Rabbi, I have a problem

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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How truthful do I have to be when giving a job reference?

August 20, 2009

Question: A friend of mine asked me to be a referee for a job. He is desperately in need of work at this time but I know something that, if I were his prospective employer, would make me have reservations. Should I simply gloss over this and give him a glowing reference?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Can I let my sick parent fade away?

July 30, 2009

Question: A relative of mine whose mother has dementia was advised by a doctor to let her fade away on a saline drip rather than receive medical treatment. Does respect for parents require us to seek help to keep them alive in these circumstances — or let them go?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Tax evasion through legal loopholes. Is it ethical?

June 17, 2009

Question: A relative of mine whose mother has dementia was advised by a doctor to let her fade away on a saline drip rather than receive medical treatment. Does respect for parents require us to seek help to keep them alive in these circumstances — or let them go?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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How can I be Jewish if I don't believe in God?

May 21, 2009

Question: I was brought up Jewish, I am a Zionist, and I am proud to feel Jewish. However, I might not believe in God, I cringe at many practices undertaken by our (and any) religion, I am not kosher and I struggle to motivate myself to go to synagogue. Am I, and how can I, be Jewish?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Our late mother pretended to be Jewish. What do we do now?

April 23, 2009

Question: Our mother was married in an Orthodox synagogue in the UK and buried next to my father in a Jewish cemetery. However, we discovered that she was not in fact Jewish - she only pretended to be - and never converted. What should we put on her headstone and how does this affect my siblings’ and my Jewish status?

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Can't rabbis act to lower Pesach prices?

March 26, 2009

Question: Pesach is expensive enough as it is, but in these economically difficult times, many families will be finding it harder to pay their bills. Do products like coffee really need a kosher-for-Pesach label and can’t rabbis do something to make the festival more affordable?

Rabbi Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer is rabbi at Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue.

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Do synagogues makes life uncomfortable for single people?

February 26, 2009

Question: I am a single man in my early 40s and, as I get older, I am becoming more conscious that Judaism is a family-centred religion. My immediate family do not celebrate festivals. For many years I have gone to a synagogue on my own but I am finding the prospect is less alluring as the years go by. What can you suggest?

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