Rabbi, I have a problem

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?


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?


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?


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)


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.


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?


Is there an acceptable alternative to circumcision?

May 4, 2014

Question: My niece did not want her son circumcised and instead had a “simchat brit” ceremony performed by a Progressive rabbi. But my husband was outraged and boycotted the occasion. Now my niece will not speak to him. Was he right to take such a stand?


Can we scatter our father's ashes in our garden?

March 31, 2014

Question: My father has asked to be cremated when he dies. My two sisters and I each want to have his ashes scattered in our gardens, so we are thinking of dividing his ashes between the three of us.


Should we return our wedding presents if we divorce?

March 2, 2014

Question: I was having doubts about my fiancé before our wedding and should have pulled out but I thought it would be less disruptive if we went through with it. However, we agreed to divorce only three months afterwards. Should we return the presents?


Should there be a secular conversion process?

February 1, 2014

Question: My son is going out with a nice non-Jewish girl who is interested in Jewish culture but won’t consider conversion as she is not religious. I read a proposal somewhere that there ought to be a “secular” way of joining the Jewish people. Do you think this is a good idea?