Sunday, April 25, 2010

Topics on Tap: Pluralism in Israel an eye-opener

On Wednesday, April 21, the Men's Club hosted its second discussion of the season in its Topics on Tap program. The subject was Pluralism in Israel and the discussion centered around Israel's quandary of Who is Jew by way of the legal standards set forth during the Jewish state's inception. Michael Jay, our rabbinic intern and moderator for this event, gave a thorough and astute history of how the Rabbinate came to power as the state of Israel was being formed under David Ben-Gurion. And how not much has changed in the definition of who a Jew is because of the stringent laws governing marriage.

Michael walked us through segments of the acclaimed DVD documentary "Faces of Israel", a mosaic of people representing various levels of observance and their take on the matter. Our participants followed up with comments of their own. Many were in disbelief that a country as progressive as Israel still maintains its 1948 stance with regard to marriage, conversion and matrilineal descent, especially when so many of its citizens - observant or not - want to identify as Jews.

The Men's Club would like to thank Michael for his wonderful insights and smooth handling of such controversial subject matter. Thanks also to the committee that put this program together: Harvey Herskowitz, Ken Levitt, Steve Jacobs, Marty Schenker and Adam Shandler.

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