blog | about | contact | origins | help
 
All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Michael Lotker

Question: What do you do when your job requires you to promote non-Jewish holidays such as Christmas or Valentines day? Should you sell things that promote these holidays? If say you work for the media should you write on the topic if your boss asks you to?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Is it ok to think about another woman while having sex with my wife? Thank you.
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: I sing in a choir and we sometimes have performances in churches. People who don't know me assume then that I am Christian (without me doing anything obviously Christian). Do I need to correct their mistake and tell them that I am Jewish?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: I want to be cremated,but my sister is very upset with my decision as she thinks if one is cremated one loses one's soul whereas if one is buried she says we'd be united again in heaven. She is Orthodox and I am a Reform Jew. Does she have any validity according to Jewish law?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: I received a request for forgiveness in the spirit of Yom Kippur. I am not familiar with this process, as it is from someone who is new to the faith. My question is, does the person asking for forgiveness have to specify what the wrongs are? This person did not specify, just asked generally. I feel that I need to know what they felt they did wrong, otherwise how do they know what I'm forgiving them for? Specifically, I do not believe that some of the wrongs are understood. If I offer forgiveness in my heart, I don't see how that can resolve an issue if it's not understood fully.
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Hello Rabbis, I am a Gentile trying to convert to Judaism, but I am also disabled and dependent upon my immediate family for my food, shelter, etc. I am afraid that if I tell my family about my intended conversion, they will stop all support of me at an instant and I would be helpless in terms of money, shelter, and the like. Telling family about conversion is intimidating enough under normal circumstances, but in addition to that I am afraid for my material well-being should I tell them. I know G-d will provide in all things, but I sometimes wonder if I am meant to stay a Gentile in order to make sure I am provided for. I sincerely believe in the Tanakh and G-d's oneness, and want to live a Jewish life, but I have no idea how to do so without endangering my well-being. Any advice would be helpful.
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: What does Judaism say about marital nudity? Some married couples NEVER see each other naked (it is said)..
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: I am interested in converting to Judaism. While I currently have no friends or family who are Jewish, I have been doing quite a bit of personal study, while praying to G-d for discernment on the matter, and feel deeply that this is the right choice for myself and my family. My husband is very supportive and has agreed for our family to live a Jewish lifestyle, he would like to learn more before making the decision to convert himself. I have two questions. First, is it possible for myself and our son (he is 4) to convert, with my husband's blessing, if my husband does not choose to as well? Second, there are only 2 synagogues in my area, both of which are at least a 40 minute drive from our home. One is conservative, the other reform. The nearest orthodox synagogue is about 2 hours away. Is it possible to receive our instructing of Judaism in a conservative synagogue, but the actual conversion (mikvah and so forth) in the orthodox one due to proximity reasons? I hope that makes sense.
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: This question is based on a question posed to the "Ethicist" column in the "New York Times Sunday Magazine." My colleague at work spends most of his time posting to the website, Reddit. He could be posting information about his boss or work environment that could jeopardize his employment. In any case, I believe he is too immature and ill suited for our profession. Do I have an obligation to tell him that this behavior could hurt his career?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Are the obsessions with money, celebrities and athletes, and maybe even Ivy League education, a form of modern day idol worship? My understanding of idol worship is when human creations or people themselves replace G-d and/or are worshiped as a god, this is idol worship. How do rabbis view idols in the modern sense? What does it mean to avoid worshiping idols?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: If a bad practice (sin) has become part of our personality, how can we stand before Hashem to ask for forgiveness knowing that it is probably unrealistic for us to change our ways?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: What role may a Christian stepfather play in or during the ceremony celebrating a Bar Mitzvah? [Administrator's note: A somewhat related question regarding names is found at: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=152]
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: If a first child (daughter) of a father is born out of wedlock (my father married my mother after I was born, put his name on the birth certificate, but divorced her 6 months later) what laws and rules should I obey and how am I viewed in Jewish law? [Administrator's note: for answers on JVO regarding illegitimacy and the term mamzer vs bastardy, see http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=27 and http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=93.]
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Can a non-Jewish female, who had a Jewish father and who has wholeheartedly embraced Judaism at the age of 50, legally become a prominent member of importance in a national and international Jewish women's organisation? Also can this person be a member of an Orthodox synagogue?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: How big is the actual probability today that rice or beans contain traces of actual chametz? Is this really a concern? What do the various movements say about this concern, and about kitniyot in general?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: I am an Orthodox Jew and all in my family are Orthodox too. Recently the man I am dating told me that whilst his father is Jewish, his maternal grandmother converted to Judaism through the Liberal Movement, which technically means he is not Jewish according to Orthodox halachah. He attended a Jewish elementary school, works for a Reform Synagogue and considers himself to be Jewish. Indeed, he has a stronger Jewish identity than many people I know who are halachically Jewish! I know that if we were to get married our children would technically be Jewish, through me, but I still have concerns such as: Would we be able to have an Orthodox Jewish wedding? Would my Synagogue call him up/give him a aliyah (honor of being called to the Torah) were he to visit one Shabbat? Would he be counted in a Minyan (quorum for prayer), etc? Are there any other practical implications I haven't thought of that I need to consider? This is a very difficult subject for him as he is quite sensitive about not being recognised as Jewish by other Jews.
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Is a husband obligated to provide for his wife? My husband and I have been married for one year. We are both in our sixties. I agreed to sign a prenup because my husband (who is financially quite comfortable) wanted to protect his estate for his son. I have worked all my life and have always taken care of myself. I earn about half of what my husband does and never inherited any family money. The bottom line is that the prenup became very contentious and I saw the final version at the signing - 48 hours before our wedding. Our guests had already begun arriving. I walked out of the signing and spoke with my attorney who advised that this document was the "best he could do given that my husband started on the process two weeks before our wedding." Against my better judgement, I signed it. Within the first three months of our marriage I wanted it changed. We went to a therapist and he agreed to make changes. There have been continuous fights and multiple promises from him (lies) to make changes.To date, nothing has been done. My fear is that if something happens to him I will not be able to afford to live in the apartment that we presently share. My husband owns the apartment, our prenup stipulated that I pay him rent. EVERYTHING he has goes to his son. I secretly discovered his will- which he refuses to discuss with me. In order to be in compliance with state law he is obligated to leave me something. He is leaving me 2% of his estate and a minimum monthly allowance (administered by his son whom I don't care for) toward the apartment upkeep. Prior to our marriage I was an independent self-supporting woman had an apartment which I could easily afford, lived quite comfortably, and was not dependent on anyone. I gave away most of my furniture, have lost my apartment, and if something happens to my husband will be dependent on the generosity of his son. Even more shocking is that in his will it states, " If I am unable to keep up with the monthly maintenance for the apartment, the estate has the right to evict me in 90 days." My husband and I dated for 5 years prior to our marriage.I lived with him for two of those years although I always kept my own apartment. I saw him as generous of both his time and money to charity, overly generous towards his son, and as a well-liked and respected member of the community both professionally and socially. Until the prenup, I never experienced this side of him or had any indication that he would behave like this. Is this a moral and ethical way to treat one's wife ? What can I do?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: If a Jewish person who lays Tefillin develops dementia and begins to forget things is it okay for someone to help that person with the correct procedure and prayers for putting it on?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Does it go against Jewish law (Halachah) for a Jewish teen to wear a "purity ring" that features no Christian symbols?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: What is the original 'health' rationale for the Jewish law about not eating milk and meat together?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Why do they use cheesecloth to cover the stone at the unveiling ceremony?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: I had a child with a Jewish man 33 years ago. At the time he wanted me to get an abortion, but I did not, and I did not tell him. He just found out of our son's existence a year ago. What if any are his obgligations to this child? He left when he found out I was expecting. We are now in contact with each other, and he came to meet his son this last month. Is this child entitled to have his father's last name? The child has always known who his father was. I raised this child by myself as I don't believe in abortion. His father and I do talk often now. For a lot of years I had no way to contact his father. didn't know where he was, but recently I found him and told him he has a son. I am not Jewish and don't know the laws in that faith, or if he has any obligations to his son. Any answers would help me. Thanks.
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Is the divide between the ultra-Orthodox and other denominations (modern orthodox, conservative and reform) too great to promote a better understanding and respect between each other?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: What is the reason for the shemittah [7th year of lying fallow] year? Doesn’t it cause hardships to farmers, who can’t work their fields for a year?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

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?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: We are told in the Torah that certain actions will cause “karet,” i.e., that the person will be cut off from the nation. What about those Haredi fanatics who are harassing people and vandalizing property? Shouldn’t that earn them “karet” as well? Why should they continue to be part of our nation?
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

Question: Is it “wrong” if I have no desire to live in Israel? I like my friends, family, community, job, etc. where I am now. I support Israeli causes, but I have absolutely no desire to pick up and live there
Click here to view all of the answers for this question.

LATEST BLOGS  view all blog entries

The God Experience

Posted on 06/26/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
Years ago, long after I became A Serious Jew, I was talking to a friend about an apartment she was trying to rent. She and...

Don’t Judge a Man by his (Head) Cover

Posted on 06/23/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
The other day I was asked if I will wear a kippah for the rest of my life. I immediately answered, “I think so”,...

If You Will It, It Is No Drum

Posted on 06/20/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
Arguably, the most famous dreamer in the Bible is Yosef (Joseph) who not only had big dreams of his own, but who was gifted...

Sexism At Shul

Posted on 06/19/2017 by Deb Morbeto in Beliefs and Practices
When one looks at most major world religions through the lens of the female, it is not long until the words sexist or sexism...

The Noble Path of the Modern Prophet

Posted on 06/15/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
To be completely honest, I do not think that Halacha is something that must be followed in every instance. There are plenty...

Choices That Change The World

Posted on 06/12/2017 by Guest Blogger in Beliefs and Practices
by Ruti Eastman “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Randy Pausch, The...
JVO Panel  of Scholars
           
 
NOW ADD JVO CONTENT TO
YOUR WEBSITE A FREE SERVICE
 
Click here for instructions to embed the
JVO "JEW Q's" widget on your website.
 
Jewish Values Online | email: info@jewishvaluesonline.org

Home | Search For Answers | Ask A Question | About | Contact Us | OriginsUseful Links | Blog | Help | Site Map

Copyright 2014 all rights reserved. Jewish Values Online
 
N O T I C E
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN ANSWERS PROVIDED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL JVO PANEL MEMBERS, AND DO NOT
NECESSARILY REFLECT OR REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE ORTHODOX, CONSERVATIVE OR REFORM MOVEMENTS, RESPECTIVELY.