Rabbi, I have a problem

Should I protest on behalf of others?

January 12, 2012

Question: I am a teacher at a Jewish school and recently took part in the one-day strike. I had some qualms and I am fortunate that the changes in pension provision will not adversely affect me. But I felt I had to make a stand on behalf of colleagues. Was I right?

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Which husband should I be buried next to?

December 1, 2011

Question: My first husband died after a very happy marriage together, which produced two children. After some time, I remarried and have been blessed with an equally happy marriage. When the time comes, which husband should I be buried next to?

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Should you recite a blessing over earthquakes

November 3, 2011

Question: A friend of mine said there is a blessing you can make if you hear thunder — which is also said on experiencing a hurricane or earthquake. But how can one make a berachah over events that wreak devastation and cause massive loss of life?

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Is the Book of Life just a metaphor or something we are required to believe literally?

September 27, 2011

Question: I am stirred by the sound of the shofar and some of the melodies in synagogue at Rosh Hashanah. But what I find hard to take is the idea that God will decide our fate for the rest of the year. Is the Book of Life just a metaphor or something we are required to believe literally?

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Should I believe in a Jewish hell?

August 25, 2011

Question: I always thought that Jews don’t believe in hell but then someone told there is a place called Gehinom where wicked souls are sent. I find the whole idea of eternal punishment troubling. What should I believe?

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My wife has become too religious, how can I cope?

July 28, 2011

Question: My wife was always more observant than I am but she has become more religious. I don't mind taking our boys to shul on Shabbat, but now she wants me to stop taking them to football on Saturday afternoon too.

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Could a Jewish parent bury their dead child with their teddy?

June 16, 2011

Question: A non-Jewish friend of mine lost a three-year-old child and put his teddy bear in the coffin. Would a Jewish parent in a similar situation be able to do the same?

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I'm not Jewish, can I go to a Jewish school?

May 12, 2011

Question: Our synagogue has been approached by a non-Jewish family who want their child to go Shabbat services in order to qualify for entry to the local Jewish school. The school rules stipulate only that children have to attend services a certain number of times a year, not whether they are Jewish. What should we do?

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Our parents want a lavish simchah, we don't - what do we do?

March 31, 2011

Question: My fiancé and I are happy to have a small wedding. But my parents want a larger simchah to invite all their friends and relatives, and are willing to pay even if it means financially stretching themselves. How do we sort out an increasingly stressful situation?

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Should I give in to my in-laws' superstitions?

March 10, 2011

Question: My in-laws want us to tie a red ribbon on the cot of our new baby to protect from the evil eye. I am adamant that I'll have no truck with such superstitious mumbo-jumbo but my wife says it can't do any harm and I should give in just to humour her parents.

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