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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Michael Panitz

Question: How to handle overnight unmarried guests?
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Question: A person believes that she or he has been touched or violated in an unwanted, unsolicited, halakhically forbidden, and therefore abusive fashion. To report or not to report? Is there any reason in Judaism not to go to the police? Should Jewish law ever trump civil law in criminal matters? [Administrator's note: Related questions appear at: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=700 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=500]
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Question: My father's last words were that he never wanted to see my sister again. I never told my sister about this, but my sister's last act was to have herself buried next to my father without consulting me. I feel that I should commemorate my father by placing some barrier or inscription between his gave and hers. How would I do that?
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Question: How can a socially isolated Jew with Asperger syndrome find a Jewish soulmate? [Administrator's note: A related question can be found on Jewish Values Online at: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=860]
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Question: When my frum therapist advises me to carry out my fantasies of female domination, when my wife's therapist agrees, when our couple therapist advises me not to fight against my inclination but to work this out with my wife, when the halacha allows it, when my love for my wife thru domination has never been so high, what should be the attitude of a frum Jew? Is it better to be machmir and try to be like everybody else, or to listen to the therapists who know me and my wife? What would Jewish values say I should do? Thank you for your answer.
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Question: Whats does Jewish law and thought say to a woman whose father never provided for her a husband? Even though I know that modern society tells her that she is to find her own husband? I am now 44, and I have been led astray by lust, yearning for love and companionship. I had a child: now if I were to find a potential husband I couldn't offer him the opportunity to have a first born son. What should I do????
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Question: I would like a Jewish perspective for this question that appeared in the New York Times Magazine,:"The Ethicist." Is it unethical to lie to your boss for the purpose of getting a job elsewhere? [Administrator's note: A related question is found at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=428.]
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Question: What are the Jewish values associated with pollution? [Administrator's note: related questions can be found on JVO at: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=117 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=295 http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=293 and http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=598.]
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Question: I have a question that I need to have cleared up. Since I was a little girl, I have not wanted children. I don't feel comfortable around them, and I just cant seem to wrap my head around kids at all. The problem comes in with the commandment of "be fruitful and multiply." What should I do and what does Judaism say about this situation? [Administrator's note: a related question is found on JVO at http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=185.]
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Question: Is there a Jewish point of view about respect for ancestors? Is there a name for it? How about all the dead, including non-Jews?
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Question: Can we apply the lessons learned from the Maccabees in the story of Chanukah (to have courage, to stand up and fight, not to bow to outside pressures) to Israel's current struggle for its rights and independence?
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Question: I want to convert to Judaism, but I've been told I should look to convert under a rabbi approved by the Chief Rabbi in Israel in order for my conversion to be considered kosher. Is this true?
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Question: Are Jews outside Israel seen as part of the galut/exile, Diaspora, or a separate Peoplehood? In other words, how much emphasis is placed on Israel in defining Jews living outside it? Do you see the non-Israeli Jews and Israel as contributing to one another, independent from one another, or is Israel the center or focus?
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Question: I had a career in television and film during which I represented sexual acts in the films. I feel very bad now. I was so unwise in choosing my roles. I wonder if it could possibly all be forgotten or forgiven, as I have suffered foe 30 years since. I wonder if this is a sin, and if so, is it so bad? I fear I will pay for it till my death. What does Judaism say about my situation?
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Question: What does Jewish law (Halachah) say about combat sports like boxing?
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Question: From a Jewish view, what is the true name of G_d? It is my understanding that one name was given to Abraham and another to Moses. Can you please clarify this for me? As an example of the confusion, in the KJV (Christian bible, King James Version) there are three spellings of G_d, LORD and Lord and they each seem to have different meanings. So is there one true name of G_d to call upon and to pray to? Thank you for your response.
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Question: I live in Israel, where most people eat “kitniot” on Pesach (Passover) and it can be hard to find non-kitniot products. Can I “break” my family’s tradition of not eating kitniot because it’s so much harder to keep in Israel?
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Question: Do we have an obligation to correct misleading media bias when it comes to news coverage of Israel? For example, during rounds of rocket fire from Gaza, some media stations makes it seem like Israel is the aggressor, when they are actually the ones defending themselves against rocket attacks.
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Question: We live in Germany (I am American, my husband is German, working for a German airline). After various postings to foreign countries, we are now here permanently with our 12-year-old daughter. We have purchased a piece of property and will be building soon on it. Currently there is an old house on the property, in which many generations of the same family were born and raised, until the remaining elderly owner passed on with no heirs, just 1 year ago. The property reverted to the state, from whom we purchased it. Before the bulldozers come I would like to: 1. Pay tribute to the almost 100 years this family dwelt in the place. All who enter the old house express that it feels warm and inviting, with an overgrown but lovely garden. 2. Address any Nazi connections which may have existed. There is no indication of this in the deceased's history (I've googled him and asked many neighbors) but he was of that generation. 3. After the old house and yard have been removed and prepared for building, I would also like to bless the property prior to building. To summarize, I am interested in an appropriate Jewish: 1. dedication 2. acknowledgement of possible misdeeds 3. property blessing My upbringing was as Conservative Jew in San Diego, later practicing Reform.
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Question: What is the meaning of the Hebrew letters "peh nun" (PN) on a tombstone?
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Question: My Jewish high school recently announced plans to spy on student's computer usage by requiring us to install software letting them remotely watch and block computer use. What does Jewish law have to say about this violation of our privacy?
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Question: As a science museum with an exhibition that has a human brain in it what is our obligation to alert orthodox Jewish visitors to its presence?
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Question: I am a soon to be converted Jew by Choice. The problem is, practicing Judaism is really causing problems in my marriage with my non-practicing Jewish husband. I realized how important religion was to me when we had our first child. In the last two years, our marriage has been fraught with arguments because he doesn't want to raise our children Jewish. He did participate in a baby naming, doesn't sulk everytime I light Shabbat candles as he once did and has agreed to a Jewish preschool, but I still feel like it's an uphill battle to raise our kids Jewish. He had trauma in his youth (abuse) that occurred at his shul for which he will not seek counseling. Am I right to keep pushing like this? I certainly want to be sensitive to my husband but feel like I'm repressing my own identity and the Jewish identity of our children.
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Question: Do you think that sometimes there are things that a person should simply not do because it would compromise their beliefs too much? Or is there always a workaround?
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Question: I heard a friend saying that we are at "the end of days" because the world has gotten so crazy, the weather seems to be changing, rules of morality and nature seem to have gone haywire. Do we as Jews believe in an end of days? Do we know when it is? [Ed. Note: see somewhat similar question at: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/question.php?id=357]
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Question: Watching the Royal Wedding, I was struck by how different it is to a Jewish wedding. Traditional Jewish ceremonies seem not to include vows to each other, for example. How can that be? Isn't that the whole point of the ceremony?
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Question: Why do some people hold 7 days of shiva for a close relative and some hold 3 days?
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Question: What is the Jewish response - besides of course helping those in need - to environmental tragedy, like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan? For starters - How do we understand a God who wreaks this kind of havoc on His creations?
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Question: How should the Jewish community respond to the chaos and brutality in Libya? On one hand, Gaddafi is murdering innocent people and we, of all people, should not be silent. On the other hand, many of those innocent people are from groups like Al Qaeda that actively seek to destroy Jews and Israel. Does our sense of human responsibility extend also to those who actively hate us?
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Question: With all the talk about democracy vs Islamic rule in Tunisia and Egypt, I was wondering how very different our own religion was.... If our very religious extremists had their way, would Israel be a democracy? How can we reconcile the modern ideal of democracy with the (seemingly) clear preference in our own texts for autocratic rule (monarchy)?
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Question: I have two tattoos. I got them when I was younger (of course). I would like to do what I can to be forgiven by G-d for such a sin. Since I am not a practicing Jew (but deeply believe in my religion (sounds hypocritical) I do not know what it is that I can do. Remove them? There is no guarantee that they would be totally removed. I feel as if a tattoo is a worse sin than others. If you grew up eating bacon, you can stop. Guidance would be appreciated.
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Question: November 9, 2010, is the anniversary of Krystallnacht. How should we be continuing to remember the Holocaust today?
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Question: Are some acts of kindness considered more important than others? There is so much need in this world - does Judaism prioritize some needs over others?
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Question: Has the Jewish perspective on the state of Israel evolved over the years since the position of Jews in the Diaspora has changed? Is it a central focus of the religion today?
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Question: Are Jews required to do anything special to "repair the world" after the gulf oil spill? Is there a Jewish perspective on how this tragic accident should impact our view on offshore oil drilling moving forward?
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Question: May a Jew that went through a Reform Conversion move to Israel under the law of return?
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LATEST BLOGS  view all blog entries

Don’t Judge a Man by his (Head) Cover

Posted on 06/23/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
The other day I was asked if I will wear a kippah for the rest of my life. I immediately answered, “I think so”,...

If You Will It, It Is No Drum

Posted on 06/20/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
Arguably, the most famous dreamer in the Bible is Yosef (Joseph) who not only had big dreams of his own, but who was gifted...

Sexism At Shul

Posted on 06/19/2017 by Deb Morbeto in Beliefs and Practices
When one looks at most major world religions through the lens of the female, it is not long until the words sexist or sexism...

The Noble Path of the Modern Prophet

Posted on 06/15/2017 by Moshe Daniel Levine in Beliefs and Practices
To be completely honest, I do not think that Halacha is something that must be followed in every instance. There are plenty...

Choices That Change The World

Posted on 06/12/2017 by Guest Blogger in Beliefs and Practices
by Ruti Eastman “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Randy Pausch, The...

The Wonder Woman of the Torah

Posted on 06/11/2017 by Dina Newman in Beliefs and Practices
Today’s film scene is swarming with superheroes. DC Comics and Marvel have moved from the pages of comic books to the...
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THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN ANSWERS PROVIDED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL JVO PANEL MEMBERS, AND DO NOT
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