44

The Rema writes in the first Halacha of Shulchan Aruch (Partial Quote) וְלֹא יִתְבַּיֵּשׁ מִפְּנֵי בְּנֵי אָדָם הַמַּלְעִיגִים עָלָיו בַּעֲבוֹדַת ה' יִתְבָּרַךְ גַּם בְּהֶצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת. And one should not be ashamed because of people who mock him in his service of God, and should also go modestly. Whatever decision you come to, I feel like this is ...


40

There is not such a thing as "too orthodox", no. There can be such a thing as "too pushy" when people are too direct in trying to change others, but that's not the situation you've described. Never feel guilty about following halacha for yourself. There can also be such a thing as "unfamiliar and thus different". The only synagogue in town is the only ...


19

You are a very responsible and respectful person for inquiring about whether wearing your current clothes would be disrespectful or not to the synagogue. I really have to hand it to you, not everyone is that respectful. It depends on what day of the week you plan on visiting to the synagogue. If you're planning on visiting during a weekday, then your normal ...


18

I'm going to paint this in overly broad strokes, but here goes: Theologically, the official stance of the Conservative movement is that the Torah was "inspired by God, but written by man." Orthodox theology believes this to conflict with one of Maimonides' principles of faith, that the Torah was dictated by God word-by-word to Moses. An early practical ...


15

You might be a source of inspiration for others that want to be more observant. Keep going.


13

If someone is born to a Jewish mother, regardless of her affiliation or observance, that person is 100% Jewish and allowed to marry another Jew. There is no conversion involved. I guess that this rabbi, in this situation, wants documentation that demonstrates that your friend's mother, and therefore your friend, is indeed Jewish. There are various ways this ...


12

The Rambam believed that the Torah is not intended to be history or science, but ethical teachings: Those passages in the Bible, which, in their literal sense, contain statements that can be refuted by proof, can and must be interpreted otherwise. [Rambam, Guide to the Perplexed, 2:25]


11

There is much discussion in Jewish literature about this subject, and there is also a difference between a woman wearing a tallit and tefillin. It is easy to show what the Gemara and the Rema say, but leaving out all of the rishonim and acharonim on the topic would prevent learning where the halakha stands. But here is a start. Regarding tefillin Mishna - ...


11

The issue here is essentially one of lowest common denominator. A conversion will only be accepted by Group X if they think that Group Y, who oversaw the conversion, did so appropriately and successfully, following all the relevant laws as understood by Group X. Otherwise, Group X will continue to view the potential convert as a gentile with all that entails....


10

1 - Conservative and Mamzerut are two separate issues. If the boy is Jewish (his mother is Jewish) then he does not need to convert. He would be considered a Baal Teshuva, one who has repented. He does not require any specific training, although if he is serious about his orthodoxy should learn the Mitzvos in order to lead a proper orthodox life. 2 - If the ...


9

It depends what you mean by semicha -- there is a basic level of "being a rabbi" that is summarized here: There is a new form of semicha which is circulating today, known as the "Rav Umanhig" semicha. This is essentially a semicha which does not necessarily vouch for the recipient's knowledge or competency in halacha, but rather, testifies that the ...


9

When I was shopping for a synagogue and a rabbi I was pretty methodical about it. I didn't want to judge just based on what I'd heard people say about different communities. After I'd visited a bunch and started to narrow things down, I met individually with local rabbis from the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements. (We didn't have any local ...


9

Before I define the label "Orthodox", I want to spell out what kind of entity is being labeled. The Enlightenment and the fall of the ghetto walls created a religious crisis for Ashkenazic Jewry. First for those in Western Europe, but the development does reach Eastern Europe over the course of the next several decades. Until then, for most people Jewish ...


8

I'm going to more or less echo Kordovero and Double AA, but put it succinctly. Yes, there is a difference, and it will matter. Here's why: If a person converts by any standard that is not universally recognized, then that person will not be regarded as Jewish by those with stricter standards. Orthodox conversion requires more than Conservative or Reform ...


8

The issue here is essentially one of lowest common denominator. A conversion will only be accepted by Group X if they think that Group Y, who oversaw the conversion, did so appropriately and successfully, following all the relevant laws as understood by Group X. Otherwise, Group X will continue to view the potential convert as a gentile with all that entails....


8

Many of the people who daven at the Hillel Minyan at Northwestern University (where I davened in college) associate with the Open Orthodox movement. Most of them daven with the Koren Sacks siddur. Some others use the Artscroll Siddur edition that includes the prayers for Israel, TzaHa"L, the United States, etc. Since they use mainstream siddurim, their ...


8

The word "Orthodox" is ambiguous. Technically, it is a sociological grouping. Because in practice, that group is of people trying to observe classical notions of halakhah, we think of "Orthodox" as the set of Torah observant people, or sometimes, the community / communities of Torah observant people. (There is a gap there I want to point out: There is more ...


8

The Torah, the Talmud and Chazal do not use the artificial label "Orthodox" or recognize subcategories of Judaism, it is just one religion. And you remain as Jewish as the rest of us even if you question and doubt. Yes, events described in the Torah are ofttimes inconsistent with laws of nature as we know it, or current scientific knowledge, and could only ...


7

It is important to understand that the Semicha of today is not "Traditional Semicha" which was only given in an unbroken chain from Moshe Rabbeinu down, from each teacher to their (worthy) students. That Semicha was lost long ago. (Although it is possible to bring back according to the Rambam, and was attempted by Rav Yaakov Beirav in 1538). What, then, is ...


7

A Conservative kesuba can be suspect. As noted in Rabbi Emanuel Feldman's book, "Tales Out of Shul," as a young Orthodox rabbi in Atlanta in the 1960s, he was under tremendous pressure by wealthy members to do a quicky conversion to the member's child's non-Jewish fiancee. He would refuse, and those members would leave the shul and join a Conservative shul, ...


7

The question mistakenly assumes that every Orthodox synagogue is either Modern Orthodox or not. This is not the case. The MO and charedim mix to a large extent. There are shuls with a charedi rabbi but a mainly MO congregation, and there are many shuls with a mix of charedi and MO congregants. Many people are in between MO and charedi. They might describe ...


7

The Parameters of Kol Isha by Rabbi Howard Jachter addresses this. See the full article for the details, but here are some excerpts: The Gemara (Berachot 24a) states, “The voice of a woman is Ervah, as the Pasuk [in Shir Hashirim 2:14] states ‘let me hear your voice because your voice is pleasant and appearance attractive.’” Rashi explains that the Pasuk ...


7

Depends what you mean by "true". For millennia, Judaism believed roughly in the same things as what we now call Orthodox Judaism, and abided by roughly the same rules. So in that sense, yes, Orthodox Judaism is the only true way to convert: other conversions are not to Judaism. However, if you want to convert to them, then by all means do so. There's ...


7

The Tanakh Simanim is based for the most part on the Aleppo Codex, and where this version is lacking, on the Leningrad Codex. (see footnote 9 here). As such it is an authoritative version that you can rely on. In addition Feldheim is a well-known Orthodox publishing house with an excellent reputation. Be aware though that the Feldheim edition is Hebrew-...


7

This is totally incorrect. Even if a Jew sins sufficiently to merit being punished with karet, he is still a Jew. An example would be those who succumbed to the Spanish in 1492 and converted to christianity but did teshuvah (repented) and managed to escape to Amsterdam. While it is true that Reform (as a movement) is not Judaism in the eyes of Orthodoxy, ...


7

According to the Talmud (Bava Basra 14b-15a), the authors were the following (order based on the Gemara there): Torah (Pentateuch) - Moshe (Perhaps Yehoshua wrote the last 8 Pesukim) Yehoshua (Joshua) - Yehoshua (Finished by Elazar Ben Aharon and Pinchas) Shoftim (Judges) - Shemuel Shemuel (Samuel) - Shemuel (Finished by Gad Hachozeh and Nasan Hanavi) ...


6

Jews do not believe there's anything special about the Christian scriptures because they make claims counter to torah (like that God would abandon the covenant he made with Jews and impose new surprise requirements later). God's torah is true, and any other document that contradicts it therefore doesn't reflect God's truth. For why one of their most ...


6

Generally, Orthodox families do not make a huge fuss with Bnot Mitzvah ("B'not being the plural of "Bat") - at least not on the same level as a Bar Mitzvah. That means, that there is usually no festivity done in a synagogue. (Within the past decade or so, that has been changing very slightly, as some Modern Orthodox have started doing at least some small ...


5

It has almost entirely to do with demand, cost, and volunteerism. At the Shul where I grew up, an Agudah-type, but unaffiliated Shul, there is a hot, sit-down Kiddush every week, and this has been the case for at least 30 years. Other Shuls in that area adopted various types of Kiddush (hot, cold, sit-down, buffet, etc.) over the years, almost entirely to ...


5

To the best of my knowledge each Shul makes their own decision, based on different factors such as cost, distance people have to walk, size of Congregation, time limits, etc. Foe example I have Davened in Shuls where the Rabbi wants to attract a crowd and supplies a Kiddush every week for that reason. There is a Shul that I Daven in that has a Kiddush ...


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