Tu BiShvat, called the "New Year of the Trees," falls at a seemingly incongruous time of year.
Tu BiShvat is a minor festival whose provenance dates only to the time of the Second Temple. However, the kabbalists who clustered around the great fifteenth-century mystic Isaac Luria of Safed placed great weight on the holiday, creating new festivities, gatherings at which hymns were sung, fruit (particularly carob) was eaten, and four cups of wine were taken (as in the Passover seder).
Is a Jewish boy who was circumcised in the hospital rather than in a religious bris ceremony considered a Jew? My husband and I are an interfaith family and we are not sure what to do with our baby.
I have been attracted to Judaism ever since I first began to learn about it, and have reason to believe that my family was originally Jewish. What would be the steps for me to take to return to Judaism?
Rabbi Robert Orkand: Judaism welcomes those wishing to convert, and a great deal of information about Judaism is now available on the Internet, making it a wonderful way to begin learning.
Is it necessary to be conversant in the Hebrew tongue in order to be accepted into the Jewish community via conversion? That is, can I convert without learning Hebrew?
I am in the process of converting to Judaism. When the Conversion ceremonies are completed, is it considered customary to render a gratuity to the Rabbi that we have been working with? This is a sensitive subject to ask of our Rabbi, whom we love.
Is it the policy that men must be circumcised prior to conversion? My 8-year old son wasn't circumcised. My husband is Jewish, I'm not. I would prefer for him to make his own decision when he is older, or when it can be done with a local anesthetic.
I am Jewish and dating a woman who is considering conversion to Judaism. I'd be so happy if she did convert, but I don't want to seem like I'm forcing her to convert. How can I best support her without coercing her?