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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Yaakov Bieler

Question: How to handle overnight unmarried guests?
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Question: What is the Jewish perspective on genetic sex selection of children? Would the latitude (if any) given to genetically select against diseases apply to selecting for desired properties like intelligence or height?
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Question: This question is based on a question posed to the "Ethicist" column in the "New York Times Sunday Magazine." My colleague at work spends most of his time posting to the website, Reddit. He could be posting information about his boss or work environment that could jeopardize his employment. In any case, I believe he is too immature and ill suited for our profession. Do I have an obligation to tell him that this behavior could hurt his career?
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Question: I'm a single male Jew, 35 years old, well established in my career. I am now at the point where I am considering dating for marriage. I know intermarrying is wrong. However, I am terrified of dating a Jewish girl for fear her family would inevitably discover my entire family is dead, and that I would be by definition be a poor choice for suitor into any good family. All grandparents are dead. My father died of old age, my mother and sister committed suicide (presumably due to abuse by father). I've had my share of abuse by father as well, which has affected me. I've been nonobservant and have not gone to synagogue for the entire past decade just to avoid being reminded of the hurt. I've engaged in a lot of therapy, which has helped me to hear, an that is why I am even considering dating at all. Do I just throw up my hands, tell myself I am not fit to marry, and just live for work? Or would the other side be at all understanding of my background and situation? What should I do and how can I balance the mitzvot to marry and have a family, against my situation which makes me question if I can be a decent spouse and parent and fulfill the obligations to a family?
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Question: My mother was Jewish (I didn't know her) my father gentile. Does that make me Jewish? Also what does that make my son and daughters?
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Question: I converted to Judaism with a Reform rabbi, and my husband is not Jewish. We have two children, a daughter and a son, whom we have raised Jewish; they each had a bar/bat mitzvah, and my son attends a Jewish high school. As they begin to date, would there be any reason I or they should inform the other parents that I converted?
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Question: There seems to be a tension between the Jewish mitzvah (commandment) concerning marriage (and subsequently being fruitful), and the concept of love (specifically romantic love, as defined in terms of western thought and literature). In times and places where arranged marriages are/were the norm, this was not a concern, but in modern day America, it seems to be a live issue. Is it the view of Judaism that it is more important to marry to fulfill the commandment - even if one does not love that mate, or should one not marry without love even though the mitzvah seems clear that it is obligatory? What does Judaism say, not only halachically (in Jewish law), but ethically and in terms of Jewish values?
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Question: Are Jews outside Israel seen as part of the galut/exile, Diaspora, or a separate Peoplehood? In other words, how much emphasis is placed on Israel in defining Jews living outside it? Do you see the non-Israeli Jews and Israel as contributing to one another, independent from one another, or is Israel the center or focus?
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Question: What is the connection between the Land of Israel, the natural cycle, and Jewish practice? Especially for Jews living outside the land of Israel, is this still important?
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Question: Are we judged by G-d for our thoughts and fantasies?
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Question: An article (in the Science & Health section of the Feb. 14, 2012 edition of the New York Times) stated that a senior residence facility passed an edict that residents in the assisted living and nursing facility can not eat in the same dining room as the independent living residents. (I recommend you read the article). Some couples and friends can no longer dine together. Various reasons were cited for the decision, including space, mobility, safety and concern about depressing the independent residents. This is screaming out to me as a great discussion topic in Jewish values. I can point to the values of caring for the sick and disabled, treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated, honoring the elderly, etc., but I am looking for specific sources and quotes to use as a teaching lesson. Thanks.
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Question: Why is the Book of Maccabees not read on Chanukah?
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Question: It's tough to draw the line between socio-cultural practices and food wastage. Should we draw a line when preparing meals for Shabbat?
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Question: How should donors to synagogues be thanked?
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Question: Naama Shafir, the Orthodox woman’s basketball superstar, says, “If you have a dream, it’s not a question of ‘either-or.’ You can do both. You can be religious and fulfill your dreams.” What is the Jewish view on this? Is it true that a person can always fulfill his/her dream and be in line with Torah values?
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Question: Is there validity to the debate within small pockets of the Jewish world to fold Yom Hashoah into another remembrance day such as Tisha B'Av or the 10th of Tevet?
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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: What is the explanation for some observant Jewish women wearing wigs that are more attractive than their own hair?
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Question: My 6 year old asked me how it is we have free choice if God knows everything in advance, and while I'm so proud of him for his advanced thinking, I am embarassed that I don't know the answer! Can you help? What does Judaism say?
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Question: I see so many things on Facebook status updates and Twitter feeds that seem so improper somehow – why do we all need to know every detail of everyone’s life? But I seem to be alone here. Does Judaism have anything to say about the ethics of privacy? Could this possibly be a “tzniut” issue?
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Question: If we have arrived in a post-racial world, why is intermarriage still apparently a big deal for many people?
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Question: I understand that when an infant dies, there is no funeral service. Why is this and what is the threshold for when there is a service?
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Question: Israel's rabbis occasionally declare a day of fasting and prayer in the hopes that it could bring rain to the country in a drought. What is the religious doctrine behind such a calling?
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Question: November is National Adoption Month. When Jews adopt, are their children automatically considered Jewish?
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