Orthodox

Court orders Orthodox woman to be cremated after three month battle

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

The body of a 105-year-old Jewish woman from New York who died three months ago will finally be removed from a mortuary after a judge ruled that she could be cremated.

Ethel Baar, who died on September 11, began following Orthodox Judaism late in life, and her great-nephew James Pollak said that she had wanted to be laid to rest in accordance with Orthodox tradition.

But in 1999 she also stated in her will that she wanted her body to be cremated, which is against halachah.

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US blasts Israel on religious freedom

By Paul Berger, November 25, 2010

The State of Israel discriminates against non-Orthodox Jews and non-Jews, according to a US State Department report.

The critical assessment is included in the department's Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, released last week.

Among the many criticisms, the report found that Israeli state funding favours the Orthodox and that the government puts greater resources into Jewish holy places than other religious sites.

Eight countries - Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan - gave the US most cause for concern.

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Israeli army uses Facebook to stalk draft-dodgers

By Jennifer Lipman, November 23, 2010

Israel has adopted a new tool in the fight against army draft evaders, and it involves looking at people’s Facebook pages.

Service in the IDF is compulsory for Israeli school-leavers, except under specific circumstances. Those exempt from duty include some Orthodox Jewish men and women.

But with draft-dodging on the rise, the army has turned to Facebook to check those avoiding service are doing so for a legitimate reason.

The method has enabled the IDF to catch some 1,000 women exaggerating the extent of their religious observance.

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School staying open after going into liquidation

By Jessica Elgot, November 18, 2010

The Menorah Grammar School for Orthodox boys in Edgware has gone into liquidation for the second time in less than two years. But the 150-pupil school will remain open.

Former governor Stephen Goldberg said on Wednesday that the latest liquidation was the result of the school's new governors wanting to go through a "restructuring process.

"This was the method the new board decided to adopt. Times are hard and parents must be urged to pay their fees as much as possible, but we are still up and running with pupils."

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How far can Orthodoxy recognise gay rights?

By Joseph Mintz, November 18, 2010

In October, Barack Obama, in response to a recent spike in suicides among America's gay teenagers, launched a video speaking out against homosexual bullying. In the same month, Shmuley Boteach, the "Hollywood Rabbi", wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal criticising the harsh view taken of gays in most Orthodox congregations in the USA. Both events beg the same question: how do we square the biblical prohibition against homosexuality with modern notions of equality?

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On this day: Rabbi Meir Kahane is killed

By Jennifer Lipman, November 5, 2010

To his followers, he remains a hero, to many; he was a right-wing fanatic with dangerous, even racist views.

Born Martin David Kahane in New York City in 1932, as a teenager he was involved in the right-wing youth movement Betar. He entered rabbinical college and in 1968 set up the Jewish Defence League in Brooklyn.

The organisation was a response to street violence against Jews, and had as its symbol a clenched fist with the words “never again.”

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Berlin Orthodox deny rabbinical turf war

By Toby Axelrod, November 4, 2010

The head of the Berlin Orthodox rabbinical seminary, Rabbi Josh Spinner, has denied reports that he is engaged in an inter-denominational funding battle.

His statement comes after it emerged that the German Federal Ministry of the Interior was resisting the funding of Orthodox rabbis while continuing to contribute to the training of Reform rabbis.

Rabbi Spinner said that both the Reform and Orthodox seminaries are official, legal successors to Germany's two pre-war seminaries, which were shut down by the Nazis, and should get equal support.

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Mass rallies against stipends for Orthodox

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 4, 2010

Thousands of students took to the streets of Jerusalem this week to protest against a budget law awarding yeshivah students special stipends which university students will not enjoy.

The students called upon the government to end the situation whereby strictly-Orthodox students who do not work are financed by the state.

Last week the government passed a two-year budget which included
111 million shekels for stipends for strictly-Orthodox yeshivah students.

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Lord Sacks criticised by progressive rabbi

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2010

A leading Progressive rabbi has launched a scathing attack on Lord Sacks and the British chief rabbinate.

Rabbi Dow Marmur said that although the outside world may regard Lord Sacks as representing British Jewry, his authority in the community was “dwindling”.

“When it is an incontrovertible fact…that Rabbi Sacks’ standing is declining, there are reasons to ignore him as much as possible,” Rabbi Marmur wrote in the new issue of Manna, the Progressive quarterly.

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Thames' class act at Limmud

October 14, 2010

The days may be drawing in but the sun came out for the 250 participants who came from Liberal and Orthodox communities including Amersham, Bristol, London, Maidenhead, Oxford, Reading, Swindon and Weybridge to join the fourth Thames Valley Limmud on Sunday.

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