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.
AP: In a non-binding resolution this week, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said circumcision was “a violation of the physical integrity of children.”
Jewish Press: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, an international organization whose resolutions are non-binding but heavily influence the European Unions, is voting Tuesday on defining ritual circumcision as a “clear human rights violation.”
France24: A proposal by a French official to replace Christian national holidays with those based on Jewish and Muslim festivals has sparked controversy in the country.
Christian Science Monitor: But in recent years, religious Jews are increasingly asserting their right to be here and are pushing for Israel to claim sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Their effort is testing the resolve of the Israeli government and the patience of 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. At stake are freedom of worship and the future of the most contested sacred space in the world.
Rod Dreher at The American Conservative: As you know, I have been strenuously arguing against American entry into Syria’s civil war on behalf of the rebels, in part — in part — because a rebel victory would almost certainly mean genocide for Syria’s ancient and large Christian community, at the hands of victorious Islamists. I would be against military intervention even if there were no Christians involved, but the fact that there are millions of Christians whose lives and culture are at stake in this conflict gives added impetus to me, as a Christian, to prevent America taking sides in this civil war.
Israel National News: Security forces were prepared for a riot as this incident follows renewed incitement by Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah, who called for Muslims to physically prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount last week.
Jewish Daily Forward: The struggle for women to pray as they see fit at the Western Wall will be the focus of High Holy Day sermons at congregations across the United States, as part of an organized campaign to galvanize support for greater religious tolerance in Israel.
Education Department Dismisses Complaint That Anti-Israel Incidents Subjected Jewish Students To Hostile Environment
Religion Clause Blog: The University of California Berkeley announced yesterday that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has dismissed a complaint contending that three incidents involving criticism of Israel created a hostile environment for Jewish students that the University had an obligation to curtail.
NY Times: Trying to calm months of intense wrangling over the Western Wall, Israeli officials on Sunday unveiled a new plaza where men and women can pray together. But the move was immediately denounced as discriminatory by the main group that has protested the rules at the holy site.
Religion Clause Blog: The New York Times yesterday reported on the religious accommodation issues posed by the rising numbers and increased political influence of Hasidic and other ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York City.
JTA: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian journalists that no Israelis, civilians or soldiers, will remain in a future Palestinian state.
ACLJ to OH Governor: “Extremist Position” by Atheists Not Supported by Law – Offer to Assist in Defending Holocaust Memorial
ACLJ: We’re delighted to see the state of Ohio move forward with plans to construct a Holocaust memorial that includes a Star of David in its design – despite complaints from angry atheists – specifically, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). As we already have reported, the FFRF sent aletter to the state claiming that the inclusion of the Star of David as a part of the Holocaust memorial is “exclusionary” and a “dishonor.”
AP: A rabbi was shot and gravely wounded Thursday by an unidentified gunman in Russia’s predominantly Muslim province of Dagestan in what officials described as a hate crime.
Haaretz: A Polish government minister asked Jewish and Muslim representatives to petition the country’s Constitutional Court to sort out conflicting laws that have led to a ban on ritual slaughter.
AP: The University of California’s governing board confirmed the board’s first practicing Muslim student member Wednesday, despite opposition from some Jewish groups.
AP: Lawmakers rejected the divisive issue in a 222-178 vote Friday as 38 members of the ruling Civic Platform party joined the opposition to vote against it.
American Freedom Law Center: Metro had repeatedly denied the advertisement until the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) threatened to sue the agency on behalf of the advertisement’s sponsors, the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI), and its executive directors, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. The proposed advertisement states, “The Palestinian Authority Is Calling For A Jew-Free State. Equal Rights for Jews.”
Religion Clause Blog: Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the municipality of Tel Aviv must enforce the Saturday Sabbath closing laws against two supermarket chains.
The Jewish Press: Police hauling religious youths into Jerusalem court in 2011. “The judge’s decision today asserts that there is no prohibition against praying on the Temple Mount,” said Attorney Ben-Gvir, “and that it is the police who are acting against the law when they prevent Jews from praying.”
Haaretz: Israel Police are investigating threats to hurt the rabbi in charge of Jerusalem’s Western Wall if he does not allow a Jewish women’s prayer group equal worship rights at the holy site, a police spokesman said on Monday.
Religion Clause Blog: In Thaler v. Amzalak, (NSW Sup. Ct., May 27, 2013), the Supreme Court of the Australian state of New South Wales set aside an award by a Bet Din (Jewish religious court) in a commercial dispute.
Wall Street Journal: The IRS has admitted targeting groups that wanted to speak on issues during the 2012 election season. But did the agency also target tax-exempt groups that opposed Administration policy priorities?
AP: Israeli police say vandals have spray-panted slogans on the home of one of the leaders of a liberal Jewish women’s group that has angered ultra-Orthodox communities over its demands for equality of worship.
How Appealing links to coverage and the ruling in Rich v. Secretary Florida Department of Corrections.
Religion Clause Blog: In Israel today, Women of the Wall held their first prayer session since a court decision (see prior posting) vindicating their right to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall wearing prayer shawls (traditionally worn only by men).
The Times of Israel: Jews are currently permitted to ascend to the volatile holy site, but police forbid them from worshiping there.
Miami Herald: Friday’s morning House Session opened as it usually does. A religious leader invited by a House member offers a prayer for guidance to the lawmakers. And as usually happens, the reverend, invited on Friday by Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, concluded “we ask these things in the name, and through the merits of Jesus Christ, thy son and savior, amen.” But that final invocation of Jesus Christ is a growing concern for Jewish members, according to Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek.
Washington Post: Women who want to wear prayer shawls while praying in the women’s section of the Western Wall are not breaking the law, according to a landmark decision handed down Thursday (April 25) by the Jerusalem District Court.
Aleteia.org: A century ago, during the reign of the last of the Muslim caliphs, Christians in the Middle East amounted to a fifth of the population, with thriving strongholds in Egypt, Palestine, and the regions now known as Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Today, that community is in a state of rapid, terminal decline. Best estimates now put the Christian population at around five percent, but even these few are being squeezed out by persecution, war and occupation. The near-destruction of these ancient Christian communities during the past half-century is an important historical event. This all goes to say that the astonishing fact that it has been consistently underreported in the West is a disgrace.
The Guardian: Natan Sharansky calls for plaza to include area for mixed public, while retaining the segregated sections for orthodox worshippers
Religion Clause Blog: Last September, New York City’s Board of Health adopted a controversial rule that requires informed consent from a parent or guardian in a Jewish ritual circumcision where a mohel will use the controversial procedure known as metzitzah b’peh.