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  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Disabled Israeli teens offered chance to become B’nai Mitzvah

    TEL AVIV, Nov. 25 (JTA) – Hundreds of Israeli children celebrate their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs every week, and 13-year-old Asher Gorsky did not want to be an exception. In mid-November, Asher, a handsome but frail boy with a radiant smile, realized his dream before two dozen relatives and friends. Asher has cerebral palsy. He…

  • ISRAEL TURNS 50 Independence jubilee kickoff may be postponed until spring

    JERUSALEM, Nov. 16 (JTA) – Is Israel ready to celebrate 50 years of statehood? “The plans are in a state of chaos, and unless something is done very soon to put them back on track, it could be a disappointing year,” said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The source said the budget…

  • Call for rival Jewish Agency lacks broad political support

    JERUSALEM, Nov. 4 (JTA) – Calls to create an alternative Jewish Agency for Israel to represent the interests of Orthodox Jews are not gaining much support. Shas Party leader Aryeh Deri and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi- Doron have charged that the Jewish Agency is a bastion for the non- Orthodox movements and that its…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Israeli women find `fulfillment’ as Orthodox prayer groups grow

    JERUSALEM, Oct. 21 (JTA) – Raised as an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem, Dvori Ross went to synagogue on Shabbat mornings and listened to the Torah reading from the women’s side of the mechitzah, the divider that separates men and women in Orthodox congregations. The experience, she says, was frustrating. “I knew that I could read…

  • PROFILE Leading Israeli feminist embraces Conservative Judaism

    JERUSALEM, Oct. 19 (JTA) – Most people are contemplating retirement at the age of 70, but Alice Shalvi isn’t most people. Just shy of her 71st birthday, Shalvi has become the rector of the Beit Midrash, the Conservative/Masorti movement’s seminary of Judaic studies in Israel. Honored numerous times for her achievements in the fields of…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Effort to solve conversion crisis near collapse amid new threats

    JERUSALEM, Oct. 14 (JTA) – Efforts in Israel to reconcile the three major streams of Judaism appear to have collapsed. With the Knesset due to reconvene Oct. 27, the Orthodox parties threw down the gauntlet this week, saying they intend to push ahead with legislation on two issues – conversions and religious councils – that…

  • Secular Israeli denied housing on campus at religious school

    JERUSALEM, Oct. 7 (JTA) – At a time when five Orthodox students at Yale University are battling to live off campus, a secular Israeli student is fighting for the right to live on the campus of a religious university. Earlier this month, Bar-Ilan University told Cyril Amar, a 24-year-old immigrant from France with no family…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Young American Jews spend year in Israel despite terrorism

    JERUSALEM, Sept. 28 (JTA) – As he was preparing to fly to Israel on a year-long program run by the Young Judaea youth movement, Daniel Gottesman heard about the two recent suicide bombings in Jerusalem. Instead of canceling his trip, however, the 19-year-old from Houston eagerly flew to Israel in early September. “It’s tragic when…

  • Flap over mikvah prompts threat of Conservative boycott of hotel

    JERUSALEM, Sept. 18 (JTA) – Tensions between Orthodox and non- Orthodox Jews in Israel have found a new battleground – the mikvah. And Diaspora Jews once again have entered the fray. Dozens of Conservative rabbis and congregants in the United States have threatened to boycott the Dan chain of hotels in Israel on the grounds…

  • Rebuilding after attack, Reform school in Israel reopens its doors

    MEVASSERET ZION, Israel, Sept. 16 (JTA) – Just weeks after a firebomb nearly destroyed a Reform movement nursery school, Israelis have banded together to help reopen the school. But for one of the nursery’s teachers, the shock she experienced upon first discovering the charred school still persists. Aliza Landau, a child Holocaust survivor, thought she…