1. Dear Rabbi: I have a question: (My ex-wife) Pam’s biological family was not Jewish. Pam’s second husband was Jewish and he adopted her. Pam had a Bat Mitzvah (/). She attended Hillel. We were married by a reform rabbi and Jacob was circumcised. He has a jewish name. I know this issue of “Jewishness” varies from reform to Orthodox. I am not sure how to handle this but I think it is best taken care of when is young. I think Pam is now celebrating Christmas to spite me although I doubt she is going to church. Her husband is not Jewish. It has been suggested that I take him to a Mikvah. Others say if the father is Jewish then that makes the child Jewish (it is not always the mother). Maybe you can consult with a colleague. Currently I am reform going toward Conservative Judaism. Thank you. Reid Flamer REIDFLL@AOL.com
Hi Rabbi, I need help! For the past 3 years I have been struggling financially to keep current with all my obligations. I have fallen behind badly. I am 40 years old with B'H a wonderful wife and gorgeous children. For as long as I remember, everything in my life went my way. Not necessarily with an over abundance of wealth but always comfortable. 4 years ago our business was forced to close because of a vendors bad debt. My brother and I had no choice but to separate our partnership and start again. We both stayed in the same business. He is doing well and I have been struggling badly. It seems like since we departed everything I do doesn't seem to go my way. I have been falling into a depression. I haven't gone to my morning Gemera class for 4 months.(I have been for 5 years) I feel my tefilah is worthless because of lack of Kavanah. Worse yet, I have not prayed since, or wore tefilin since Monday. Please give me words of wisdom and inspiration i feel like commiting spiritual suicide Mr Hope.
Dear Rabbi--I just purchased a kiddush cup in an antique store. When I cleaned it up, I discovered that it is marked "sterling." It has 4 cartouche-like areas, one with a magen david, so I am sure that it is really a kiddush cup. A major design element is that the star and almost all designs are done in a zig-zag pattern. There are also band of zigzags across the bowl, the most striking of which is a line that is quite uneven. Can you please tell me the significance of the zigzags--in looking a pictures of antique kiddish cups I noticed that many have this zigzag motif. Thank you for your help. Janet Madden
they light at the retirement home in the lobby at 4 - before sunset - and have asked me to light with the blessings? what do i do? is it okay for chinuch? or should i explain that they are doing something wrong although they cannot and will not change? thanks
i have been a baal teshuva for six years. My entire family is now also observant much through my lifestyle change. I was brought up in a traditional home where Judaism was always important. My extended family have always been observant However my grandparents went off the derech after the holocaust. When i justi graduated college I met a man that was not Jewish. We dated for three years and then got engaged. I was (or thought) I was complete. I was successful in my career great friends and a great guy. I made a decision b/c my family was hurt to end that relationship. I began learning more about Judaism and slowly got hooked. When I became observant i quickly transformed my life, friends even job. I began to date religiously . I did not seem to have the same bracha I had wiht dating as I did when I was not religious. I guess I began to get nervous that I would not get married and have children so i married someone who clearly was not for me. the marriage I was in was both physically and emotionally draining. My ex husband is Morrocan and i am Ashkenazi. I do not necessarily feel as if that was the issue it was more of a he being severly unstable. When I wanted out of the marriage I encountered some obstacles with the get b/c where I was living my ex brother in law was a big contributor. The rabbi started to make demads that I should stay civilly married for two yrs in order to obtain a get so that my ex could get citizenship. Thank G-d I was able to have a get from a Beis din in another state. I just received my civil divorce after a yr and a half b/c my ex was in hiding and many of the Rabbeim tried to convince me to hold off. Now that I am dating I have met men that clearly would not be for me. I met a wonderful man 4 months ago that inspired me and has made me want to breathe again. He is from a traditional family. His father was more religious prior to marriage then stopped when the kids were youn. His siblings married non Jewish partners. In anut shell he was interested and tried to learn and was committed to keeping and learning about the halachas if we weremarried. He is everything I owuld want in a man except religiously. I got along so well with his family as he did with mine. I pushed him to hard to change and now we have broken up. We still talk and it is hard for us to both let go. Since our break up I feel like I don't even know why I became religious why i have suffered with dating and meeting a decent person since i changed 6 yrs ago. I have always had luck prior to that time. I am starting to resent the fact that i even became religious b/c my life has suffered and I am no longer happy. All I ever wanted in life was to find a nice person and to build a family. Now I am 32 I have been diagnosed with a disease that can inhibit my chances of having children. I am so sad b/c I found this amazing man that after so long has brought back inspiration to my life and i can't be with him b/c i am too religious. I am not even sure what i am asking b/c i am writing this in deep despair and confusion. There is a part of me that wishes I could turn back the clock and have met him 6 yrs ago and we could grow together and on the other hand I am too deeply connected to my teshuva. My teshuva brought an entire family back to torah. I guess I wanted to know if it is at all possible for two people to be happily married when one is observant and the other is not?