003 court ruling is what the current status quo is based on at all areas of the Kotel – the wall in front of the Plaza and the wall by Robinson’s Arch and the underground wall reserved for women near where they give the tours.

    Whatever influence the Haredim have on civil law in Israel was obtained fairly and legally in the course of normal parliamentary negotiations. This is why I urge people opposed to the status quo to lobby the Israeli government, lend financial and moral support to parties and organizations working to solve this issue (The ACRI and the New Israel Fund perhaps?) and finally, to move here, vote, pray at the Kotel as much as possible and to make as many babies as possible in the process.

  • I follow the news, and case precedents not only in Germany are followed up by the the legislative being commissioned to make changes / amendments to the law. However, you’re a lawyer, and I’m certain you know the difference between a verdict and a mediated compromise. The role of a Supreme Court is to be the highest court of appeal and to check what’s constitutional. If it acts as a mediator, the results are as mandatory and binding as that of any mediator involved. Provided, of course, we’re talking about a democracy with a division of powers.

    And again, why should people bother to move there? It’s not the patrons’ job to do their own hotel beds.

    • Israel’s not a Hotel – everyone’s free to come visit as often as they like of course, and we’ll always try to be as accommodating as possible, but you have to live here if you want to affect management.

  • CK – give up.
    You had Froy calling the Supreme Court “naive” several posts back. Later she claims she “follows the news” – as if anyone who really “follows the news” from Israel would think that our Supreme Court sides with Haredim over progressive Jews!

    It’s another case of lefties retreating into snobbery and sand-kicking when faced with cogent, reasoned opposition to their pet opinions.

  • The ruling by the Court was about the realistic perception of potential Haredi violence and preventing it.

    The so-called compromise at the Kotel is really a power-play, much like having an indoor shul for the men while the women have nothing on their side of the unnecessary mechitzah. Of course Orthodox Jews are always there, because they’ve made it very comfortable for themselves there…with the sanction of the state.

    WOW are creating incidents because they have been shut out. Half of the world’s Jews are shut out of the Kotel by virtue of being women. Oh, wait, unless they’re agreeable to being treated like second class citizens. The WOW actions are a reminder – a critically necessary one – that ALL of us are affected by the de-facto control of the Kotel by the ultra-Orthodox. We are all diminished by it and so is our ability to engage with this important site in the manner we see fit. We have to do it their way. And please spare me grief about how they represent the true face of Judaism.

    As my post says, the Rabbinate should get out of any part of governance in Israel and Israel should get out of the business of supporting the Rabbinate as the state’s official voice and decision-maker when it comes to people’s Jewish-related activities.

  • B-D, it’s just that I’m not a leftist. (But isn’t it funny how you can be expected to call me a leftist anytime you’ve run out of arguments? As if being a leftist alone was in any way a crime; just consider the political orientation of the founders of Israel and that I’m the one most outspoken on here when it comes to preserving conservative values.) And please don’t read anything into my comments I haven’t said; my “follow the news” comment was in regards to how case precedents are received in jurisdiction as well as by the legislative in the US.
    And yes, a Supreme Court that blatantly ignores the writing on the wall is either indifferent or naive. Take your pick.

    CK, the most efficient way to show management it’s doing a lousy job is to book your stay at a different place. It’s not uncommon that people that can afford it turn hotels into their homestead (British meaning of the word). Afterall, cases like the one mentioned in the post show that management apparently thinks its employees are replacable.

  • Religious sites across Israel are treated delicately with extreme consideration being given to the sensibilities of those that use those sites. It’s not fair that I cannot pray at Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, because it’s also the site of two Mosques and is in use all the time by religious Muslims who would riot if Jewish prayer were allowed there. But for the sake of peace and tranquility, I defer to the authorities and give up what ought to be my natural right.

    In the case of the Kotel, no one is prevented from praying there. No one! Those that wish to pray in an egalitarian setting have a spot assigned to them, reflective of their numbers, and everyone else has the touristy Kotel. Women can pray in the women’s section which is set to be expanded further once work on the Mughrabi Gate ramp is completed. They also have a chunk of the Kotel assigned to them that is underground (near the Kotel Tunnel Tours) and free to use at all times. The women also have a smaller indoor section as well but I’ve never been in there – all I know is that it exists. I don’t see how this shuts anyone out.

    You make it seem as if the Kotel is completely inaccessible to anyone who isn’t Haredi and you know that’s false.

    Should the Rabbinate get out of governance? You can’t stop them if they keep getting elected and if they keep getting added into coalitions and given ministerships. Religious people have the right to vote into office people who will represent their interests. That’s why I keep telling you people to move to Israel. And have babies.

  • Uhm, no, the Kotel is public property with restricted access. Unless the Kotel has in part been privatised, that is. The holiness of the site is only secondary. It actually is a symbolic place rather than a holy site. Charedim see women reading the Torah as sacrilegous (in private, too), but it isn’t. It is a theological fallacy to think so.

    Have babies yourself, you’re not getting younger.

  • Sidestepping the actual content of my criticism, Froy pounces upon:

    B-D, it’s just that I’m not a leftist.
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    OK, you’re a *progressive* who’s retreated into snobbery, sand-kicking, and unilateral declarations from an alternate reality.

    • It’s not progressive to uphold the real, original values as opposed to an American Puritanism infested-variety of Charedism. Oh, and I addressed the “content” (as far as unsubstantiated, stereotyping rants and intentional misreading qualify as content) of your criticism, but I see you don’t want to see that.
      Any more strawmen, dubious dialectics and inaccurate claims that I should address?

  • Froylein: So the Temple Mount is what? Also a public place with restricted access? Why can’t WOW pray there? It’s certainly more holy and more symbolic than just some stupid retaining wall.

  • All “holy sites” in Jerusalem are merely symbolic when one’s perspective disdains religion and God. So why then can’t I have a memorial service at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to honor the memory of the scores of Jews murdered by the Crusaders?

    • CK, I don’t disdain religion and God; I disdain fanaticism. I’m the only one on here that has studied religious education as one of my main subjects (I laid out the difference between religious education and religious instruction in a previous comment section). I care to understand how dogma evolved and in how far it is authentic and applies to today’s adherents, and that kind of understanding is not limited to Judaism cause it is predated and has evolved in conflict and alongside other religions throughout its history. The same goes for all religions, even neolithic ones. Buying into anything I’m offered would not put my soul at ease, nor does such an approach do any religion justice.

      I know a lot of Chasidim that don’t consider the Kotel holy at all; they go there to pray because it’s a place of symbolic value rather than religious nature. At that, the only fair compromise would have been to allot different time frames to different groups at the Kotel.

      The Charedim would also object to any woman reading the Torah on the Temple Mount – and that is the key issue they’ve got with the WoW – or any other place in this world. They believe women must not read from the Torah, but that belief doesn’t hold true to Jewish doctrine. If you knew any Charedim well, you’d also know they don’t consider you Jewish either as little as they consider anybody Jewish that doesn’t follow their variety of Judaism. But that is not what the founders of Zionism and the state of Israel had in mind unless you can point me to any elaborate works that would favour the idea of establishing the supremacy of one group by denying the others’ legitimacy.

      BTW, you can have a memorial service at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There are only a few Christian denominations that would theologically object to such a service (Zwinglians, Calvinists etc.), but that’s because they object to most common forms of religious practice. That church is divided among various denominations. Shall I contact one of them on your behalf or will you do that yourself?

      May I recommend this anthology on the history of the Crusades?

  • CK – give up. Can’t you see?
    She took a course.
    In university.
    How can we Hebrew-speaking, Talmud-studying observant/traditional Jews have the chutzpah to challenge such extensive expertise?

  • B-D, did you know that Satmar Chasidim don’t learn Hebrew? Are you aware that the Talmud is not a secret book sold to believers only? Are you aware that none of this ruling at all has anything to do with anything written in the Torah or the Talmud? That the beliefs underlying the Charedi aversion towards women reading the Torah don’t even date back as far as the great scholars of the Middle Ages?

    There are Chasidim that know all that; that’s why I said above there’s a difference between Chasidism and Charedism.

    Going by your understanding of religion, since you’re a native speaker of English, I assume you’ll therefore profess fluency in Middle English, an all comprehending take on English morphology and substantial comprehension of Old Norse, won’t you?

    Oh, and I didn’t just take “a course [] [i]n [sic] university”. Years of eight hours per day minimum dedicated to understanding how things developed and are connected and also understanding the complexity of such developments and connections hardly can be called “a course”. I don’t claim to know everything, but I know where I can look a lot of things up.
    It’s funny to think that one of my old professors was so proficient in Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew (and at least seven other languages I know of) that he even instructed Orthodox French rabbis and settled cases among scholars. Compared to men like him, I know little. Those people are my gauge. Communicating with such people on matters of religion was / is a treat.
    There are professors in Israel I’m friends with who it always is a pleasure talking to.

    Your scope is about as wide as that of some elderly Catholic lady in a highland village that has learnt all the prayers (in Latin, too), the list of vices and the list of sins, has brooded over catechism books and never missed church on Sunday – and yet wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what the difference between a Council Constitution and a Council Declaration is or why Ultra-Montanism has eventually led to civil weddings and secular school authorities in Germany. She wouldn’t care either as it wouldn’t affect her everyday life. She would judge people based on what she perceives to be right and to be wrong, no doubt. She might even adamantly and openly voice her criticism. But nobody would make her a gauge of how the secular state of Germany should be run, what contents get taught at Catholic faculties or even other university classes ad public schools (even religious schools here must adhere to the general curricula) and, most importantly, everybody needs to believe in.

  • The multi-denominational group that runs the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is called “The Status Quo.” By all means call them up and ask them if I can have a small religious service to commemorate those Jews killed in the Crusades. I don’t even need to do it in the Church. Just in the front courtyard would be fine. While you’re at it, call the Waqf. I’d to run a similar service outside Al Aqsa Mosque.

    None of what I said has anything at all to do with Charedim. It’s a legal issue already decided by the Supreme Court. Although your academic credentials are spectacular, I’m the only one here with a law degree.


  • Hillary: thank you for your bravery, honesty, openness and clarity. the Rabbinate of Herzliya should be ashamed of themselves. to ask for death certificates from any pre-holocaust ancestor is beyond despicable. to ask a lot is chutzpah, to go that far, is to ask for their own death certificates to be published

  • It’s a compromise mediated by the Supreme Court; I think that’s a vital difference. Also, the Charedi objection to WoW and the Charedi take on the legitimacy of adherents are core issues in these cases.

  • You keep saying “compromise” as if tomorrow if another group shows up called say, “Women At the Wall” they wouldn’t be bound by the Supreme Court’s “mediation.” If that’s your implication then you are sorely mistaken. And your implication that it’s only Haredim who are opposed to egalitarian worship at the touristy Kotel ignores the many Israelis, religious and non-religious, who find non-Orthodox services to be alien to them. There’s a reason why mainstream political parties continue to enter into coalition agreements with Haredi parties with impunity.

  • There’s a reason why they are just coalition and not part of the party programme. The reason they go into coalitions is to appease the fast-growing ultra-Orthodox electorate and get into power through their votes. They don’t even seem to care that they’ll be hard pressed to find a true Chasid who believes that a secular state of Israel is legitimate; not all are as violent as NK, but the belief that the modern state of Israel is in conflict with their eschatology is strong among those circles. The fact that they get financial subsidies there is a great source of amusement to many I know.
    I say “compromise” as it’s not a verdict or a law, not even a ruling but a compromise the Supreme Court mediated. That sums everything up that has been laid out on the matter by advocates of the compromise.

    • The Supreme Court is not in the habit of acting as some sort of mediation board. It’s the highest court in the land and their rulings apply universally. They are in every way, shape and form the law of the land. Good grief froylein, with all due respect, you seem to have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to the legal issues involved. As for Haredi involvement in the political process, I don’t care what they believe. If they are citizens they are entitled to vote for whomever they like and they are entitled to representation. You think the vast majority of Israeli Arabs who also vote in elections are lovers of the state? Blue blooded Zionists who shed a tear of pride every time they hear Hatikvah? Yet they too, as citizens, are entitled to all the rights and privileges that citizenship entitles them to, regardless of whether or not they love the state.

  • Good grief, CK, I’ve googled, I’ve asked around, I’ve taken everything into account you said on the matter on a previous thread: it was not a verdict, the legislative was not commissioned to draw up or pass some kind of law. “Mediated compromise” sounds like a fair description.
    Formality matters and is binding. I recall an analogy a professor of religious law of mine drew, “The private opinion of a judge regarding any public issue matters as little in terms of law as the Pope is considered infallible when he is not settling a dispute on a matter of dogma with the authority of the highest teacher of dogma of the Catholic Church in his position speaking from his teaching chair and making the appropriate pronouncement that he is speaking ‘ex cathedra’. The opinion of a judge only matters when they are announcing a verdict in court, dressed in the appropriate robe that identify the position and its authority and after making the prerequisite formal pronouncements”. That prof, BTW, holds dual German-Israeli citizenship and even acquired a tourist guide licence for Israel as he lamented the lack of factual knowledge regarding religion, its history and Biblical scripture among Israeli tourist guides.

    • Proof positive that Google and “asking” around is no replacement for a fundamental understanding of the law or a law degree or two. I assure you Froylein, rulings by the Supreme Court are as legally binding as legislation. They can also overrule legislation. Like I said, according to you, some new group can show up, call itself Women at the Wall instead of Women of the Wall and consider itself not bound by the Supreme Court’s ruling. That’s patently ridiculous. Please Froylein, Google some more. You cannot be any wronger than you are now. Nothing your professor of religious law contradicts what I have said. The Supreme Court decision assigning Robinson’s Arch to egalitarian services wasn’t decided informally by a bunch of justices sitting around in a cafe expressing their personal opinions. It was a formal ruling of the Supreme Court, which you can find in the official book of the Supreme Court rulings, complete with reasons, case precedents etc. I really have no idea why you continue to completely fail to understand how law works here (and in most of the Western World).

      • I cannot quite understand how you can claim that the Supreme Court is too busy to mediate a compromise alongside conceding that it’s neither a verdict nor an order for the legislative to draft a law of some kind. Maybe I’m not using the correct terminology, but I’m summing up what has been said on the matter. And as long as it’s neither nor and a third category cannot be made out from any of the explanations by those with more inside knowledge, I feel free to assume that that what my prof said contradicts your explanations. Why is my asking answered by nothing but offences and belittlement if it was so clear-cut a thing? Where is the separation of powers there as enforced in most of the Western World? Why do European universities offer specific majors in mediation to law students if courts don’t mediate?

        • Froylein, you clearly do not understand the role of the Supreme Court. Your prof didn’t contradict me at all and what he said does not in any way, shape or form even correspond to what you said, let alone confirm it. Mediation is taught in most law schools in North America as well, as an alternative form of conflict resolution OUTSIDE the courts. I seriously feel like I’m banging my head against a wall. You can criticize the Supreme Court ruling all you like. You can criticize Haredi Jews as much as you want. You can heap scorn on political parties that choose to enter into coalition agreements with Ultra Orthodox parties. I have no problem with that. But I take issue with your gross misrepresentation of the force of law of the Supreme Court ruling. You’re just wrong and worst of all, I have no idea where you got the notion that the judgment was just some trifling little mediation between two parties that does not apply to anyone else.

          • I got that notion from your and others’ description of the proceedings. So far, this description has lacked any legal premise and has based the authority of the Supreme Court on respect for the accomplished jurists alone. Again, where is the separation of powers?

  • There’s nothing crueller than encouraging someone to embark on a program of legal study.

  • Is there a link to the Supreme Court decision, btw? It’s conceivable, at least from a UK/US common law perspective, that what the Court did was enter injunctive relief, i.e. an order binding the parties before it, and only those parties (such is the nature of equitable relief), though if that’s indeed the case the Court would presumably take the same approach to other, similarly-situated parties.

    Do the People of the Book need a written constitution? Don’t all these arguments, including attacks on the Supreme Court by the likes of Ben-David, all circle around to this? If you want to limit the Court’s jurisdiction, for example, or its intrusions in the political process, or its extremely lax approach to standing, why not devise a document that addresses these issues and sets the ground rules? And if you object to excessive sectarianism, why not draft a document that sets at least a broad demarcation of religion and state?

    The US is hardly a model for everything and everyone. But our Constitution has done pretty well– as has the German one, as froylein can attest.