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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. 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. 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. I’ve become more religiously observant than my family. I go out of my way to be sensitive, but now they’re asking me to compromise way more than I ought to?

A. Here’s what we’ve found. There are three types of people in your situation:

(1) They never budge, never accommodate.

(2) Forever compromising, forever giving in.

(3) Always sensitive, accommodating as much as and when possible, but firm and unwavering … Read the rest

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Q. Can you recommend a good book on the virtues of personal modesty?

A. Here are my two of my favorites: (1) “Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore” by Rabbi Manis Friedman (2) “A Return to Modesty” by Wendy Shalit.  #1 is richer, deeper & more thoughtful, while #2 is more in touch with the … Read the rest

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Q. Does a Shadchan (traditional matchmaker) CHOOSE your spouse?

A.  A Shadchan comes up with a good suggestion of someone for you to meet, but the choice is all yours (aside for a few of the very ultra-religious communities). In our personal situation (Raizy and I are Chabad Lubavitch … Read the rest

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Q. Is “Shame” a good trait or a bad trait?

A. Depends what you are ashamed about. Being bashful is “a trait of the descendants of Abraham” (Avot 5:19) and “the shame-faced go to Paradise” (Avot 5:20) stemming from humility. It is a sign of sensitivity to be bashful when … Read the rest

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Q. Why doesn’t the Rabbi shake hands with women?

A. My mother taught me: Don’t touch what doesn’t belong to you. Where I come from, all physical affection takes place in private, and is reserved to the person we’re married to. It’s just a handshake, you say? That’s the … Read the rest

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