Ask me anything (almost) about Judaism


We do pray for the dead and we do believe in purgatory. The latter is a limited period, however. Prayer for family of the deceased (blood relatives, such as a child for parents or one sibling for another) is mandated for one year, but, according to custom, lasts only 11 months, because it is hoped that the departed family member is not so evil that they would require a full year of prayers.

The Jewish position on heaven would require a dissertation, the reason being there are several views. For the most part, Jews do believe there is an afterlife, but exactly what form it takes is less agreed upon. This is because the afterlife is not detailed in the Torah or the Hebrew Bible in general, but only hinted at. Therefore, we are meant to concentrate on the present life, and try to make it a good one for ourselves and others, rather than speculate too much on the World to Come.


Personally, although I am a Reform Jew, I do not mix meat and dairy products, so the answer is no. But I have it easy since I eat very little meat, including chicken, to begin with. I do not wait the customary six hours after eating meat, however. (The number of hours varies according to country.) But I do wait a reasonable amount of time.


How do Jews explain the destruction of the second Temple? It is a tenet of Judaism that the destruction of the First Temple and exile of Jews by Babylonians was a punishment by God, however that was a relatively slight punishment considering that 70 years later the Temple was rebuilt. Now the destruction of the second Temple was part of major genocide and exile of Jews by the Roman Empire and it has never been rebuilt. And Jews did not return to Judea for 1900 years. What could deserve such punishment (if that is the explanation)?


Sorry, I’m not familiar with the book. But now that you mentioned it, I’ll put it on my list and get back to you. It sounds worth reading based on your recommendation.


First, I have to thank you for the compliment. But I must say I am hardly a pious Jew although I have been working on it. I like to think I am a godly man but even here there is much to be desired in my life. No, I am rather what Christians would call a “sinner,” just like all of us.

No, I do not read the apocryphal books, including the Book of Sirach. I do pray for the dead. Insofar as Jesus is concerned, I really don’t give Him much thought, except when there is a television show about Jesus and Christianity on PBS. Yet I have been “forced” to think more about Catholicism and Christianity, including Jesus, ever since I joined CAF! And I have learned a lot here about Jesus as well as the New Testament. In general, however, I have enough “trouble” (challenge would be a better word, I suppose) keeping up with the laws and customs of my own religion and its holy days.


I have 2 questions regarding books.
Have you read or do you know of Oxford’s “Jewish Study Bible”? How well does it explain/talk about the culture, history, and overall text of the books of the Bible? Would you recommend it as a study aid for Christians to better understand the Bible?

Also have you read Martin Goodman’s “Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations”? How good of a history book is it?
Thank you


My first impression is that G-d has always tested the Jewish people, sometimes with very severe tests, such as the Holocaust. Further, the dispersion of the Jews may have been in G-d’s plan to spread His message of ethical monotheism to other lands. But I’ll speak more fully about this perplexing question tomorrow.


The answer to both your questions is no, I have not read either book. I guess I spend too much time reading psychology books and journals (my field) as well as books on politics. I will investigate them, however, and hopefully get back to you regarding my opinions.


No questions. Just a thank you for starting the thread. I was getting tired of reading the Catholic stuff. Your thread provides a reason to continue to log in everyday.
PS I hope Purim was pleasant for you.


Thanks, two more:

  1. are you an Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform Jew or some other minority group?

  2. what are your thoughts on a new Temple in Jerusalem and resumption of animal sacrifices? Would you make a pilgrimmage to Jerusalem if such a thing were in existence?


Thank you for doing this, meltzerboy2!

I’m a graduate nurse, hoping to be working in the field in the very near future. Is there anything you find people in healthcare don’t know about their Jewish patients that you think is important in order to provide the best care?


Thanks for the good wishes, huck. Yes, Purim was wonderful: one of our few truly happy holidays.


I am a Reform Jew although I have some Conservative leanings and was brought up attending an Orthodox synagogue. Confusing, I know. With regard to the Temple, I would have no objection to a Third Temple (it would be a glorious thing), but I would not want animal sacrifices. Not in this day and age.


Interesting question. Nothing in particular comes to mind, except in treating Orthodox Jewish women, there are certain protocols which should be kept in mind if the physician is a man. If I can think of anything else, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for the good wishes! And the best of luck in your career as a nurse.


Thank you!


What do you think of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan and the Reconstructionist denomination?


I am not critical of any movement within Judaism, whether it be Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, or Humanist. Some may say it goes too far in the direction of deism; however, there are also subcategories within Reconstructionism, just as there are subdivisions within Orthodoxy. My feeling is any expression of Judaism is better than none. We are–or should be–a “big-tent” religion, and I prefer to have respect for all forms.


I find his teachings to be fascinating. My wife is Reform, and being in a midwestern town that’s not gigantic, her synagogue is non-denominational as there’s no one denomination that could support the synagogue alone. The Rabbi does not identify with any branch either, but he speaks highly of Rabbi Kaplan.


The Orthodox believe it has “always been” matrilineal. BTW I don’t want to hijack meltzerboy’s thread but if anyone has any questions they are specifically interested in the Orthodox answer to, I can try to oblige.


Why does the conversion of non-believers not seem to be of equal importance to the Jewish community as the Christian community?

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