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Contemporary Halakhic Discourse in Israel

Mon, December 17, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Federal 2 Complex

Session Submission Type: Panel Session

Session Sponsor: Jewish Law Association

Abstract

Israel, along with North America, is now one of the two foremost Jewish communities in the world with respect to both its population as well as its religious and cultural creativity. This panel will explore some important aspects of contemporary halakhic discourse in Israel. These include the rabbinic court system of Israel and its ability to deal effectively with contemporary issues, especially those related to women and their status in halakha. Another important issue is the politicization of Israeli rabbis and the connection between their political and their halakhic expression. A third issue is the influence of the internet on contemporary halakhic discourse. The presentations of this panel are designed to shed light on these important issues.
Westreich and Radzyner thus look at new modes of halakhic creativity on the part of Israeli rabbinic courts confronting the issue of MAMZERUT in contrast to the same courts' treatment of the similarly acute issue of AGUNOT. Nadler examines in detail a prominent and controversial Israeli rabbi, Nachum Rabinovitch, and attempts to correlate his right-wing political views with the often daring and controversial jurisprudential leniency that characterizes his responsa. Robinson explores the recent development of internet responsa in Israel by focussing on the work of Rabbi Yuval Cherlow. In doing so, Robinson asks how the medium of the internet has affected the presentation of the halakhic message as well as what does it mean for the relationship of halakha-observant Jews to have prominent rabbis ready and willing to respond to their halakhic queries in a timely and public way?

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