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Q. Do Jewish civil courts operate today in the US?

A. Good point. Part of the Talmud is a huge body of in-depth and complex civil and legal law, and there are Rabbinical courts that judge cases according to this system, even in the US. In fact NYS Courts recognize … Read the rest

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Q. On Friday Nights, I noticed a small crowd gathers at your table after you cut up the Challah bread, why won’t they eat the pre-sliced Challah on the other tables?

A. Two reasons. 1) The pre-sliced Challah is sliced thin, while I cut thicker slices – which makes for a tastier chunkier piece of Challah, plus it may be softer and fresher being that it is sliced right there on … Read the rest

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Q. Which doors need a Mezuzah?

A. All doors of any decent sized room (area of 6’x6′) which we inhabit: live, sleep, work or eat. Exceptions include the bathroom, a barn, rooms exclusively used for storage, or temporary places lived in for less than 30 days. … Read the rest

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Q. I’m used to wearing a Kippa only during prayer, why do some wear it all the time?

A. To tell the truth, Yarmulka (from the Talmudic phrase: “fear of the king”) or Kippa (which means (domed) covering) is not a Mitzvah of Torah or Rabbinic origin (outside of prayer) though the Talmud does mention its importance. Which … Read the rest

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Q. Why pray using a text someone else wrote? Shouldn’t it come from the heart?

A. First of all there are special slots throughout the prayer, even during the Amida, where we can (some say should) add our own prayer, in our own words.

Why does prayer need formalities? For structure. Maimonides writes: The Biblical … Read the rest

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Q. Am I supposed to say a blessing after crossing the Atlantic?

A. The “Gomel” blessing is recited for being saved from 4 general types of danger. 1) overseas travel  2) captivity/prison  3) seriously ill health/operation  4) travel through uncivilized place ; or any near brush with death.  Although air travel today … Read the rest

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Q. Can Jews own Nabisco (cookie maker) stocks over Passover?

A.   Interesting question. Though shareholders own a “little piece” of the company, unless they’re on the board of directors they don’t have much say. Which leads many Rabbis to say that it is considered indirect ownership and is permitted. Some … Read the rest

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Q. What are those little strings hanging out of your shirt? 

A. Glad you asked. Some folks think my underwear is unraveling and are worried their curiosity might embarrass me. Nothing of the sort. While many Jews wear a “Tallit” prayer shawl at the Synagogue, some Jews wear a mini-version called … Read the rest

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Q. Does the Torah have a different name for a Jew who is an idol-worshiper?

A. Absolutely not! A Jew, is a Jew, is a Jew. Although in no way is Torah justifing his/her actions, there is nothing we can do (even conversion) that would change the Torah’s view of us as Jews. “Even though … Read the rest

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Q. Why are the Menorah’s lights supposed to be in a straight row (not of varying heights)?

A. The number of candles lit each night is supposed to be clearly discernable to an onlooker from a distance (which is why we light the Menorah at the window or door). That’s why they are supposed to be in … Read the rest

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