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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Sari Laufer (Emerita)

Question: A friend recently lost both parents in the same week. At the funeral of the first parent he performed Kriah with a ribbon. Five days later at the second funeral not even the conservative rabbi was sure whether to tear a second ribbon or to further tear the first. In the end they decided on two ribbons. Is there correct halacha for such an instance?
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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: I am a nurse working 12 hr. shifts at night. When I began my current job my hiring boss allowed me to work 8 hr. nights on Saturday night, then two twelve hour nights Sunday and Monday. So I was always able to observe Shabbat because I didn't have to work until 11pm on Saturday night. Then that manager retired. Since then the eight hour shifts were eliminated. I must be off Tues. nights to prepare for lessons on Wednesday nights as I teach Hebrew school on Wednesdays. I requested to be off Tues, Weds, Fri, Sat. I was told I could have either Fri night or Sat. night off but not both. Since I am a nurse- and sick people don't take "time off", then as another Jewish friend reassures me, am I doing "divine work?" I happen to be Reform. I chose Fridays off so I can usher in Shabbat, but have to be at work by 6 pm on Saturday. What does Judaism say about this situation?
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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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