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Introduction 01-FAQ-intro  Network and Newsgroup Introduction 02-Who-We-Are  Who We Are 03-Torah-Halacha  Torah  Halachic Authority 04-Observance  Jewish Holidays  Jewish Dietary Law and Kashrut  Sabbath and Holiday Observance  Woman and Marriage 05-Worship  Jewish Worship  Conversion, Intermarriage, and "Who is a Jew?"  Miscellaneous Practice Questions 06-Jewish-Thought  Jewish Thought 07-Jews-As-Nation  Jews as a Nation 08-Israel  Jews and Israel 09-Antisemitism  Churban Europa (The Holocaust)  Antisemitism and Rumors about Jews  Countering Missionaries 10-Reform  Reform/Progressive Judaism 11-Miscellaneous  Miscellaneous  References and Getting Connected 12-Kids  Children and Judaism Archival Information Credits and Acknowledgements 2000 The following separate FAQ related to Judaism is also published as part of the S.C.J. FAQ: Jewish Resources by Mail Order and Computer Steve Seidman <firstname.lastname@example.org> The following is an index to the questions and other information contained in each section: Section 1: Network and Soc.Culture.Jewish Information 1. What is USENET? How is it different than "the Web"? 2. What are the major Jewish newsgroups on USENET? 3. Why soc.culture.jewish? Wouldn't soc.religion.jewish be more appropriate? 4. What are the charters of the various Jewish newsgroups? 5. Are there other newsgroups about which Jews should be aware? 6. I notice that some of these newsgroups are moderated. Isn't moderation censorship? 7. How do I submit postings to a newsgroup? 8. Some of these newsgroups have quite a bit of traffic? How do you cope with it? 9. What topics are appropriate for S.C.J? 10. What topics are not appropriate for S.C.J? 11. When should I post to talk.politics.mideast? 12. Is it appropriate to discuss Israel in soc.culture.jewish? 13. How should I respond to inappropriate articles? Somebody posted an inappropriate article to S.C.J or T.P.M. 14. But I don't get T.P.M? Now what? 15. A. Random Jew posted X to a.b.c; I disagree. What should I do? 16. Can non-Jews post to S.C.J? 17. May I post this great Jewish essay I just read? 18. I have a question nogaiah hilchos maaser kesafim b'zman hazeh... Eem yeish lee meah or fewer shekalim and some are hefker ... 19. I've just found Jesus/ LaRouche/ Muhammad/ Marx/ Moon/ L.RonHubbard/ Cthulhu and I'd like you to find him, too. Here's an essay written by someone raised in a Jewish home who converted to my faith... 20. I've just gotten this antisemitic email. What should I do? 21. What are the Do's and Don'ts? Section 2: Who We Are 1. Who reads the soc.culture.jewish newsgroups? 2. What are the major Jewish movements? 3. What is Conservative Judaism? 4. What is Orthodox Judaism? 5. What is Reform/Progressive Judaism? 6. What about other movements? 7. What are some of the Orthodox sub-groups? 8. What is Chassidism and how does it differ from other Orthodox groups? 9. What is Lubavitch Chasidism and Chabad? 10. What is Breslov Chasidism? 11. What is Satmar Chasidism? 12. What other forms of Chasidism? 13. What are OCR (O-C-R) wars? Why all the flames? 14. But Reform Judaism isn't Judaism? Why don't they see that? 15. But Orthodox Judaism isn't Judaism?Why don't they see that? 16. Why shouldn't I say "ultra-Orthodox", "Reformed Judaism", or "Humanist Judaism"? 17. How does a Chassid differ from Misnagid? 18. What is a "Torah Jew?" 19. What about homosexual Jews? 20. Is it true that Jews are all (fill-in-the-blank)? 21. How many Jews are there today in the U.S.A.? 22. How many Jews are in the world? 23. Who was the first Jew? 24. What is Judaism all about? Section 3: Torah 1. What is the Written Law? 2. What are the books of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh)? 3. Why, in the Tanakh, does G-d have so many Names? 4. Who wrote the Torah? 5. What is the Oral Law? 6. How was the Oral and Written Law passed down to us? 7. What is the Great Assembly (Anshe Knessest HaGedolah)? 8. Who are the Zugot (pairs)? 9. What is the Mishna? 10. What is the relationship between the Mishna and the Torah? 11. What are the Orders of the Mishna? 12. What is the Tosefta? 13. What is the relationship between the Tosefta and the Mishna? 14. What is the Gemara and what is the Talmud? 15. What is the Talmud? 16. What is Talmud Yerushalmi? 17. What is Talmud Bavli? 18. What is Rashi's commentary on the Talmud? 19. What is the Tosafot? 20. Who wrote the Tosafot? 21. What is the relationship of the Tosefta to the Talmuds? 22. What are Baraitot? 23. What are the extra-canonical (minor) tractates? 24. What is a Midrash? 25. What are Halakhic (or Tannaitic) Midrashim? 26. What are the main Halakhic Midrashim? 27. What are the main Exegetical Midrashim? 28. What are the main Homiletic Midrashim? 29. What are the Midrashim on the Five Megillot (aka The So-Called Rabbot)? 30. What are some other important Haggadic works? 31. What is the Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Creation)? 32. What is Sefer haBahir, The Bahir (The Book of Illumination)? 33. What is The Zohar? 34. What are the Major Codes of Jewish Law? 35. What is the Rif (Hilkhot of Rav Alfassi)? 36. What is the Mishneh Torah (Yad Ha-Hazaqah , Sefer Mehoqeq)? 37. What is the Sefer Mitzvot Gadol (The Semag)? 38. What is the Arba'ah Turim (The Tur , The Four Rows)? 39. What is the Shulkhan Arukh? 40. What is the Hamappah of Rabbi Moshe Isserles? 41. What is the Kitzur Shulkhan Arukh? 42. What is the Mishnah Berurah? 43. What Other Codes of Jewish Law Are Used by Non-Orthodox Jewish Movements? 44. What is the Meaning of 'All is Futile' from the beginning of Ecclesiastes? 45. What does it mean in the psalm of Habakkuk when it says that G-d hides His power? 46. What is meant by G-d's throne and the Serphim worshiping him in Isaiah 6:1-6? 47. Why is G-d referred to in the plural in the book of Genesis? 48. What is the Mekhilta on Deuteronomy? Section 4: Halachic Authority 1. What is "Halacha"? How is it determined? 2. Traditionally, what are the levels of halacha? 3. Traditionally, what are the different rabbinic eras? 4. How can differing halachic rulings all be considered valid? 5. How does the Conservative movement deal with Halachic questions? 6. What is the difference between two Orthodox rabbis who disagree and an Orthodox and a Reform who disagree? 7. Who is RAMBAM that is mentioned and what are his 13 principles? 8. Who was Rashi? 9. Who was the Ramban? 10. What is Kabbalah and how can I learn about it? 11. Who is allowed to study Kabbalah? 12. Who was Rabbeinu Tam? 13. What are she'elot u'teshuvot? 14. What is the midrash halachah and the midrash agadah? Section 5: Jewish Holidays 1. What are the different holidays? 2. What are the dates of the upcoming Jewish holidays? 3. How can I get a Jewish calendar 4. Why do some people take off one day, and others two? 5. Why does the Jewish day start at sundown? 6. What are the origins of the Chanukah Dreidel? 7. Is it appropriate for Christians to "celebrate" Pesach using the form of a seder meal? 8. What are the months of the Jewish Year? 9. How does Judaism measure the day? 10. Are the Four Questions asked on Pesach in the Torah? 11. What are the different days of the Jewish week? 12. How are Yahrzeits observed in Leap Years? 13. What happened to the observance on 14 Nisan as Passover? 14. For Mother's Day, how should one bless their mothers? Section 6: Jewish Dietary Law and Kashrut 1. What is Kosher? Doesn't a rabbi just bless the food? 2. How can I learn about Kashrut? Is there a "Kosher" FAQ? 3. There are a wide variety of kosher symbols. How do I learn who's behind them? 4. I'm going to be in (insert city here). How do I find the kosher restaurants? 5. Do I need to have a kosher kitchen and kosher home to keep kosher? 6. I have heard that Polish Orthodox Jews wait 6 hours between eating milchig and fleishig and Dutch Orthodox Jews wait about an hour. Why? 7. Why do Sephardim and Ashkenazim have different customs regarding permissible foods on Pesach (Passover)? 8. I'm a vegetarian health-food proponent. Is kosher food healthier? 9. Is vegetarianism kosher? 10. What process is involved in Kosher Slaughter? 11. I work in a prison, and I have an inmate that is demanding Kosher Food? How do I know if his claim is justified? 12. What are the issues involving Filet Minion? 13. Why don't Jews eat Pork? 14. Would the laws of Kashrut prevent Mad Cow Disease? 15. Is Monkfish Kosher? 16. Why do Jews separate Milk and Meat? 17. Must Jews use wine? 18. Are there parts of a kosher animal that cannot be eaten? 19. I have a friend coming over that keeps Kosher. What do I do? Section 7: Sabbath and Holiday Observance 1. What is the Jewish Sabbath and why is it on Saturday? 2. Why do my Orthodox Jewish friends leave work early on Fridays and before Jewish holidays? 3. Why can't Jews use electrical appliances and motor vehicles on Shabbat? 4. Why are there 18 minutes from the time candle lighting starts on Shabbat until the last time you can light? 5. I've heard that Jews can't tear on Shabbat? Why? What is "work"? 6. How do people know when to light candles in the Arctic? 7. What is the significance of Challah? 8. Why do women wave their hands three times before lighting Shabbat [or Holiday] candles? 9. What is an Eruv? 10. If your home is burning, can you put out the fire on Shabbat? 11. What Medical Procedures May Be Performed on Shabbat? 12. What happens on Shabbat? 13. Do Conservative Jews play musical instruments on Shabbat? 14. Why is there a prohibition on travel on Shabbat? 15. Can an observant Jew use a camera on Shabbat? Section 8: Woman and Marriage 1. What role do women play in Judaism? 2. What is the Conservative view of the role of women in Judaism? 3. What is the Reform view of the role of women in Judaism? 4. What is the Orthodox view of the role of women in Judaism? 5. Is it true that Orthodox men bless G-d every morning for not making them a woman? What do you mean, this isn't terrible? 6. I've heard polygamy is permissible among Sephardic and Yemenite Jews. Doesn't Judaism mandate monogamy? 7. What does clean/unclean refer to? 8. What is "Niddah"? 9. I've heard that Orthodox men can't touch women. Is this true? 10. Are there any rituals for purification after childbirth for women? 11. What is the Jewish position on contraception and abortion? 12. How does Judaism view Marriage? 13. How do Jews find Mates? 14. What is a Jewish Marriage? 15. What happens before a Jewish Wedding? 16. What happens during a Jewish Wedding? 17. What happens after a Jewish Wedding? 18. What should I wear to a Jewish wedding? 19. Why is the glass broken at Jewish weddings? 20. What is a Ketubah? 21. What are the "Seven Blessings"? 22. What does Judaism say about premarital sex? 23. What are some good wedding greetings? 24. Can a wife refuse to have marital relations with her husband? 25. What should a man do if his wife leaves him for another man? 26. Can a Jewish woman who has not been to a mikvah get married in an Orthodox wedding? 27. Is it possible for a Cohanim to marry a divorced Jewish woman? 28. I've heard Jews can't get married on certain days. What are they? 29. What is the role of the parents or the rabbi at a wedding? 30. How long after a spouse dies can the surviving partner remarry? Must they marry their spouse's younger brother? 31. What relationships are prohibited? 32. What is the restriction on woman to sing in public and infront of men? 33. What can be done if the wife refuses to sign the get (divorce decree)? Section 9: Jewish Worship 1. How does a rabbi differ from a priest? 2. Do you need a rabbi for a wedding? 3. Do you need a rabbi for a divorce? 4. How do Jews pray? 5. Is there a distinctly Jewish form of meditation? 6. Does Judaism have a strong tradition of religious art and music? 7. What is a synagogue? 8. What will I find in a synagogue? 9. How is a synagogue operated? 10. What functions does a synagogue serve? 11. What is the name of the Jewish God? 12. What is the reason for a "minyon" (a quorum of 10 men requried for certain prayers)? 13. What is the "Shema"? 14. Where can I learn about the prayers before eating? 15. What is the structure of the morning service? 16. When should morning services start? 17. Why do people put their tallit over their heads when they pray? 18. What is the importance of collective worship in Judaism? 19. What is the difference between Conservative Prayer and Orthodox Prayer? 20. What is the Timeline of Women in the Rabbinate? 21. Are extremely observant men permitted to pray at home? 22. What is the Qetzatzah Ceremony? 23. What time of day were the sacrifices offered? Section 10: Conversion, Intermarriage, and "Who is a Jew?" 1. Does Halacha (Jewish law) permit intermarriage? 2. I'm a Jew who married a gentile. Am I still Jewish? 3. I'm a Jew who accepted the tenets of another religion, but now wants to practice Judaism again. Am I allowed? Am I still Jewish? 4. OK, then apart from halachic considerations, why do many Jews of all types oppose intermarriage? 5. Is objection to intermarriage a form of bigotry? 6. But I still want to intermarry? Do you know of a Rabbi that performs intermarriages? 7. How does one convert? 8. What about adults who are not circumcised? 9. What does the word "Jew" mean? 10. Who is a Jew? 11. What is the origin of Matrilineal Descent? 12. I've heard that Jewish parents consider an intermarried child as "dead". Is this true? 13. Why is the conversion process so complicated? The matriarchs didn't have to convert. Section 11: Miscellaneous Practice Questions 1. Dress 1. Why do some Jewish women wear wigs or cover their hair with a snood, beret, tichel, turban, kerchief or hat? 2. Why do many Jewish men wear head coverings (variously referred to as "yarmulkas," "skullcaps," and "kipot")? 3. What is a Tallis? Tzit-tzit(those fringes)? Why do Jews wear them? 4. What are those black boxes and leather straps Jewish men wear? 5. Why do many Jewish men sport beards and/or long sideburns? 6. Why do some Orthodox Jews, especially Chassidim, wear a distinctive style of clothing (i.e., fur hats, black coats, gartel)? 7. What is Shaatnez? 8. Are there any special dress rules or customs for women? 9. What is a Kittel? 10. What is the large high ceremonial hat that the Rabbi wears in the synagogue called? 2. Sex and Purity 1. What's this I've heard about a hole in a sheet? 2. Can a Jewish man only uncover his wife a hands-breadth? 3. What is a "mikveh"? 4. What are Jewish hygene practices? 3. Writing 1. Why do some people write "G-d" with a hyphen instead of an `o'? 2. Why do some Jews write "J-s-s" and "Xianity"? 3. Why are somethings written in Hebrew, and others in Aramaic? 4. Practices towards others 1. Does Judaism permit slavery? 2. What does "eye for an eye" mean? 3. Is it permitted for a Jew to sell Christian objects? 5. Weddings + This material has been moved to Section 8. 6. Death and Burial 1. Is it true that someone with tattoos cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery? 2. I've heard about a custom of putting stones on the grave. Do you know where this custom originated? 3. Is "stone setting" at the cemetery within a year after death is a Jewish tradition? 4. What are the Jewish mourning customs after the death of an immediate relative? 5. What are Jewish funeral customs? 6. Is getting cryogenically frozen against Judaism? 7. Are Jews buried facing West? 8. Can Jews be cremated? 9. What is the Jewish position on Suicide? 10. Can pregnant women attend a funeral? 11. If a Jewish person lives in an area where there is no synagogue, no Jewish funeral home, and no Jewish cemetery, what would the rules be in regard to burial? 12. Can Jews and Non-Jews be buried together? 13. Must the Chevra Kedisha be family members? 14. How have burial customs changed over time? 15. Why do Jews emphasize burial within 24 hours? 7. Charity 1. What are the levels of giving? 8. Sacrifices 1. When did Jews stop making animal sacrifices? 2. What replaced animal sacrifices in Jewish practice? 3. How do sacrifices relate to compassion for animals? 4. Will sacrifices be restored if the Temple is rebuilt? 9. Symbols 1. Why are Jews called Jews? 2. What does the Star of David represent and what is its symbolism? 3. What is the signficance of "Chai" and the number 18? 4. What is a Mezuzah? 5. What is a Menorah? 6. What is the significance of the number 5? 7. What is the significance of the number 3? 8. What is the significance of the number 40? 9. What is the significance of the number 7? 10. Are there any Jewish housewarming rituals? 11. What is the significance of blue in Judaism? Are there other special colors? 12. What is the significance of the number 8? Section 12: Jewish Thought 1. What is the Jewish concept of G-d? Do Jews think of G-d as an angry old man with a long white beard? 2. Can one doubt G-d's existence and still be a good Jew? 3. Does modern science (e.g., "big bang" theory, evolution, the age of the world) contradict traditional readings of the Torah? 4. Does modern science contradict liberal readings of the Torah? 5. Can one be Orthodox and a scientist too? 6. I've heard that Jews consider themselves "chosen." What does that mean? 7. What is the Jewish concept of the Messiah? 8. What do Jews say happens when a person dies? Do Jews believe in reincarnation? In hell or heaven? Purgatory? 9. What was the job of a prophet? 10. It seems that prophecy was once central to Judaism; why don't we have prophets today? 11. Who were the prophets? How many? 12. What is the Jewish view on the question of "free will."? 13. What about angels, demons, miracles, and the supernatural? 14. What do Jews hope/expect of the future? 15. How can Jews reject (insert true belief here)? 16. Why do Jews need organized religion or Jewish laws? Isn't it good enough to be a good person? How about gentiles? 17. How does Judaism differ from Xianity, Marxism, Communism, Humanism and other -isms? 18. Where can a Gentile learn about Judaism? 19. What does Judaism say about non-Jews and their role? What does G-d demands of gentiles to get to Olam Ha'aba ["The World-to-come"]? What are the Noachide laws? 20. What do Jews believe about Good and Evil? 21. What is the Jewish position on Capital Punishment? 22. What is the Jewish position on communicating with the dead? 23. What is the significance and importance of suffering and punishment in Judaism? 24. Why are there different names for G-d? 25. What is the "Book of Life"? 26. How does one atone for sins? 27. What does Judaism say about the punishments in the Torah? 28. What does the Torah mean by Abomination? 29. Why does the Torah talk about Other Gods? 30. What is the purpose of life? Why did G-d create man? 31. How does tithing work in Judaism? 32. Does Judaism permit organ donation? 33. Is numerology part of Jewish Mysticism? 34. What is Jewish thought on Gog and Magog? 35. What does Judaism believe about Satan? 36. In Judaism, what are some of the laws related to gleaning and tithing for the poor? 37. What is the Jewish view of Salvation, i.e., how a person from a given religion is ''saved''? 38. Can a Jew donate blood? 39. How does halacha, the messiah, and the prophets affect the daily life of a Jew? 40. What must one do to lead "a good life" in Judaism? 41. I've heard about 36 taddiks? 42. What is the theological understanding regarding the affect of the expulsion from Eden? Section 13: Jews as a Nation 1. What are the different racial and cultural groups of Jews? 2. What are the differences between Sephardim and Ashkenazim? 3. Where did the Beita Yisrael (Falashas) come from? 4. Who were the Khazars? Are Ashkenazi Jews descended from the Khazars? 5. Who are Crypto-Jews (also known as "marranos")? 6. How does the Sephardi/Ashkenazi differences differ from the O/C/R differences? 7. I've heard of a group called the "Black Hebrews". Who are they? 8. What about the black jews in South Africa? 9. Who Are The Jews of India, And What Are Their Origins? 10. Are Jews a Nation or a Religion? 11. Who are the Edot Mizraxi? 12. What About Yeminite Jews? 13. Who was Donna Gracia? Section 14: Jews and Israel 1. Who is an Israeli? Who may enter Israel under its Law of Return? 2. What is Zion? 3. What is Zionism? 4. Are all Jews Zionists? 5. Do Diaspora Jews (Jews outside Israel) support Zionism? 6. I've heard there were/are very Orthodox Jews who were/are against the state of Israel. How could this be? Who are they? 7. Did Zionism end with the establishment of Israel? 8. Are antisemitism and anti-Zionism the same thing? 9. Is Zionism racist? 10. What are the roots of Arab opposition to Zionism? 11. Can't you criticize Israel without being antisemitic? 12. Why is opposition to Israel often seen as being antisemitic? 13. Why is Jerusalem so important to Jews? 14. I want to move to Israel. Can I become a citizen? 15. What is the Wailing Wall and why is it so important? 16. Questions on aliyah, military service for olim and more Section 15: Churban Europa (The Holocaust) 1. Why do Jews seem to treat the Holocaust as their tragedy alone? 2. Where can I get information on the Holocaust? 3. How do I get tickets to see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum? 4. Is there any online information available on Yad Vashem? Section 16: Antisemitism and Rumors about Jews 1. Why is antisemitism used to mean anti-Jewish? 2. Is there any truth to the myth of the Jewish American Princess? 3. What is the connection between Judaism and Freemasonry? 4. How do I counter antisemitic postings such as the infamous "Protocols"? 5. Did the Jews kill Jesus? 6. Can you tell me about the Disputation at Barcelona? Section 17: Countering Missionaries 1. Are groups calling themselves "Jews for Jesus" or "Messianic Jews[sic]" Jewish movements? 2. Is belief in Jesus-as-G-d compatible with any Jewish movements? 3. Countering the Question: Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus as the Messiah? 4. What do missionary groups believe? 5. What sort of deceptive terminology do missionaries use? 6. How can these missionaries be countered? 7. Who is financing "Jews for Jesus" and similar groups? 8. Are the key Christian beliefs derived from Judaism? Section 18: Reform/Progressive Judaism * Introduction to the Reform/Progressive FAQ 1. General Questions 1. What is Reform Judaism? 2. What, if any, are the fundamental principles of Reform? 3. Is a Jew affiliated with Reform Judaism less "religious" than one affiliated with another movement? 4. How is Reform Judaism structured in the North America? 5. How is Reform Judaism structured in the rest of the world? 6. How big is Reform Judaism? 2. History 1. How did Reform Judaism start? 2. Why did Reform Judaism start? 3. I've heard reference to "Classic German Reform". What is it? 4. What is Reform Judaism today? 3. What is Reform Judaism's position on... 1. The authority of Torah? 2. The authority of Talmud? 3. What is acceptable practice? 4. What is unacceptable practice? 5. The necessity of belief in G-d? 6. The role of Israel? 7. Other Jewish movements? 8. Homosexuality 9. Intermarriage 10. Abortion 11. Mixed (Interfaith) Marriages 12. The role of women 13. Outreach 14. How an individual's Jewish status is determined 15. The Messiah 4. Stereotypes: The fallacy verses reality 1. Fallacy: Reform Jews choose practice based solely on convenience 2. Fallacy: Either patrilineal or matrilineal descent is accepted 3. Fallacy: Reform Conversions take no study, and are for convenience only 4. Fallacy: Reform Judaism encourages intermarriage 5. Fallacy: Intermarried couples have exactly the same rights as non-intermarried couples in Reform Congregations 6. Fallacy: Reform Judaism has Rabbis and congregations that don't believe in G-d 7. Fallacy: There are no 3rd or 4th generation Reform Jews. 8. Fallacy: An atheist could be considered a "good" Reform Jew 9. Fallacy: Reform Jews don't have Bar Mitzvahs 10. Fallacy: Reform totally ignores "Jewish" divorce (i.e., gets) 11. Fallacy: All Reform Congregations Are Rich 12. Fallacy: Reform Rabbis do not study Halacha 13. Fallacy: Reform Jews don't care about Jewish ideals and principles. 14. Fallacy: Reform Jews don't need to attend synagogue. 15. Fallacy: Reform Jews don't believe in Zionism and don't support Israel. 16. Fallacy: Reform Jews have no concept of the Messiah. 17. Fallacy: Reform Jews do not observe Shabbat 18. Fallacy: Reform Jews ignore the laws of Kashrut 19. Fallacy: Reform rejects most of Maimonides 13 Principles of Faith 5. Differences from Traditional Judaism 1. Why does Reform liturgy say "m'chayey hakol" [who gives life to all] instead of m'chayey meytim" [who gives life to the dead] ? 2. What other changes to liturgy reflect Reform ideals? 3. Why does Reform generally celebrate Rosh Hashanah for one day? 4. How does a Reform conversion differ from an Orthodox conversion? 6. The Rabbinate 1. How does one become a Reform Rabbi? 2. What is the course of study for the Rabbinate? 3. How does one become a Reform Cantor? 4. What is the course of study for cantors? 5. What other courses of study are available? 6. Can Reform Rabbis be sanctioned for their beliefs 7. For Further Information 1. How do I contact the main organizations in Reform Judaism? 2. How do I find a Reform congregation? 3. Are there any Reform Rabbis on the network who will answer questions? 4. How do I start the conversion process? 5. I'd like to do some further reading. Where do I start? * Special Credits for the Reform/Progressive FAQ Section 19: Miscellaneous 1. I want to become more observant. Where do I start? 2. Why is "shabbat" spelled sometimes shabbath, shabbath, shabbos, 3. What are some common Hebrew and Yiddish phrases I see on S.C.J? 4. What do all those abbreviations like Z"L mean? 5. Is "shvartze" offensive? Is "goyim" offensive? 6. What does "shiksa" and "shaygetz" mean? 7. I am going to be in (name your city), where can I eat, stay for Shabbat? 8. What do bagels, lox, pastrami, falafel, garlic pickles, kishka, and kasha have to do with being a Jew? 9. What does Warren Burstein's signature mean? 10. Who was the sixth Marx brother? 11. Why do Hebrew clocks run clockwise, not counter-clockwise? 12. I'm not Jewish. How do I show my love for the Jewish people? 13. What is the origin of the word "kike"? 14. What is the meaning of the part of the book of Ruth where the guy at the gate takes off his shoe? 15. I'm a health care provider? What do I need to know for Jewish patients? 16. What would be a good housewarming gift for a Jewish friend? 17. What is the meaning and origin of the phrase B'shaah Tova? Section 20: References and Getting Connected 1. I'd like to learn more? Do you have any books to recommend? 2. What are the different hechsher symbols? 3. Where can I find Jewish-oriented mailing lists? 4. What are the good Jewish search engines? 5. What are some good Jewish links on the WWW? 6. Is S.C.J available via a Listserv or other e-mail means? 7. What divrei Torah are posted to Usenet? 8. Where can I find collected divrei Torah? 9. What software is available for Hebrew applications? 10. What other Jewish software is available? 11. Are there any Jewish Libraries on the Internet? 12. I'm interested in ordering books or music on the internet. Where should I look? 13. Boy, you did a wonderful job on the FAQ? How do I show my appreciation? Section 21: Children and Judaism * Introduction to the Jewish Childrearing FAQ 1. Entering the Covenant 1. What is circumcision? 2. Why are Jewish boys circumcised? 3. Who performs the circumcision? 4. When is the circumcision done? 5. But doesn't it hurt? 6. But shouldn't the child make its own decision? 7. But circumcision is only required for boys. What about girls? 8. What are our options for welcoming our new baby girl? 9. Can we hold a welcoming ceremony on the 8th day for a girl? 10. What is a pidyon haben? 11. When is a pidyon haben required? 12. What about babies who are stillborn or die shortly after birth with respect to pidyon haben? 13. What about an adopted child? 14. Does Judaism have a tradition of Godparents? 15. Is Circumcision required for a boy to be Jewish? 2. Naming 1. What are the Ashkenazi customs regarding the naming of children? 2. But my grandmother was named (insert old-fashioned out of use name here? No one uses that name today? How do I name after that relative? 3. Is it appropriate to name a child after a relative of the opposite sex? 4. Is it appropriate for multiple children (i.e. cousins) to be named after the same relative? 5. My spouse has a living relative with the same name as my deceased relative. Can we name our children after my relative? 6. What are the Sephardi customs regarding the naming of children? 7. What about babies who are stillborn or die shortly after birth? 8. Are there any distinctly non-Jewish names? 3. Playtime 1. Can I let my kid swim on Shabbat? 2. Can I let my kid play in the sandbox on Shabbat? 3. Can children play sports such as Soccer on Shabbat? 4. What is appropriate dress for swimming? 5. Can my kid play with Playdough during Pesach? 4. Eating 1. Where can I find kosher baby food? 2. Where can I find kosher for passover baby food? 5. Holidays 1. What are good activities for children for the major Jewish holidays? 6. Schooling 1. How do I determine the right type of religious program: day school vs. afterschool? 2. How are teachers in Chasidic schools trained? 7. B'nai Mitzvah 1. What is a bar/bat mitzvah? 2. What's a good gift for a b'nai mitzvah? 3. What is appropriate dress to wear to the b'nai mitzvah ceremony? 4. What are the characteristics of a good b'nai mitzvah program? 5. How do I select a good b'nai mitzvah tutor? 6. I need to speak at my child's bar/bat mitzvah? What do I say? 8. Other childhood lifecycle rituals 1. I've heard of a ceremony called "Consecration". What is it? 2. I've heard of a ceremony called "Confirmation". What is it? 3. What is Upsherin? I know it relates to the cutting of the hair of boys at age 3, but tell me more. 4. I've been invited to a Bat Barakah. What is it? 9. Coping with other religions 1. My child says all of his friends have Christmas Trees, and he wants one too. What do I say? 2. My child's non-Jewish grandparents have asked her to help trim the tree. What do I do? 3. My child has been invited to an Easter Egg roll? What do I do? 4. My child has been invited to the Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn? What do I do? 10. Growing Older 1. My child wants to start dating? How do I ensure proper behavior? 2. My child wants a tattoo. What forms of body modification are allowed? Tattoos? Earrings? 3. When do I need to start worrying about issues of modesty? 11. Resource References 1. I need some information on Jewish Genetic Diseases. Where do I start? 2. Are there any recommended online resources on Jewish Childrearing or specifically for Jewish children? * Special Credits for the Jewish Childrearing FAQ
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