Israeli Chief Rabbinate: Freundel’s conversions are valid
The Israeli Chief Rabbinate said it will recognize all past conversions performed by Rabbi Barry Freundel, the Washington rabbi charged with voyeurism.
On Tuesday, the Rabbinate clarified that it was joining the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America in affirming the validity of the conversions, a day after the Rabbinate said it would be examining their validity.
“The Chief Rabbinate of Israel clarifies that the Rabbi Freundel affair has no effect on the policy of recognizing conversions performed by him in the past,” Rabbinate spokesman Ziv Maor said, adding that until further notice, the Rabbinate will not recognize future conversions performed by Freundel.
“I’m pleased to see that the Rabbinate clarified the matter and acted relatively quickly in order to alleviate any further suffering on the part of Rabbi Freundel’s victims,” said Rabbi Seth Farber, director of the ITIM Jewish Life Advocacy Center, which pushed the Rabbinate to recognize the conversions.
Some Beit Shemesh lawmakers eye splitting city into haredi and non-haredi entities
Opposition members of the Beit Shemesh City Council submitted a proposal to divide the community into haredi Orthodox and non-haredi municipalities.
The proposal was presented on Sunday to Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, by party lawmaker and Beit Shemesh resident Dov Lipman, The Jerusalem Post reported. The eight lawmakers who presented the plan are part of the council’s nine-member opposition.
Beit Shemesh, a city of some 80,000 approximately 19 miles from Jerusalem, has been a flashpoint for conflicts between haredi and secular residents over the role of religion in the public sphere.
In a widely publicized incident in 2011, an 8-year-old Orthodox girl was spat on by haredim on the way to school for her perceived immodest dress. More recently, the city was divided over the takeover of part of a secular school by a haredi girls’ school.
Mayor Moshe Abutbul of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party narrowly won re-election in a repeat vote in March 2013 after his followers were accused of tampering.
Swastikas drawn on Yale dorm steps
Swastikas were drawn in chalk on the steps of a Yale University dormitory.
The swastikas were discovered early on the morning of Oct. 12 on the New Haven, Conn., campus. The Yale Police Department was investigating but had no leads as of Tuesday, the Yale Daily News reported.
“I condemn this shameful defacement, perpetrated anonymously under cover of night,” Yale dean Jonathan Holloway wrote Oct. 13 in an email to the campus community. “There is no room for hate in this house.
“The use of the swastika violates our values of respect, thoughtfulness, generosity and goodwill. I will not stand idly by when this or other symbols of hate are used on this campus. It is my hope that you will join me in taking a similar stand.”
Following the discovery of the swastikas, Yale students gathered outside the dorm to write messages of support for the Jewish community as part of a chalk mural.
Last month, two swastikas were drawn on a whiteboard in a Yale lecture hall.
The Oct. 12 incident comes after several incidents of swastikas drawn on campuses, including at Emory and Eastern Michigan.
Israeli hikers among fatalities in Nepal avalanche
A blizzard and avalanche in Nepal have killed more than a dozen trekkers, including at least two Israelis.
Extreme weather conditions spurred by the remains of Cyclone Hudhud struck the mountainous country on Oct. 14, killing 17 hikers, including the Israelis, according to a report by the French news agency AFP. Other reports have varied, with the BBC placing the death toll at 21 trekkers in addition to three yak herders.
The death toll may rise as officials continue to hunt for some 100 missing trekkers.
Israeli media reported that the number of Israelis killed may be three or higher. The Israeli Foreign Ministry was waiting for reports to determine the official figures, according to Haaretz. Four Israelis have been rescued.
About a week ago, two Israeli tourists were killed in a rafting accident on the Apurimac River in Peru.