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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Richard Wolpoe

Question: The $2 billion sale of the L.A. Clippers may have been the business play of the century, given that the value of the club rose by $1 billion in less than one month. If this was a ploy, planned and executed by the owner, it was a doozy. Does Judaism say it Is okay for someone to act to denigrate their own name for financial benefit?
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Question: I am a performer, and sometimes i have a show on Shabbat. What do I do if i want to celebrate Shabbat, but I already have a prior commitment? What about when I feel really bad about not following the Jewish Law?
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Question: While I support tolerance, acceptance and unity for the Jewish people, I can’t help noticing that when I have visited the Kotel many times during morning hours, there does not appear to be even a minute base of women that want to pray in an egalitarian style minyan. At the same time there are thousands davening at the Kotel every morning peacefully, representing many threads of Judaism. Why all the commotion to create an area for egalitarian minyanim (prayer groups) on a regular basis at the Kotel, when there doesn’t appear to be the numbers to justify using very limited prime real estate for this purpose? My question is more about the need to accommodate a very small specific group for a once a month event. Wouldn’t it be great to see thousands of Jews show up at the Kotel every morning demanding an egalitarian style minyan? That would show a different level of seriousness to the Women of the Wall (WOW) cause. But, as of now, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Wishing for peace and unity for the Jewish people, I want to know what this is really about.
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Question: Is gelatin kosher?
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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: Is a Jewish parent required or obliged by Jewish law or Jewish values to leave anything to their children in their will?
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Question: What is contemporary Jewish thought or interpretation of the Stand Your Ground law? [Administrators note: As in the Florida law that grants the right to use a gun without retreating if there is a "reasonable" fear for your own life - note the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman incident and the court case that followed]
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Question: Can Jews of one ethnicity adopt holidays and customs of another? For example, some Ethiopian Jews celebrate “Chag HaSigd” around Sukkot, and Moroccan Jews celebrate “Mimouna” after Pesach. Is there anything wrong with an Ashkenazi Jew taking on these celebrations?
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Question: As Jews, what is an appropriate way to commemorate the anniversary of the September 11 attacks?
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Question: Is there a special Jewish prayer that we can say at Thanksgiving dinner in commemoration that we were granted religious freedom in America?
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Question: I often see guests at simchas (celebrations) waste so much food, putting mounds on their plate. We seem to take more than we need. Should we be promoting a more responsible balance between hospitality and waste?
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Question: What is the idea behind “kol yisrael arayvim zeh lazeh?” Are we really responsible for each other’s actions? How can a nation spread out throughout the world truly bear responsibility for each other?
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Question: Lag Baomer - the 33rd day of the 7 weeks observant Jews count between Passover and Shavuot - is a total mystery to me. The celebrations, what seems to border on pagan ritual at rabbis' graves - all of it...very odd. Can you provide clarity / insight / rationale?
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Question: I recently offered to help at the house of a close relative that was sitting shiva for her mother. Both non-kosher food trays and kosher food trays were being brought into the house. The people sitting shiva were not shomer kashrut. I felt uncomfortable with the situation as I didn’t want to serve the people sitting shiva from the non-kosher food trays, and I also didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable or embarrass them during their shiva period. Would it be permissible for me to serve them food if they requested food from the non-kosher food tray? Are there less stringencies if the food tray was dairy versus meat?
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Question: When there is a conflict between "siding" with one's spouse vs. one's parent - is there a Jewish view on marriage vows vs. obligation to respect parents? How does one balance these two obligations when they seem to conflict?
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Question: Please explain the prohibition that a Jew should not charge a Jew interest on a loan and the practicality of this prohibition in a modern world.
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Question: What is the Jewish view on celebrating "saint or spirit based" days like Halloween or Valentines Day? By now they are more commercial than pagan. Is there a problem in either Jewish law or custom?
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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: Is there a difference between 'just words' and images in terms of suggestive Internet content in terms of being unfaithful?
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Question: How can Jews bring Judaism into celebrating Thanksgiving?
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Question: Given the deceitfulness of Jacob in his dealings with Esau and Isaac, how is it that he became a patriarch and his name synonymous with Israel? In other words, why should a person who acts in less than an exemplary manner be revered as one of the patriarchs?
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Question: The latest rumor of a celebrity practicing Kabbalah is supermodel Naomi Campbell. What is the celebrity draw to Jewish mysticism and can a non-Jew legitimately "practice" Kabbalah?
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Question: Can a Jew be buried with a tattoo or body piercing? How has this changed over time, if it has, and what is the reason behind the prohibition?
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Question: We haven't heard much about the death penalty lately, but public debate surrounding capital punishment seems to flare every so often. I'm never sure how I feel about it - on one hand, "an eye for an eye" is surely justice served. On the other, who are we to play God, particularly when the US criminal justice system is so flawed? How can jewish values inform our views on the issue?
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Question: I truly support Israel, but in this day and age it is difficult to do so, with so much dissent in the news and on the streets. Where in the Torah does it state that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews? Does the Torah delineate borders?
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Question: Is circumcision absolutely necessary for baby boys?
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Question: Can one be Jewish and not believe in God?
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