Rabbi, I have a problem

Should I correct my elderly mother's eating habits?

January 27, 2011

Question: I often eat with my mother, who is in her late 80s, but she sometimes mixes up the meat and milk crockery. If her home is no longer reliably kosher, should I do something, or out of respect for a parent, say nothing?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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What should I do about my screaming neighbours next door?

December 29, 2010

Question: We are regularly disturbed by the sound of our neighbours screaming at each other through the walls. Do you think we should have a word with their rabbi about what is going on or only intervene if there were any indication of physical abuse?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Are Chanucah donuts bad for obesity?

December 2, 2010

Question: It's hard to encourage healthy eating habits in your children when the foods we have for Chanucah — latkes and doughuts — seem just the opposite. Shouldn’t rabbis be doing more to combat the threat of obesity and do you have any ideas for an alternative festival food?

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Is it better to ask a male acquaintance to help me conceive or to use artificial insemination?

November 12, 2010

Question: I am a single woman in my late 30s. I despair of finding a suitable husband but I am anxious to have a child before it is too late. From a Jewish point of view, is it better to ask a male acquaintance to help me conceive or to use artificial insemination?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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How do I tell my Christian parents I'm converting?

October 14, 2010

Question: How should I explain to my deeply Christian parents that I want to convert to Judaism? I don’t know how to tell them that I don’t believe in their religion without causing a rift that may be irreparable.

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Is it all right to own a television?

August 26, 2010

Question: My husband thinks that television is a baleful influence on the children and wants to get rid of our sets. I think that’s going too far and it’s better for them to learn to view in moderation than deprive them of the experience. Which of us is right?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Is it hypocritical to keep kosher at home, but eat non-kosher out?

July 28, 2010

Question: My parents are probably typical of many in keeping kosher at home but eating non-kosher meat out. I keep getting into arguments with them because it all seems so hypocritical. Shouldn’t you keep it all rather the bits you feel you want to keep?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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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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