Tuesday, May 06, 2008

News from the Middle East

The RCA blasts a rulling:
American Orthodox rabbis slammed the decision by an Israeli rabbinical court to nullify conversions by an Israeli Orthodox rabbi.

The Rabbinical Council of America said Tuesday that the ruling, which retroactively nullified the conversions performed under the auspices of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, was "entirely beyond the pale of acceptable halachic practice," is a violation of "numerous Torah laws" and constitutes a "massive desecration of God's name."

"The RCA is appalled that such a ruling has been issued by that court," according to a statement by the organization.

According to the RCA, it has received assurances from the Israeli chief rabbi, Shlomo Amar, that the ruling by the Rabbinic Court of Appeals has no legal standing.

The episode is the latest to rouse concerns over who is authorized to perform conversions recognized by the Jewish state.

In February, the RCA announced an agreement with the Chief Rabbinate recognizing 15 American courts and some 40 Orthodox rabbis in North America authorized to perform conversions. A group of liberal Orthodox rabbis said the agreement represented a capitulation to the increasingly stringent standards of the Israeli rabbinate.
Mazel Tov to Rabbi Steven Weil!
The rabbi of the largest U.S. Orthodox synagogue outside the New York area was named to lead the Orthodox Union.

Rabbi Steven Weil, 42, of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, Calif., will succeed Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb as the umbrella organization's executive vice president on July 1, 2009.

In a news released, the O.U. called Weil a "charismatic, sought-after orator and skilled fund-raiser." Weil is a graduate of the rabbinical seminary at Yeshiva University and received a master's degree in business from New York University.

His Beverly Hills congregation has 750 member families, according to its Web site.

Weinreb will transition to a new position, executive vice president emeritus, according to the release.

The Orthodox Union is the largest Orthodox umbrella organization in the United States.
Shame on KOLO-TV!
A Jewish television reporter is suing her station claiming that she was demoted because of her faith.

Danita Cohen-Breen lost her morning anchor job at KOLO-TV after refusing to work extra hours without extra pay. She claims in her discrimination complaint filed last week with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission that new station news director Robert Page referred to her being Jewish when he demoted her, according to The Associated Press.

“I have a Jewish name, and it was at this time Mr. Page asked me if I was Jewish,” Cohen-Breen said in her complaint, quoted by the AP. “I informed him that I was. Mr. Page stated that Jewish people are stubborn and sometimes needed to be humbled.”

Cohen-Breen says in her complaint that she was replaced as anchor by a visibly religious Christian woman and that two other Jewish station employees were fired.
This is an interesting take on the British perspective during World War 2.
Documents show how the British government tried to portray turning back the Exodus refugee ship in a sympathetic light.

More than 400 pages of secret government documents from post-World War II stored in Britain's National Archives were opened to the public Monday.

The documents show that British diplomatic and military officials were concerned that sending Jews to German military camps so soon after the Holocaust would spark anger and protests around the world.

John Coulson, a diplomat at the Briitsh Embassy in Paris, suggested in one of the documents how to spin the Jews' confinement in the camps to score a public relations.

"If we decide it is convenient not to keep them in camps any longer, I suggest that we should make some play that we are releasing them from all restraint of this kind in accordance with their wishes and that they were only put in such accommodation for the preliminary necessities of screening and maintenance," Coulson advised.

"These documents show the British perspective for the first time," Mark Dunton, contemporary history specialist at the National Archives, told the AP. "It's obvious in the files the British were sensitive to the claim they were putting Jews into concentration camps."

The more than 4,500 Jews aboard the Exodus refugee ship tried to illegally enter Palestine just months before the United Nations voted to create a Jewish state on part of the land.

The Jews were removed from the ship, made famous by author Leon Uris and the 1960 movie based on his book, and sent in three British steamers back to the British-controlled zone of Germany where they were placed in military camps. Most of the passengers were able to move to Israel in 1948 after statehood was declared.
In some positive news, the Methodists have rejected divestment!

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