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Yizkor
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For many people, including many who are otherwise not observant, Yizkor has become an indispensable part of their shul experience. Indeed, although Yizkor can halachically be said privately and without a minyan, it has become a major draw to the synagogue, especially on Yom Kippur. How is it permitted to conduct an ostensibly sad ceremony […]
Pesukim on Jewelry
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Over the last 15 or so years it is has become very common for young women (especially in Midrashot and Seminaries) to have jewelry engraved with meaningful phrases, often pesukim from Chumash or Tanach. What are the halachic issues concerning the use of pesukim from Tanach other than as part of talmud Torah? Are there […]
Having a Secular Name
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There are different levels as to how “Jewish” a name is. Consider the difference between the following: A Hebrew name from the Tanach e.g. Avraham, Yehonatan, Esther etc. A Tanach name which has been shortened or adapted eg Avi, Yoni, Esti, Sari. A Tanach name which is not normally used – e.g. Ogli, Mushi, Mupim, […]
Implications of the Majority of Jews Living in Israel
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Out of the 14.5 million Jewish people in the world, 46% reside in Israel. The Jewish population of Israel now exceeds that of the United States by roughly one million. Experts predict that by 2050 a majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. What are the halachic implications of a majority of […]
Reestablishing the Sanhedrin Today – Part 2
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We saw in part one that the Rambam rules in Mishna Torah, following a similar analysis in his commentary on the Mishna, that it could be possible to restart the original semicha and thereby reconvene a Sanhedrin. The response to this in other mefarshim was muted, with some quoting the Rambam, and few explicitly disagreeing. […]
Bioethics: Taking Risks and Medical Procedures
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Halacha & Bio-ethics, taking risks and medical procedures, with special emphasis on unproven therapies. A discussion of the license given to the physician to administer medical treatment in a case where the disease has not yet manifested itself. Delivered at the OU Israel Center, August 28th, 2019 (27 Av 5779)