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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi David Seed (Emeritus)

Question: Tell me where I can find information or examples about Jewish values in the movies.
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Question: I am a stock trader, and I want to live a balanced life of spirituality, wealth, and joy. In my field, the primary measure of success is the money that is made. However, is there a limit to how "successful" one should be? That is, if I am able to live a well-balanced life, is it ok for me to be driven to make more and more money? It's clear that if money takes you away from all the other important things in life then you become a slave to it and that is indeed very bad; but what if you are able to live a very balanced life and simply strive to make more and more as a consequence of your desire to strive for more success and abundance?
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Question: Is there a Jewish obligation to look after your health - diet / exercise / etc? I feel like the centrality of food in Jewish culture and ritual is really damaging to other values, like guarding your life. Is there a real basis for my discomfort?
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Question: Today's business world is built on advertising and PR...From mainstream media, and down to google, with its tantalizing 25 character ads that have an entire industry built around them. Ads tell half truths...What do Jewish values say about being in advertising, PR, marketing, etc? If it's not totally false, but just "spin"...how bad is it?
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Question: The bar and bat mitzvas in my town have gotten out of control in terms of lavishness. And the content is either non-existent or totally unrelated to Judaism. I want to buck the trend, but I don't have the courage. Can you give me some ideas as well as some strength from Jewish tradition? What should the day really look like, pre-Hollywood-obsessed America?
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Question: I am very distressed about the very public racism coming from Israeli rabbis and their wives – about not selling houses to Arabs, or urging young Israeli women to stay far away from Arab men, who are ostensibly trying to entrap them. The language used was incendiary and completely racist. Is this really how Judaism wants us to relate to non-Jews?
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Question: I have several regular charities I give to, but this year I am unable to keep up my level of giving due to salary cuts. Is it better for me to cut out a few charities, or to reduce or minimize my level of giving to all of them?
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Question: I just found out that my spouse has been chatting intimately (and suggestively) with a total stranger when I accidentally stumbled on his Skype dialogue box. I am extremely hurt. Should I be considering his actions the same as if he had an affair? What does Judaism say about ‘emotional affairs’?
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Question: Many of political candidates and leaders seem to have a conservative view of the role of religion in public life. What does our faith teach us about the influence of religion on public policy?
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Question: It seems that some people want to live Jewish lives, but not go through the process of converting? Is it OK for a person to practice Jewish religious rituals if he or she is not Jewish?
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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: November is National Adoption Month. When Jews adopt, are their children automatically considered Jewish?
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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: 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: I have lived as an Orthodox Jew for the past 20 years, and while I love the frum (observant) community and lifestyle, I have no desire to have children. I find them annoying. If I let my feelings be known in the community I won't get set up on dates. Why am I being forced to lie about liking kids? What should I do?
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Question: We were once strangers in a strange land, but what does Judaism have to say about the U.S.'s immigration policies? Is the recent Arizona law in keeping with Jewish views?
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Question: Times are tight, and I’m trying to tighten my belt a little bit regarding my finances. Am I still required to give tzedakah when I’m having tough times of my own?
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Believe me, I completely understand why a Jewish community would want to do away with the ethnocentric notion of Jewish...
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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.