Ask me anything (almost) about Judaism


I have been urged by several members to initiate a thread on this topic although it is against my better judgment for three reasons. One is that it may embroil us in debate rather than dialogue. The former usually generates only heat, while the latter may generate light. The second reason is a matter of my time. Since I still work full-time, I may not get around to answering a lot of questions and comments all at once, so please be patient. And thirdly, I in no way am typical or representative of every Jew. apart from the different denominations. No Jew is typical of the whole religion. I speak only for myself and my own ideas and opinions, and for no one else’s. So with these qualifications in mind, here goes…

Do Jews believe in the heaven/afterlife? If not, what is the point of keeping their religion?
Answers from an Orthodox Jew
Bible study information

Is it true that orthodox jews view gentiles as cattle?
I’ve read some strange Talmud quotes, but I don’t know if I could trust the sources


What are some of your favorite online resources for information regarding the Jewish religion? I like reading Chabad .org. I also sometimes refer to the Jewish Encyclopedia.


Thanks for this, Meltzerboy! No questions as of yet, but I’m subscribing to learn more.


Why do Jews say that their Jewishness comes from their mother? I’ve heard a person isn’t considered Jewish unless they have a Jewish mother.


If the sources have any affiliation with anti-Semitic groups (and there are plenty of them), I would look elsewhere. The Talmud, for the most part, hardly refers to gentiles, let alone calling them cattle, which would in itself be against the tenets of Judaism. What individual Jews of any denomination think about gentiles is another matter.


who/what is Jesus according to conservative orthodox Jewish dogma?

followup question: who is Mary in the Jewish faith system?


meltzerboy. Have you read, or are you familiar with, Robert Schoen’s “What I Wish My Christian Friends knew about Judaism”? I find it enlightening and touches on so many topics but since I am not totally familiar with Judaism, I don’t know if I could or should recommend it or not.


Those are two great sources. I also like My Jewish Learning and Jewish Virtual Library.


Hi there

What is the Jewish position on heaven and prayer for the dead and any kinda sense of a purgatory?




It’s my understanding that the Temple sacrifices were necessary for complete purification from sin and unclean things. Is that true? If so, do modern Jews have other ritual purification practices now to account for the lack of the Temple?


The short answer is we don’t know for sure. At one time in antiquity (think Moses, for example), it was patrilineal descent rather than matrilineal. That changed to matrilineal, however, later in Jewish history. There are hypotheses, such as the influence of the Roman legal system, and even the influence of the animal kingdom! But AFAIK, the definitive answer has not yet been given. BTW, in Reform Judaism (as opposed to Orthodox and Conservative), if EITHER parent is Jewish and the child is raised in the Jewish religion, the latter is considered Jewish.

  1. what are your views of Jesus and the New Testament?

  2. do you pray for the dead?

  3. do you read the deuterocanonical-apocryphal books - especially the ones written in Hebrew originally like the book of Sirach?

(I know how many Jews would answer these - I’m asking you personally because you seem like a pious and godly man).


I heard long ago on a radio program that Jewish theology have 6 criterion for a Messiah and Jesus Christ only fulfills on them: he is Jewish. Is this true or false?


The only thing I was ever taught about Jesus is that he was a rather revolutionary rabbi and good man, who many Jews of the era believed was the Messiah. As you probably know, Jews today do not believe Jesus was either the Messiah or G-d. There is one curious exception, however: namely, the Nazarene Jews, who do believe in the Messiahship of Jesus but not His divinity. Mary was never even mentioned throughout my Jewish education.


ok; thank you for that


Thanks so much. Lou2U. Welcome aboard!


More or less, this is true. I don’t recall the exact number of criteria but there are several. It is thought that Jesus, apart from his being Jewish, does not fulfill any of the criteria.


As I and other members have noted on other threads, the Temple sacrifices were used almost exclusively for unintentional sins, NOT intentional sins. The latter could ONLY be atoned for by means of penitence toward G-d and repentance toward fellow humans. Even the unintentional sins could not be magically absolved by means of animal sacrifice without sincere penitence accompanying the physical sacrificial act. All of this is clearly described in the Torah (Written Law).


Do you eat chicken with cheese?

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