World Briefs: Israeli court rules that online marriages must be honored and more

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— JTA reports compiled by Selah Maya Zighelboim

Israeli court rules that online marriages must be honored


A district court in the Israeli city of Lod ruled last week that Israel’s Interior Ministry is required to recognize the marriages of couples who use a virtual wedding service provided by Utah County in Utah.

If the decision stands, it would mean that couples who cannot or do not want to have an Orthodox Jewish wedding could get the benefits of marriage without leaving Israel, as they are currently required to do. Those include LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, couples in which one partner is not recognized by one of the established religious authorities and couples who are committed to non-Orthodox Judaism.

Jewish marriage in Israel has long been controlled by the Orthodox establishment. Until now, marriages not recognized by the Israeli religious establishment had to occur abroad in order to be registered by the Interior Ministry. Cyprus in particular emerged as a popular wedding destination.

Israeli couples lost the ability to travel abroad to get married when the pandemic began. Some turned to an online wedding service launched in May of 2020 by the country clerk in Provo, Utah, as a service to local couples who could not safely obtain a marriage license in person because of COVID-19.

Biden administration accuses Russia of exploiting Jewish suffering

In a dossier, the Biden administration accused the Russian government of antisemitism and of exploiting Jewish suffering through its claims that its war against Ukraine is a “denazification” operation.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden (David Lienemann/public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

The dossier was timed ahead of a Monday informal session of the United Nations Security Council that Russia called to bolster its denazification claim. Tass, the Russian news agency, last week quoted Dmitry Polyansky, the deputy Russian envoy to the United Nations, as saying the session would “be our response to Western colleagues, who express doubts about one of the main goals of our special military operation in Ukraine, namely de-Nazification, and claim that we are exaggerating the problem.”

The State Department dossier quotes historians and Holocaust remembrance institutions — including Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum — as denouncing the denazification claims as bogus.

It also emphasizes that the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish and lost family to the Holocaust.

Ukraine says it will not allow in Uman pilgrims for Rosh Hashanah

More than four months into its devastating war against Russia, Ukraine is sending a new message to the world’s Jews: Don’t come here for Rosh Hashanah.

Tens of thousands of Jews flood into Uman, a central city that is home to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a 18th-century Jewish luminary, annually for the Jewish new year.
This year, their security cannot be guaranteed, Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, said in a statement posted on the embassy’s Facebook page.

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