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Were the Jews Forced to Accept the Torah?

Dear Jew in the City, Were the Jews forced to accept the Torah? It was literally held over our heads and could seem to be given in such a way where we had no choice but to accept it. Sincerely, Simon   Dear Simon, Thanks for your question. Let’s explain it. Exodus 19:17 says that […]

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Why Is Jerusalem So Special to the Jewish People?

Dear Jew in the City, Why is Jerusalem so special to the Jewish people? Sincerely, Michelle Dear Michelle, Thanks for your question. I could start the story of Jerusalem with the creation of the world (see, for example, Bereishis Rabbah 14:8, cited by Rashi on Genesis 2:7) or with Avraham (Jerusalem being where the akeidah […]

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Why Are There So Many Curses In The Torah?

Dear Jew in the City, Why do the curses given on Har Eval soooo outnumber the blessings given on Har Gerizim? Why is there so much cursing in the Torah? Sincerely, Mo Dear Mo, Thanks for your question. I have a lot to say about it. First, the way you phrased the question “Why is […]

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What Does the Torah Teach Us About Addressing Narcissism?

Dear Jew in the City, How do you inculcate the values of kindness, compassion and selflessness in a society that rewards narcissism, like we often see on social media for example? How should narcissists, especially those in positions of power and influence, be regarded and dealt with in the Jewish community? Sincerely, Chaviva Dear Chaviva, […]

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Do Sephardic Jews Have Their Own Language Like Yiddish?

Dear Jew in the City, Do Sephardic Jews have their own language like Yiddish? Sincerely, Sara They sure do. It’s commonly called Ladino. (It’s also known by a few other names, but we’ll come to that.) Ladino started among Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century. Originally a dialect of Old […]

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Is God’s Love For Us Conditional?

Dear Jew in the City, The second paragraph of Shema seems to say that God’s love for us is conditional. That’s a troubling parent-child dynamic. Is there any other way to understand this? Sincerely, Moshe Dear Moshe, Thanks for your question, though I must admit that I don’t see in that paragraph what you see […]

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