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Q. Where can I do “Tashlich” around here, and until when?

A. WHAT: “Tashlich” is a prayer ceremony said near a body of “living” water (i.e. with fish) “casting away our sins” and asking for G-d’s protection for the New Year. It has become a nice time for the community to … Read the rest

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Q. What’s the difference between Revenge and Punishment?

A. Revenge is a subjective, personal, wild form of justice, untempered by objectivity and truth. Often the focus of revenge is a sense of satisfaction or enjoyment, while punishment is about consequence, and a deterrent and hopefully also an attempt … Read the rest

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Q. What is Borscht?

A. A traditional Russian beet soup. There are all kinds, some with vegetables and/or sour cream, others may have meat chunks or eggs. It can be served hot or cold. The commercial variety (you often see near Manishewitz boxes in … Read the rest

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Q. Is it Shabbos, Shabbat, or Sabbath?

A. All of the above. Shabbos is the Ashkenasic pronunciation, Shabbat is Sefardic and Modern Hebrew and Sabbath is English possibly based on Latin or Greek. Shabbos House is called this way, even though it really is a Chabad House, … Read the rest

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Q. Why do some people shake when they pray?

A. “All my limbs will say..” (Psalms 35:10) is a source for involving all the body in prayer. When listening to music, people often do body motions, too. Think of groovin’ at a concert. It is a sign of “being … Read the rest

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Q. Honest Weights & Measures seems like an old rule, where do we see it today?

A. Gas Stations are one place. Look closely at the pump and you’ll find a sticker from some County Dept certifying that the pump is accurate. If not, how would you know that you indeed pumped 10 gallons? Maybe it … Read the rest

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Q. How do Israeli Banks operate if we can’t charge interest?

A. There’s a document formula known as ‘heter iska’ which converts loans into business type investments, which avoid the interest-loan prohibition. Israeli banks have this option on all types of loan documents. Also there are many hundreds of ‘free-loan-societies’ in … Read the rest

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Q. What is a ‘Baal Teshuvah’?

A. Literally: ‘a master of return’. It refers to those who make meaningful transformative life-changes to a more religiously observant lifestyle.… Read the rest

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Q. How do Jews view Satan?

A. Here’s a parable, quoted in Tanya from the Zohar. An older king had a young, wise son; loyal and handsome. The King hired the finest tutors to educate him, so that when the time would come he would be … Read the rest

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Q. Is food an important part of the Jewish prayer service?

A. Jewish Prayer does not involve food. We don’t have wafers or the like. We use prayerbooks, called a Siddur, and depending on custom wear a Tallit or fringed prayer shawl with stripes. During weekday morning prayer guys are supposed … Read the rest

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