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Religion in Israel

The Old Young Guard The Old Young Guard
Monday, March 7, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the most significant movements of Jewish renewal in the 20th century was Hashomer Hatzair: the Young Guard.  Founded as a youth group in Vienna in 1916, the movement set itself in opposition to what it regarded as the emaciated character of Jewish life.
Military Virtue, and Virtue Military Virtue, and Virtue
Monday, February 28, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On February 14, Benny Gantz was appointed the twentieth chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It wasn't supposed to be that way. Yoav Galant, a decorated soldier and former head of the IDF's southern command, had been named to the position at the end of 2010.
The Seed of Israel The Seed of Israel
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Until modern times, the boundaries of Jewish identity were cut and dried. If you were born to a Jewish mother, or if you were a convert according to Jewish religious law (halakhah), you were Jewish. If not, you weren't.
From New Year to Arbor  Day From New Year to Arbor Day
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The holiday of Tu Bishvat ("the fifteenth of Shvat") falls this year on Thursday, January 20. What are its origins, and when and why did it become incorporated into the calendar as the Jewish "Arbor Day"?
The Continuing War for Safed The Continuing War for Safed
Thursday, December 16, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Safed (Hebrew: Tsfat) is a picturesque town of 32,000 souls nestled in the hills of Galilee.  It is also home to a hardline branch of the Islamic Movement looking for ways to undermine Jewish sovereignty.
Why Rachel’s Tomb Matters Why Rachel’s Tomb Matters
Friday, November 19, 2010 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

All cultures build on what came before them. But how they treat the past is a measure of cultures in the present. The treatment by Muslims of Rachel's tomb, lately much in the news, is a case in point.
The Warrior Rabbi The Warrior Rabbi
Friday, November 5, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Praise of military virtue, prominent in the Bible, is almost non-existent in the Talmud, which, in the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jews by the Romans, either ignores wartime feats or re-interprets them as allegories of intellectual or spiritual prowess. The Talmud's relative silence on the subject would prove enduring. Until the second half of the 20th century, with few exceptions, military virtue was consistently depreciated in traditional Jewish thought.
Rav Ovadia Rav Ovadia
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the more outsized personalities in Israel's history is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the longtime head of the Shas political party, who has just marked his ninetieth birthday.  The foreign public knows of him, vaguely, as a right-wing fanatic. But the truth and perhaps the tragedy of the man are far more complicated and fascinating.
Religion and the IDF Religion and the IDF
Monday, October 4, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Profound changes have been occurring in the officer ranks of the Israel Defense Force, and not everybody is happy about them; some, in fact, are downright alarmed. The figures tell the story: back in 1990, kippah-wearing soldiers from the country's "national-religious" community—that is, religious Jews distinguished by their deep attachment to Zionism, Israeli nationalism, and, in many cases, the settlement enterprise—comprised a mere 2.5 percent of graduates from the army's course for infantry officers. In 2007, the figure peaked at more than 31 percent, a number totally out of proportion with the number of religious-national soldiers serving in IDF infantry...
Ramadan Ramadan
Monday, September 6, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Three near-certainties accompany the Muslim holy month of Ramadan: in Islamic countries, the stock market climbs; in Jerusalem, the already amplified pre-dawn adhān, or call to prayer, becomes even more piercing than usual; and there is a steep rise in Muslim bloodletting. 
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Editors' Picks
Unity in Jerusalem Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer. "Here is a place . . . where political and religious jealousies can be forgotten," reads the inscription on the neo-Byzantine building. And it has delivered on that promise. What institution is it?
Whither Israeli Democracy? Jonathan S. Tobin, Contentions. Though Israel is beset with serious social problems and partisan clashes over a host of issues, the idea that democracy there is in any danger is a figment of the imagination of the country's left-wing critics.
On the Jesus Trail Julia Niemann, Haaretz. One journalist hikes the 65-kilometer path in the Galilee, passing from Nazareth through olive groves, the "Cana Wedding Guest House," and a kibbutz manufacturing synagogue furniture to Jesus' "home base" in Capernaum.
Women Unite! For . . . Elana Sztokman, Forward. The driving force behind Israel's mass demonstration against Haredi violence against women was not women's rights, but religious coercion.
The Voice of a Woman Shmuel Rosner, New York Times. If many Orthodox Jews believe themselves to be forbidden from hearing a woman sing, how far should the Israeli military go to facilitate their observance?
Free Market Rabbinate Jerusalem Post. Competition for marriage registration in Israel would foster religious expression and provide a positive alternative to the Chief Rabbinate's counterproductive monopoly.
The Ethics of Doctors' Strikes Shimon Glick, Jerusalem Post. The right of workers to strike is engrained in modern societies. But is it ethical for physicians to withhold treatment when human lives may be at stake?
Identity Cleft James Hyman, eJewish Philanthropy. While Israeli Jews are fully enveloped in a Jewish identity which embraces religion, culture, education, land, and history, American Jews have a much more limited self-definition.
Check Mating Ori J. Lenkinsky, +972. An Israeli organization offering a liberal alternative to Rabbinate-approved weddings has met its end.
Israeli Inflation Ronen Bergman, New York Times. The rising cost of the life of an Israeli hostage, from the Entebbe raid to the Shalit deal.