The Israeli website devoted to media-related issues, the Seventh Eye, has an interesting post (H) about a court case involving the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon. Makor Rishon is a newspaper whose main readership is the national-religious public, and its owner, Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, is a religiously observant person. Two years ago the Aguda, an Israeli organization that “[provides] a range of social and legal services, activities and education programs for youth, and cultural events for the entire GLBT community and its supporters,” sought to take out an ad in Makor Rishon. The original ad included the following:
Are you confused? Are you afraid? Do you want to speak about it? You are not alone, there is someone with whom to speak. The hotline of LGBT community is…
Makor Rishon refused to publish the ad, and the Aguda sued Makor Rishon. A Magistrates Court ruled against the Aguda and in favor of Makor Rishon. (The original ruling can be read here. [H]) The judge ruled that there was no discrimination when Makor Rishon refused to publish the advertisement, rather, the law allows for an advertisement to be refused in order to defend the interests of a newspaper’s readers. A policy that strives to keep customers takes precedence over the needs of the advertisement’s intended audience.
A few days ago a District Court overturned the Magistrates Court decision. (Part of the ruling can be read here. [H]) In addition to some contractual questions that the court found to be in favor of the Aguda, the court also claimed that publishing the advertisement constituted a public service (שירות ציבורי) and refusing to publicize an advertisement of such sort constituted discrimination. The judge wrote that “the platform that a newspaper provides, even in its advertisement section, is unique, and this is still true even in the modern period.” She continued and wrote that since Makor Rishon had already published articles about LGBT issues in the past, the newspaper cannot claim that an advertisement about LGBT issues will harm its readership. The newspaper was ordered to pay the Aguda 50,000 NIS ($14,344) in addition to 10,000 NIS ($2,868) for court costs.
Since the recent passing of Rabbi Ephraim Greenblatt, a number of bloggers have published some of his correspondence. Musings of a Jewish Bookseller has posted correspondence between Rabbi Greenblatt and the publisher of his responsa. Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer has published some correspondence between himself and Rabbi Greenblatt here, here, and here.
There is a new book published by Yad Ben-Zvi that addresses approaches to the borders of the Land of Israel during the Second Temple, Mishnaic, and Talmudic Periods and perceptions relating to territory and borders. (HT)
מהם תחומיה וגבולותיה של ארץ ישראל ? האם מאשקלון שבדרום ועד עכו בצפון או שמא בין הנילוס והפרת? האם עבר הירדן המזרחי הוא חלק מהארץ? מה מעמדו של אזור בארץ המיושב בצפיפות באוכלוסייה נכרית? האם התיישבות יהודית רצופה וצפופה הופכת את המרחב המיושב לחלק מן ה’ארץ’? והאם עזיבת יהודים את המרחב גורמת לשינוי במעמדו?
A number of years ago a study was published in Israel that claimed to have found little attrition from the ultra-Orthodox community, labeling the number of people who grew up ultra-Orthodox but no longer defined themselves as such to be statistically insignificant. Ynet has an article (Hebrew) that claims the number of ultra-Orthodox youth in Israel who leave that community to be around 1,000 a year and rising. While the numbers were presented by an organization that supports ultra-Orthodox youth who leave that community, the article claimed that they are based upon numbers from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and additional polls. Others place the number at 500 a year. During the past year the community of those who have left ultra-Orthodoxy has experienced a number of suicides, attracting more media attention than usual to the issues that these people, often youth, face. Hopefully those who are in need of support will be able to get it.
JNS is reporting that Kedem Auctions will be selling Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s person Talmud. The Talmud is what is known as a Survivor’s Talmud since it was printed by the U.S. Army in 1949 in Germany. According to Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef’s testimony in the auction listing, his father acquired this set of Talmud when he was in Egypt (1947-1950).
Recently there was a evening sponsored by the Facebook group אני פמיניסטית דתיה וגם לי יש חוש הומור (“I am a Religious Feminist and I Also Have a Sense of Humor”), and you can read a number of media reports about the conference. This group has generated lots of discussion, both on Facebook and in other arenas, and in response a less liberal (for lack of a better description) Facebook group of religious feminists has even formed, פמניסטיות הלכתיות (“Halakhic Feminists”). Someone who attended was kind enough to make videos of some of the presentations at last week’s conference and post them on Youtube. I have no idea in what order they are suppose to be in, so watch away. The videos range from stand-up comedy to more serious discussions, although some of the latter were not filmed. They are all in Hebrew.
Yes, such a thing exists. From this (Hebrew) gathering. The video is in Hebrew.
There are more press reports (Hebrew) about support coming from the mayor of Jeruslaem Nir Barket for Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu as the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, or, one of the Chief Rabbis of Jerusalem. The elections for a new chief rabbi of Jerusalem have been on hold for quite a long time, although if the choice is between Eliyahu and nobody, I’d choose nobody.