Questions tagged [social-convention]

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11
votes
3answers
5k views

Is it appropriate for a Gentile to attend and/or participate in a Seder?

The context: last year, I saw this sign that announced the time and place that a Jewish Seder (probably Yom Kippur) would happen. I was definitely curious and considered going and at least observing ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

B'siyata D'shmaya or Baruch Hashem

Often, at the top of written work, Jews write either ב"ה, which stands for Baruch Hashem =blessed is the Name i.e., God, or בס"ד, which stands for b'siyata d'shmaya =with Heavenly help. What is the ...
8
votes
3answers
289 views

Consulting a local orthodox rabbi if there isn't one?

For questions where I'm supposed to consult my local orthodox rabbi, if there isn't one, what am I supposed to do? There is a LOR in the city where I live (a Chabad shliach) but he frequently declares ...
5
votes
3answers
296 views

Keeping up with “local” standards of modesty and dress - of religious Jews, or of society at large

In dealing with issues relating to Tzeni'uth (modesty) and clothing, a lot depends on "local" standards of dress. For example, the RaMBa"M (here) explains that in places where women do not normally go ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Why do we say “You should live till 120”?

Prior to the Mabul people lived for hundreds of years. After the Mabul lifespans shortened although we see that the Avos lived in the 180 year range. In the Pasuk in Tehilim we say Yemei Shenoseinu ...
5
votes
1answer
596 views

“Hamakom” after shiv'a

In my experience, for the most part, "‏המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים" is said to a mourner specifically during shiv'a. However, I've heard some people say it after shiv'a, particularly ...
20
votes
4answers
982 views

How does an outsider know how to dress for a particular Orthodox community?

Standards of dress (at least for women) aren't nearly as consistent within Orthodoxy as we might wish. Wearing exactly the same halachically-correct clothing I have been under-dressed in some places ...
13
votes
1answer
185 views

How to determine common practice for halachos that are impacted by it

Certain halachic issues are informed or even determined by the social standards of the (non-Jewish) society in which one lives. Examples include what falls under the prohibition of cross-dressing (see ...
8
votes
5answers
9k views

What does Heimishe mean? [closed]

Literally it means "homey." But I'm asking about the sociological meaning of the group of people who call themselves "Heimishe." My best guess is that it means "midway between Hassidish and Litvak." ...
32
votes
7answers
1k views

How to respond to “but he does”

I mentioned to my coworker that I can't eat Domino's pizza, not even without meat, as it's not kosher. He pointed out in response that a fellow coworker of ours, whom I'll call Josh, and who is ...
9
votes
1answer
302 views

Wearing no head-covering?

Under what circumstances is it permissible for a man to wear no head-covering? If one is in a place that is experiencing anti-semitism, for example, does one need to wear a hat if one feels ...
4
votes
1answer
258 views

Should Jewish men be courteous to women in public?

I always heard that it is not modest to publicly be courteous to woman (if a Jewish woman needs help you should help her, but if she does not, just you are holding the door for her or giving her the ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the proper greeting for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day)?

Here in Israel, there are many customs surrounding Yom HaShoah; the morning siren, ceremonies, storytelling from survivors, etc. However, I'm not sure I've ever heard a way to greet someone that ...
6
votes
1answer
607 views

Source of phrase “tizkeh l'mitzvos”

I have noticed that when I give money to people who collect in shul, they often respond by saying "tizkeh l'mitzvos." Are there any sources before relatively recently for using this phrase?
6
votes
2answers
217 views

Contemporary rabbinic views on social pressure to get people to do Mitzvoth

Background While on vacation recently, I was walking down the street with a newly acquainted co-traveler, when we were approached by a young Lubavitch Yeshivah student encouraging Jewish men to lay ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

What criteria decide what is “customary” to eat a vegetable raw with regard to its bracha?

Halacha states that if a person eats a raw vegetable where it is not customarily eaten raw, one says "shehakol" rather than "ha'admah"? What criteria decide"custom"? Does this rule change? E.g. - a ...
25
votes
4answers
906 views

Maintaining Tzniut in Uncomfortable Social Situations

How can a teenage girl, who recently started practicing the laws of tzniut as well as feasible, balance those laws with the prohibition against embarrassing her family members, who are embarrassed to ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the correct response to “Chazaq u'Baruch!”?

When a person gets an aliyah or other synagogue privilege the congregants of an Ashkenazic synagogue generally thanks him by saying "Shokyach!" or "Yasherkoach!" to which he responds "Baruch Tehiye!". ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What is appropriate covering for non-Jewish men at a Jewish funeral?

I am going to the funeral of a close friend's sister; the family is Jewish. In the funeral notice it states: "Gentlemen please wear head covering". My question is: what is an appropriate covering ...
8
votes
4answers
375 views

“גוט שבת, גוט שבת”

My father, passing someone on the street on שבת, says "גוט שבת, גוט שבת" (Yiddish, "good sabbath, good sabbath"): that is, he repeats himself. I thought it might be his own idio-custom — until I ...
7
votes
1answer
135 views

History of chattan & kallah classes

A common practice in some segments of today's Jewish world is for brides and grooms to attend "Chattan/kallah classes" where the attendees receive instruction and advice on relationship dynamics and ...
14
votes
4answers
331 views

On what social issues were the rabbis ahead of their times?

On what social issues were the rabbis (Chazal and rishonim) ahead of their times? That is, which social/political matters subject to wide agreement today were shared by Chazal before these views ...
10
votes
3answers
599 views

Referring to Non-Jews

What's the most diplomatic and politically correct way to refer to non-Jews. Both in conversation, and in terms of this site?
9
votes
4answers
338 views

Why ask guest to make kiddush?

In my limited experiences in Baltimore and Lakewood, it seems hosts often ask guests if they would like to "make their own kiddush" with a separate cup of wine. Is there a reason why guests wouldn't ...
7
votes
1answer
504 views

Responding to “that's not a Jewish name” [closed]

My ancestry is not eastern-European, and sometimes when I meet people in a Jewish setting and we introduce ourselves, I'm met with "that's not a Jewish name" (referring to my last name, mostly). I ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Drinking on Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah has two opposite aspects, one of judgment, and one of Yom Tov. We spend the day(s) in prayer and literally plead for our lives. Yet we eat festive meals and drink wine for Kiddush. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
97 views

What is the best way to correct someone who has unwittingly violated halacha in public?

At a recent shul kiddush on shabbat I witnessed someone perform a melacha seemingly on purpose two or three times. It was clear to me that this person was unaware of a certain halacha. I did not know ...
2
votes
3answers
430 views

Postponing circumcision: what consequences?

I am an atheist (not Jewish) and my soon-to-be wife is Jewish (Ashkenazi of Polish ascent). She doesn't practice, and she says she is not a believer. We are French and live in Paris. This may or may ...
1
vote
0answers
93 views

Issues with drinking with non-Jewish coworkers [duplicate]

I work at a company with many non-Jews and often we will go out to celebrate milestones we hit. What are the issues with going out to drink with them if I order a bottle of unopened beer ?
1
vote
1answer
172 views

Why do we use the masculine form in a Shabbat greeting?

My Israeli friend explained to me that the word "שבת" is a feminine word, since the plural uses the feminine ending - it is שבתות. If this is true, why is a common greeting שבת שלום ומבורך using the ...
0
votes
1answer
792 views

Complimenting or giving gifts to gentiles

My brother recently introduced me to some new Halachot (laws) about not giving gifts to gentiles and not complimenting them. What are the pertinent Halachot that I should be aware of, so that I'll ...
0
votes
3answers
170 views

Is there an issue of arrogance to wear Tfilin Rabenu Tam

I have been putting on tefilin shel Rashi for many years and a friend recently said I should start putting on Tefilin Rabenu Tam as well. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch says that only the especially pious ...