The Conspiracy

Occupy Passover; ultra-Orthodox military draft; and more. [Required Reading]

http://newvoices.org/2012/02/20/occupy-passover-ultra-orthodox-military-draft-and-more-required-reading/

Ultra-Orthodox men in Jerusalem. | Photo by Flickr username asafantman (CC BY 2.0)

The responsibility of Jewish federations [Forward]

With the economic recession hitting many organizations, religious or otherwise, with hard times, leaders must make choices to ensure survival. But are some federations unfairly compromising the well-being of their employees in the process? The Jewish Daily Forward takes a look:

“In this flip exchange lies a serious issue. As our Nathan Guttman has reported, Jewish social service groups, along with other nonprofits seeking to cut pension costs, are using a controversial tax loophole to skirt federal rules that protect workers from being left with little or nothing if their retirement plans collapse. Among the Jewish non-profits availing themselves of what is known as the “church plan” are federations in Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Detroit, along with nursing homes and health care facilities.”

Occupy the Exodus 2012 [The Shalom Center]

Jewish groups around the country have responded to the Occupy movement with a certain degree of enthusiasm, incorporating religious projects within the framework of these social protests. Rabbi Arthur Waskow of Jewish Renewal now suggests that there’s no better time to explore the pressing social, economic, environmental, and spiritual crises of our age than at Passover. He’s putting out a call to religious leaders and active laypersons to participate in an Occupy Passover event:

“We hope that the immediate impact of this specific action will be to empower and strengthen the disempowered 99% of our society, and to help dissolve the overweening power of the 1% and their giant corporations — the Pharaohs and Caesars of our day. We hope to do this by evoking the soul-force (satyagraha, often mislabeled “nonviolence”) that is implicit in our religious traditions, and bringing them into active public reality again.”

Praise the Lord, pass the ammunition [Haaretz]

Since the Israeli Defense Forces have suffered a decline in numbers in recent years, new measures are being taken to concentrate draft efforts on members of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, many of whom have not served in the IDF before. But is the decrease a combination of ultra-Orthodox Jews avoiding the draft and the lack of new aliyah (immigration) candidates willing to serve? Haaretz reports:

“Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, ‘we enjoyed huge waves of aliyah that increased the number of new recruits,’ a personnel directorate official said. ‘This year saw a decline in the number of new immigrants, and that is the one factor that immediately influences the number of conscripts. Today’s situation − no aliyah and many ultra-Orthodox youths − can be directly felt.'”

Another voice calls for Israel to refrain from attacking Iran [Jerusalem Post]

With tensions between Israel and Iran the highest in years, governmental officials from the world over are asking Israel to avoid military conflict for the time being, until other efforts to quell the violence are attempted and seen through. The Jerusalem Post shares:

British Foreign Secretary William Hague advised Israel on Sunday not to attack Iran, saying that the international sanctions against Iran should be given a chance to work.

His comments in a BBC interview came as US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem for talks focused on Iran.

Neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the US put out a statement after that two-hour meeting, and Netanyahu said nothing about it – or the Iranian nuclear program – at a speech immediately after the meeting at the opening of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem.”


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  1. Latest Military Pension News | Pensioner.info - February 20, 2012

    […] Occupy Passover; ultra-Orthodox military draft; and more. [Required Reading] As our Nathan Guttman has reported, Jewish social service groups, along with other nonprofits seeking to cut pension costs, are using a controversial tax loophole to skirt federal rules that protect workers from being left with little or nothing if … Read more on New Voices (blog) […]

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