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 […]

If You’re Not Struggling With God, You’re Missing The Point

I used to be simplistic in my religious thinking. I didn’t mean to be, I just didn’t know any better. I had spent so many years of my childhood asking deep questions about the meaning of life, the purpose of existence, and generally searching for Truth that when I finally stumbled upon Torah and mitzvos […]

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, […]

How Do We Deal With Sexist Biblical Commentaries?

God is connected to everyone who reaches out to Him, as the Midrash (Eliyahu Rabbah, 9) teaches, “I call heaven and earth to witness that whether Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or maidservant, everything is according to their actions that the divine spirit rests on them.” Every place the Torah and Talmud discuss holiness and […]

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 […]

Do Orthodox Jews Believe In Testing For The BRCA Gene?

In 2013 Angelina Jolie penned an impassioned Op-Ed about her risk of breast cancer and treatment plan. Jolie’s grandmother, mother and aunt all died from breast and ovarian cancers and like her relatives, she carried a mutated BRCA gene – a gene that everyone (male and female) carries, but when mutated, increases the risk of […]

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