Rabbi, I have a problem

Should I have objected to the visitor whose son brought a colouring book to shul on Shabbat?

April 23, 2015

Question: A visitor recently came to shul on Shabbat for a barmitzvah with his young son. When he sat down, he pulled out a book and some crayons and the boy quietly started colouring. I didn’t object because I didn’t want to embarrass them. But should I have said something to the wardens?

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Should we skip Biblical passages like wiping out the Amalekites?

March 5, 2015

Question: We have just read on Purim about Haman’s attempt to annihilate the Jewish people. But our own Torah carries injunctions to destroy the Amalekites and other tribes which are hard to digest. Isn't it time that we stopped publicly reading such passages in synagogue?

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Should we have our son's barmitzvah in Israel?

February 5, 2015

Question: We had our heart set in having our son's barmitzvah in Israel even if we could not
have such a big simchah. Unfortunately two of his grandparents might not well enough to travel - and
we are torn between abandoning the original plan or going ahead.

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Can my son learn about other faiths at school?

January 2, 2015

Question: If Jewish schools are forced to teach about another faith as well as Judaism for GCSE religious studies, as the government wants, should my son opt for another subject instead, such as biblical Hebrew?

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Is it wrong to avoid Israeli produce during the sabbatical year?

December 4, 2014

Question: I have heard that some people will not buy produce from Israel because of the shmittah (sabbatical) year. But since there is a concerted boycott campaign against Israel, shouldn’t we do everything we can to buy Israeli goods and encourage others to do so?

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Can my non-Jewish child be converted if they go to a Jewish school?

October 30, 2014

Question: My wife is not Jewish but she is happy for our children to be raised as such. If they were to go to a Jewish primary school, could they be automatically converted before they reached bar or batmitzvah?

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Is it safe to send my daughter to a non-Jewish school?

September 7, 2014

Question: My daughter is 15 and very proud of being Jewish. She is due to change schools to another non-Jewish school and is extremely worried about how she will be treated because of recent events in Israel. How do I reassure her?

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Is it ok to sit less than a full week’s shivah?

August 7, 2014

Question: When my mother died, I wanted to sit shivah for the full seven days, but my sister only one. In the end, we agreed to have prayers for three nights. My sister also wanted to serve tea for visitors afterwards. I wasn’t keen but I conceded. Was I right to compromise?(Question)

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Are children too young to visit concentration camps?

July 6, 2014

Question: (Question)

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is the CEO of the Spiritual Capital Foundation.

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Can we put a limerick on our father's tombstone?

June 9, 2014

Question: When we wanted to erect a headstone for our father, we wanted to include a favourite limerick of his. It was humorous but certainly not rude. However, the burial society told us it would be inappropriate - were they being over-officious?

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