In the city of Bet Shemesh, a struggle is playing out between two ways of life, the repercussions of which will affect the future of Israel.

If you’ve heard of Bet Shemesh, chances are it’s because of the “crazy fanatics” who live here, because someone you know moved here, or both.

Nestled in the beautiful Judean hills, Bet Shemesh started in the 1950s as a development town for Romanians and Moroccans. Russians, Ethiopians, Anglos, and Strictly Orthodox (Charedim) soon joined them.

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‘Ali’ and Kay couldn’t be more different. Ali (not his real name) is a Palestinian Muslim living in a refugee camp. Kay Wilson, originally from London, moved to Israel 32 years ago.

Ali was raised to hate Israel and taught to be a perpetual victim. Kay, despite being stabbed dozens of times, left for dead, and watching her friend die at the hands of Palestinian attackers, refuses to be a victim.

For the past three years, as a result of the attempt on her life, Kay has been active in exposing and opposing the global financing of terrorists, who, like her attackers, are paid by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to kill Jews.

For the past few years, Ali has been investigating the corruption rampant in the PA and speaking out against it. This puts his life at risk. Continue reading

Originally printed in In Jerusalem,  October 25, 2017 

“Don’t worry, I’ll break his legs.”

That’s what my  6’ 7” tall then-rabbi told me when I suggested to him (on advice from my future mother-in-law) that I sign a halachic prenuptial agreement before my wedding. Reassured by his blasé manner, and knowing virtually nothing of the phenomenon of get-refusal, I quickly forgot about the prenup.

Nineteen years, an intense experience of personal advocacy for a relative who had been refused her get for more than a decade, and a great deal of knowledge about agunot later, I rectified this mistake when The International Young Israel Movement in Israel (IYIM) held its second post-nuptial agreement signing in Jerusalem.

A couple holds up their Agreement for Mutual Respect

My motivation for signing was not concern for my marriage, but because with all that I have seen, and with personally knowing more than 10 women who were refused a get, (not counting the women I met through my advocacy) I believe it is incumbent upon us to ensure that the halachic prenuptial agreement (or post-nuptial, as the case may be) become the default among Jewish couples, so that those who find themselves in need of protection, have it.

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‘Jewish tradition and Halacha have become stagnant’

Many consider Nathan Lopes Cardozo a rabbi for the new millennium. He pulls no punches in telling ‘Metro’ how Judaism and the rabbinic establishment can begin to respond to the current reality, with a ‘completely different type of Halacha’ for the State of Israel’s unique needs

• By SHOSHANNA KEATS-JASKOLL   Originally published in In Jerusalem Sept 15, 2017

Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo has an unusual background for a rabbi. Perhaps that is why his thinking is so different from that of other rabbis, and why he can say the things he says. Or perhaps other rabbis feel similarly, but do not have the confidence or fearlessness that is so evident when Cardozo speaks.

Whatever the reason, his belief in the justice of Judaism, the morality with which we are charged, and the capacity we have to resolve the seemingly unresolvable gives hope that the Judaism and ethics we hold so dear can in fact work together to produce the society that many of us want to see.

Cardozo grew up in Holland. His father was a secular Jew of Portuguese-Jewish origin; his mother was a Christian who had always felt at home in the Jewish community, which had taken her in when she was orphaned.

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