Rabbi, I have a problem

Would a mezuzah be an appropriate gift for a Catholic baby?

July 1, 2010

Question: A close friend who is a Catholic has just given birth to a baby girl. I want to give the child a gift that would be symbolic of my tradition, and a mezuzah would be an ideal blessing of the new baby’s room. Would this be appropriate?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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What should I do about my tattoos before converting?

June 3, 2010

Question: I’m from a Christian background and have been studying Judaism for two years in order to convert. I keep kosher and observe Shabbat but I have a problem. I have tattoos. I understand they are forbidden but what can I do since they are a permanent part of my body?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Is a circumcision performed by a gentile valid Jewishly?

May 6, 2010

Question: A friend of mine is pregnant, is expecting a son and is very nervous about circumcision. She is thinking of having it done in hospital by a surgeon who may well be non-Jewish. Would that still be valid Jewishly?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Do sexual relations in older age constitute a waste of sperm?

April 8, 2010

Question: If it is wrong to waste sperm, as the story of Er and Onan demonstrates in the Bible, then can I have sexual relations with my wife after the menopause since biologically she is no longer able to conceive and therefore any sperm is wasted(Question)

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Can I have Kaddish said for me if I'm buried in a non-Jewish cemetery?

March 18, 2010

Question: I am 65, I married out and my husband and I plan to be buried in a non-denominational cemetery. But I would still like to have Kaddish said over me. Is that possible and how could it be arranged?(Question)

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Should I invite my estranged grandmother to my wedding?

January 28, 2010

Question: I haven’t seen my grandmother for years. The man she married, after divorcing my grandfather, sexually abused me when I was young. I am getting married and do not want to invite her to my wedding but, if she turned up uninvited, I wouldn’t want to create a scene by having to remove her. What should I do?

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In hard times, which charities should we give preference to?

December 23, 2009

Question: We are struggling to make ends meet. Is it better to try to pay our shul fees and contributions to our children’s school for Jewish studies in full even if it means stopping our other charity donations, or reduce all of them by an equal amount?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Can my hungry baby eat meat with milk?

November 26, 2009

Question: I have a young baby of seven months and I have just started to wean. Like a good Jewish girl, she eats her chicken with gusto but I have been told that to ensure she continues to grow, she needs milk with every meal. So I am permitted to mix meat with milk?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Can I marry the man I promised my late husband I wouldn’t?

October 28, 2009

Question: My late husband was always wary of a man whom he thought was interested in me. When he was dying, he made me promise not to marry him and I agreed. Two years later we have become very friendly. Am I still bound by my promise?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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If you had to choose, would it be better to attend Kol Nidre or Ne'ilah on Yom Kippur?

September 24, 2009

Question: I am 24, live at home and I’d rather go to work on Yom Kippur. But I have agreed to come to shul for a couple of hours in order not to upset my parents. Which part of the prayers would it be better to go to — Kol Nidre or the concluding service the following evening?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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