Rabbi, I have a problem

Can I mark my son's death on the anniversary of the English, rather than the Hebrew date?

March 22, 2012

Question: My son died several years ago on June 24, and although I know the Hebrew yahrzeit is Tammuz 9, this dates holds very little significance for me whereas June 24 always stays in my mind. Is it permissible to observe the English date instead?(Question)


Can we run a Saturday book club in shul?

February 23, 2012

Question: Someone at our synagogue has proposed that we run a book club on Saturday morning as an option to the main service in order to attract more secular people to shul. Is this a good idea or taking the idea of an alternative service too far?


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?


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?


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?


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?


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?


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.


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?


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?