Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
CBN: A Jewish counseling center will defend its right to help clients with unwanted same-sex attraction in a New Jersey courtroom this week.
Salon: A Colorado teacher has filed a federal lawsuit against the school district where he works, alleging the district’s only high school illegally promotes Christianity in conjunction with a nearby evangelical church.
Religion Clause: The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct last week issued a Public Admonition (full text) against Texas state trial court judge Carter Tinsley Schildknecht, finding in part that she: “manifested a religious and/or cultural bias by describing District Attorney Munk as a “New York Jew” and by criticizing a prosecutor’s beard because it made him look like a “Muslim.””
News-Press: A Collier County Sheriff’s Office employee filed a lawsuit against the department Monday in federal court, alleging religious discrimination by the agency.
The New York Law Journal (Accessible via Google): The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must run ads on the back of New York City buses placed by a Jewish organization attacking Hamas as a terrorist group bent on killing Jews, a judge ruled.
JTA: Jews are overwhelmingly supportive of same-sex marriage, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.
U.S. News: The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a Connecticut commission accused of religious discrimination when it rejected plans for a synagogue in 2007.
Religion Clause: In Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School v. City of Evanston, (IL App., March 6, 2015), an Illinois appellate court rejected a RLUIPA challenge brought by an Orthodox Jewish elementary school after Evanston City Council refused zoning modifications that would allow the construction of a school on property in an industrial zone that plaintiff had purchased.
The Dallas Morning News: The city of Dallas says an Orthodox Jewish house of worship in a Far North Dallas residential neighborhood isn’t kosher.
Pew Research: While Europe is not the region with the highest level of religious hostilities – that remains the Middle East-North Africa region – harassment and attacks against religious minorities continue in many European countries. Indeed, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, hostilities against Jews in particular have been spreading.
US Daily Review: Today, Collin County District Court Judge Jill Willis ruled that members of a small Orthodox Jewish community have a right to continue meeting in a Plano home for private worship. After the Jewish families were sued by the then president of the Homeowner’s Association (“HOA”) and the HOA, Liberty Institute successfully defended the Jewish community’s right to freely exercise their religious beliefs.
The Stream: I once asked my late father if he had any experiences with anti-Semitism. There weren’t many. Although that was probably in part because of his scoring methodology. The Irish kids who beat up the Jewish kids in his Bronx neighborhood didn’t do so because they were anti-Semitic, but because “they had to fight somebody,” as my dad put it. Today, such behavior would probably be called a hate crime.
Lubavitch: As Europe marked 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, Sweden’s Chabad representatives were in court defending their children’s right to a Jewish education. Challenging them were Gothenburg’s Majorna-Linné’s education council representatives, compelled, they said, by “the principle” of the matter: The Namdar children ought to be educated in the same schools and the same manner as most of Sweden’s children are.
Israel National News: What do a rabbi, an archbishop, a top Islamic academic and former British prime minister Tony Blair have in common? Quite a lot, it turned out, at an unusual panel on religion at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, where they found shared ground on extremism, violence and freedom of expression in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris.
Religion News Service: The Senate has confirmed Rabbi David Saperstein as the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, making him the first non-Christian to hold the job.
Public Discourse: The Abrahamic religions provide a radical interpretation of the importance of speech: it is the primary way in which God reveals himself. Because persons of faith believe that God has spoken, they are called to develop and deepen their capacities for listening. This aspect of free speech is often overlooked when concentrating on laws about what can or cannot be said.
The Washington Post: Our readers might remember the Zombie Mohammed controversy. Atheist activist (Ernest Perce), who was marching as “Zombie Mohammed” in a Halloween parade (alongside a “Zombie Pope”), was attacked by an angry Muslim passerby, Talaag Elbayomy. When Elbayomy was prosecuted, Judge Mark Martin dismissed the charges, and berated Perce for his blasphemous behavior. Martin was eventually formally rebuked by Pennsylvania judicial authorities for this action.
Atheist-Turned-Orthodox Christian parent removes child from school after teacher wears Star of David necklace
The Christian Post: A Pennsylvania parent upset that his child was being exposed to religion through the Star of David necklace being worn by a teacher filed a complaint but learned that the school board supported the teacher’s freedom.
Religion News Service: At least four worshipers, three of them U.S.-born, were killed in an attack on a west Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday (Nov. 18) by two Palestinians wielding a gun, an ax and a meat cleaver, police said.
Reuters: Germany’s foreign minister said at an international conference on anti-semitism on Thursday that “hatred of Jews” was on the rise once more in his country and across Europe, fueled by spiraling violence in the Middle East.
JTA: A new study shows that the majority of Israeli electorate remains unhappy with the amount of religious influence on Israeli life and law.
Jewish Journal: Over the last 20 years, I have probably spent as much time with Evangelical Christians as with fellow Jews — in private settings, speaking at churches, on listener cruises, in my home and in their homes. I have come to admire and in many cases love these people.
The Clarion-Ledger: A Jackson Rabbi says he was thrown out of a restaurant after a short exchange when the person behind the register found out he was Jewish.
ABC News (AP): A federal appeals court has reinstated a Jewish group’s lawsuit accusing the Litchfield Historic District Commission of religious discrimination when it rejected plans for a synagogue in 2007.
The New York Times: A senior tennis team with Orthodox Jewish members is suing the United States Tennis Association over its refusal to change a tournament schedule to accommodate the players’ observance of the Sabbath.
Public Discourse: I have never eaten at Chick-fil-A, nor do I plan to. I keep kosher, and as far as I know, there are still no kosher Chick-fil-As—but with a kosher Dunkin’ Donuts in Teaneck, NJ, and a kosher McDonald’s in Jerusalem, perhaps a kosher Chick-fil-A in the Upper West Side may not be too far off. Still, when I heard about Mr. Cathy’s death, my attention was piqued by one piece of news: all of Chick-fil-A’s locations are closed on Sundays.
Religion Clause: Invoking RLUIPA, the Fair Housing Act, the 1st and 14th Amendments as well as New York statutory and constitutional provisions, in a 66-page federal court complaint a Jewish school, developers and Orthodox Jewish residents sued the Village of Bloomingburg, NY and the adjoining Town of Mamakating alleging an anti-Semitic conspiracy to prevent more Hasidic Jews from moving into the area.
The Christian Institute: A number of politicians, including Faith Minister Eric Pickles, have criticised the rise of anti-Semitic attacks in the UK.
Catholic News Service: Although Christians, Muslims and Jews have struggled for hundreds of years to live peacefully alongside each other in the Middle East, “we have never seen the kind of ‘religious cleansing’ we are witnessing today,” said the head of the region’s Franciscans.
The Yeshiva World: We thank our lawyers, the Jones Day law firm, for the wonderful job they have done in advocating our constitutional freedoms; and we express our appreciation to the two groups who submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of our legal position: the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom.
3AW: Jewish students are allegedly being assaulted and refused entry into lectures at universities around Melbourne.
Religion Clause: “Lower Hudson Journal News reports on the settlement of a lawsuit between the East Ramapo, New York school district and two Orthodox Jewish schools (yeshivas) that are leasing and seeking to purchase an elementary school building that was closed as a public school in 2009.”
Dallas Morning News: “An Orthodox Jewish synagogue will be allowed to continue to operate out of a home in Dallas, after a district court judge ruled Thursday against a temporary injunction that would have shut it down.” | See Religion Clause for more information.
RFI: “The 11 town councils won by France’s Front National (FN) in last week’s local elections are to refuse to serve no-pork menus in school canteens, party leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday. The far-right leader also accused a court of bias after it fined her for distributing a leaflet purporting to be from a left-wing rival in a by-election in 2012.”
The Canadian Press: “Families from an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect who fled the country last month in the midst of a child custody case were chided by an Ontario judge on Friday for not allowing the country’s courts to do their work.”
Religion Clause: “In Wallace v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., (8th Cir., April 4, 2014), the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals took an unexpected route in deciding the appeal in a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Hebrew National hot dogs.”
Robert J. Delahunty at Canon & Culture: “Against this backdrop, the Danish government issued a set of regulations for animal slaughtering last month that will have the effect of prohibiting ritual Jewish or Muslim cattle butcher. The Danish Minister of Food and Agriculture who signed the ban, a 38 year old Social Democrat named Dan Jorgensen, explained the ban on Danish television by saying ‘animal rights come before religion’ – or, according to another version, ‘animal rights precede religious rights.’”
Haaretz: “Call it the Glatt Kosher Constitution. One of the most startling features of the United States Supreme Court case on Obamacare is that the whole edifice could be brought down over the question of kosher butchers. Even more amazing is the fact that if it happens, it wouldn’t be the first time such a fate was met by a historic piece of liberal legislation.”
Bruce Frohnen at The Imaginative Conservative: “What is most worrisome about this latest development is the breezy manner in which it is deemed a run-of-the-mill regulatory change. Apparently, all the Danish government did was eliminate a special dispensation from European Union rules that would ban Jewish and Muslim practices throughout Europe. To be clear: the European Union, a semi-sovereign government for most of Europe, specifically makes kosher and halal slaughter illegal, but allows member countries (like Denmark) to provide a special “dispensation” for religious reasons, if it so chooses. Denmark no longer so chooses—as is becoming more the case in more countries, regarding more religious issues.”
The Toronto Star: “Members of Lev Tahor marked the Sabbath Saturday in a small hotel on the outskirts of this lakefront town in Guatemala after a local judge ruled that the kids were not in danger and could remain with their parents.”
Times of Israel: “A controversial law levying criminal penalties on yeshiva students who dodge IDF service passed the Knesset Wednesday morning with near unanimous support.”
Associated Press: “Arab foreign ministers on Sunday rejected Israel’s demands that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state, saying such a move would undermine the rights of Palestinian refugees.”
Telegraph: “Religious slaughter of animals to produce halal and kosher meat should be banned if more humane methods are not adopted, the leader of Britain’s vets has said. John Blackwell, who took over as president elect of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) last year, claimed killing animals by letting them bleed to death after slitting their throats causes unnecessary suffering.”
Times of Israel: “Jerusalem’s grand mufti on Sunday accused the Jerusalem Municipality of advancing legislation which would require mosques to lower the volume on loudspeakers as they call the faithful to pre-dawn prayers, and said only Muslims had the right to decide on such matters.”
Religion News Service: “Jewish and Muslim groups in Denmark have vowed to fight a new ban on the ritual slaughter of animals necessary to ensure kosher and halal meat, saying the law threatens their religious freedom.”
World Jewish Congress: “Denmark’s Agriculture and Food Minister Dan Jørgensen has signed a regulation which effectively bans religious slaughter in the country. ‘Animal rights come before religion,’ Jørgensen told Denmark’s TV2 television news. The regulation requires all animal slaughter to be carried out with prior stunning of the animal, which is against shechita (Jewish religious slaughter).”
KDFW FOX 4: “A homeowner is suing his neighbor, a rabbi, claiming the rabbi is violating the homeowner’s association rules and lowering property values. The rabbi says his 3,700 square foot home in a far North Dallas neighborhood near Frankford and Hillcrest roads is a synagogue.”
Spiked: “Of all the forms that the new, cultural anti-Semitism takes, the anti-circumcision movement might be the most pernicious. In the past year alone, several European countries have taken steps towards outlawing religious circumcision. The most remarkable thing about these attacks is not that they effectively aim to end Judaism, by outlawing a practice that has been absolutely central to the Jewish faith since the time of Abraham. . . . the most disturbing and ironic aspect of these attacks is that that they are carried out in the name of human rights.”
Brampton Guardian: “Children from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect must be turned over to child protection authorities in Quebec, where a court had ordered that they be placed in foster care, an Ontario judge ruled Monday.”
Telegram: “Residents of Northboro and Southboro packed a meeting at Algonquin Regional High School last night to voice their opinions on a recommendation that the school districts no longer close school in observance of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Good Friday.”
Haaretz: “A widely touted plan to employ more Arab teachers in Jewish schools apparently has one limitation: The Education Ministry does not intend to employ Arab teachers in religious Jewish schools.”
Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “Large medical associations in Sweden and Denmark recommended banning non-medical circumcision of boys.”
Failed Messiah: “New York City’s Human Rights Commission dropped its lawsuit against seven hasidic owned stores in Williamsburg, Brooklyn today. The stores had posted signs mandating customers dress modesty. The signs . . . violated human rights law. The city dropped the suit in exchange for the stores’ promise that all such signage will now stress that everyone is welcome to shop.”
Mark Hemingway in the Weekly Standard: “The New York City human rights commission is putting seven Jewish business owners on trial tomorrow for discrimination in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Orthodox Jewish business owners’ supposed crime? Posting a dress code in storefront windows.”
Israel’s Supreme Court Issues Temporary Stay Of Rabbinical Court’s Order Requiring Boy’s Circumcision
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, last month Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court upheld a lower court’s $140 per day fine imposed on a woman who is refusing to have her one-year old son circumcised.
AP: For decades, the religious Jews who bucked a rabbinic ban and visited a contested holy site in Jerusalem where the ancient Jewish temple once stood were seen by many as a fanatic fringe.
Aaron Klein at World Net Daily: The reports of stepped-up activism to ensure non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount comes as the Obama administrations continues to quietly push a plan in which the Palestinian Authority and Jordan will receive sovereignty over the holy site.
Washington Post: A small but growing movement by Jewish activists demanding the right to pray at the site of their destroyed temple, in the heart of this disputed capital’s Old City, is creating a potentially explosive clash with the Muslim world, which considers the spot holy and bans Jews from public worship there.
Jerusalem Post: Disallowing the so-called parsonage exemption will put many rabbis “at risk of losing their homes,” Rabbinical Assembly VP warns.
Religion Clause Blog: Haaretz and Failed Messiah report that in Israel, the Supreme Rabbinical Court on Sunday denied an appeal from an Oct. 29 decision of the Netanya Rabbinical Court (see Jewish Press, Nov. 7) imposing a fine of NIS 500 ($140 US) per day on a woman who is refusing to have her one-year old son circumcised.
Religion Clause Blog: Citing legal attacks in Sweden on kosher slaughter and ritual circumcision, a Jewish political adviser to the Swedish party Folkpartiet announced in an article in Mosaic Magazine that she is applying for refugee status in her own country.
Volokh Conspiracy: By comparison, only 11% of Jews ages 18-29 are Orthodox. Two caveats. First, only 80% of those 18-29 who were raised Orthodox call themselves Orthodox, so if trends hold the 27% will be more like 21.5%.
Religion Clause Blog: Norway’s health minister Brent Hoie says that by this spring the government will introduce new legislation on non-medical circumcision of boys under 18.
Religion Clause Blog: CNN reports that Tevi Troy, George W. Bush’s former Liaison to the Jewish Community is critical of the former president’s decision to speak tonight at the fundraising dinner of the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group whose goal is to convert Jews to Christianity.
Jerusalem Post: The top Jordanian government official responsible for the custodianship of religious holy sites in Jerusalem is quoted in local press on Tuesday as saying that he is “adamantly opposed” to any Jewish worship atop the Temple Mount.
Haaretz: There are three bills on Knesset members’ desks that aim to extend the eligibility for civil unions beyond couples who claim to have no religion. Two of them are egalitarian proposals, giving the civil union option to any interested couple: the civil union bill initiated by Yesh Atid, and the proposal the Justice Ministry issued Sunday called the “Joint Living Law.” A third proposal would allow civil unions only for gays, while other voices within the coalition and outside it would specifically exclude same-sex couples from eligibility for civil unions. These last two approaches are unacceptable
Haaretz: Arab and right-wing Jewish MKs clashed during an Interior Committee hearing, exchanging insults such as ‘savages’ and ‘pyromaniacs.’
Jerusalem Post: Thirteen Jewish worshipers were detained and questioned by police at the Temple Mount Monday morning following two separate incidents of civil disobedience.
AP: Palestinian residents of as West Bank village say masked Jewish settlers torched three cars and defaced a mosque during an overnight attack.
AP: Christian leaders in Israel are up in arms over what they say is a string of relentless attacks on church properties and religious sites – most recently the desecration of a historic Protestant cemetery where vandals toppled stone crosses from graves and bludgeoned them to pieces.
Volokh Conspiracy: The Council of Europe in Strasbourg has recommended nations consider banning child circumcision. Jewish groups, and the State of Israel, are predictably outraged by the recommendation, which if adopted would make traditional (and not just religious) Jewish life impossible on the Continent. Thus the law has been denounced as anti-Semitic.