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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Eric Kotkin

Question: Is it ok to think about another woman while having sex with my wife? Thank you.
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Question: My friend is Jewish. Her husband is not. I was at their home and now have a question. Is it kosher to celebrate Chanukah, lighting candles in front of a Christmas tree? I didn't know what to say!
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Question: How is the Law the knowledge of good and evil?. Is the good and evil related to being in covenant relation with God? So it is good by using it only if you are in an unbroken covenant? Example: The Israelites broke the covenant (see prophet Jeremiah) [Sic. The Hebrews are described as breaking the rules of the covenant, but they did not reject the covenant as this implies.]. They await a new covenant not like the Law of Moses [New? or Renewed?]. If the Law is the old covenant, is it evil to keep the Law? Is that what the knowledge of good and evil means? Law used in covenant and used out of covenant results in good and evil? All Blessings upon the Israel of God Russ
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Question: Indirectly related to the recent Donald Sterling/Clippers saga, while racism shouldn’t be tolerated, my question in terms of values is: should someone whose private conversation is unknowingly being recorded be subject to persecution when he is not intending to publicly voice his feelings, views, or beliefs? Is there a difference with intentionally public ranting racist remarks, as opposed to expressing personal thoughts in private to yourself and your close confidants?
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Question: My question is about the Jewish ethics of using a false identity to post comments on the web. In particular, if I want to comment on something posted (perhaps in a blog, or write a review of some book or product), am I acting ethically if I create a 'fake' name and use an email address that can't be identified as me? Is the answer different if I am writing critical things about a product or work, even if I am telling my actual opinion and/or experience with it? Does this change if I am writing comments telling people about my own work and encouraging them to go see it on another site, or praising things that I sell? What are the boundaries? I know there are some because I recall an incident in which an academic created false identities and praised his own work, while denigrating others' works, and that was thought to be unethical, if not illegal. What do Jewish values and ethics teach in this area? Is it ever okay to use an alias or false identity, and if so, what are the limits or boundaries?
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Question: Dear Rabbis, I want to ask about the concept of resurrection. Although it is not clearly stated or described in the Torah, the afterlife and resurrection of the dead has held an important position in (some of, at some times) Jewish belief and thought. We know that some people die very young, and some very old, many in a very bad physical condition, unable to walk etc. According to Jewish thought, in what condition will resurrection take place (if it does)? Will someone be resurrected as an age 95 year old person who is unable to walk and disabled, or will it be as one in the full power of their youth, etc.? Thank you in advance for your answer.
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Question: What is Tu b'Av? Do we celebrate it today? What is the significance of the day?
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Question: Wouldn’t the Jewish people and Israel be better served to solve the Women of the Wall dilemma quietly through political and legal channels? Israel is a democratic country where citizens can make change with their vote for political parties that represent their beliefs.
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Question: I have a question concerning sexuality: My wife likes harder sex and other things like that from time to time (but nothing extreme). What to do?
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Question: Is there such a thing as a Jewish race memory? I have what seems to be an overwhelming identity with Jewishness, yet I was not born a Jew in any sense. My father was the son of a Jewish mother who married out. He never put over Jewish identity within the home apart from his knowledge that he was Jewish. Yet I feel strongly that I ought to convert, and one of my strongest personal ambitions is to celebrate Passover. If you have any personal experience to add to this, I would be grateful. Am I mad to feel such a strong attachment where logically there is none? regards Dee
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Question: Can a non-Jew pray using specifically Jewish prayers like the Shema and the Amidah if they are sincere in believing what the prayer states?
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Question: At the beginning of my relationship, I communicated clearly to my s.o. that I considered pornography to be infidelity. My partner agreed that he would stop. He continued for years without my knowledge, even lying about his computer being broken in order to hide his use. At points he even described his use an an addiction. This deceit went on for 6 years. According to Jewish Law, is it fair to consider this infidelity equal to a physical betrayal? [Administrator's note: See an earlier related question and answer on JVO at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=304]
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Question: I want to convert to Judaism, but I've been told I should look to convert under a rabbi approved by the Chief Rabbi in Israel in order for my conversion to be considered kosher. Is this true?
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Question: Does penetration by any part of a male into any part of a female make the status of the girl change for her ketubah (marriage contract) in Jewish law or thought?
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Question: Is the true Jewish ideal to sit and learn Torah all day? What about when it's at the expense of earning a living and, in Israel at least, defending your country? When did the "kollel life" become the norm and not the exception? Didn't our ancestors, even from the time of the Bible, fight battles and hold down jobs?
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Question: A Jewish woman is getting married to a non-Jew. Her Jewish mother died many years ago, and the woman was raised (but not adopted) by her Jewish father and this now beloved non-Jewish 2nd wife/mother figure. Can this stepmothers name go on the ketubah, or must it be the birth mother? [Administrator's note: A closely related question can be found at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=152]
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Question: What is the Jewish view on factory farms? I am asking from the perspective of Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim (Chayim) as well as our role as Jews to be moral examples to the world (or le'goyim). Are factory farms "kosher"? If the meat that comes from them only signifies they were slaughtered in a kosher way, how could a rabbi indirectly be approving of the very cruel factory farms? Shouldn't the value of avoiding unnecessary cruelty be one that is maintained across the spectrum of observance? [Administrators note: Similar questions have been answered on JVO in past. See www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=47. A search on the site for 'Kosher' or 'Kashrut' will find other questions and responses.]
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Question: After a recent tragedy in France, many people are saying that Jews there should leave and move to Israel. Is there a value to staying in France and trying to improve the situation, or do Jews have an obligation to leave rather than put themselves in danger?
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Question: There’s always so much negativity in the news about Israel. And the good news often gets buried. Do influential Jews—bloggers, journalists, religious leaders—have an obligation to spread the word about positive developments coming out of Israel, in order to shed some positive light on Israel?
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Question: What does progressive Judaism (liberal, such as Reform, Reconstructionist, and others) think about dressing and "tziniut" (modesty)? What is its position? Is this different than more traditional views (such as Orthodox, Conservative, or Lubavitch)? Thank you.
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Question: In my spiritual journey to find what traditions are meaningful to me and enhance my understanding of Judaism, I've considered starting to cover my hair (I'm married). How do I reconcile my feminist values with Jewish ideas of Tzniut and practices such as hair covering?
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Question: What does Jewish law say about respecting the Law of the Land? Can one jaywalk, drive over the speed limit or cheat on taxes and still be religious?
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Question: According to Jewish law and custom, may I buy a plastic Buddha head for a house decoration?
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Question: What is the Jewish ethic for exchanging enemy prisoners for a Jewish prisoner if the probability is increased of more Jews being ultimately or indirectly killed?
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