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Prayer - General

Ashkenazi-Sefardi Pronunciation - I've noticed that Ashkenazi synagogues pronounce some words differently than Sefardi synagogues. What is the halachic status of these two variants? Do Ashkenazim who speak "Israeli" on a daily basis act... More
Meaningful High Holiday Services? - I know we don't confess to rabbis, but I have a confession! Even if I can read some of the prayers on Rosh Hashanah, I still don't understand what I'm saying. Honestly I'd rather take a quiet, reflective... More
Notes in The Wall - I live in America and was wondering if you really put into the Western Wall all the e-mail letters you receive. I have a friend who is visiting Israel and would like her to see my message. If you could... More
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Daily Prayers

Earliest Time for Morning Prayers (Shacharit) - I’ve noticed that our synagogue has morning services (Shacharit) quite early during the workweek, after which most of the congregants hurry off to work. During the winter months it is still dark outside... More
Most Important Prayer - I have heard many different opinions and would like to know which prayer is the most fundamental to Jews, the Amidah or the Shema? More
Praising the Rooster’s Crow - I was recently spending some time with my friend, the singer Matisyahu and his beautiful family on his tour bus before a concert in Dallas. While we were discussing the morning blessings, Matisyahu raised... More
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Synagogue & Minyan

Blessing for New Rabbi - I am the cantor's wife and I make the candle blessing before Rosh Hashana. We have a new young rabbi. Do you have a suggestion for a prayer or greeting that would include our new rabbi for me to say along... More
Driving to Synagogue on Shabbat - I enjoy attending synagogue services on Shabbat, but the rabbi told me that it's better to pray at home than to violate a prohibition of Shabbat. I couldn't really see how that’s more important than... More
Kaddish - Minyan - What should an individual do if he cannot say Kaddish on a regular basis? Is it better to pray from home if you must drive to Shul on Shabbat? More
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Mourning & Kaddish

Completion of Kaddish - My father passed away on June 14, which was 24 Sivan, but was not buried until the Sunday after, 27 Sivan. Until when should I recite the kaddish? More
Women Saying Kaddish - Lately I have been attending a new synagogue and I’ve noticed that the women do not say Kaddish. My father’s yahrtzeit is coming up and this has me wondering about the reason for this. More
Yahrtzeit – 2 Adars - My mother passed away on 10 Adar of a year with only a single Adar. I see this year is a leap year with two Adars. On which one do I observe the yahrtzeit? More
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Torah Reading

Completing a Book of the Torah - I am a lay leader at my temple. Since our rabbi is away, I will be leading this week’s Shabbat service. I have beginner-intermediate skills for chanting Torah. Your pasha page was very helpful.... More
Double Torah Portion - I enjoy attending synagogue every Shabbat morning. When it comes to the weekly Torah reading, sometimes we read two parshas. Why is that? More
Mismatched Torah Portions - I flew to Israel last week and on Shabbat they read a different Torah portion than the one they were reading at my synagogue back home. What gives? More
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Blessings Over Food

Blessing on Bananas - I was taught that the blessing before eating a fruit is “borei p’ri ha’aitz.” Yet the blessing for bananas is what we say on vegetables, “borei p’ri ha’adamah” When I asked around, no one seemed clear on... More
Blessing on Ice Cream Cone - I know the basic rules for the blessings on food, but I’m often stumped when dealing with mixtures. One of my kids wanted to know the blessing (bracha) on an ice cream cone. Does one make a blessing on... More
Blessing on Medicines - I am currently taking a liquid medication which has a flavoring but does not exactly taste good. Do I recite a blessing over it? More
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Misc.

Blessing on Natural Wonders - We will be traveling to Switzerland on vacation. When you visit the gorgeous mountains, is there a special blessing to recite? More
Blessings on Thunder and Lightning - Yesterday evening a powerful thunderstorm came out of nowhere. I found myself jolted to attention and literally cowering – covering my ears at every blast of thunder. I was curious if the Sages have... More
Prayer for Taking Medicine - I just began taking an antibiotic for a minor ailment. Is there anything religious I should be doing together with taking the medicine? It seems odd that we turn to doctors for our healing but not to... More
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