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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Joel Rembaum (Emeritus)

Question: There is a big problem, noted again recently in the media, in the ultra-Orthodox community of not reporting child abusers and protecting them, rather than the victims. What can we do to stop this, get the criminals arrested, and protect the innocent victims? Does this reflect Jewish values, and is it in line with Jewish moral behavior?
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Question: After a recent tragedy in France, many people are saying that Jews there should leave and move to Israel. Is there a value to staying in France and trying to improve the situation, or do Jews have an obligation to leave rather than put themselves in danger?
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Question: In the Torah, God promises prosperity if we keep the Torah and destruction if we violate it. But how can we still believe that, when we’ve seen over the centuries that our actions and our reward or punishment don’t always correlate?
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Question: How does the concept of “tzedakah” apply to government, especially in Israel, since it is a Jewish state? Does the government also have a religious obligation to provide for the needy members of society? Or is this just an issue for individuals?
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Question: My Jewish brother is engaged to a Christian woman and will be getting married to her in a non-denominational wedding ceremony. My (nuclear) family is fairly observant and, agreeing with our rabbi, my wife and I decided that our children should not be exposed to this event. We planned that I would go to the wedding but my wife and young children (ages 11, 9 and 6) would not. My (non-observant) mother knows that the reason the children are not attending is because we don't want to expose them to a celebration of this intermarriage, and she has been giving my a lot of pressure to change my mind. I never told my brother the real reason because I didn't want him to feel like I was punishing him or for him to blame Judaism for the kids not going. I told him the reasons were financial and now I'm getting pressure from him too--he is offering to help pay for the plane tickets. I truly feel uncomfortable about the idea of the kids attending this wedding and celebrating this event which we are teaching them is wrong. On the other hand, I love my brother and I know how much he loves my children and I feel terrible about how disappointed he's going to be if they're not there. What other compromises can I, or should I, possibly make? How do I balance shalom bayit (peace in the home) with maintaining the integrity of the values we're teaching our children?
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Question: What do you do when work ethics conflicts with social responsibility?
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Question: Is Israel justified in 'strong arming' foreign journalists from participation in the 2011 Flotilla to cover the story from sea by its statement that participation in it, as a reporter, was liable to lead to being denied entry into the State of Israel for ten years?
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Question: In President Obama’s recent speech on the Middle East, he endorsed Palestinian demands for a two-state solution based on pre-1967 lines. This brings fears that Israel will be vulnerable to repeated attacks, like those that occurred between 1948 and 1967. As a Jew, how can I vote for a President that is pressuring Israel to withdraw to indefensible borders even though I support the President’s domestic policies?
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Question: I want to convert to Judaism, but I am married to a Christian, Is this at all possible. We have been married for the last twenty years, we have three children ages 14,11 & 4 and there is no crisis.
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Question: From a Jewish perspective, what obligation is there for the head of household to carry life insurance? If so, when is this obligation no longer required?
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Question: What does Jewish law say about coping with spousal addiction to cybersex for 10 years in a 20 year marriage? (The addict was deceitful and betrayed trust.)
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Question: I teach my kids that recycling and saving the planet is a mitzvah, but I don’t really have any sources to base that on. Can you help me?
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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: I have old hagaddahs and booklets from undertakers with prayers and old yarmulkas. Which items can I destroy without disobeying religious tenets?
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Question: What if someone is experiencing problems at work, such as a hostile work enviroment. Perhaps the employer would rather give an employee a bad time, hoping they'll quit, as opposed to firing them (to avoid paying out unemployment benefits). How does one handle that situation? In this day and age, quiting a job might not be a good thing to do, because the next job might not be just around the corner.
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