Questions relating to the Diaspora, as in, outside of the land of Israel.

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Does a Jewish wedding involve bridesmaids or groomsmen?

Are there such roles? If so, what purpose do they serve? If creating bridesmaids or groomsmen is a distinctly American (or Christian) cultural practice, then what are some reasons for or against ...
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1answer
89 views

Could the gathering of the Jews in Israel be metaphorical?

I have heard that a person is born every generation that has the potential to be the Mashiach, and Rambam said that the Mashiach will gather the dispersed of Israel. However, it is possible that not ...
4
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1answer
228 views

Niagara Falls does it require a Bracha if so which one?

Do you make a bracha when seeing Niagara falls, and, if a bracha is made, which bracha?
8
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2answers
219 views

Was the Reish Galuta considered the presumptive candidate for the Melech haMoshiach?

The Reish Galuta, or Exilarch, was, from the time of Zerubavel until the abolition of the office ca. 1000 C.E. (with interregna), a Jewish political leader descended from malchut beit David. In some ...
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1answer
76 views

Is West Hempstead in the Techum of Far Rockaway?

Is anyone aware what any of the poskim say regarding techum Shabbos of Far Rockaway in relation to traveling to West Hempstead?
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0answers
72 views

Can an Israeli work in public on second-day yomtov if there are non-observant Jews around?

Shulchan Aruch says an Israeli Jew who is just visiting non-Israel should not work in public on the second day of Yomtov so long as he is in "yishuv" (and commentaries explain "yishuv yisrael") -- a ...
6
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1answer
205 views

Preparing food for Yom Tov Sheni

Orach Chaim 503 says that one may not prepare from the first day of Yom Tov for the second day of Yom Tov. However, if one is going to eat even one piece of meat on the first day, they may fill up a ...
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3answers
159 views

Counting the omer with doubt before the fixed calendar

Currently, according to a previous question on this site, we count the omer without doubt: "Today is the Xth day of the omer" because we have a fixed calendar, and because counting with doubt is ...
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2answers
133 views

Are there any minhag and customs specific to Czech Jews and have they been documented?

I'm a baal teshuva with Czech Jewish ancestry. I have an interest in the minhag of my ancestors as well as in common cultural practices, and perhaps pass them on where I can. Have they been documented ...
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0answers
141 views

What tribe are the Bene Israel in India descended from?

What tribe(s) are the Bene Israel of India descended from?
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0answers
65 views

“Secular” studies in the Rhineland academies of the 11th-13th centuries

This is perhaps a fairly specific question, and I don't know if it belongs here or on the History stack exchange, but I would like to know more about the Rhineland academies that were headed by people ...
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1answer
130 views

Americans and Kippas [closed]

I'm from Israel, and when I just moved to the US, I went to one temple where things were different. I saw some women that wore kippot (plural kippa in Hebrew). Also, why is the kippa referred as a ...
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2answers
126 views

Why do some synagogues offer kidush and others not?

Some (orthodox) synagogues in the United States offer kidush after Shabas-morning services every week; others do not. Is this division roughly along 'type' of synagogue? For example, do most Young ...
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0answers
142 views

Selling land to Gentile to build Church

In YD Siman 151 it discusses the things that one is allowed and not allowed to sell to a gentile (for reasons that they might be used for Avodah Zara -- idol worship). I didn't see the following ...
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1answer
619 views

Did most Hasidic men wear the shtreimel and kapote in Eastern Europe?

I have heard that the shtreimel and kapote (and variations) were mostly worn only by the Rebbes, while most followers were too poor for a beaver-skin hat; most hassidim wore the ordinary clothes of ...
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0answers
131 views

Should a man remove his head covering during the national anthem?

The custom in the United States is to remove head coverings (and place them over the heart) during the recitation of the national anthem. Is there any Jewish reason for a man to, or not to, follow ...
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2answers
374 views

Is there a chief Rabbi of the United States?

Is there currently or has there ever been historically a chief Rabbi of the United States? If not, why not?
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2answers
400 views

What is the appropriate response of someone outside Israel during a war?

During a war or large scale military operation what are some of the best things for a person living in chutz l'arertz to do? Is saying tehillim and doing extra chesed enough? Should a person run to ...
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5answers
350 views

An Ashenazi kohain lives outside Israel. When it is not Yom Tov, can he bless the people in a Sefardi shul?

I am a kohain living outside Israel where the Ashenazi custom is that we only bless the people (duchan) on Yomim Tovim. Where I live, there are Sefardi shuls where the kohanim duchan on Shabbos and ...
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2answers
112 views

Chanukiyot inside or out?

Shabbat 22a says that the halacha is that we should place the chanukiyah outside, within a hand-breadth of the door, to the left. In Israel I've seen people do this, placing the chanukiyah in a glass ...
2
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1answer
190 views

V'Sain Tal U'Matar for someone from Eretz Yisrael in Chutz L'Aretz (and vice versa)

In Eretz Yisrael we start saying V'Sain Tal U'Matar on the 7th of Cheshvan. If someone from Eretz Yisrael will be in America on the 7th of Cheshvan and will be flying back to Eretz Yisrael a few days ...
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1answer
122 views

Does Kelayim apply to road cantaloupe/courgette?

A neighbour of mine, on the American east coast had a fire hydrant replaced in front of the house, right at the curb, and the fill used settled leaving a hole. He filled it with compost. Alas he now ...
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1answer
196 views

Historical Kippot

I want to know what kind of kippah would be worn by an "average" Jew in Manhattan in 1860. This is for an historical impression. In "real life," I am Conservative, but I know the movement did not ...
6
votes
1answer
195 views

Is the ketuba enforceable in American law?

The Ketuba is written in Aramaic, so it might not be easily understood by an English-speaking judge; however, it is still a contract. On the other hand, the ketuba is not (necessarily?) signed by ...
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2answers
446 views

Are you allowed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance?

Is the US Pledge of Allegiance a form of oath or vow, and if so may one recite it? If one has recited it has one incurred any new halachic obligations?
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1answer
145 views

Modern Maaser and Terumah

Why is it that in modern times, we tithe maaser on non-agricultural income, but not terumah? Does it have anything to do with living outside of the Land of Israel?
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2answers
385 views

Can one join an army?

Is one allowed to join an army (let's say not the Israeli one) as doing so is putting oneself in a place of sakana? If one is not allowed to join an army in general, is one allowed to join an army ...
6
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1answer
211 views

Jewish views on patriotism/nationalism

I heard a lecture in which a rabbi espoused very negative views against nationalism in a July 4th speech. What are Jewish sources that counter his claim, that is, sources in which the Rabbis/great ...
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2answers
195 views

Speaking Yiddish vs. the host language at home

I understand that, before World War Ⅱ, the Jews of Hungary and Germany mostly spoke Hungarian and German, respectively, amongst themselves (at home), whereas the Jews of Poland mostly spoke Yiddish ...
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1answer
578 views

When Israel and the diaspora are out of sync on parshiyot, why don't we take the first opportunity to re-align?

This year (5772) the seventh day of Pesach is on a Friday, so the diaspora has an 8th day of chag on Shabbat but Israel does not. The diaspora will thus read Sh'mini on April 21, Tazria-Metzora on ...
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2answers
182 views

How is a kohen allowed to go outside Israel?

There is a decree which says that all the land outside of Israel is Tamei (as there is a ch'shash that the non-Jews bury their dead outside of official cemeteries). If so, how are Kohanim allowed to ...
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2answers
227 views

How to calculate 60 days from tekufat tishri for any given year?

I'm trying to pin down an algorithm for calculating when to start saying ותן טל ומטר in diaspora. (In Israel it begins 7 Cheshvan.) I've gotten that we need to know how many centuries passed since ...
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0answers
99 views

Is there any place I can rent or borrow a Megillah from?

Specifically in or around Brooklyn, NY: I was wondering if anyone knows of a place that rents or lends out Kosher Megillos for Purim.
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0answers
50 views

Why is the prayer for dreams repeated in Birchas Kohanim? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Who says the Ribbono shel Olam's in Birkas Kohanim? At Birchas Kohanim outside Israel, where it is only said on Yom Tov (Ashkenazim), we say twice a prayer for bad ...
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2answers
252 views

What are the different [para-]rabbinic roles in the UK?

If you look at the "Our Rabbis" page on the website of the United Kingdom's United Synagogue, you'll find people with the personal titles "Rabbi" or "Reverend," and with the organizational roles ...
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1answer
86 views

Agudath Israel not in the Conference of Presidents

Does anyone know why Agudath Israel of America is not a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations?
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2answers
155 views

Tal UMatar - for whom?

According to the build-up in this question the point of Tal UMatar is to pray for good rains in one's local area. The same seems to be assumed in other questions and especially a couple of different ...
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3answers
690 views

Illegitimacy in 18th-19th century Europe

I have been capturing genealogical information (Birth, Marriage, Death, Tombstones) in the Spis Region of Slovakia, which includes Jews who migrated from Galicia, parts of Hungary, or were living in ...
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3answers
434 views

Is it okay to enjoy Christmas lights?

My daughter is always talking about how she hates everything Christmas, including the lights on the houses. I am trying to encourage her that she can like non religious things like the lights, so ...
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1answer
82 views

Israeli Chazzan outside of Israel says “tal umotor” at the right time for him but not us

We know that the shaliach tzibbur must follow the local custom even to the extent of his own silent Amidah . What should be done, then, when a resident of Israel who is acting as shaliach tzibbur ...
14
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1answer
766 views

Praying for rain in the Diaspora

Why on this year (and on other years that precede civil leap years) do we start praying for rain in the Diaspora (by inserting the phrase 'Vetein tal umatar") at maariv of December 5 and not maariv of ...
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3answers
236 views

Can I omit ברוך השם לעולם אמן ואמן to catch up in Maariv?

If the Shaliach Tzibbur for maariv (outside of Israel) goes too quickly for me to start the Amidah with him, is there a source which would allow me to omit the section ברוך השם לעולם אמן ואמן? This ...
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2answers
120 views

Non-Israeli pulpit rabbis who actively promote moving to Israel

Are there any rabbis who have pulpits outside of Israel and who have no plans to move to Israel themselves, but who actively and sincerely try to get their congregants to move to Israel? I don't ...
8
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1answer
344 views

Why don't those outside of Israel shake Lulav on Shmini Atzeres?

If one holds that Jews living outside of Israel should sit in a sukkah because of Sfeika Dyoma (We aren't sure what day it is), then why shouldn't we shake lulav and esrog? Worst comes to worst we are ...
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1answer
93 views

Why do we have different customs for the second day of Shmini Atzeret in the diaspora?

In the diaspora, where two days of yomim tovim are celebrated, the second day is typically an exact repetition of the first day. We say the same prayers, make a second Seder on Pesach, make kiddush ...
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1answer
135 views

Shehechiyanu on Lulav

Why is it that we make Shehechiyanu both nights of Sukkos at candle lighting and Kiddush due to Sefeika DeYoma yet we only make Shehechiyanu on the Lulav on the first day?
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3answers
338 views

Why not two days for all holidays?

For those outside of Israel the requirement is for two days of yom tov (and sometimes Rosh Chodesh), originally due to uncertainty and now due to tradition. But we don't do this for all holidays even ...
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1answer
134 views

Why no tfillin on second day of Yom Tov?

The decree of keeping two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel is because Rosh Chodesh used to be determined by Beis Din and its messengers couldn't reach all of exiles in time, thereby requiring people ...
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1answer
137 views

Why is Boruch Hashem Leolam not said in Israel?

Outside of Israel we say ...ברוך ד' לעולם after השכיבנו by Maariv. Why is this part of tefilah not said in Israel (or: why is this said outside Israel)?
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1answer
288 views

What Halachot apply to serving on jury duty?

Halachically, what are the responsibilities of one who is called to jury duty? What if one of the litigants is Jewish, and the halacha would find differently than civil law does in the case, are you ...