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Why Do We Still Count the Omer When We Don’t Have a Holy Temple?

Dear Jew in the City- If there’s no Temple anymore, why are we still counting an Omer that’s not even being brought? Didn’t other Temple-related actives just cease after its destruction? Thanks, Losing Count Already   Dear Count, That’s a pretty good question. Let’s first explain what “counting the omer” is. Leviticus chapter 23 tells […]

Why Don’t We Have Miracles Like the Plagues Anymore?

Dear Jew in the City- I’ve been thinking about the Ten Plagues and how these awesome miracles happened for the Jewish people in the Passover story, as well as throughout the Torah. How come we don’t have miracles anymore? Sincerely, I’m a Believer   Dear Believer- That’s a great question. To answer that, we have […]

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- […]

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, […]

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 […]

What’s The Jewish View On Reincarnation And Past Lives?

This week’s big new big budget movie release Assassin’s Creed brings the popular action-adventure video game to the screen. In it, a man played by Michael Fassbender uses new technology to uncover his “genetic memories” of a previous life as a skillful challenger to an oppressive, evil organization. While this story is fantasy, every culture […]

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 […]

Does Judaism Believe In Witchcraft and Magic?

Dear Jew in the City, With Halloween coming up, I was wondering what the Jewish view on witchcraft and magic is. Is it mentioned anywhere in Jewish texts? Do you need to believe in it to be an observant Jew? The ancients might have believed in it, but we now know that magic is a […]

How Can I Accept A Pre-Yom Kippur Apology That I Know Is Insincere?

Dear Jew in the City, I know that I’m supposed to resolve my differences with people this time of year, but I don’t know what to do. There’s someone I know who will do a perfunctory apology like they do every year, but it will be insincere. This individual has a history of hurting me […]

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