Rabbi, I have a problem

Should I give charity only to Zionist causes in Israel?

By Simon Rocker, May 19, 2013

Question: A very Orthodox man came to our door collecting for a school which helps special needs children in Israel. I asked if the institution were Zionist; he said no, so I would not give a donation. Was I right to stand by my political principles or should I have set them aside and given something?


Should I recite Hallel with the blessings on Yom Ha'atzmaut?

By Simon Rocker, April 8, 2013

Question: Our synagogue has been debating whether it is appropriate to recite Hallel for Yom Ha’atzmaut Day (Israel Independence Day) and if so, whether it should be said with the berachot?


Is it permissible to have a child through egg donation?

March 4, 2013

Question: We have been trying to have a child for several years and, after numerous fertility treatments, have been told that egg donation is our only option. But we are worried that our child will not be accepted as part of the Jewish community. I am halachically Jewish, but the donor is not?


Should we oppose our son marrying-out or accept his choice of partner?

February 4, 2013

Question: We are a middle-of-the road Orthodox, shul-going family. My son, who is in his mid-30s, has met a non-Jewish girl he’d like to marry. Although she is willing to let any children be brought up as Jewish, we are still unhappy. Should we try to discourage the relationship or try to make the best of things?


Do I have a religious duty to support Israel?

December 27, 2012

Question: I am proud to be Jewish and actively support a number of communal charities but I no longer have any feelings of affinity with the state of Israel. I have been told that is not compatible with being Jewish. But am I religiously obliged to support Israel?


Are rabbis obliged to keep the confidentiality of Jews who confess to wrongdoing?

November 30, 2012

Question: I know Catholics observe the secrets of the confessional, but should rabbis be obliged to keep the confidence of Jews who confess to misdemeanours?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is the CEO of the Spiritual Capital Foundation.


Should I wish an old person in mourning A Long Life?

November 1, 2012

strong> Question: I have often found it strange or uncomfortable to wish mourners “a long life” if they are already old, or unwell, or are relatively young but clearly devastated by the loss of their partner. Are there alternative Jewish greetings that I could use?


Should I forgive my ex-husband who deserted his family?

September 13, 2012

Question: After my marriage broke up, my ex-husband had little contact with me or my young daughter and never paid the maintenance he was supposed to. Now many years later he has become more religious and wants us to forgive him. But I am not interested, unless he compensates us for the money he owes us.


Should I make my son go to shul after barmitzvah?

By Simon Rocker, August 10, 2012

Question: My son recently had his barmitzvah but now he feels that since he goes to a Jewish secondary school, he has enough Judaism during the week and no longer wants to go to shul. How do I convince him otherwise?


Should I wash my hands after a funeral?

July 6, 2012

Question: On leaving a Jewish cemetery, I saw a notice instructing me to wash my hands on leaving and was told it was to wash away evil spirits. I can’t believe this could be true, but if it is, what are the evil spirits?(Question)