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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…

  • Live video of Western Wall will be available on Internet

    JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 (JTA) – If you’d like to see the Western Wall but can’t afford the plane fare, your computer terminal could be the next best thing. On Dec. 5, the first night of Chanukah, an Israeli multimedia company will launch a live video feed, via the Internet, from the Western Wall plaza. Avi…

  • 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…

  • Israeli media reveals extent of Jewish emigration from Iraq

    JERUSALEM, Nov. 4 (JTA) – Iraq has permitted about 80 Jews to emigrate secretly during the past five years, according to an Israeli television report. Israel’s Channel Two television station reported Monday that the secret operation involved the payment of large sums of money to Iraqi officials, but provided no additional details. Most of the…

  • 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…

  • Health Ministry’s test casts doubt on Yemeni family’s claim

    JERUSALEM, Oct. 9 (JTA) – After an Israeli woman from Yemen was reunited with her biological mother in August, newly performed genetic tests have cast doubt over whether the two women are related. Tests performed this week by Israel’s Ministry of Health refute earlier DNA tests showing that Tzila Levine is the long-lost daughter of…

  • Chief rabbis seek law to ban non-Orthodox from councils

    JERUSALEM, Oct. 8 (JTA) – Israel’s two chief rabbis want the Knesset to block the appointment of non-Orthodox Jews to local religious councils. They have called for an emergency meeting with Orthodox legislators to discuss amending the law regulating how religious council members are appointed. The move by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and…