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Q. How many Orthodox Jews are at UAlbany?

A. We’re getting this question more often now from prospective parents. The answer is that we really don’t know. We don’t track denominations. We have little idea of what religious observances students do or don’t keep in the dorm rooms. … 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. Did you have a heads-up about Telushkin’s Rebbe Book?

A. I’m usually not in the know about these kinds of things, I’m not at all connected in that kind of way, but it so happens that circumstances brought about that I had a conversation with him back in 2005 … Read the rest

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Q. Do Graham Cracker Crusts need to be Pas Yisrael (for those who keep it)?

A. For the reader, here’s a little background. In addition to the mainstream Kosher symbols like OU, OK, Star-K, Chaf-K and so on, there are additional standards and stringencies (all with solid basis in Jewish Law) that some communities keep. … Read the rest

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Q. Should I lie about past relationships on a date?

A. I’d like to think that relationships ought to be based on honesty, truth and transparency – all of which build trust. Good open communication is key! At the same time there’s no need to tell all and reveal all, … Read the rest

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Q. Why is “Bnei Heichalah” the only one of three Arizal Shabbos songs to make it to most Bentschers?

A. Interesting question actually. Here’s some background for those who might not be familiar: The famous Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, best known as the “Arizal” composed three Kabbalistic songs for each of the Shabbos meals. “Azameir B’Shvachin” is for Friday … Read the rest

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Q. Why is Gebrokts OK on the 8th day of Pesach?

A. Some people, mostly Chassidim (not only Chabad) and descendants of Chassidim, observe an additional Passover restriction of Gebrokts – not making Matzah wet. It comes from a remote concern that perhaps some of the Matzah wasn’t fully baked and … Read the rest

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Q. Why the custom to take kids on outings on Chol HaMoed?

A. First of all, they have off from school for the whole week of Passover and Sukkot holidays, and are at home or synagogue for the first two and last two days of the holidays, so this is a great … Read the rest

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Q. Why the Passover emphasis on root vegetables?

A. Yes, you might have noticed we’re doing a lot of Passover dishes with onions, beets, carrots, sweet potato and especially potato. Potato is the big-time vegetable for Ashkenasic Jews who can’t eat rice, corn or beans on Passover.

But … Read the rest

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Q. Oy! My roommate came back from Easter with so much Chametz!

A. So your dorm room is now filled with cakes and pastries and other significant Chametz? Unless you are worried about tantalizing temptation, you should not worry at all about having Chametz 3 feet from your bed. The Talmud is … Read the rest

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