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

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37
votes
7answers
686 views

Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars?

I've heard that for instance, in the 1800s, the American rabbis in the South were pro-slavery, and the American rabbis in the North opposed to it. But what were the views towards America of the ...
21
votes
3answers
549 views

The Fanatic Badge

Here on Mi Yodeya, one can earn the "Fanatic" badge for visiting the site for 100 consecutive days. Is it halachically possible to earn the fanatic badge in the Diaspora?
18
votes
2answers
297 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?
15
votes
2answers
308 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
218 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
525 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
246 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?
11
votes
3answers
224 views

Sefira Counting in Diaspora

Why don't we count two nights each night, if there was always a Safek (doubt) what the date is. In other words: if we are not sure when the second night of Pesach is, why don't we carry that doubt ...
11
votes
2answers
133 views

Did Shuls in Europe display their countries' flags prior to the holocaust?

Prior to the holocaust, did Shuls in Europe display their countries' respective flags? Do Shuls currently display their countries' flags? When did it start and why?
10
votes
3answers
233 views

9 Days of Chanukah?

All Yomim Tovim we celebrate in Chutz Laretz an extra day because of A safek, why do we not do the same for Chanukah?
10
votes
2answers
136 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
269 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
117 views

Babylonian Jewry and Chanukah

For many years I have been bothered by the following. There was a large Jewish population living in Babylonia during the time that the events of Chanukah played out. Yet, I have never seen any ...
10
votes
3answers
351 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
194 views

Is there a U.S. or Canadian yeshiva that offers a Smicha program where the Rosh Kollel can accommodate the deaf?

My son is deaf. I am looking for a Smicha program for him where the Rosh Yeshiva has experience dealing with and accommodating the deaf. My son has a cochlear implant and has SOME hearing, so he does ...
9
votes
3answers
141 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
213 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
409 views

why do we say Pesach seder brachot both nights?

During the Pesach seder, but not during the rest of Pesach, we say b'rachot for the mitzvot of matzah and maror. (I mean the "asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav" b'rachot.) So it seems that we are only ...
9
votes
1answer
149 views

Second day of Shavous

The main reason for the second day Yom Tov is because in the times of the Beis Hamikdash when we decided to declare months based on the seeing the new moon there where certain places that the ...
9
votes
2answers
336 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
275 views

Why the split between Sefardim and Ashkenzim?

Why is there a much bigger split between Sefardim and Ashkenzim and not, say, between Sefardim and people who lived in Bavel? The distance between Spain, and say, Israel should have been big enough to ...
8
votes
3answers
238 views

Why is the Boro Park eiruv controversial?

I know I might be hitting a touchy subject, but I'm prefacing it with this so I can clarify right away: I don't want a Psak, or who holds what. That's for each person to figure out... I just want to ...
8
votes
1answer
103 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?
8
votes
2answers
168 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
79 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?
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Did Depression-era U.S. high-school boys attend Jewish schools?

I'm reading Chaim Potok's The Chosen and have come across (in chapter 1) the claim that, during the Great Depression, in Brooklyn, [e]very Orthodox Jew sent his male [high-school-age] children to ...
7
votes
2answers
164 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
161 views

Yom Tov Sheni after Moshiach

Will there be a Yom Tov Sheni after Moshiach comes?
7
votes
1answer
66 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
252 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 ...
6
votes
11answers
316 views

Widespread American Minhag

What is the single most widely practiced minhag (religious Jewish practice that's not mandated by halacha) among Jews in the United States today? By "widely practiced" I mean practiced by the most ...
6
votes
3answers
513 views

Two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel

Why do we continue to keep two days of Yom Tov outside of Israel? The reason for two days was revelant during the temple era as we needed two witnesses to see the new moon. But today, with no Temple ...
6
votes
3answers
591 views

Explaining to children why we don't celebrate Halloween

Without delving into the Pagan origins of Halloween (or even discussing it altogether - as it may not be allowed l'halocho), how would you encourage Jewish children who've celebrated Halloween in the ...
6
votes
3answers
375 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
233 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
113 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
172 views

Two Days of Yom Tov for Visitors

Assuming the reason for two days Yom Tov is because messengers could not reach those places in time to tell them the days of Rosh Chodesh, why is it that if someone visits Israel, but doesn't plan on ...
6
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
188 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
57 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
135 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
61 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?
6
votes
1answer
101 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?
5
votes
5answers
239 views

Chodosh - where does it apply?

Does the prohibition against consuming new grain ("Chodosh") before the second day of Passover (Leveticus 23:14) apply only in the Land of Israel or in the Diaspora as well? (Sources appreciated)
5
votes
3answers
153 views

If you forgot to make an Eruv Tavshilin

I recall hearing that if you forgot to make an Eruv Tavshilin there is a way to make it on the first day of Yom Tov. Does anyone know how this is done?
5
votes
1answer
120 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)?
5
votes
1answer
783 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
92 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
93 views

Birchas Kohanim in the Diaspora

Why do we (ashkenazim) not do birchas kohanim in chutz la'aretz (except on yom tov), but in Israel, we do?
5
votes
2answers
132 views

Which Shtetlach in pre war Europe had an Eruv?

Were there any Shtetlach in pre war Europe that had an Eruv? Which ones?