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Yair Evron
Professor Emeritus, Political Science department, Tel Aviv University, and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies
Daat Emet is an organization of primary importance in Israeli public affairs. The accelerated growth of the ultra-Orthodox and the nationalistic ultra-Orthodox in Israel is a serious threat to the nature of the state and society. Daat Emet is a reasonable and rational voice which makes an important contribution to the dissemination of free, secular, and humanistic thought. Daat Emet has a central educational role to play in the fight for the future shape of Israeli society.

Boas Evron
Publicist, historian, founder and director (since 1973) of the Israeli Arts Council's project to translate classic literature and, more recently, the Israeli Arts Council's project on classic Hebrew literature.
I think that the battle which you, in the framework of Daat Emet, are waging against Charedi and Nationalistic Charedi brainwashing is one of the most significant battles being waged in the country today. All the other important battles being waged, like the fight for peace, for social justice, for women's rights, for human and civil equality, in one way or another connect to Daat Emet's battle, for religious nationalistic ignorance is at the foundation of all the evil and racism which permeates our country. I salute you and all who help you in your fight with heartfelt appreciation.

Ron Aharoni
Professor, Department of Mathematics, Technion
Daat Emet is an important undertaking by one who was there and knows, one who can answer fools in their own coin. (My) truth is that religion is too stupid to deserve an answer. It is nothing but an unbalanced invention; if an individual were to formulate such ideas he would be confined to a lunatic asylum. It is possible that the war against religion must be more forceful -- an uncompromising public relations campaign, an unyielding war against darkness, lawsuits against the tradition of circumcision (for some reason female circumcision is considered primitive while male circumcision is well accepted), a fight to teach evolution in the schools, a campaign whose goal is to make the religious feel compelled to apologize for their beliefs. Daat Emet is a bold and significant first step in the right direction.

Shmuel Ben-Dor
Emeritus, psychologist and anthropologist Department of Behavioral Sciences Ben-Gurion University Be'er Sheva
The Daat Emet organization, in my opinion, is an important and even critical component in the socio-intellectual fabric of the state of Israel. Daat Emet serves as a counterweight to irrational and even anti-rational stands and approaches. These sort of stands and approaches are common in Israel (and not only in Israel), and often one gets the impression that they have a monopoly on the truth. One should be grateful to an organization which champions rationality and reason and acts to advance them.

Dr. Dan Boneh
anthropologist
We are, today, in the heat of a religious cultural war. The religious establishment and the Charedi/religious public is growing in numbers and power. Slowly they are changing the cultural and ethical structure of our beloved state of Israel. The religious force us not only to not travel on the Sabbath or to eat kosher, they are dragging us all into messianic nationalism, territorial conquest, racist relations with others, and basically change the characteristics of our lives and try to turn Israel into a Jewish version of Iran. The money which is given to yeshivot, kollels, synagogues, and strange and dangerous rabbis could be invested in a war on poverty, on creating workplaces, on ethical education, and on advanced art and Israeli culture. Daat Emet is an Israeli organization which stands steadfast against the attempts to turn Israel into a land of Halacha. The organization serves as a "secular home" for enlightened Israelis who do not wish to find themselves in a Jewish Iran in another few years. The organization has decided to say no to the efforts of outreach professionals and the brainwashing of the religious establishment. As you know, the religious operate radio stations, television channels, newspapers, conventions, call mourners after the death of people -- and these aggressive tactics never stop. Daat Emet is an attempt to stem the tide. Daat Emet is the public framework for practical and theoretical activity which attempts to preserve the liberal, secular, open character of the state of Israel. We must support this organization, join in its activities, cultivate it and enlarge its scope to stem the tide, to save the state of Israel from the charedization which threatens it. A religious state is no state at all.

Joseph Rivlin
Professor Emeritus of Textile Chemistry Philadelphia University, Pennsylvania
The Daat Emet organization presents a unique and critical picture of the Jewish faith and all its branches. I see Daat Emet as one of the pillars of those who fight ignorance and superstition. If this plague of ignorance which destroys everything good within us is not stopped, it will lead us back to the days of the Dark Ages.

Nati Linial
Professor of Computer Science The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
A central factor in the success of the natural sciences is the ability to identify errors. The willingness to retest old suppositions and to make corrections based on new observations is critical in the research of truth. The Daat Emet organization casts a sharp and sober eye upon ancient Jewish beliefs and without fear sorts through what is correct and what is erroneous, what should be adopted and what should be rejected. This is all done from a sincere obligation to the truth. This is an important contribution to the clarification of our identity. In an era where immersing in nonsense faiths is so popular, one should support a group like this, one which champions rational investigation and untiringly seeks the truth.

Dr. Menachem Hofnung
Dr. Menachem Hofnung
Daat Emet is a point of light in an Israeli society in which an increasing number of people identify Jewish tradition with outreach professionals and those who promise miracles and redemptions. The Daat Emet organization deals with critical Jewish thought, based on a deep understanding of the sources, serious study, and open-minded thought. It is very important that this voice be heard at the public levels of Israeli life.

Professor Yael Amitai
Department of Physiology Ben Gurion University
Daat Emet has taken upon itself the serious task at which the state educational system often fails, teaching rational thought to counter the rising tide of Jewish religious fundamentalism. Daat Emet's considered arguments against religious faith as a source of authority are important to publicize in an era in which secularism is seen as an empty vessel.

Professor Oded Navon
Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
I believe that it is important to bring before the public -- the Charedi, the religious, the traditional, and the secular -- diverse points of view, both on matters of religion and faith and on matters of humanism and science. Daat Emet is, as far as I know, the only organization which attempts to penetrate the Charedi community and create doubts as to the validity of the only viewpoint presented to its people, to present alternatives, and to call for critical and independent thought.

Uri Rappaport
Professor (emeritus) of Jewish History in the Second Temple era, University of Haifa President, Jordan Valley College
For quite some time I have been following the activities of the Daat Emet organization, and recently I even read some of its publications and its web site. In my opinion the organization does important work for the Israeli society and culture. Its activities create a dam against the fundamentalism which is washing through the Israeli society and media. It exposes the communities which it manages to reach to alternatives to the uncritical religious experience which has, to its detriment, been joined to superstitions and which blindly follows preachers, miracle men, and propagandists of all sorts. This experience has lost all proportion and wastes the money of its adherents (generally the poor) on amulets, incantations, and various kinds of sorcery. The reasoned, critical voice which calls for rational thought is a life saving drug which will revive Jewish and human culture in the Israeli society. Anyone who wants a society which will uphold a Jewish culture free of the ties of outdated religious examples should support Daat Emet in its fight for Judaism as a culture.

Shlomo Zand
Professor of history, Tel Aviv University
Dear Daat Emet, I whole-heartedly and with my entire mind support your important activities. Particularly at the start of a new century, particularly in the state of Israel, secular, atheistic activity is important. We are all weak, but it is not faith in supernatural powers which will save us from the march of iniquity along which we are traveling. Only through rationalism, combined with a strong desire and human generosity can we, perhaps, become somewhat stronger and more righteous.

Yehoshua Porat
Professor emeritus of history The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
I have been following Daat Emet's activities for the past several years, and I cannot refrain from expressing how deeply and sincerely I have been impressed and even amazed by the seriousness, importance, and depth of their activities. The state of Israel has abandoned hundreds of thousands of children to the various religious circles, and these children are getting an education which is reactionary, dark, which rejects science and whose enemy is free thought. The only way to change the situation and prevent its spread is exposing the inner truth of Jewish religious thought, commandments, and intentions. This is what Daat Emet does, and for this it shall be blessed. With this I identify whole-heartedly.

Aharon Amir
Editor-in-chief, New Keshet Magazine, a periodical of literature, thought, and critique
The importance of Daat Emet stems from its being a brave warrior on behalf of the secular viewpoint and from its intimate knowledge of the Halachic and other foundations upon which the opposing theocratic viewpoint rests.

Professor Elia Leibowitz
School of Physics & Astronomy and The Wise Observatory Tel Aviv University
Were Daat Emet only involved in publishing pamphlets carrying their name -- it would be enough. I have merited to read and study some of these pamphlets and I can testify that I have not enjoyed anything as much in quite some time. The pamphlets are literary creations, in all senses of the word, in language, style, and form. I would even take the risk of stating that given the complete mastery of the classical Hebrew of responsa literature, the vast expertise in the sources of Halachic rulings throughout the generations, and the clarity in presenting matters, the pamphlets even surpass most of modern Halachic writing. It can be seen that the authors of the pamphlets are definitely Torah scholars, more than most who now bear this title in vain. In my opinion the pamphlets are worthy of being studied in school literature courses, not necessarily religious or Charedi, though those students particularly need to be exposed to the contents of the pamphlets. But the members of Daat Emet also do substantially more; they distribute the pamphlets on their own, as well as the information and ideas brought therein. Daat Emet encourages reading Jewish sources and rulings with open eyes, and thus opens windows in the minds of people who see an unfamiliar landscape of classic Jewish culture, one rife with errors, uncertainty, naivety and ignorance. But uncovering these elements in Jewish tradition, elements which are part of every society and every human civilization, paradoxically raises the standing of classic Jewish tradition. On the one hand it breathes life, movement, and dynamics into this culture which often seems to the masses to be monolithic and frozen. On the other hand, it allows us to gaze directly at this splendid Jewish tradition without evasion or apology. Recognizing and seeing Jewish tradition as an amazing, historic human creation which reflects the totality of human spirit, including all its limitations, is a necessary condition for the effective, civilized, and fruitful continuation of that tradition in the future.

Uzzi Ornan
Professor emeritus, Department of Hebrew Linguistics, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem Visiting professor, Computer Science Department, Technion--Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa
I fully recommend that every person who believes in the equality of man and in the values of humanism and democracy help, as much as he can, the blessed activities of Daat Emet. The activities of this organization save many wayward souls amongst the youth imprisoned in Charedi yeshivot, isolated from general society with no preparation for a life of work and creativity, destined to always be dependent upon the leaders of the isolated communities, subjugated to them for their living and their families' lives. The Daat Emet organization is not involved with politics or parties. It does tremendous work exposing our secular world to the yeshiva students imprisoned in the Charedi world, unable to peek outside. This exposure leads the boys into a desire to know the world outside their own, and often even to being open to those not exactly like themselves. It is not for naught that the leaders of the Charedi warn their flocks not to open or peek at Daat Emet's "impure pages" These important activities are undertaken on a volunteer basis by members of the organization, but they also require money to cover expenses -- creation of the material, travel, etc. The organization has encountered a real problem: most people in our society with money are either somewhat religious or have feelings towards religion, and they hesitate to support these activities, though we feel they are a blessing to youth imprisoned in yeshivot and that they bring to these boys the light of knowledge, understanding, and familiarity with the world. Therefore it is appropriate to ask every free person -- sit and consider how you can help further these activities. If you cannot give of yourself and your time, give a monetary donation, as much as you can.

Prof. Ze`ev Herzog
Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near East Cultures Tel Aviv University
In my opinion, the activities of Daat Emet have a decisive importance in our era, a time in which society and culture in Israel is deciding between reason and messianics. I see Daat Emet as an important group, one which supports the shaping of the image of Israeli society as an educated and enlightened society.

Michael Harsagur
Professor emeritus of history, Tel Aviv University, Doctorat d'Etat, France
I am certain that the Daat Emet organization is an important cultural and intellectual force in the intellectual life of Israel, a mighty weapon against backwardness and darkness. Any help given to this organization will go to furthering the ideas of rationality and light in the Israeli public. This organization aims to bring Israel into the world of culture.

Dr Yigal Bin-Nun
Teacher of Epigraphy and Historiographical Research of the Scriptures, Universite de Paris VIII
The secular public sometimes feels an inferiority complex in the face of the religious, to whom the secular attribute a deeper knowledge of Jewish sources. In reality, the situation is quite different. Though there are some experts amongst the Charedi, their numbers are few. Most yeshiva students learn chapters of the Mishnah and Talmud but undertake no philosophical/critical evaluation of their content. They retreat from the Scriptures as from a fire which may cause them to abandon their simplistic faith. In contrast with the rabbinical authors who over the generations opened themselves to science and general learning, contemporary Charedi flee from Jewish studies and isolate themselves from it. Scriptural and Jewish Studies is almost entirely the province of the secular. Those who treat science rationally must conduct a pertinent debate with the religious about Jewish law and religion and the harm it has caused in various aspects of life. The Daat Emet organization and its founders have been, for quite a while, conducting such a debate with Charedi and religious circles. The study of Scriptures and Jewish sources in different frameworks will only strengthen the secular/rational demands by the Israeli public for an honorable separation of state and religious institutions. Such a separation will also improve the image of the religious in the eyes of the secular.

Yair Evron
Professor Emeritus, Political Science department, Tel Aviv University, Senior Research Fellow, The Institute for National Security Studies
Daat Emet is an organization of primary importance in Israeli public affairs. The accelerated growth of the ultra-Orthodox and the nationalistic ultra-Orthodox in Israel is a serious threat to the nature of the state and society. Daat Emet is a reasonable and rational voice which makes an important contribution to the dissemination of free, secular, and humanistic thought. Daat Emet has a central educational role to play in the fight for the future shape of Israeli society.

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Q&A


about convert from judeisem
31-08-2011


atheism
13-12-2010


Shouldn't teenagers get freedom of religion too?
06-06-2010


Is the Torah credible?
20-01-2010


Orthodoxy
18-08-2009


Mass Revelation
23-07-2009


The Lubavitcher Rebbe -- psychopath or crook
28-04-2009


The Genealogy of Yehudah
05-01-2009


tefilin
17-12-2008


safer habris
24-09-2008


Please respond
15-07-2008


Classical Jewish tradition
19-03-2008


The status of women in the Scriptures
11-03-2008


Why should we live in this country?
06-11-2007


Yeshiva students and general education
30-10-2007


How to properly answer a religious person
30-10-2007


Halacha overrides Scriptures
29-10-2007


How can an atheist be a Jew?
29-10-2007


Having sexual intercourse with a married gentile woman
03-10-2007


The sages lacked expertise in Scriptural Hebrew
03-10-2007


How did the Jewish people come about?
30-09-2007


The Jewish state
12-08-2007


Torah & Hebrew
07-08-2007


The Amoraim and Tanaaim could turn a person into a heap of bones
31-07-2007


The unrestrained religious revile intellectuals
19-07-2007

 Daily PilPul

What keeps yeshiva students busy

A dentist who extracts the tooth of his slave during treatment - According to the laws of the Torah, if a master hits his gentile slave in the eye and puts it out, the slave goes free, for it is written: "If a man strikes the eye of his male or female servant and destroys it, he shall let him go free for the sake of his eye" (Exodus 21:26).
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