Ask me anything (almost) about Judaism


Wasn’t it the installation of a Roman eagle on the Temple that caused such an outrage in ancient Israel? Some Christian sects won’t have a national flag of any kind in their churches, let alone any kind of statue that is honored.


if I may ask, how is this ‘idol’ venerated at Christian chuirches…?


Good day MB. In the hopes that you do not desire to clobber me over the head, I shall preface this by saying and very strongly, I do not want a debate on this topic here. Please people if you want to debate it, take it to another thread! But MB, if I’ve understood you correctly in the past, Orthodox women, if they are given the liberty to follow the dictates of their religion, are expected to end a pregnancy to save their own lives. If so, does this come partly from the Exodus 21 verses about fetal life in comparison to a woman’s life? Or from the matter of ensoulment? Or something else? Or a combination of things? And what are the views of the conservative and reformed branches on this issue? Shalom!


The Kaddish consists essentially of praising G-d. It is part of the morning ritual of synagogue services. It is also recited at funerals and for 11 months thereafter by family members who are blood relatives of the deceased, as well as during Holy Days. (It is also said when one buries holy books.) Traditionally the son says Kaddish for his parents. The purpose of the Mourner’s Kaddish is to proclaim that we still praise G-d despite our grievous loss. It is noteworthy that there is no mention of death in the Kaddish itself. Based on all of this, I strongly doubt that one can legitimately say Kaddish to “buried ideas,” even If one is Jewish.


What is “Jewish Lightning”? I heard someone use that term the last time a business burned down where I live. They said that caused the fire. I’ve never heard of this before. Have you?


It is given a place of honor in the Sanctuary, whereas I cannot convince my priests at either Catholic or Anglican Churches to allow the Holy Face of our Lord Jesus that same presence.


Off the top of my head, I remember a time when Jews were in the boxing arena. There have been a few Jews in baseball, and at least one superb swimmer (Mark Spitz). I’m sure there are many others; but, by and large, I don’t think Jews have been particularly outstanding in professional sports compared to other groups.


Yikes, the dreaded abortion question! As I understand it, it’s probably a combination of biblical verses, such as those in Exodus and in Genesis, which states that the soul of life is inspired by G-d into the body of the human at the moment of birth. Thus, at this moment when ensoulment takes place, the baby is a complete “person,” containing both body and soul. Moses613 can no doubt help out here, but I believe that the Orthodox not only permit but require abortion of the baby if the mother’s physical health is in imminent danger. On this point, all Orthodox rabbis agree. Beyond this, however, there are different rabbinical views based on Torah and Talmud teaching, including such issues as the psychological health of the mother who may have been the victim of rape or incest, for example, or instances when one unborn baby is literally jeopardizing the life of another, so that it is probable both will die if the less healthy baby is not aborted. Also, cases when the baby has a severe congenital disorder and will probably live for only a very brief time after birth in much pain.

The Reform Jewish view, as one might expect, allows more latitude concerning abortion, including rape and incest, congenital disorders, and other circumstances. Interestingly, however, Reform Judaism does NOT require abortion under any of these circumstances, including if the life and health of the mother are in jeopardy.


Yes, it is a derogatory term meaning that Jews, being cheap and lusting for money, would intentionally set fire to their business to collect the insurance money.


I think Jews can be found in nearly every profession. Certainly teaching on a variety of levels, business, accounting, tailoring, acting, in addition to the ones you mentioned. New professions? I don’t know if there are any that can be distinctively labeled as Jewish since Jews have assimilated into mainstream society.


That’s horrible. I didn’t realize the comment’s true meaning. I’m very sorry to hear that such prejudice is still at work. Thank you for the explanation.


Do Orthodox and Hassidic Jews regard Reform and Reconstructionist Jews especially as “not real” Jews or in some sense less Jewish than themselves? Also, what is the Mussar movement within Judiasm? Thank you for responding to all these questions.


I try to avoid the error of generalization or painting whole groups of people in broad brush strokes. So I will say that unfortunately SOME Orthodox and Hassidic Jews look down upon Reform and Reconstructionist Jews as practicing a form of religion that cannot legitimately be called Judaism. They sometimes place the blame on the Reform and Reconstructionist “rabbis” (these quotation marks are often used in print) as heretics who are misleading the Jewish population, rather than blaming the congregations themselves. And these same people do not necessarily regard Reform or Reconstructionist Jews as being less Jewish or heretics. However, I cannot say Judaism is always one big, happy family from either direction, which is a pity since we are all Jews in the eyes of those who are not and, particularly important, in the eyes of those who do not wish us well.

The Mussar movement in Judaism was an effort to combat the parallel forces of secularism, Reform Judaism, and Hasidic Judaism on traditional Orthodox Judaism. It sprung up in the middle of the nineteenth century among Lithuanian Jews in particular, living in the Pale of Settlement in Russia. The movement emphasized strict ethical values based on Halakhah (Jewish Law as it applies to every aspect of life) in reaction to the disorderly conduct of Jews in the region, as well as some Jews’ desire to have a secular education founded on secular laws.


I have not read the whole thread, but I applaud your starting it.

And I really like the first sentence of this post.


Much appreciated, GKMotley!


My pleasure. Have now read the thread.


Was Adam Jewish? :sunglasses:


Is this a joke? Yeshu Ben Pantera?


That is how ancient Rabbi referred to the reform teacher of the Law that we refer to by the hellenized name of “Jesus.” It’s nothing new. Look it up. Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera’s headstone was found in Germany, so their was such a person, and his Roman Army archery company was transferred out of Israel in the 1st century.


I find it a fascinating thread, I knew quite a few of the answers already but the nuances of been an insider are something you cannot replicate if you are not part of a faith or ancient tradition. As to Kaddish mentioned earlier the first place oddly enough I ran into that was aged around 14 in a comic by the late (and I could not stress how great) Will Eisner who used it in one of his stores, “A Contract With God”. A bit off-topic but if you want ot read a master of the comic book form and learn something about Judaism I could do far worse than recommend his work. I also remember bemusing my English teacher by picking his work and MAUS to write a project around.

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