Who is Orthodox? Who is Religious? Who is Just Observant?

Jonathan Kolatch's most recent books are China Mosaic and At the Corner of Fact & Fancy. His articles on the Far East, the Middle East, the American rural scene and medicine have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. This article appears in issue 9 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

December Report of our National Scholar, Rabbi Hayyim Angel

December, 2015

To our members and friends, I hope you are well.

It has been gratifying reaching so many people through classes and online offerings through our Institute. We thank all who are supporters and members and who have been participating in the wide variety of learning opportunities as we spread our vision across the country and beyond.

Here are some upcoming highlights for December-January:

The Future of Israeli Hareidism


No issue in Israeli public life arouses the range and intensity of emotions as does anything relating to Hareidim and Hareidism—the terms used for the “ultra-Orthodox” and their lifestyle. [1]  A typical discussion on any Hareidi-related issue is laden with ideology, dogma, and opinion, but short on facts, let alone hard data.

The Place of Orthodoxy in the State of Israel

As the head of the Center for Women's Justice, I encounter on a daily basis the intractable entanglement—the “Gordian knot”—of State and (Orthodox) religion in Israel. This union of religion and state supports a gendered society, infringes on the basic rights of women, challenges the democratic values of the State, and threatens to undermine Israel's integrity as the political expression of the Jewish nation.

Israelis, Jews, Palestinians: Reflections of an American Student*



            “Jewish, not Israeli” is a phrase I found myself repeating to many a Palestinian this summer (the summer of May 2010, following my senior year of high school) at Seeds of Peace international conflict resolution camp. Although I was part of the American delegation, and by definition not an Israeli, I was often identified by Palestinian campers as the “other side.” But Israel is neither my birthplace nor my current home, so one need not have expected my beliefs to oppose Palestinian existence.