Questions tagged [current-events]

For questions about Judaism as it is practiced in, and relates to, the present-day world.

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1answer
1k views

Setting aside Shabbat to answer the President's call

In an old MSNBC news story about Jack Lew, a Shabbat-observant Jew who was just appointed to be the new White House Chief of Staff, there's a story about his getting a call from President Clinton when ...
116
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4answers
6k views

Implications of Samoa skipping a Friday

This week, the island of Samoa is switching time zones, causing it to skip from Thursday directly to Saturday. Out of simple curiosity, what implications might this have on any Jews on the island? ...
6
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3answers
1k views

Homosexuality is “worse than murder”?

A sign at a recent rally protesting New York's 2011 Marriage Equality Act reads Judaism considers male homosexuality a worse sin than murder I imagine that this is a minority opinion, but does it ...
7
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1answer
4k views

star of david and the cross

I am a Christian and our church has a group of women that make prayer shawls for those who are sick or hurting or who are just plain in need of some comfort. We collect these shawls all month long ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Is Metzitzah B'peh a must?

There is a lot of talk in the news, etc., about Metzitzah B'peh that employs direct oral contact being dangerous. First: If it is dangerous, shouldn't pikuach nefesh push it off? Second: How ...
14
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1answer
635 views

Mandatory evacuation on Shabbat: what can and can't you do?

A major storm hit New England starting this past Friday. While people knew this was coming and precautions were already in place, apparently (according to a news article I read tonight) some areas ...
9
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1answer
165 views

Whom does one save first?

As a follow up to the controversy regarding the Costa Concordia If a ship is in danger of sinking, is the captain allowed to save himself first, or must he be the last man off the ship? Do the men ...
8
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1answer
254 views

Riches found in a purchased item. Return or keep it?

A young rabbi reportedly found nearly $100,000 in a desk he'd purchased second-hand on Craigslist, and subsequently returned the money. Is this story about a Kiddush HaShem, or a Hassid Shoteh (...
7
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2answers
938 views

What is a Get Zikui and in what cases has it been used?

The Safed Rabbinical Court recently gave a woman a "get zikui" to permit her to receive a divorce from her husband who has been in a coma for seven years. See this article. The article describes it ...
8
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1answer
492 views

Leaving cities during plagues

Over the Yomim Tovim I happened to skim through a copy of Rav Hirsh's sefer "Horeb". In one section he discussed a directive from Chazal to leave a city struck with plague. With Ebola having been ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Is metzitzah b'peh required when an adult is circumcised or in the case of hatafas dam bris?

As we've discussed in a general question regarding the requirements for metzitzah b'peh (MBP), the direct-oral-contact technique to draw blood from the penis of an 8-day old infant at his bris milah ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Is it permitted for a Jew to accept an invitation by the Pope to attend mass

The chief rabbi of Rome received a special invitation from Pope Francis to attend a special mass on March 19.VINNews article. Normally, a Jew is not even allowed to visit a church, much less a ...
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2answers
473 views

Does Jewish law forbid Internet usage?

The Ichud HaKehillos LeTohar HaMachane anti-Internet rally is coming up in a few weeks, on May 20, 2012. What do contemporary halakhic authorities say about the permissibility or prohibition of using ...
27
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2answers
462 views

Rockets from Gaza while praying

I live in Beer Sheva, Israel where there are presently ongoing rockets fired at us from Gaza. We are warned of an impending rocket by a loud siren that gives us less than a minute to run to a bomb ...
17
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1answer
424 views

According to Halacha, may we endanger many Jewish lives in order to definitely save one Jew?

For example, what does Halacha say about the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange? "Save" means "free from captivity," although in many cases it's the same thing as saving his\her life (e.g. if we didn't ...
13
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3answers
774 views

Killing Civilians in a defensive war

In the recent Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza, many Palestinian civillians were killed by Israeli air-strikes (the Palestines claim the number is as high as 158, while according to the IDF ...
11
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2answers
312 views

El Al Airfare error and Halachah

What are the Halachic implications of yesterday's El Al airfare snafu? In brief, El Al's air tickets were being sold online very cheap for a while; the price was later corrected, and El Al claimed the ...
9
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1answer
238 views

When should one hide her mezuzot?

In light of recent events wherein vandals began burning mezuzot found on the doorways outside of people's houses, I am wondering if there is ever a reason to remove mezuzot to prevent their ...
8
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1answer
199 views

Can one bring a Korban nowadays?

Assuming we don't have a problem with the Dome of the rock. Has anyone discussed sacrifices nowadays regarding: Can (and should) one bring sacrifices nowadays as we don't know the exact location for ...
7
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1answer
305 views

How should an employer respond to a government policy requiring abortion coverage?

There is a recent controversy in the United States regarding whether the Federal government can compel employers, including religious employers, to pay for contraception. Although this may not be ...
5
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1answer
352 views

Have poskim written about partnership minyanim?

Are there any contemporary responsa regarding partnership minyanim, such as Shira Hadasha and Darkei Noam? Various rabbis have written against it (e.g., R. Student, R. Rothstein, R. Firmer) and it ...
11
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1answer
417 views

Allowing unmarried/homosexual couples into a hotel

Recently there has been a high profile case in the UK concerning a religious christian couple who own a hotel. Due to their personal religious beliefs their policy was to refuse a room to couples who ...
10
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2answers
264 views

Bracha for the transit of Venus?

Venus is transiting today for the last time until 2117 (or 5878, if you prefer). Is there a specific bracha that should be made upon witnessing this spectacular event?
10
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1answer
187 views

Are Jews allowed to contribute to the reconstruction of the Paris cathedral?

I assume most of you have already heard about the sad events that happened yesterday in France. One of the main symbols of Paris, a functioning cathedral caught on fire and caused huge damage to the ...
9
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2answers
433 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 ...
9
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1answer
120 views

Does Beis Din have the authority to quarantine?

In light of the recent discussions about the legality of quarantining potential Ebola patients, I was wondering if Halacha has the mechanism for such a thing. In an autonomous Jewish society, in ...
8
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3answers
441 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 ...
7
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4answers
213 views

Commemorating Death

What are some sources about when it is appropriate - if ever - to celebrate the death of an enemy? My question is inspired by last night's news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, naturally, as well as ...
3
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2answers
241 views

Yom Tov Sheni - Seeking All Relevant Sources

There is an article on Wikipedia about Passover that gives a very non-traditional (if not anti-traditional) explanation - rather, a series of explanations - for the origin of Y"T Sheni Shel Galuyoth. ...
3
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1answer
271 views

Medically treating a 'rodef' (/terrorist)

Although this is done routinely in Israel, is a doctor halachically allowed to treat a terrorist that has been injured, given that they would be considered a rodef. Or is rodef an 'in the act' status, ...
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1answer
105 views

Is national-brand mozzarella under constant supervision?

Shulchan Aruch and Rama, Yore Dea 115:2, indicate that cheese made by a non-Jew can't be eaten unless a Jew saw it being made. Kraft, a national brand, now has some Ⓤ-certified reduced-fat ...
1
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1answer
244 views

Circumcision liability

A story was recently publicized about a Mohel who botched up a circumcision by cutting of more than he was supposed to, requiring six hours of surgery, numerous blood transfusions, a two month ...