Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Record 11th divorce granted to Jewish Israeli heartbreaker

A 50-year-old man from Jerusalem has been granted a divorce for the 11th time, a new Israeli record for Jews according to a Rabbinical court, the BBC reports

He told the court he usually divorced his wives every two years and looked for a new bride immediately after.

The man said he regretted his first divorce as it had begun a never-ending search for the next "experience".

His newest ex-wife said that since they married he had not worked and had lived off her income, amassing large debts.

The previous Jewish Israeli record for divorces by one person was seven.

Announcing the country's record 11th divorce, the Rabbinical Court Administration said: "It turns out that the popular divorcee courts his wives in a persuasive and sensitive way.

I send out a hook in all directions, and the fish come on their own
Jewish divorce record holder

"But after a short time on both sides they get annoyed with each other and after the courting, fights begin.

"Despite his 50 years, he has no grey hair and despite his much experience in marriage, he plans to marry again," the statement added.

The man has one son from a previous marriage, but the court said he had not paid any child support to his ex-wife.

He told the court he had never experienced any difficulty in finding a new bride.

"I send out a hook in all directions, and the fish come on their own."

In the statement, the rabbis praised the man for going through all the correct religious procedures for getting a divorce.

Under Jewish law, to divorce his wife a man must issue her with a "Get", a document that says "you are hereby permitted to all men".

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas past and Christmas present

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, a significant birth happened 2009 years ago, with special effects including a comet and a celestial angel choir, according to Christian tradition. But today's shepherds wouldn't be able to be the first visitors to reach a Christ child born in Bethlehem. The BBC reports about restrictions on their freedom of movement around the West Bank. To read more, click this link. Wise men on camel back would face significant obstacles, too, particularly if they came from afar. What we don't want to hear is a slaying song tonight.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unsettling sight

Sign of the times (sighted by Alix this morning in Israel.) A moped driver wearing crocs and a wetsuit, zipping up the 443 from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in the pouring rain. A settler, no doubt. Any Arab dressed like this wouldn't get far, even if he had a permit to use the road.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ancient Leper's Shroud Unearthed near Old City dates from time of Jesus

A team of archaeologists and scientists say they have for the first time found pieces of a burial shroud from the time of Jesus in a tomb located in Jerusalem. The BBC's Bethany Bell reports.

The researchers, from Hebrew University and institutions in Canada and the US, said the shroud was very different from the controversial Turin Shroud. (Might it belong to Lazarus, ask some evangelical Christians?)

Some people believe the Turin Shroud to have been Christ's burial cloth, but others believe it is a fake.

The newly found cloth has a simpler weave than Turin's, the scientists say.

The body of a man wrapped in fragments of the shroud was found in a tomb dating from the time of Jesus near the Old City of Jerusalem, above the Hinnom Valley.

The tomb is part of a cemetery called the Field of Blood, where Judas Iscariot is said to have committed suicide.

Researchers believe the man was a Jewish high priest or member of the aristocracy who died of leprosy, the earliest proven case.

They say he was wrapped in a cloth made of a simple two-way weave, very different from the complex weave of the Turin Shroud.

The researchers believe that the fragments are typical of the burial cloths used at the time of Jesus.

As a result, they conclude that the Turin Shroud did not originate from 1st-Century Jerusalem.

The Turin Shroud has been the subject of much controversy.

Tests 20 years ago dated the fabric to the Middle Ages, but believers say the cloth, which bears the imprint of a man's face, is an authentic image of Christ.
Last month a Vatican researcher announced that she had found the words 'Jesus Nazarene' written on the shroud, proving it was the linen cloth which was wrapped around Christ's crucified body. It is shown at the top of this post.

Read more.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tel Aviv Good Times - is it escapism?

Tel Aviv is one of the world's unabashed gay capitals, according to Matthew Teller's report in the British Independent, which examines a shooting incident in a gay teen club last August. Teller questions whether hate crimes can be looked at outside of a political context in today's Middle East, especially considering the sharp divisions between the secular and the religious components of society.:

Tales abound of gay Palestinians being blackmailed into collaborating with the Israeli security services, or even into spying for one Palestinian faction against another, often with fatal consequences.

Nitzan Horowitz, the only gay Knesset member, is blunt. "People in Tel Aviv think the struggle is over – not at all!" he says. "More than 50 per cent of kids in first and second grade are in ultra-orthodox or Arab schools, where LGBT rights are not addressed. In 10 years' time those people will vote. I don't see this liberal paradise."

Every Saturday night, there's a party atmosphere-- singles, couples and groups, gay and straight, mixing in pursuit of a good time. Going out is an obsession. It lends a unique vibrancy – but one person described it to me as national escapism. To journalist Lisa Goldman, her home city is starting to feel like Weimar Berlin. "I'm worried," she says. "This exuberance is inarticulate. We've become used to hopelessness."

Uzi Even's observation about a common enemy conceals the possibility that the greatest threat to Jewish Israeli society may lie within. In Chen Langer's words: "We want others to acknowledge Israel as the home of the Jewish people, but we ourselves cannot define what 'Jewish' is."

For many secular Jews – both within and beyond the Tel Aviv bubble – Israel's religious right has corrupted society and continues to hold the country back. For many religious Jews, secure with the occupation, contemporary secularism – exemplified by advances in gay rights – represents the gravest threat to the nation's well-being.

The shooting at the Aguda – apparently a one-off atrocity, possibly committed with inside knowledge – should be a wake-up call. It has exposed fault-lines running right through Jewish-Israeli society. If unbridged, they could pull the country apart.