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Q. My son wants to wear an old family Tallis, yellowed with age, for his Bar-Mitzvah. Does the yellow come out?

A. Mazal Tov on the Bar-Mitzvah. I’m not a dry-cleaner (they might do a decent job on the material, but be careful, they may ruin the fringes which are important), but I think that yellowed look is there to stay. … Read the rest

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Q. How can I find out when Yom Kippur ends?

A. A good Jewish calendar should have that info. Better yet, use the “Calendar” feature on www.Chabad.org/Calendar to find out times and dates for Shabbat, Holidays, Jewish Birthdays (and secular date conversions) and many other things, using your zipcode or … Read the rest

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Q. Why are Hebrew books written backwards?

A. Hebrew is written and read from right to left instead of from left to right (like many other languages). Different isn’t backwards.

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By the way, here’s a joke circulating the internet about this difference:

1) A disappointed salesman … Read the rest

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Q. Where is that verse about Rachel crying for her exiled children?

A. Jeremiah 31:14. A very moving verse, it is prominently inscribed on Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem.… Read the rest

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Q. Is Bone China Kosher?

A. Strangely enough, it is. Although it may contain some bone-ash used to brighten or strengthen the china, the process itself removes any non-Kosher elements. This is only in regard to newly purchased china. Koshering china previously used with non-kosher … Read the rest

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Q. The Bar-Mitzvah invite I got says the event begins with “Havdalah”. What is that and how long does it take?

A. It is a blessing recited over a glass of wine, some spices and  a braided lit candle, bidding farewell to the Sabbath and ushering in the new week. It literally means separation or divider, as it separates the holiness … Read the rest

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Q. I do Amusement Park marketing. Are these parks appropriate on Purim, Hanukah, Rosh Hashanah, or Passover? 

A. It really depends on the holiday. Rosh Hashanah is out, because it is observed almost like the Sabbath and besides, the Jewish New Year is  a serious time. Purim is a joyous time and there isn’t much restriction, but … Read the rest

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Q. I’m costuming “Ragtime” and need an immigrants’ prayer shawl circa 1906. Fabric? Colors? Size? Fringe?

A. It would probably be a woolen Tallit yellowed with age and use, traditional black stripes down the sides, probably of middle size, not a shawl-type common today in liberal congregations, and not the very large full-size that the Chassidim … 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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