Time for Tallit and Tefillin

Dear Rabbi Simon, I was surprised to read in the KC recently that you recommend waiting until 45 minutes before sunrise for Tallit & Tefillin, not just because this is much later (ie stricter) than other published times for the NW London communities, but also because you yourself use the more commonly accepted 72 minute limit when you begin fasts…

Bat Mitzvah girls reading from the Torah

Dear Rabbi Simon, What is your take on this whole new feminism drive sweeping across Modern-Orthodox Judaism? It has become popular in my community for Bat Mitzvahs (there’s been a few I know of recently) for the girl to Lein from the Torah at Shabbat Mincha, with the condition of less than 10 men present. They claim that halakhically this…

Exercise class in a church hall

Dear Rabbi Simon, Please can you tell me if one may go to an exercise class in a church hall?  If so, would that still be the case even if there’s a cross (crucifix) on the wall? Deborah Dear Deborah, As a rule, entering the sanctuary of a church is to be strictly avoided. (I will not dwell on those…

Time-Lapse Challah

Dear Rabbi Simon I was baking challah today and I became distracted and forgot to perform the mitzvah of hafrashat challah (separating the designated portion) from the dough. I only realised my oversight after the challot came out of the oven (gorgeous and begging to be tasted). Help! Can I still eat/serve/enjoy these challot? Donna Dear Donna All is not…

Holding on to Good Health

Dear Rabbi Simon, As you know I recently turned 60 and was pleased to receive my Oyster bus/tube pass. Another marker on the road to seniority, however, was the NHS bowel cancer screening test kit which arrived in the post within a few days of my birthday. As far as I know I am healthy in this area. My question…

Blue Thread in my Tzitzit?

Note: We present this recent exchange in time for this week’s Parasha (Shelach), which includes (final paragraph) Num. 15:38 Dear Rabbi Simon Should we be wearing Techeiles in our Tzitzis today? (I am asking a few rabbis this question.) FYI, here is a site which presents people who agree and disagree with wearing techeiles: http://techeiles.org/debate.php. I also found this informative…

Wedding Daze: Irregular Ketubah Question

Dear Rabbi Simon, My younger sister is getting married soon (overseas).  Sadly, her fiancé is not Jewish. Nevertheless, she wanted a ketubah (marriage contract) signing and asked me to be one of the witnesses.  I wanted to ask you whether it would be appropriate for me to do this or if I should tell her that I can’t. Many thanks,…

Delight for the Eyes – but is it allowed?

Note: This week’s Torah Reading (Re’eh) lists kosher and non-kosher species. Where does the peacock fit in? Hi Rabbi I have an unusual question for you.  My firm has a Jewish client, and we are doing the interior design and artwork for their New York residence (they are religious, but well-travelled/worldly and into the arts). We are designing a one-of-kind,…

Cremation and Kaddish

Dear Rabbi Simon, A distant elderly Jewish relative died last month and he chose to be cremated. Is it still appropriate to say Kaddish for him? Many thanks, Martin Dear Martin, The sombre and distasteful subject of cremation is discussed (and decried) in the Torah literature. The practice has become very common in non-Orthodox circles, and strenuous efforts are sometimes exerted…

Questions & Answers
this week

Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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