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Israel Discussion Set at Hebrew Congregation of Somers

SOMERS, N.Y. – The Hebrew Congregation of Somers (HCS) has scheduled Benjamin Ish-Shalom, rector of Bet Morasha Jerusalem, the only graduate school in Israel where Orthodox and secular teachers and students teach and learn together, to speak Sunday.  He will discuss a presentation called “Israel: the Four-State Solution?”

Ish-Shalom’s talk is based on a recent editorial published in an Israeli newspaper suggesting that the country be divided into four parts: Arab, modern Orthodox Jewish, ultra-Orthodox, and Jewish secular.

Rabbi Fred Schwalb of HCS said in an email, “While at least partly tongue in cheek, the article reflected the deep divisions in Israeli society over such issues as the role of women, the power of the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate over such issues as marriage and divorce of non-Orthodox Jews, and even who exactly is a Jew in a country where hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union are not recognized as Jews under traditional Jewish law.”

Ish-Shalom’s speech will be followed by a question and answer period. The event takes place at the HCS on Sunday at 11 a.m.

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