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The Latest on Conversion in Israel

The last week has seen a major development in the area of conversion in Israel. As has been reported, a new and independent religious court made up of national-religious rabbis has begun to convert minors outside of the framework of the Chief Rabbinate. I am not going to rehash the issues, you can read the […]

How Many Reform and Conservative Jews in israel

Tomer Persico brings (Hebrew) some interesting numbers from a recent poll by the Knesset TV Channel. People were asked “Do you feel attached to one of the denominations in Judaism? If so, which one?” The answers may surprise some people: Reform 6%; Conservative 6%; Orthodox 35%; no denomination 45%. A previous poll from 2009 put […]

Video of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in discussion with Tomer Persico

Recently Tomer Persico held a public discussion with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks at Tel Aviv University. The questions are in Hebrew and the answers in English. Below is the video:

Israeli vs. Diaspora Judaism: Micha Goodman vs Shai Held

Take time out of your day to listen or watch this discussion between two of the most important Jewish thinkers today. (HT to Life in Israel)

Israeli News Program on Religious Zionism

Israeli Channel 10 has been broadcasting a series of broadcasts on the current state of religious zionism in Israel. During each episode, the reporter, Roi Sharon, focuses on a different issue. All of the broadcasts are in Hebrew. 1. Episode 1-Focuses on the tensions between the “Hardal” and more liberal religious elements within religious zionism. […]

New Book: Between State and Synagogue

In Moment Guy Ben-Porat writes about his new book, Between State and Synagogue: The Secularization of Contemporary Israel. Ben-Porat discusses secularization in Israel not as reflective of less religion, but of the weakening of religious authority. The expansion of commerce on the Sabbath, a thriving non-kosher culinary culture, marriages performed outside the Orthodox rabbinate, civil […]

The Spiritual Life of Rav Kook

In Haaretz Tomer Persico reviews a new book on Rav Kook. As the subtitle of Smadar Cherlow’s book attests, her work presumes to expose a hidden and secret dimension of the life and importance of the figure known popularly as Rav Kook: his mission as a tzadik yesod olam, literally, a righteous man who serves […]

Interview with Tomer Persico

Anybody who wants to stay abreast of trends in religious life in Israel should be following the work of Tomer Persico. Tomer’s two blogs are required reading and often include lively debate and discussion. Below is a recent interview with him that was broadcast on Galei Tzahal. (Hebrew)

Sculpture of a Surfer Girl is Too Immodest

Mynet is reporting (Heb) that in the town of Yehud a sculpture of a female surfer is going to be replaced because some religious politicians claimed that the sculpture is offensive. The following was a short Q/A with a town council member from Shas. Q: We’re talking about a female surfer who is wearing a […]

Israeli Celebs and the Shabbat

NRG has an article (Heb) about Israeli celebrities who observe and sanctify Shabbat in different ways. I think that there are two important take aways from the article. The first is that religious observance and identity in Israel is much richer and complex than is understood by most Diaspora Jews. The second is that the […]

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