NonOrthodox Jews start making inroads in Israel

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center_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Associated PressMEVASSERET ZION, Israel (AP) – With the holy city of Jerusalem visible in the background, a man and woman standing side-by-side lead prayers for about 50 congregants who have come to welcome the Sabbath in this suburb’s Reform synagogue.Their prayer book includes poetry, the women wear prayer shawls, the sermons call for social justice and the songs are performed in a folksy manner to the tune of a live guitar. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories “It is one victory out of many that are needed in order to reach full equality in Israel between the denominations,” he said. “The important thing is that the Israeli government will not be able to say anymore that the non-Orthodox denominations do not deserve equal treatment.”The precedent was enough to spark outrage from the religious establishment and Orthodox political parties, which wield significant political power and often act as kingmakers in Israeli politics.Yaakov Margi, the minister of religious affairs from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, threatened to resign if forced to provide funding. Ultra-Orthodox lawmaker Moshe Gafni accused the legal system of attempting to “undermine the Jewish infrastructure of the state.”“All of a sudden, there is money for Reform and Conservative clowns for whom Judaism is a mockery,” he said in parliament.At a charged parliamentary meeting last week to discuss the new funding scheme, an angry Gafni had Kariv removed from the room when he tried to speak.“I have no problem with heads of these communities getting funding for their cultural activities. My problem is with the state of Israel recognizing them as rabbis,” Daniel Hershkowitz, an Orthodox Cabinet minister, told The Associated Press. “It has been clear for thousands of years how one becomes a rabbi. Just like the state does not decide who becomes a doctor or a lawyer, it shouldn’t be deciding who becomes a rabbi.” But most Israelis, and certainly state institutions, regarded them as a somewhat alien offshoot of Judaism imported from North America and not meshed with how religion was practiced in Israel.The new decision is far short of a full-throated recognition. The court ruling for the first time classifies Reform and Conservative rabbis as “rabbis of non-Orthodox communities.” But it applies only to 15 heading congregations in farming communities and outlying areas where they were the only rabbis – so they qualified as “community leaders” eligible for state funding. Still excluded are those operating in cities, where Orthodox rabbis are present.To avoid clashing with the strict state-run rabbinate, the financing will not be done directly from the Religious Affairs Ministry but rather channeled through the Ministry of Culture and Sports. And the 15 won’t be able to serve in state capacities like the rabbinate or the military.But with a precedent established, liberal streams are now aiming for greater breakthroughs.Rabbi Gilad Kariv, who heads Israel’s Reform movement, said that together with recent strides toward liberalizing the conversion process, the state funding marked the most significant development to date in breaking down the Orthodox monopoly. 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img

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