New Article: Hollander, Rulings of Official Religious Authorities in Israel Concerning Women’s Singing

Hollander, Aviad Yehiel. “Halachic Multiculturalism in the IDF: Rulings of Official Religious Authorities in Israel Concerning ‘Women’s Singing’.” Modern Judaism 34.3 (2014): 271-86.

URL: http://mj.oxfordjournals.org/content/34/3/271

Excerpt

In the summer of 2011, a number of soldiers walked out of an auditorium in which a musical performance was taking place. The men, cadets in an officer’s course, explained that they walked out of the performance because there were female vocalists, and the halacha prohibits men from listening to females sing.

As a result of this incident, representatives of the army chief rabbinate as well as the Matka’l, or Israeli General Staff, convened to discuss and ultimately publish new guidelines addressing the participation of religious soldiers in military ceremonies featuring female vocalists. These new guidelines were in turn criticized by a group of army chaplains united under the name “Keren Lahav—for the strengthening of Judaism in the IDF.” The group published a joint document in which they stated that the army’s decisions had undermined the trust of religious soldiers in the system. They claimed that the new guidelines—which were approved by the IDF’s Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz—demonstrated Peretz’s ignorance of the inner workings of the army system. One criticism against Rabbi Peretz was that he had not risen to his position from within the military but rather was an outside candidate placed directly at the top of the pyramid.

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