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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Herschel Finman

Question: What does Judaism say about video games? What kind of video games are permitted? [Violence, Dystopian, Sexually oriented, War themed, mental challenges, problem solving, mazes, role-playing, logic,and others.]
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Question: May a non-Jewish lady give a single Jewish lady a prayer shawl (a tallit) as a gift?
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Question: What does Judaism say about marital nudity? Some married couples NEVER see each other naked (it is said)..
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Question: A question came to mind after listening to recent high profile news story, that may closely parallel a key “Jewish Value” drilled down by our parents, "you can be friends with non-Jews, but you can’t date them". Can this be interpreted as racism? Is this cause for non-Jews to hate Jews?
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Question: How does completing a service project have anything to do with B'Tzelem Elohim? [JVO Kids: 4-6]
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Question: Rabbi, I live in a small area without many Jews. When I am traveling for sports, is my only option for food a cold salad? Is there a priority for the laws of Kashrut? [JVO Kids: 4-6]
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Question: If Adam and Eve didn't have any girls, who did, or who had the next generation? [JVO Kids: 4-6]
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Question: What parts, if any, of a chicken, turkey, duck, goose, etc. are not kosher to eat (other than the blood)?
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Question: My BF, a chaplain for hospice (a Presbyterian minister) and I have just done our DNA. There are Jewish genetic lines, on both sides for me, but the remarkable thing was my BF was reported as Ashkenazi on his father's side. I am a Reform Jew so to me that makes him Jewish if he has Jewish genes. Funny thing is that my son's father (Catholic Spanish) also came up Ashkenazi. They are under the J line same as my own father. So, is he a Jew?
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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]
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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: Is electoral voting on Shabbat (the Sabbath) ok?
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Question: Does a Jewish mother name her daughter after herself? [Administrators note: Similar and related questions have been asked in past and can be seen on the JVO website by entering the following links into your browser: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=59 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=184 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=237 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=298 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=523 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=870]
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Question: If a Jewish lady (or really anyone) will be away from home for the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), and cannot attend services, what are the repercussions, if any, Is this a problem in regard to Jewish values or morals? Thank you.
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Question: I am starting a business as a personal chef. Would there be any halachic issues if I were to cook non-kosher food for a gentile client in the client's own kitchen?
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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: Why it is okay to give and/or receive (and use) clothing from someone else, including a deceased person, but not shoes? I have heard this as a minhag (custom). Is this proper? What is the basis for this, and what does Judaism say about it?
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Question: I would like to convert to Judaism. My fiance is Muslim. He fully supports my decision to convert and has agreed to raise any children we may have Jewish, although he does not want to abandon his own religion. Is this a problem? May I convert in this situation?
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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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Question: How does the Jewish ownership of slaves reconcile with the celebration of fleeing slavery in Egypt [as told in the book of Exodus and recounted at the Passover seder]?
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Question: Cleaning for Pesach (Passover) always causes a great deal of stress. What are the absolute minimum requirements for ridding the house of chametz (leavened items)? Is it really so terrible if there is a crumb here or there? [Administrators note: A very similar question appears on the JVO website at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=378]
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Question: What is the best, most meaningful way to fulfill the mitzvot of “mishloach manot” (sending portions) and “matanot l’evyonim” (giving to the needy) on Purim?
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Question: Some religions prohibit drinking alcohol and consuming caffeine. Is there any similar prohibition in Judaism?
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Question: In Judaism what is the purpose of prayer?
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Question: What are Ephraim and Manasshe so significant that they are referenced in the blessing of male children? The Bible tells us little about them.
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Question: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, made a very public $100 million donation to the Newark, N.J., school system. What would the rabbis say about making such a notable gift? Can it be seen as a way to entice other philanthropists to follow in his footsteps? Should donations be made publicly, or is this counter to Jewish values?
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Question: It seems that as people are increasingly aware of where their food comes from and how the animals they consume are treated while alive, kosher eating might become more popular, even amongst non-Jews. How does the safe treatment of animals for consumption fit within kashrut dietary laws, and what is the modern take on non-Jews eating kosher as a way to eat healthier and more fairly?
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Question: What is a woman to do if her husband just won't work? He won't seek a job out. What should I do?
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Question: I know that it is not law, but custom, regarding Ashkenazim not naming babies after living relatives. However, I am very torn as I am about to have my 3rd (and last!) child. We have named our other 2 children's (English) middle names after deceased relatives. My grandmother is 85 and not doing well but we don't expect her to pass away anytime in the immediate future. I am her only grandchild and I would really like to honor her by naming our upcoming baby with her name as our baby's middle name; however I do not want to be doing something horribly wrong in other's eyes. Of course I do not wish my grandmother would die but the reality is she will at some point in the near future given her age while my child will likely live a long life and I think honoring my grandmother with her name as my child's middle name would be a special way to honor her. What do you think? My husband is fine with it but my in-laws are not sure. I am a convert (Conservative) so my family doesn't really have much input (however my grandmother is Jewish). Thank you!
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Question: Shalom. How do you in Judaism 'Honor your Father and Mother' when you disagree, argue, debate, and disagree some more, and they don't respect you? Isn't it better to agree to disagree and stay distant, than to be in their presence and be disrespectful? Like David to Saul? Jeroboam to Solomon? [sic]
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Question: According to Judaism, what is an acceptable gift to bring to shiva? Are flowers and or food appropriate?
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Question: If a child is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah, if the father has passed away, and a step father is taking the parental duties, how should the child be called to the torah by name, as ben birthfather or stepfather's name? is it possible to call him up as both to respect both men
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Question: What is done during a typical Shabbat?
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Question: Is an "unveiling ceremony" (of a headstone in a cemetery) required by Jewish law - rather than by Jewish custom?
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Question: Why are some people so outraged by the sight of a woman holding a Torah? Aren’t we all created in the image of G-d?
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Question: Between soccer games, choir concerts and everything else that seems to accumulate by week’s end, my family doesn’t really have time for a “typical Shabbat.” What can we do to keep the Sabbath special?
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Question: Does the Yom Kippur law of asking forgiveness from your neighbors apply only to those who are of the Jewish faith or all people you feel you may have hurt or wronged or injured of any faith?
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Question: Why do the rules of Kashrut not allow one to mix milk and meat?
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Question: I don't make a lot of money but I am able to live comfortably. I know the importance that Judaism places on tzedakah, but is there some specific standard that I should be trying to reach regarding what I give to charities?
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Question: What are the "theological" views of Chabad?
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Question: What is the basis of belief in G-d? How do you know that G-d exists?
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Question: What is the Jewish stand on women praying wearing Tefillin and a Tallit?
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LATEST BLOGS  view all blog entries

The Value of Disagreement

Posted on 12/17/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
While I am not an overly emotional person, there are a couple of stories that get me every time. Now the Talmud is generally...

Chanukah with the Governor of Rhode Island

Posted on 12/14/2017 by Rabbi Elan Adler in Holidays
Growing up as an observant Jew in Providence, Rhode Island, I attended the Providence Hebrew Day School, in which my father,...

Ten Expressions You Didn't Know Come From The Bible

Posted on 12/12/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
My husband and I were on a long road trip recently when he casually mentioned that the expression "cream of wheat"...

Hanukkah: The Jewish Christmas

Posted on 12/11/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Holidays
“Happy Hanukkah!” I have begun to hear these words with increased frequency as I go about my daily schedule....

Finding Our Purpose

Posted on 12/05/2017 by Marcia Goldlist in Beliefs and Practices
In our modern world new inventions are brought to our attention almost every day. And discoveries which will hopefully lead...

Why I Don't Decorate For Chanukah

Posted on 12/04/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Holidays
I’m in a Jewish Facebook group that, over the past few days, has had a series of posts with hundreds of comments about...
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