When You Feel Lost within the Religious Establishment, We’re There for You.
ITIM was founded in 2002 by Rabbi Dr. Seth Farber to oppose the alienation that many Israelis feel at what are supposed to be the most significant moments of their lives as Jews: birth, marriage, divorce, burial, and conversion. The encounter with the religious establishment at these moments is often accompanied by fear, lack of knowledge, disgust, frustration, and anger.
To contribute to positive and significant encounters with Jewish life, ITIM helps people navigate the depths of the religious authorities’ bureaucracy in Israel, providing information, mediating, representing them, and working to simplify the process and solutions to complex problems.
Over the years, we have helped tens of thousands of people, who have found a sympathetic ear in our outstretched helping hand.
The Right to Judaism at Any Time
The “religious establishment” includes the state bodies responsible for providing religious services such as the Chief Rabbinate, Religious Councils, rabbinic courts, burial societies (chevrah kadishah), Ministry of Religious Services in addition to many more. Alongside providing essential services, these different bodies agencies are concerned with questions of ownership that impact the personal and family lives of residents of the state, such as the population registry, their ability to marry and raise a family in Israel, and their right to decide how to bury their loved ones. So in fact, the religious establishment holds the keys to personal identity for the Jews of Israel, and their resulting legal rights.
Through our activities, we help the Israeli public to meet with the religious establishment, and strive to play a significant role in shaping and influencing policy. Work between the public and the religious establishment is delicate and complex, yet we believe that it affects the foundation of our existence as a Jewish and democratic society in the State of Israel.
The Assistance Center (hotline: 1-700-500-507) provides answers for thousands of People a year from all walks of life, who need information, guidance, and support when dealing with religious services. For complicated cases, such as irregular procedures, delays in bureaucratic processes, and more, the Assistance Center staff accompanies callers Individuals and represents them facing the relevant authorities to find a solution.
The ITIM website contains the most detailed, comprehensive, and frequently updated information about proceedings related to religious services in Israel. The site serves more than half a million visitors a year in Hebrew, English, and Russian.
Public and Legal Activity
Alongside individual assistance, we promote widespread, systemic changes for the public interest good, including the publication of periodic reports that monitor religious services, petitions on fundamental issues, and initiating legislative and parliamentary activity in the legislature and parliament.
Community rabbis, social workers, or local community activists are often called upon to accompany, advise, and assist individuals and families on issues relating to religious services. We view these professionals as partners in our effort to help the public, and conduct training seminars that give them the knowledge and tools to help further.
Media and Information Activity
We consider the media important tools in raising the public’s awareness of their rights and in creating a public conversation on relevant issues. Along with diverse media activities, we publish newsletters and practical guides that help those facing marriage registration procedures, Proof of Jewishness, conversions, burials, and more.
– 3,500 inquiries answered a year. These include giving information, guidance, assistance, and intervention.
– Solutions to complex cases. Over the years, our intervention has enabled thousands of people in Israel to marry, to prove their Jewishness, to convert, and to be buried with dignity.
– Operating a website in three Languages. that serves over 500,000 visitors a year.
– Periodic Monitoring reports on conversion, marriage, and burial in Israel. These reports] have been extensively debated in Knesset committees, and have served as the basis for the State Comptroller’s Report in addition to several studies.
– Supreme Court recognition of state conversion graduates. Supreme Court ruled that the marriage record must recognize the Judaism of state conversion graduates.
– Formal procedure for women’s participation in marriage registry.
– A new arrangement to recognize Orthodox converts seeking to immigrate to Israel.
– The “Burial in Israel” seminar was conducted at thirty major hospitals and nursing homes.
We thank the farsighted individuals and organizations who have partnered in our efforts to enable people to live a Jewish life in Israel.
Among our supporters:
UJA Federation of New York
The Maimonides Fund
Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City
Russell Berrie Foundation
Jewish Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ