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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

Question: Even though circumcision is to enter into the covenant of Abraham, what about aesthetics, health, hygiene, and sanitation? Isn't circumcision for those things, too?
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Question: Indirectly related to the recent Donald Sterling/Clippers saga, while racism shouldn’t be tolerated, my question in terms of values is: should someone whose private conversation is unknowingly being recorded be subject to persecution when he is not intending to publicly voice his feelings, views, or beliefs? Is there a difference with intentionally public ranting racist remarks, as opposed to expressing personal thoughts in private to yourself and your close confidants?
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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: My girlfriend runs a business selling hand-spun tzitzit (fringes for a ritual prayer shawl). Recently, a customer asked her if he could send her his tallit (prayer shawl) and have her tie the new tzitzit directly onto it. She agreed, but was surprised to find, when the tallit arrived, that it was a Messianic (a non-Jewish, fully Christian group that usurps Jewish ritual and incorrectly incorporates it into non-Jewish worship) tallit, complete with a New-Testament quote on the atarah (the neckpiece). Would it still be OK to sell tzitzit to this customer? On the one hand, we're profiting from an arguably idolatrous practice, but, on the other, she's helping a (presumably) fellow Jew (albeit an apostate one) fulfill the mitzvah of wearing tzitzit. What Jewish values are at work here? And what should we do?
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Question: Is there anything we can (or should) do to combat the stereotypes and frequent misinformation about Jews in television and movies? Or does drawing even more attention to it just make it even worse?
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Question: Do you think it’s important to give the Haredi fanatics a different name and not call them “Haredim” or “ultra-Orthodox?” Those names imply they are extra observant and pious, which clearly they are not. Wouldn’t this also help differentiate between the fanatics and more moderate Haredim?
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Question: Beginning in the month of Elul we begin the process to think about our sins that we need to ask forgiveness. If we are granted forgiveness by Hashem on Rosh Hashana, is it only the “punishment” for the sin that is removed or is it also the sin itself that is removed from our past?
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Question: Is there anything we can learn from high-profile Jews caught in scandals? If you were going to reference Anthony Weiner (for example) in a weekly sermon, what would you say?
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Question: Are any of the considerations of granting a Kashrut certificate things like humanitarian treatment of the animals prior to slaughter? Good treatment of workers in the factory? Etc? How can you have kosher goose liver pate, for example? Isn't that an internal contradiction?
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Question: If a child is born to a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father, how is s/he named? Is it still ben (or bat) biodad's English name? Or..?
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Question: My teenage son’s teacher (a young rabbi) has a Facebook account, where he jokes around with students, friends, and colleagues. He is a personable guy and has never posted anything truly inappropriate, but I still feel this level of familiarity and ‘jocularity’ with a teacher erodes boundaries. Am I simply being Old School? Or is there something strange about it?
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LATEST BLOGS  view all blog entries

Jewish Political Violence: Nothing New Under The Sun

Posted on 09/19/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
Tucked in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is the easily forgotten day of Tzom (the Fast of) Gedalia. Generally...

So.... I'm becoming a Rabbi..... a Reform Rabbi

Posted on 09/18/2017 by Dr. Elana Sztokman in Beliefs and Practices
So this week I did something really new. I began my journey to become a Reform rabbi. For the next four years I will be...

The Target Shipping Snafu and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Posted on 09/11/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Holidays
As cleanup from Harvey continues and Irma moves across South Florida, like many, I have been trying to make meaning from...

Struggling to Connect to the High Holidays

Posted on 09/11/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Holidays
I find the High Holidays extremely difficult to connect to. See the vast majority of Jewish holidays incorporate...

My Soul Needed To See That

Posted on 09/06/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
Yesterday, an image came up on my Facebook newsfeed that stopped me in my tracks. This amazing painting was done by...

The KKK, a Black Musician and the Bible

Posted on 08/28/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
What do the KKK, a black musician, and a misinterpretation of a Biblical story have in common? A few nights ago, I watched a...
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