Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, Jew in the City's Educational Correspondent, is the editor of OU Torah (www.ou.org/torah) . He is the author of five books including The Tzniyus Book and The Taryag Companion.

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

About Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, Jew in the City's Educational Correspondent, is the editor of OU Torah (www.ou.org/torah) . He is the author of five books including The Tzniyus Book and The Taryag Companion.

Beauty & the Beast: Should Belle Have Judged Beast Favorably?

Dear Jew in the City- In the upcoming movie remake Beauty and the Beast, the main character Belle is kept prisoner by a mean Beast whom everyone hates and fears, yet Belle somehow sees the good in him, which (not-so-spoiler-alert) transforms him. What does Judaism say about seeing the good in other people? Thanks! Dear Hater- […]

Why Does God Test Us?

The following is adapted from Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed. The concept that God puts people through trials is the most debated idea in the entire Bible. Most people assume (incorrectly) that God afflicts individuals not in response to their own sins but to provide them with an opportunity to earn reward. Trials are discussed […]

Does the Torah Say Its Ever Okay to Lie?

Dear Jew in the City – I know that George Washington once said, “I cannot tell a lie.” Is that the Jewish approach or is lying justified sometimes? Sincerely, Pants on Fire   Dear Pants, As the story goes, young George Washington once chopped down a cherry tree with his hatchet. When his father confronted […]

Is “Spare the Rod Spoil The Child” Meant To Be Taken Literally?

Dear Jew in the City- I heard that hitting kids in schools is still legal in 19 states and that unfortunately some of the most insular schools in the Orthodox world still hit kids and justify it with a Proverbs verse. Is that really what it means? Sincerely, Outraged in Ohio Dear Outraged- (For the […]

What Makes Someone an Orthodox Jew?

Dear Jew in the City, What is the exact definition of an Orthodox Jew? I see that some men have peyos and some women wear pants. Some seem to be very strictly kosher while others eat dairy in non-kosher restaurants. Where is the border? Confused by Orthodox Jews   Dear Confused- To answer this question, […]

An Orthodox Rabbi Discusses Transgender Issues in Jewish Texts

Recently, I received an inquiry from someone who was researching transgender issues in halacha. The first thing I told them, before suggesting some sources, was that this issue is far above my pay grade. I am not qualified to comment on the permissibility of any course of action and I can make no recommendations. All […]

Why Do Jewish Men Wear Yarmulkes (Kippahs)?

Dear Jew in the City, When and why did Jewish boys and men start wearing yarmulkes, and are there any circumstances when a yarmulke need not be worn? M.L. Dear M.L., The practice of wearing a yarmulke (kippah in Hebrew) is an ancient tradition that has its roots as a “middas chasiddus” (an act of piety) before […]

Does Judaism Have A Concept of Inaugurations?

Dear Jew in the City, With the Presidential Inauguration coming up, I was wondering what Judaism has to say about inaugurations, especially of a new king, and was the transition of power always smooth? Curious in Georgia Dear Curious in Georgia, Well, for starters, kings don’t have inaugurations, they have coronations, but let’s call that a […]

Who Is That Jewish Warrior Woman in the Chanukah Story?

Dear Jew in the City- I heard that there is some sort of female Jewish Warrior in the Chanukah story that I never learned about in Hebrew School. What’s this about? Sincerely, Female Fan   Dear Female Fan- Great question. Chanukah, as you may be aware, is not overt in Tanach (the Jewish Bible). There […]

Is Celebrating Thanksgiving Kosher, According to Jewish Law?

Dear Jew in the City – Is it kosher to celebrate Thanksgiving since it’s a non-Jewish holiday? From, A Kosher Turkey Fan   Dear Kosher Turkey Fan- You’d think this would be a straightforward yes-or-no question. You’d be wrong. One of my all-time favorite theological quotes is from that profound modern-day philosopher of The Simpsons […]

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