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Q. Are Blood Drives Kosher? Is it OK to give blood?

A. Yes, yes, it’s a Mitzvah! There is Halachic dispute about organ donation if one can not live without that organ (this is a complex issue that has to do with the official designation of death, brain death or cessation … Read the rest

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Q. Can BT’s marry FFB’s?

A. Translation: BT’s are Baalei Teshuvah (Jews who have made life-transformative choices to return to Jewish observance on their own, later in life) while FFB’s stands for Frum From Birth (Jews who were born to observant families and raised that … Read the rest

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Q. What would Jewish Law say about Bitcoin?

A. I’m not much of a maven on either bitcoin or the Jewish law on this matter, but this much I know. Bitcoin straddles the divide between being a currency of sorts and being a traded commodity. This is a … Read the rest

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Q. My family wants to Seder early. Is that OK? What should I do?

A. It is certainly understandable that families with young children would want to have an earlier start to their Passover Seder, especially when nightfall is 8 or 8:30pm these days. An earlier Seder before nightfall may have many benefits but … Read the rest

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Q. “A word to the wise..” don’t the wise read whole books?

A. It means that “a word to the wise SUFFICES.” They pick up clues, they get the idea, they catch on quick, they tend to discern and understand without a need for everything to be explicity said – so they … Read the rest

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Q. Where can I read up more about the special spirituality of the Jewish woman?

A. www.JewishWoman.org is a great website with lots of material. The Rebbe often spoke about the unique advantages of feminine spirituality and strongly encouraged the empowerment of women and their vital involvement in Jewish life. One aspect of this was … Read the rest

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Q. How did Pickles become part of the Jewish tradition?

A. There’s no religious significance to the pickle, but you’re right, along with herring, pickles and other pickled products have an important place in our cultural tradition (at least for Jews with Eastern European heritage). Back then in cold countries … Read the rest

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Q. A co-worker libeled me and it cost me my job. Now I have an opportunity to sully his reputation. Is that Kosher?

A. I know where you are coming from. I, too, once felt betrayed and unjustly treated and felt the same. But the Torah forbids us to take revenge, no matter how human and natural a trait it is. An allowance … Read the rest

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Q. Though I narrowly escaped the Holocaust in 1939, I still enjoy listening to Wagner’s music. Is that sin?

A. This is simply a matter of sensitivity. There are no Jewish laws prohibiting his music, but for those who suffered through the Holocaust and saw their loves ones go to their death while Wagner’s music was played by their … Read the rest

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Q. My neighbors insist I light “holiday luminaries” outside my home, and will be upset if I don’t. 

A. Lights are popular this time of year, many of these traditions can be traced back to the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. Local custom might not connect it with religion, but simple online research makes it obvious that these luminaries … Read the rest

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