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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Zev Farber

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?
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Question: May a husband and wife with mutual consent (and assuming niddah, seed spilling, etc. are not an issue) use handcuffs or other restraints or toys to spice things up? [Admininstrator's Note: Related questions can be found on JVO at: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=67 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=486 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=978 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=1130]
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Question: My question is two-fold. I sort of stumbled upon a blog, where a "high-class escort", is describing her life. In the comments, a religious Moslem guy is chastising her to give up this 'career path' and do tshuva. I wanted to say something from a Torah stand point. I know what the pertinent halacha/hashkafa (law) is for a Jewish lady. But I'm not sure about a Bas Noach (a female human being, non-Jewish, according to the Noahide laws). Also, is it a Chilul Hashem (an affront for G-d) for me to even be commenting on such a blog? Thank you.
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Question: (Aside from the obvious answer that the Torah says not to) why can't we mix different breeds of animals? [Administrator note: Presumably this is being asked both in regard to working them, as the Torah states for oxen and donkeys, and in breeding them - mixed kinds, as in 'designer' dog breeds.]
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Question: May a healthy Jew participate in a phase 1 clinical study used to determine the safety of an investigational drug? Would Jewish parents be allowed to consent to have their healthy child participate in such a study?
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Question: What should you do when your personal values are in conflict with a certain ethic at work? What does Judaism say about this?
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Question: Do varying Jewish perspectives on Revelation exist? Can one see Revelation as a human response to an event that defies a simple explanation? Where does rabbinic response or mediation create a contemporary response? What would these varying ideas imply as to how one lives their life?
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Question: In Megillat Esther, do we learn that a Jewish woman can utilize her G-d given charm and beauty for a good cause?
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Question: What are Jewish values when it comes to work and working?
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Question: I would like to hear your take on the article in The New York Times (October 2, 2012, "Tattoos to Remember," by Katherine Schulten). Livia Rebak was branded with the number 4559. Now her grandson, Daniel Philosof, has the same tattoo. At right, three men who stood in the same line in Auschwitz have nearly consecutive numbers. .WHY did Eli Sagir get a tattoo with the number 157622 inked on her forearm? WHY might this tattooing practice be unsettling or offensive to some? WHY did people in the camps treat with respect the numbers from 30,000 to 80,000, according to Primo Levi? About HOW many Holocaust survivors are still alive? etc. Judaism, as the article mentions generally frowns on tattoos (and body piercing) as it alters G-d's image. I will be using this lesson, for 8th and 9th graders. Others, in my school will be using it for 7th graders. Thanks.
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Question: I'm making the transition into observant Judaism. I've already incorporated many different aspects of Jewish life and practice in my own. The one thing that is most difficult for me is finding kosher meats in my area, specially lamb and red meat, which are meats I love to eat from time to time. Can I purchase organic meats instead, which are more accessible in my area and in this way observe Kashrut? Thanks!
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Question: I live in the US southwest, where there are not a lot of Jews. I was raised in a place where it was the total opposite, and there were synagogues within walking distance. What are some suggestions for developing a closer relationship with G-d in my circumstances? In my opinion, everyone needs to work on their relationship with G-d. It seems funny, but I do not remember ever in Hebrew/religious school learning about the subject of how to develop a relationship with G-d when you already believe in G-d. What does Judaism tell us about this?
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Question: Israel's Interior Minister said that he is putting the needs of Israel first by sending back illegal African immigrants. But does Israel, of all countries, have a right to be xenophobic? Do we concentrate on our internal problems at the expense of isolating ourselves from the needs of others?
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Question: Is there any legitimate basis today to the Jewish concept of mesirah (the prohibition to inform to a secular government) when it comes to child abusers/molesters? Either in Israel, or anywhere else in the world?
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Question: I am dating a non-Jewish man who I love deeply. I'm still a virgin but thinking about having sex sometime soon. I still want to marry a Jew in the end, so if I've had sex with a non-Jew, will a Jew still marry me or would I be considered tainted?
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Question: Do you think Jews appearing on reality television shows can be a good thing for the Jewish people? When so much press about religious Jews is negative, could this be a positive step?
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Question: My wife and I are thinking about how our children should dispose of our bodies once we have passed. Having no love for the traditional methods, we went in search of alternatives. We discovered a body farm. In this method the bodies are staked out (often) in the open on a protected plot of land so that they might be studied concerning natural decay, then the information gathered is used for forensic studies and training concerning murder investigations and other such things. We like the idea of this for two reasons: First, it helps to assist the living, and second, it returns the bodies to the earth in the quickest way possible. We will not go any further in this plan without guidance. Can you help? [Administrators Note: There is a related question on the importance of burial in a Jewish cemetery in the JVO database at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=223. The concept of a body farm was foreign to me and I had to research it. There are multiple in the US at this time. They are used for training purposes, as the question states. However, the bodies are not always placed on the ground: some are buried, partially buried, covered with materials, placed in shade or sunlight or under water, and so on. The bodies are then examined at various intervals ranging from daily to weekly to monthly, depending on what is being studied, and photographs and samples are taken. This is not, strictly speaking, a completely natural decay process, as it may include exhumation and sampling multiple times.It is certainly not a traditional burial, and the body does not remain undisturbed.]
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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: What is proper or expected with respect to co-workers and employees attending a funeral? If I work for a Jewish manager but did not know the family and deceased relative (parent), should I attend to show respect for the living?
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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.