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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Aaron Schonbrun

Question: How does Judaism view the occult and "new age" practices and ideas? For example, Tarot cards, ceremonial or folk magic, or astrology. I don't believe these things have actual supernatural powers, but I do find a lot of symbolic value in them. Provided one is not worshiping other gods or practicing another religion, can one be a Jew and still take part in these things for self-exploration or purely out of curiosity? If not, where would a Jew draw the line today?
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Question: How can I earn (re-gain?) trust if I lied to a loved one? How do I tell the truth after a lie if no one trusts me? [JVO Kids: 4-6]
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Question: In Judaism, when someone dies, how soon can/should you donate their clothing?
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Question: May a couple who have been converted in Masorti (connected with Conservative) Judaism celebrate a Jewish marriage ceremony in an Orthodox synagogue?
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Question: How should someone in the modern world fulfill the mitzvah for every Jew to write his own Torah scroll? If it's figurative or outdated, what's the modern-day equivalent? If one fulfills it literally, by commissioning or writing a Torah, can the Torah be donated or loaned to a synagogue, or must one retain ownership of one's Torah?
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Question: Hi. I have been dating a boy 7 months now and we were planning on marrying until we found out that my great grandmother on my father's side's conversion was done wrong which makes the rest of the family down not Jewish on that side. The problem is the boy I am dating is a kohen (Priest, descendant of Aaron). Would an orthodox rabbi marry us? I have very severe heart problems and every time I have to think about not marrying him it stresses me to the point that I have to go to the hospital and receive IV medicine if not worse. What can we do?
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Question: What is structured (fixed) prayer all about in Judaism? Can’t we just speak directly to Hashem (G-d) in our own words and language?
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Question: I recently lost my 23 years old son, suddenly and unexpectedly. I am inconsolable. Friends from school, work, and the neighborhood that are Afro-American have shown great love which I appreciate more than words can express, but they don't know of our different customs. I am getting cards with cash in them to help pay for the funeral. I am very uncomfortable. I don't want to insult anyone. Gentile fiends are also sending traditional Christian baskets with floral arrangement of lillies, etc. What should I do?
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Question: Should we still be spending time and resources on prosecuting Nazi war criminals, many of whom are old and sick?
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Question: Is it permitted for a practicing Conservative Jew (or others) to follow a Western Sephardic minhag (customs, other than their own family's)? I am Conservative through and through, but follow a Spanish-Portuguese minhag at home and with children and grandchildren. I don't make an issue of this in the community (which is largely Ashkenazic, not Sephardic), but prefer to attend a Spanish-Portuguese synagogue during the High Holidays if possible.I feel the two traditions are very close. Please understand, I am clear that I am a Conservative Jew. Is there any problem with this?
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Question: Labor union strikes can paralyze a local economy. What is the Jewish position on striking and work stoppages?
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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: According to Jewish law and custom, may I buy a plastic Buddha head for a house decoration?
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Question: Many of the movements, and even individual congregations, are writing their own prayerbooks/siddurim. Is this valid and inline with Klal Yisrael (All Israel) and other Jewish values?
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