Democracy in Israel Cannot Exist Without a Pluralistic Judaism

Reference: eJewish Philanthropy

April 10, 2011

By Charlie Kalech

Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar of the Likud and the Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni of Kadima recently flew to the United States at the invitation of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly to attend the R.A. convention in Las Vegas. Their appearance together is indicative of a growing trend in Israel of partners working together for the greater good. In this case: religious pluralism.

Only a week earlier, marking the 90th anniversary of the Chief Rabbinate, Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi called for legislation backing his assertion “that there are no streams in Judaism, only one that has been passed down to us from generation to generation.

Countering this, Education Minister Sa’ar told the conference, “There is not one Jewish stream and there shouldn’t be one Jewish way of life that monopolizes Judaism.”

The teams are positioning themselves. Sides are being taken. Allies are being formed. Lines are being drawn. The future of the Jewish State and Judaism itself are being determined.

Livni echoed Sa’ar’s message saying, “When I heard these voices saying that there is a need to take some of the movements or streams outside the law, this is not acceptable to me or the State of Israel.”

Livni told the Conservative rabbis that these are days of decisions when “we need you.” She appealed for their support, but understood that there is a quid pro quo. “Our partnership is,” she said, “for the future … as the only way to safeguard Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

This came on the heels of the Rotem Conversion Bill that was frozen earlier this year after intense lobbying by non-Orthodox Jewish leaders. Sa’ar told the rabbis that such legislation “will destroy the unity of the Jewish people and also hurt the relationship between Jews in the Diaspora and Israel.”

Livni displayed an understanding to Diaspora Jewry demonstrating that she has come to appreciate that the Conversion Bill “was not only about Israelis, but also about you.” She noted, “It affects not only the lives of new immigrants to Israel, but also your lives and feeling or need to be connected to the State of Israel.”

Ironically, Livni connected to Judaism in a way never accessible to her previously when she was visibly moved attending Friday night services at Las Vegas’ Temple Beth Sholom. Noting this and thanking those in attendance, she questioned her own practices on Friday nights. Coming to a Conservative synagogue in America and participating in non-Orthodox services, it was evident that her experience allowed her to realize that there is more than one way to be a Jew.

Livni and Sa’ar also understand the importance of religious pluralism to the State of Israel. They are forming longterm policy and know the research and statistics that should frighten all of us.

According to statistics published by the University of Haifa, in 2010 slightly under 50% of first graders study in religious, mostly ultra-Orthodox, schools.

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Charlie Kalech is the director and owner of J-Town Internet Services, a Jerusalem web design and marketing firm. He blogs at Jerusalem Journal.

Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar of the Likud and the Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni of Kadima recently flew to the United States at the invitation of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly to attend the R.A. convention in Las Vegas. Their appearance together is indicative of a growing trend in Israel of partners working together for the greater good. In this case: religious pluralism.

Only a week earlier, marking the 90th anniversary of the Chief Rabbinate, Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi called for legislation backing his assertion “that there are no streams in Judaism, only one that has been passed down to us from generation to generation.

Countering this, Education Minister Sa’ar told the conference, “There is not one Jewish stream and there shouldn’t be one Jewish way of life that monopolizes Judaism.”

The teams are positioning themselves. Sides are being taken. Allies are being formed. Lines are being drawn. The future of the Jewish State and Judaism itself are being determined.

Livni echoed Sa’ar’s message saying, “When I heard these voices saying that there is a need to take some of the movements or streams outside the law, this is not acceptable to me or the State of Israel.”

Livni told the Conservative rabbis that these are days of decisions when “we need you.” She appealed for their support, but understood that there is a quid pro quo. “Our partnership is,” she said, “for the future … as the only way to safeguard Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

This came on the heels of the Rotem Conversion Bill that was frozen earlier this year after intense lobbying by non-Orthodox Jewish leaders. Sa’ar told the rabbis that such legislation “will destroy the unity of the Jewish people and also hurt the relationship between Jews in the Diaspora and Israel.”

Livni displayed an understanding to Diaspora Jewry demonstrating that she has come to appreciate that the Conversion Bill “was not only about Israelis, but also about you.” She noted, “It affects not only the lives of new immigrants to Israel, but also your lives and feeling or need to be connected to the State of Israel.”

Ironically, Livni connected to Judaism in a way never accessible to her previously when she was visibly moved attending Friday night services at Las Vegas’ Temple Beth Sholom. Noting this and thanking those in attendance, she questioned her own practices on Friday nights. Coming to a Conservative synagogue in America and participating in non-Orthodox services, it was evident that her experience allowed her to realize that there is more than one way to be a Jew.

Livni and Sa’ar also understand the importance of religious pluralism to the State of Israel. They are forming longterm policy and know the research and statistics that should frighten all of us.

According to statistics published by the University of Haifa, in 2010 slightly under 50% of first graders study in religious, mostly ultra-Orthodox, schools.

– See more at: http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/democracy-in-israel-cannot-exist-without-a-pluralistic-judaism/#sthash.uqfybOQC.dpuf

Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar of the Likud and the Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni of Kadima recently flew to the United States at the invitation of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly to attend the R.A. convention in Las Vegas. Their appearance together is indicative of a growing trend in Israel of partners working together for the greater good. In this case: religious pluralism.

Only a week earlier, marking the 90th anniversary of the Chief Rabbinate, Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi called for legislation backing his assertion “that there are no streams in Judaism, only one that has been passed down to us from generation to generation.

Countering this, Education Minister Sa’ar told the conference, “There is not one Jewish stream and there shouldn’t be one Jewish way of life that monopolizes Judaism.”

The teams are positioning themselves. Sides are being taken. Allies are being formed. Lines are being drawn. The future of the Jewish State and Judaism itself are being determined.

Livni echoed Sa’ar’s message saying, “When I heard these voices saying that there is a need to take some of the movements or streams outside the law, this is not acceptable to me or the State of Israel.”

Livni told the Conservative rabbis that these are days of decisions when “we need you.” She appealed for their support, but understood that there is a quid pro quo. “Our partnership is,” she said, “for the future … as the only way to safeguard Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

This came on the heels of the Rotem Conversion Bill that was frozen earlier this year after intense lobbying by non-Orthodox Jewish leaders. Sa’ar told the rabbis that such legislation “will destroy the unity of the Jewish people and also hurt the relationship between Jews in the Diaspora and Israel.”

Livni displayed an understanding to Diaspora Jewry demonstrating that she has come to appreciate that the Conversion Bill “was not only about Israelis, but also about you.” She noted, “It affects not only the lives of new immigrants to Israel, but also your lives and feeling or need to be connected to the State of Israel.”

Ironically, Livni connected to Judaism in a way never accessible to her previously when she was visibly moved attending Friday night services at Las Vegas’ Temple Beth Sholom. Noting this and thanking those in attendance, she questioned her own practices on Friday nights. Coming to a Conservative synagogue in America and participating in non-Orthodox services, it was evident that her experience allowed her to realize that there is more than one way to be a Jew.

Livni and Sa’ar also understand the importance of religious pluralism to the State of Israel. They are forming longterm policy and know the research and statistics that should frighten all of us.

According to statistics published by the University of Haifa, in 2010 slightly under 50% of first graders study in religious, mostly ultra-Orthodox, schools.

– See more at: http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/democracy-in-israel-cannot-exist-without-a-pluralistic-judaism/#sthash.uqfybOQC.dpuf

Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar of the Likud and the Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni of Kadima recently flew to the United States at the invitation of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly to attend the R.A. convention in Las Vegas. Their appearance together is indicative of a growing trend in Israel of partners working together for the greater good. In this case: religious pluralism.

Only a week earlier, marking the 90th anniversary of the Chief Rabbinate, Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi called for legislation backing his assertion “that there are no streams in Judaism, only one that has been passed down to us from generation to generation.

Countering this, Education Minister Sa’ar told the conference, “There is not one Jewish stream and there shouldn’t be one Jewish way of life that monopolizes Judaism.”

The teams are positioning themselves. Sides are being taken. Allies are being formed. Lines are being drawn. The future of the Jewish State and Judaism itself are being determined.

Livni echoed Sa’ar’s message saying, “When I heard these voices saying that there is a need to take some of the movements or streams outside the law, this is not acceptable to me or the State of Israel.”

Livni told the Conservative rabbis that these are days of decisions when “we need you.” She appealed for their support, but understood that there is a quid pro quo. “Our partnership is,” she said, “for the future … as the only way to safeguard Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

This came on the heels of the Rotem Conversion Bill that was frozen earlier this year after intense lobbying by non-Orthodox Jewish leaders. Sa’ar told the rabbis that such legislation “will destroy the unity of the Jewish people and also hurt the relationship between Jews in the Diaspora and Israel.”

Livni displayed an understanding to Diaspora Jewry demonstrating that she has come to appreciate that the Conversion Bill “was not only about Israelis, but also about you.” She noted, “It affects not only the lives of new immigrants to Israel, but also your lives and feeling or need to be connected to the State of Israel.”

Ironically, Livni connected to Judaism in a way never accessible to her previously when she was visibly moved attending Friday night services at Las Vegas’ Temple Beth Sholom. Noting this and thanking those in attendance, she questioned her own practices on Friday nights. Coming to a Conservative synagogue in America and participating in non-Orthodox services, it was evident that her experience allowed her to realize that there is more than one way to be a Jew.

Livni and Sa’ar also understand the importance of religious pluralism to the State of Israel. They are forming longterm policy and know the research and statistics that should frighten all of us.

According to statistics published by the University of Haifa, in 2010 slightly under 50% of first graders study in religious, mostly ultra-Orthodox, schools.

– See more at: http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/democracy-in-israel-cannot-exist-without-a-pluralistic-judaism/#sthash.uqfybOQC.dpuf