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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Evan Moffic

Question: In my girlfriend's parents' Orthodox community, it's fairly common for people to refuse to eat at other families' houses. Sometimes it's for kashrut [keeping kosher, observing the dietary laws] concerns (disagreements over acceptable heckshers) [hecksher=notation indicating supervision for Kashrut by a known group or organization], but the majority of the time it's for seemingly unrelated issues (e.g., the wife not covering her hair or wearing pants) that somehow also reflects on that family's kashrut observance for these people. I find that kind of divisiveness disturbing -- wasn't it "because of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza Jerusalem was destroyed"? [Administrators note: this refers to a story about sinat chinam - baseless hatred and shaming another.] Which is the more important Jewish value -- unity among Jews [klal yisra'el] or strictly maintaining your religious standards? Can they be reconciled?
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Question: Is there a value in continued interfaith dialogue with Christian institutions that organize boycotts of Israeli products and divestment from Israel. This seems to be a blatant act to try to deny Israel the right to defend against threats by terrorist organizations that seek Israelís destruction. [Administrator's note: This issue seems to have arisen again in recent news (June 2014) with the vote for divestment from companies doing business in Israel by the Presbyterian Church USA.]
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Question: My very good friend is Jewish, I am a Christian. We have been very close friends for most of our lives, and I have attended countless Sabbath dinners at her house. This past Friday, one of her friends who was also at the dinner expressed displeasure at my being there. They stated that it was wrong to observe the Sabbath in the presence of a Christian. I was wondering if that was correct. I have always enjoyed going to these dinners and would like to continue to be invited, but I don't want to put my friend in a situation where they are in conflict with their beliefs. Should I bow out at the next invitation?
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