Does Judaism Believe In Life on Other Planets?

Dear Jew in the City- In the new movie Guardians of the Galaxy, aliens from all over the universe team up to save the day. What does Judaism say about life on other planets? Sincerely, Spaced Out   Dear Space- It may not surprise you that people think a lot about the afterlife. Is there […]

Passover: The Exodus That Could Have Been

Rabbi Fohrman introduces a question related to the Exodus and draws connections between Jacob’s burial and the Exodus itself in order to begin to explore the deeper meaning of these narratives. This video was produced by Aleph Beta, which seeks to help people get to the heart of what Torah is all about. Through a […]

Pesach: How to Read the Hagaddah

Rabbi Fohrman asks how and why the Maggid section of the Hagaddah is how it is, showing how, upon first reading, it might be difficult to understand. He shows, however, that the Maggid section is really a meta-story that leads into an actual story, which is where all of the action takes place. This video […]

Pence And What The Torah Says About Getting Close To Other Women

Dear Jew in the City, I read the Mike Pence doesn’t have meals alone with women who are not his wife or drink in mixed company. What’s the Orthodox Jewish approach to this topic? Thanks, Rob Dear Rob, That’s a very good question. Vice President Pence has been the object of a lot of derision […]

Why Do We Say a Blessing on Trees?

Dear Jew in the City- I heard something about blessing the first buds of a tree. That’s really neat. But when and why are we supposed to do this? Sincerely, Tree Hugger   Dear Tree, The Sages instituted brachos (blessings) to be recited for a number of reasons. We recite brachos when performing mitzvos, like […]

Purim in Hebron & Other Orthodox Jews in the News

How to Host a Shabbat Dinner and Why You Should—Even if You Aren’t Celebrating The rituals of this Friday night tradition have become so much more than a religious experience. What’s better than winding down the week at home filled with your favorite people and the scent of a chicken roasting in the oven? Shabbat—the […]

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- […]

My Purim Flight Miracle

A few weeks before Purim, my husband and I booked a flight from Chicago to California to visit my parents. I figured I would take off the day from work for Purim anyway, so it made for a good opportunity to take a long weekend and say ‘hi’ to them. All was proceeding according to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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