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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Ari Kaiman

Question: This question appeared in the New York Times Magazine: Is it ethical to buy something at a yard sale or a flea market at the seller's asking price if you know the value of the item to be significantly higher than what is being asked? Let's say, for example, someone is selling an old comic book worth thousands of dollars but asks for only a quarter because he or she does not know the true value. Is it incumbent on the seller to do his or her research? If the seller does not, is it fair game? Does the buyer have any obligation to inform the seller?
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Question: I came upon a group called the Black Hebrew Israelites in New York when I was there a couple of days ago and they were talking about how they are the first original Jews and that the whites are trying to replace them. Is this true and do they have any proof like genetics that can see if they are really the original Jews?
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Question: My brother recently married a non-Jewish woman. I went to the wedding, not because I wanted to, but because my mother insisted I go. My husband and I sat in a corner with our kosher store-bought sandwiches (no kosher food in sight) and made a presence. It was a very uncomfortable evening, and has led to even more questions for me. I love my brother very much and want to be part of his life, but I truly do not want to be around his non-Jewish wife. We do not live in the same city, so it's not like we run into each other frequently, but I am not sure what I am supposed to do for the occasions that we do meet. I would consider myself modern Orthodox and my brother has gone beyond non-observant; he now considers himself an atheist. What is the Jewish view on these situations? Does one just try to be polite to the non-Jewish spouse to maintain a relationship with the Jewish family member? My husband and I hope to have a family soon. How do you handle exposing your children to something you are teaching them is wrong? I know the fact that I do not want to be at a table (or in the same room) as his wife hurts my mother tremendously (she does not like what my brother has done either, but fears losing him). Is my difficulty with my brother and his wife a lack of respect for my mother as her children cannot spend quality time together? I know there are several questions listed here. I thank you in advance for your assistance with this.
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Question: What should I do if my child is in school and the teachers are making him do a bunch of Christmas things like decorating the tree and making ornaments? Do I let him participate? We are a Jewish family and I am concerned. I don't want him to be forced to do Christian religious things, but I also don't want him to feel isolated and left out.
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Question: What are Jewish values when it comes to work and working?
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Question: What are the obligations of the community to the individual? What is the responsibility of a synagogue to a Jewish member,specifically in terms of helping that congregant deal with extraordinary stresses of his/her life? What responsibility does the community organization have to that member, and particularly in regard to informing them of consequences of their behavior in advance? I know of a case in which an active member of the Jewish community (one who has contributed much time to the synagogue and has been extremely supportive to individuals in need) was ordered not to continue to have contact with the clergy for personal matters as a condition of continued membership. When the member violated this restriction (by leaving a telephone message for a clergy person when in distress), the congregant was told she/he could not at any time enter the doors of the synagogue at the threat of calling the police. The congregant did not receive advanced notice of this, but was told by a custodian upon coming to services that she/he could not enter. What Jewish values address this situation?
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Question: My girlfriend and I are both in our 40s. We are both divorced and have children, the youngest of which is in high school. I am Jewish (Conservative), and she is non-Jewish. We have known each other for several years, and recently our relationship took a more serious turn, and I have found it difficult to find any resources that speak to this situation. In short, every thing I have read about intermarriage goes very quickly to "the kids." We will not be having children together, so these other resources seem to get very irrelevant very quickly. In addition to any help finding appropriate resources, I would be interested in any type of experiences you have had and what issues came up etc. Thank you all very much.
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Question: An Orthodox Jewish day school, joined a local sports organization that played games on Shabbat, though the school itself never violated the Sabbath. Should they never have joined in the first place? In other words, as Jews, do we have an obligation to distance ourselves from situations if we know there may be a conflict with our religious principles?
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LATEST BLOGS  view all blog entries

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