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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Jason Miller

Question: Why are there Jews Against Circumcision? [See a related earlier question and answers at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=166.]
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Question: If a Jewish family suffers the loss of a family member right before a holiday, for example, Rosh Hashanah, is it appropriate to wish them L'Shana Tova? How should that be handled?
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Question: I was never given a Hebrew name. My father is a non-Jew and my mother is a Jew. I understand that the last part of the Hebrew name is the first part of the father's Hebrew name. What would the method be for determining my Hebrew name be? [Administrator's note: A related question is found at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=298.]
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Question: Why does G-d make so many people go through prejudice? Why did G-d let there be slaves in the USA if it already happened in Egypt? Does he care? [JVO Kids: 4-6]
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Question: Is Non-Dairy Vegan 'cheese' Parve? Can you mix Non-Dairy Vegan Cheese with meat and have it considered kosher?
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Question: Why are sesame seeds considered kitniyot (not acceptable for Passover for Ashkenazim)? They are not related in any way to beans or cereals and nobody makes flour out of sesame.
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Question: My wife and I have no sexual relations, which I find frustrating. Masturbating has become the norm. I feel that divorce may be necessary, because I am missing the closeness of a relationship. I am Jewish and she is not. What do you advise?
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Question: What is the original 'health' rationale for the Jewish law about not eating milk and meat together?
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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: I wanted to ask if it is okay for an observant (e.g. Orthodox) Jew to watch TV and use the internet (my internet browser does have a filter on it). I watch TV, but am careful with what I watch, as I don't want to watch series or movies that are inappropriate for any reason (vile language or other things). But is it against Jewish law to watch TV and use the internet? I ask because I know there are (ultra) Orthodox Jews who are completely against it. What does Judaism say? Thanks in advance for answering!
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Question: My mother isn't/wasn't Jewish, my father is. I was raised Reform, had a bat mitzvah, [was Jewishly educated, celebrated holidays, identify as Jewish, participated in the Jewish community, did not participate in or celebrate any other faith or religion,] etc. If I have children with a man recognized as fully Jewish, how would they be seen in the eyes of Israel and the American Jewish community (particularly the Conservative movement)? How stable are Israel's laws around this -- could they change in 10 years? What about halachah (Jewish law)? I would really appreciate an answer, even if it's not what I want to hear. Thank you!
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Question: Are we, the Jewish people, doing enough to help the aging population of Holocaust survivors?
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Question: One of Purim’s (reportedly) most beloved traditions is to drink “until you can’t tell the difference between evil Haman and righteous Mordechai.” Is drunkenness really a Jewish value? What about for those who have issues with drinking (nazirites, and recovering alcoholics, for example)? [Administrators note: A related question about drinking on Purim is found in the JVO database at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=364]
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Question: What happens at an "unveiling ceremony"? Are there prayers said, and by whom? [Admin. note: Another related question on unveilings can be found on the JVO website at: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=134]
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Question: Kosher is kosher. But is there a moral or ethical problem with eating a kosher food that very closely resembles a non-kosher food? What about the issue of “marat ayin?”
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Question: When placing a Menorah in a high rise lobby are there Jewish rules that need adhering to? Should it stand alone? Does it need to be placed on a white cloth? There seem to be some discrepancies among the residents in our building.
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Question: I have conflicting values. I send my children to a Jewish day school because I value the religious education they receive, but I feel guilty for not supporting the public schools beyond my tax dollars.
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Question: It is important to light Shabbat candles, but my husband comes home too late on Fridays to do this before sundown. What should we do?
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Question: If a newborn or child is adopted by Jewish parents and the child is raised a Jew, is the person Jewish since there is no way of knowing if the child came from a Jewish woman? Or, as in my case, the birth mother was not Jewish at time of the birth but did later convert once she married the Jewish birth father?
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Question: What is the difference between "Glatt Kosher" and "Kosher?"
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Question: At what point should parents give up their efforts to “control” how their children observe religion? For example, if a child decides they do not want to attend weekly Shabbat services or wants to stop wearing a kippah, what should the parents' response be?
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Question: My neighbor strongly objects to my planting of a specfic grass type (Zoysia grass) saying that it will eventually overtake his lawn and he does not want Zoysia grass. Is there any Jewish moral reason why I must be considerate of his feelings?
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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: What is the Jewish view about killing Osama bin Laden? Should Jews joyously celebrate his death? Assuming he was in fact unarmed should the Seals have taken him prisoner in acccordance with Jewish values?
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Question: Can you explain the value behind various Kosher certifications? Do all of them take the same things into consideration? If so - why so many? How did a commandment get politicized? And if not - what are the various considerations?
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Question: When buying a new car, I know it is the right thing to do to think of environmental concerns - miles per gallon of gas, CO2, etc...But are there any Jewish directives here? A What Would Moses Do kind of thing?
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Question: Is flirting on the Internet considered cheating? What are the parameters of infidelity in Jewish thought? Is it physical sex only, or more broad?
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Question: Given the inequality in Jewish Law regarding marriage, is it better to just have a civil marriage and avoid a rabbinic wedding altogether? What advantages does a Jewish wedding have? What can my rabbi do to guard my (the woman's) position and assure safety and security in this type of union?
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Question: Some of Bernie Madoff's property is up for auction. While selling his wares to raise money to repay those he scammed is a good thing, isn't it kind of unsettling for people to want to own things formerly used by a fraudster? What does Judaism say about this?
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Question: Jon Stewart called for sanity at his rally in Washington. Does Judaism provide a path for achieving this?
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Question: What’s the most important message to learn from Chanukah? Is it a lesson about God’s miracle or about the Jews' overcoming adversity? Or is it about religious freedom?
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Question: How can Jewish values help us become happy?
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Question: Did Maimonides believe in an afterlife? Resurrection of the dead?
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Question: How can Jewish values help us repent for our sins?
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Question: Israel received a lot of criticism for its handling of the flotilla #1. To what extent in Jewish law is Israel justified in balancing its security interests over allowing "humanitarian" supplies to reach Palestinians in Gaza?
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Question: What is the Jewish view on "don't ask, don't tell" and gays serving openly in the U.S. military? Does it matter that gays serve openly in the Israeli military?
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Question: What's the Jewish perspective on disciplining children? Are there limits on punishments that a parent is supposed to impose on their child?
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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: Is plastic (cosmetic) surgery permitted by the Torah? Is there a difference in the Jewish view between reparative and elective surgeries? Does Judaism approve of cosmetic procedures (not life saving, and not physically reconstructive) if it makes the person feel better?
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LATEST BLOGS  view all blog entries

Don’t Judge a Man by his (Head) Cover

Posted on 06/23/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
The other day I was asked if I will wear a kippah for the rest of my life. I immediately answered, “I think so”,...

If You Will It, It Is No Drum

Posted on 06/20/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
Arguably, the most famous dreamer in the Bible is Yosef (Joseph) who not only had big dreams of his own, but who was gifted...

Sexism At Shul

Posted on 06/19/2017 by Deb Morbeto in Beliefs and Practices
When one looks at most major world religions through the lens of the female, it is not long until the words sexist or sexism...

The Noble Path of the Modern Prophet

Posted on 06/15/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
To be completely honest, I do not think that Halacha is something that must be followed in every instance. There are plenty...

Choices That Change The World

Posted on 06/12/2017 by Guest Blogger in Beliefs and Practices
by Ruti Eastman “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Randy Pausch, The...

The Wonder Woman of the Torah

Posted on 06/11/2017 by Dina Newman in Beliefs and Practices
Today’s film scene is swarming with superheroes. DC Comics and Marvel have moved from the pages of comic books to the...
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THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN ANSWERS PROVIDED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL JVO PANEL MEMBERS, AND DO NOT
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