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Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

Number of Entries : 515

Co-ed trips

Question: Sholom, I run coed Birthright trips to Israel each year for secular students. A portion from each trip eventually go on to yeshiva. However, during the trips students inevitably engage in inappropriate relationships with each other. I have no doubt that these trips are one of the most successful ways to get students into learning, however, I'm not sure how it can be mutur to lead students on mixed ...

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Amira L’Akum

Question: The shul I daven in Friday Night has a problem with the electricity. As a result in the summer months when the air conditioning is running, there are power outages from time to time. When this happens before Maariv is it permissible to ask a non jew to turn on the electricity? Answer: A non jew should be hinted to about the outage and what needs to be done [“it is dark in the shul”]. In this manne ...

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Serving food on a fast day

Question: I am leading a kiruv trip of secular students over the next few weeks. We are responsible to provide them every day with food or money to buy food. What should be done on Shivah Asar B’Tamuz, may we feed them as on a normal day [provide actual food]. If not, could we give  them money specifically to buy food [on their own]? Answer: They could be given money to buy food on the fast day. If this is ...

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Working on a fast day

Question: I am leading a group of secular university students on a 2 week trip to Israel. The trip will overlap with the fast of Shiva Asar B’Tamuz. Working on the trip requires a lot of energy, and will be very difficult while fasting. It will very likely cause me a severe headache at which point I will have to drink. Do I need to take off that day or can I run the trip? Answer: You may run the trip on the ...

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Tvilah after a fast day

Question: My wife’s mikva night falls out on Tuesday night, following the fast [Shiva Asar B’Tamuz]. Fasting makes her extremely weak and tired. If she fasts she will be unable to go to the mikva that night. Is she obligated to fast? Answer: She is obligated to fast, even if this will make her unable to go to the mikva after the fast. In that case, she should go to the mikva the following night [Wednesday n ...

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