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soc.culture.jewish.parenting FAQ: Newsgroup Policies and Procedures
Section - 2.8. Can you give me examples of good and bad questions?

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish.parenting FAQ: Newsgroup Policies and Procedures
Previous Document: 2.7 I disagree with the rejection. What should I do now?
Next Document: 2.9. How do moderators handle borderline cases?
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

Here are some example questions, along with an indication of how the article
would be handled by the moderation team. The result categories are:

	ACCEPT			Article is clearly acceptable
	REWORD AND RESUBMIT	Article is acceptable after rewording
	REFER TO...		Article belongs in a different newsgroup

In all cases, rationales are given. Paragraph references are to the
charter. Unless specified otherwise, the moderators assumed the child was
being raised as a Jew.


AS-01 When I told her about my grandparents at Dachau, my seven year old told
      me "that's ok - I'm not Jewish like them, so I would be safe".  Is this
      normal defense behavior?  Should I try and explain that even though
      we're raising her in a secular home, that she would be Jewish by the
      standards of Hitler, but that she's safe from him because he died a long
      time ago?

	ACCEPT. Similar questions would come from Jewish children, who feel
	safe because they are not in Germany. It leads into the general
	question of teaching children about the holocaust.

AS-02 I've been telling my children about their family members lost in the
      Holocaust, and what the Holocaust means.  My lover came in recently, and
      got very angry because I was talking about the Holocaust as a Jewish
      tragedy.  He was very, very upset, because he too lost family members to
      the Nazis (he's Polish) - how can I tell my kids about the Holocaust and
      its importance as a Jewish tragedy while also acknowledging its broader

	ACCEPT. Although this is a more general question of acknowledging the
	other aspects of the holocaust while retaining Jewish significance,
	children of different ages need different answers to their questions,
	especially questions on such frightening topics as genocide and
	war. However, to be appropriate for the group, these other aspects
	should be explained from a Jewish perspective, something they wouldn't
	get from To that end, an approporiate moderator's note
	should be added to the end, for example [When responding to this
	question, please try and address the issue from a Jewish perspective
	-- Yr. Mod.]


CI-01 What do you mean you want to raise your child as Jewish but don't want
      to circumcize. Jewish Law says that male children must be circumcized.

	implies that the position of liberal Jewish movements, that recommend
	but don't mandate circumcision, are invalid. It is also worded as a
	personal attack. [P2.1]

CI-02 We've decided not to circumcise our son, and I'm concerned about
      reaction from family/friends/the Jewish community?

	ACCEPT. Context implies the child is being raised Jewish, and the post
	is addressing Jewish issues.

CI-03 We just had our first child -- a boy -- and though there's no question
      for us about circumcising him, I feel terrible about having to put him
      through this.  How have others coped?

	ACCEPT. Context is shared experiences of Jewish parents.

CI-04 We don't know the sex of our soon-to-arrive baby.  We are terrified at
      the thought of having to plan a Brit in a week?  How do people do it?

	ACCEPT. Direct Jewish parenting question.

CI-05 I don't understand all this talk about deciding whether or not to
      circumcise.  How can a boy be a Jew and not be circumcised?

	questions the validity of those movements that consider circumcision
	optional. [P2.1, P2.2]

CI-06 I think that mutilating a baby based on some bizarre religious ritual is
      evil and should be illegal.  How can you people be so vicious.

	REFER TO TALK.FLAME. This is a clear attack on Judaism, and violates
	the charter with respect to flames on the procedure of
        circumcision. [P2.2]

CI-07 When my son was born 12 years ago, we considered ourselves 'cultural'
      Jews, and so we had him circumsized in the hospital, with no mohel and
      no brit milah. As the years have gone by, my family has gotten much more
      involved in Judaism, and now we affiliate with a Conservative synagogue.
      While speaking to the Rabbi about my son's upcoming bar mitzvah, he
      asked about my son's brit. After hearing my story, he insisted that my
      son have a ceremonial brit, with a pinprick. Although I'm hesitent, I
      want to go ahead with the brit. My son refuses. The Rabbi won't go
      forward with the Bar Mitzvah without the brit. What should we do?

	ACCEPT *and* REFER TO SOC.CULTURE.JEWISH. This question can be judged
	in many ways. Portions of it address halachic interpretation and are
	thus appropriate for S.C.J. In the S.C.J.P context, the relevant aspect
	is the son's refusal and handling the corresponding emotional
        issues. [P3.2]


CO-01 My daughter wants to be baptized.  Should I let her make her own choice
      about religion, even though it means allowing her to reject my faith?

	ACCEPT. The question deals with the general issue of a child raised
	within Judaism making a choice of religion; perhaps one with which the
	parent disagrees. Similar questions could be: ``My Orthodox daughter
	has gone and joined the "Moonies"--what do I do?'' or ``I'm Reform,
	and my son has gotten involved with Chabad, a sect of Judaism with
        whose practices I disagree. How do I parent in this situation?''


DL-01 I have become much more observent and now want to keep kosher in our
      home. Neither spouse nor child is thrilled with the idea. While I can't
      stop spouse from eating BLT's out, can I enforce the rules out-of-home
      for my child? (She says it isn't fair.)

	ACCEPT. Deals with teaching children Kashrut. It also deals with
	children rejecting a change (increase or decrease) in the Jewish
	practice in the home.  Lots of other similar examples could be


HA-01 What is the appropriate Shiva behavior for an 11-year-old child who has
      lost a parent?

	REFER TO SOC.CULTURE.JEWISH. This is asking about what the proper
	halacha is, and doesn't address the relationship between parent and
	child. [P3.2]

HA-02 My sister has just passed away leaving an 11-year-old daughter.  The
      daughter wants to sit shiva even though she is below age at which it
      would be required.  Her father doesn't think she should, as she is too
      young.  What can I do to help them through this traumatic time while
      attempting to make sure both their needs are met.

	ACCEPT. This addresses a parent attempting to meet the needs of a
	child raised in a Jewish context.

HA-03 My twins are about to turn 3, and I'm looking for some way of honoring
      this special birthday. I've made a cloth torah for my son, with quilted
      illustrations of several bible stories inside, and I've bought my
      daughter some silver candlesticks, but I'm looking for a halachic
      ceremony. Any suggestions?

	ACCEPT. Although in some ways a halachic question, the issues are
	clearly releated to parenting in a Jewish context.

HA-04 At what age should my child start reciting various prayers?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

HA-05 I'm an observant parent, and I live within walking distance of a
      playground.  I'd like to take my 2.5-year-old there on Shabbat, but I'm
      not sure what activities would be permitted.  Can he play in the sand?
      What if the sand is wet? What do other observant parents do?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

HA-06 I have an 8-month-old daughter whose pediatrician has suggested
      introducing meats.  However, she is still taking frequent milk feedings,
      and we keep a Kosher home.  How do I deal with the time restraints
      between meat and dairy with an infant?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

HA-07 How did you start teaching your child about kashrut?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

HA-08 What are some good games and other activities for reinforcing Torah?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

HA-09 What's your routine for davening with your kids?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.


IF-01 When I went shopping with my SIL, she had her child sit on Santa's
      lap. Now my child wants to do the same. I've explained to her that we
      don't have Santa, but she wants to anyway.  Do any of you allow this?

	ACCEPT. Deals with the interaction of Jewish children with the
	non-Jewish world, while preserving their Judaism. This is actually a
	topic that could not be discussed easily on

IF-02 Now that I've got preschoolers, I find myself avoiding stores from
      October to February. Besides the obvious complaint that Christmas is ONE
      DAY LONG, but we've got to face it for 6 months, I need to some way to
      reinforce that this isn't OUR holiday to my kids. Besides living like a
      hermit, what do you do to keep this red and green invasion from your

	ACCEPT. Deals with the interaction of Jewish children with the
	non-Jewish world, while preserving their Judaism. This is actually a
	topic that could not be discussed easily on

IF-03 My daughter has been invited to a birthday sleep-over at a friend's
      house. Her friend is not Jewish. We keep a strict Kosher home, and my
      daughter has never eaten any treif. How do I balance my trust of my
      daughter (6 yrs next week) with the fear that peer pressure will
      override and she'll be tempted to eat treif?

	ACCEPT. Clearly a question related to raising a child in a Jewish

IF-04 We are raising our child Jewish, but my spouse feels she should at least
      be exposed to the other side of her heritage and wants to take her to
      church. I am not opposed to the visit, but feel she may be confused.
      How can I reduce her confusion without making her feel that the other
      religion (and by extension, my spouse) is bad?

	ACCEPT. The child is clearly being raised Jewish.

IF-05 My child was raised as a committed Jew. After his mother died, I
      remarried someone who has, subsequent to the marriage, "seen the light"
      and become Christian. She's invited my son to a tree trimming party. He
      doesn't want to come. How do I find a compromise position?

	ACCEPT. The question, in a general sense, is how do Jewish children
	deal with non-Jewish influences without compromising their Jewish

IF-06 Should an interfaith child being raised non-Jewish have a Christmas

	about a non-Jewish child's non-Jewish traditions and hence does not
	fit the charter [P3.5]

IF-07 I practice both Buddhism and Judaism.  How do I explain the relation of
      our Jewish and Buddhist identities to our 7-year-old?

	The questions pertains to the intermingling of multiple faiths, which
	does not fit within the charter. [P3.6]

IF-08 My spouse has never come to shul with us. This has never been an issue,
      but next week my child's Sunday school class is leading the service and
      he STILL won't come. My child is crushed.

	ACCEPT. The child is clearly being raised in a Jewish context.

IF-09 We keep a Kosher home. My husband converted from a Christian religion
      many years ago. On the first Christmas after our son was born, his
      father's family invited us to spend part of the holiday with them.  My
      son was just beginning to eat finger foods, and while we were napping,
      my MIL gave our son HAM salad to eat, "forgetting" that we keep
      Kosher. I was furious, and insisted that we leave. Now my son is 2, and
      they've offered to take him for a weekend. We'd love the time alone, but
      I'm petrified that she'll be letting him eat shrimp and lobster the
      second our car pulls out of the driveway. Anyone else have this problem?

	ACCEPT. Concerns maintaining Jewish standards.

IF-10 All my 3 yr-old son's friends have been to McDonalds, but we keep
      Kosher. He's dying for the Happy Meal toys, and doesn't understand just
      WHY he can't eat there as well? My BIL, who isn't Jewish, keeps saying
      in front of my son "OH just get the happy meal and let him eat the
      fries." But I'm not positive that they don't use animal fats. It
      infuriates me that my BIL does this, especially as it inflames my son to
      even more whining.

	ACCEPT. Concerns maintaining Jewish standards.

IF-11 My children want to know if I will make them Easter Baskets. They say
      that Daddy had them when he was little and they want them too. They are
      being raised Jewish and I don't want to bring this "custom" into our
      home. Is there an alternative?

	ACCEPT. This deals with a child raised in a Jewish context dealing
	with the non-Jewish world while retaining a commitment to Judaism.

IF-12 We're atheists, but raising our children culturally Jewish - how do we
      explain to our older daughter that despite what her Hebrew School
      teacher tells her, we can be Jews and not believe in God.

	would act as flamebait. The word `culturally' might attract flames
	without contributing much to the explanation needed to put the
	question into context, hence we might suggest deleting it. Further,
	the last phrase might be reworded as "we can hold different beliefs",
	if the poster thought they might benefit from replies to that more
	general question. As written, this makes a statement that goes against
	a traditional Jewish position, and could be inflammatory. However, it
	could be accepted as is if the original poster did not want to change
	the wording. The moderator might want to add a note indicating that
	the question could also be considered in a more general fashion; that
	is, addressing differences between what is taught in religious school
	and what is taught at home. The more general question is quite common,
	and often arises when Reform families send their children to
	Conservative day schools. [P2.1]

IF-13 I've become more and more observant as I've gotten older and Judaism has
      become more and more important to me.  I very much want my son to
      understand how important my religion is to me, but we've always tried
      very hard to raise him in both faiths.  How can I make him see that I
      really would like him someday to be a Jew, without pressuring him or
      making him feel rejected?

	ACCEPT. This is a clear parenting issue, with a clear indication of a
	desire to raise a child in Judaism.


OT-01 We won't be having a pidyan ha ben for our son, since we previously lost
      another child through miscarriage.  However, we don't want to disclose
      this (for a variety of reasons) to our families.  Has anyone else had to
      deal with this type of situation?

	ACCEPT. This question is clearly related to the submitters new status
	of a Jewish parent, and needs the sensitivities of other Jewish


PA-01 The poster of the previous article, Shmuel Schmuckputz, is a fool for
      saying that ...

	REWORD AND RESUBMIT. As worded, this is a personal attack. [P2.5]


PR-01 How do I choose a good Jewish day school?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-02 I'm taking my kids on vacation to Israel. What are significant Jewish
      religious sites that we should visit with the children?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-03 Do you have any recommendations for Jewish-themed children's books?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-04 How do I teach my child the concept of Tzedakah (charitable donation)?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-05 Does anyone have unique Jewish-themed costume ideas for the Purim

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-06 I invented some kosher l'Pesach cookie recipes that my picky 2-year-old
      will actually eat; would anyone like to exchange toddler-friendly Pesach

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-07 How did you persuade your little boy to keep his kippa on?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-08 What tunes do you use for modeh ani?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-09 What is your bedtime routine with your toddler, and where does the Sh'ma
      fit in?  My kid screams during the Sh'ma because he knows story time is
      over; how do I get him to stop?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-10 How do you explain the harsher Torah narrative episodes to young kids
      who are prone to nightmares?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.

PR-11 How do you explain the holidays to very small kids?

	ACCEPT. This is clearly a Jewish parenting question.


VA-01 I feel that Jewish Law concerning the treatment of women is barbaric and
      archaic. I don't want my child to learn those values.

	REWORD AND RESUBMIT. This attacks the validity of the Orthodox
	interpretation, which operates in terms of responsibilities, not
	rights. If worded as "I have difficulties with the Orthodox concept of
	the role of women. How do I teach my child how to reconcile those
	values with egalitarian thought?", it would be acceptable. [P2.1]

VA-02 I am having trouble tolerating the existance of Jews who belong to
      Synagogues other than an Orthodox one!  If we allow ourselves to be
      rational and think for a moment, we would awaken to the truth.  What is
      the truth, we ask?  The truth is that all these other branches of
      Judaism are in reality what Christianity once was!

	REFER TO TALK.FLAME. This post cannot be easily reworded, and is a
	clear attack on the liberal movements in Judaism. [P2.1]

VA-03 I'm distressed about the path Reform has taken regarding "Who is a Jew"?
      Perhaps indeed we should all follow this path.  Within one or two
      generations, there will be no Jews, but at least we shall have left a
      pleasant memory in the minds of the gentiles.

	REFER TO SOC.CULTURE.JEWISH OR TALK.FLAME. Questions the viability of
	Reform as a Jewish movement. [P2.1]

VA-04 I've met a single mom with two kids. She says she's an atheist Jew, I'm
      affiliated with an egalitarian Conservative synagogue. We're recently
      engaged and are now discussing having another child. I'm VERY unhappy
      with the non-practicing nature of her childrearing, and would want my
      kids to be involved with my synagogue. Her kids are picking up on this
      disagreement, and it is making everyone miserable. How do we combine two
      very different views of Judaism when raising our blended family?

	ACCEPT, but a caution should be added to remind respondants to avoid
	attacking the validity of any Jewish movement.

VA-05 My Reform wife just bought my two sons Power Rangers Kippot for
      synagogue.  I'm appalled. My sons attend a Modern Orthodox shul. Would
      these kippot be unacceptable at my shul, even though it is clear that my
      sons LOVE the kippot and will wear them willingly, unlike their usual
      black crocheted ones.

	ACCEPT OR REFER TO SOC.CULTURE.JEWISH. There are two issues here. Once
	is a pure halachic question concerning what makes kippot acceptable.
	The other is the question of how to address this issue with the
	children, which is a parenting question. [P3.2]

VA-06 My wife recently died and left me as the single parent of 3
      daughters. I've always been a 'cultural Jew' but my wife was Orthodox
      and my daughters attend an Orthodox day school.  However, I'm not sure I
      want this to continue. My MIL is apoplectic that I would consider
      pulling my daughters out of their religious education. I feel
      hypocritical having them attend a school that teaches things in which
      I've no beliefs. Especially difficult for me is the way my daughters are
      being taught about being an adult woman. The limited nature of the view
      of adult Jewish women is stifling to me, but my wife felt so strongly
      about this issue. I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

	question is related to the adult parent's opinions of the Orthodox
	position, the decision of where to send one's children to school is
	clearly a parenting issue, and the decision of what kind of Jewish day
	school to send one's children to is clearly a Jewish issue. However,
	rewording would soften the tone of this and allow fruitful
	discussion. More importantly, rewording would allow the writer to
	focus more on the school issue; as written, comments would be more on
	the nature of the Orthodox view of women, which wouldn't be
	appropriate. The basic deciding factor is that discussing how to raise
	your children in the context of your movement's position, or in a
	context that differs from what they get taught in religious school is
	an appropriate question for the newsgroup. Given that, if the wording
	changes are declined, a moderator's note could be added suggesting
	that, to stay on topic in this group, responses should stick to the
	parenting question of selecting religious education for his children
	that conflicts with what he/she believes, and that discussions of
	Orthodoxy's position on women are more appropriate for

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