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Why Do Jews Pray For The Dead?

Dear Jew in the City, The Calling has the Orthodox detective saying a prayer (Kaddish) over every dead body he finds. Why do Jews pray for the dead? Sincerely, Jon Dear Jon, Thanks for your question. I haven’t seen The Calling so I can’t comment directly on the show, but there seems to be sufficient […]

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Why Do Orthodox Jewish Men Wear Big Fur Hats?

Dear Jew in the City, Why do Orthodox Jews wear big fur hats? Sincerely, Suzanne Dear Suzanne, Thanks for your question. I’m sure you are familiar with the children’s riddle, “Why do firemen wear red suspenders?” The answer, “To keep their pants up,” only addresses why firemen wear suspenders. The question one should have asked […]

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How Can I Understand The Men Depicted On Shtisel?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve answered question about the difference between Chasidim and Orthodox Jews, as well as on the women of Shtisel versus the women of Unorthodox. Last week’s questioner asked even more about Hasidic Jews and those on Shtisel [though while the answers are about Hasidic Jews, the characters of Shtisel are […]

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Why Do Orthodox Jewish Men Wear Hats?

Dear JITC- Why do Jewish men wear hats? All the best, Carla Dear Carla- Thanks for your question. It has been asked before: A man asked his rabbi, “Why do Jewish men wear hats?” The rabbi replied, “Because our forefather Abraham wore them.” “How do you know that?” the man inquired. “The Torah says, ‘And […]

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Why Do Orthodox Jewish Men Have Beards?

Dear Jew in the City- Why do a lot of Orthodox Jewish men have beards? Sincerely, Steve Dear Steve- Thanks for your question, which we intentionally arranged to answer following last week’s question, which was on payes (sidelocks). As we mentioned there, Leviticus 19:27 contains two prohibitions, not to round the corners of the head […]

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Why Do Orthodox Jewish Men Have Sidecurls?

Hey JITC- Why do Orthodox Jewish men have sidecurls? Thanks, Ivan Dear Ivan- Thanks for your question. Those sidecurls are called “peiyot” in Hebrew, meaning corners. This is commonly Yiddishized as “peiyes” and is usually rendered in English in a variety of less-phonetically-accurate spellings, including “payes” and “peyot.” (By the way, the common English-language term […]

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