This column is coauthored by Dr. Ruth Nemzoff and Matthew Robinson.

Question: I am an incoming college freshman from an interfaith family, and one of my parents’ religions is Judaism. My parents decided not to raise me in either faith when I was younger, and as a result, I have only a rudimentary understanding of Jewish history and culture. I have never been…

Question: I recently read Raising A+ Human Beings: Crafting a Jewish School Culture of Academic Excellence and AP Kindness by Dr. Bruce Powell and Dr. Ron Wolfson. This book demonstrates that it’s possible to create a culture of kindness in schools. My favorite idea is that the principal tel…

Question: I’ve been accepted to the Peace Corps in Ukraine, and I am extremely interested in connecting with the Jewish community there. While I am not an observant Jew, I feel an affinity to the Jewish people since my mother is Jewish. I was supposed to go in 2020, but because of Covid, I c…

Question: My husband is bored and lonely during the pandemic, and he has one solace: me. And while I love my husband very much, as the saying goes, “For better or worse, but not for lunch!” During the pandemic, I have worked hard to find community online. I make sure to attend a few interact…

Question: My grandmother and I are having the same problem. Both of our lives were very much intertwined with our Jewish practice. As a student, the first thing I did on campus was go to Hillel, and I’ve been going to Shabbat services every week until Covid hit. Now, I not only lost the bene…

Question: I’m hosting my very secular family for Passover. Because last year was such a success — thanks to its video-chat format, the whole mishpacha (family) could actually be together — we’ve decided we’re definitely doing Passover together again. We’re still figuring out if it’ll be safe…

Question: I’m an Asian-American Jewish woman who is a junior in college. My dad is Jewish, and my mom is Chinese-American. I was converted soon after my birth, had a bat mitzvah and lived in Israel for four months on a gap year. My Jewish heritage is very important to me. However, when I cam…

Question: I drove by the Unitarian church a few weeks ago and saw a sign for “holiday trees.” I understand that Unitarians do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and so this made sense to me. I also understand that many atheistic Jews join Unitarian churches. On the one hand, I smiled and…

Question: I am a working grandmother living in the Midwest. My son lives seven hours away — a distance I used to fly and now consider “Covid drivable.” I usually visit twice a year, once at Passover and once at Hanukkah. This year, I missed my Passover visit for obvious reasons, but my son a…

Question: I’ve read some of your work on building relationships with your in-laws, and I wanted your input on my situation. It’s simple — my daughter-in-law does not like me! She allows her parents to babysit all the time and never asks me. She says I am too old, and seems to think I cannot …

Question: My husband has been ill for several years, and now we are contemplating hospice. Obviously, I am distraught. But adding particular stress is the thought that if he dies during Covid, I will be alone with an empty house during shiva, and unable to attend synagogue during shloshim, t…

Question: I’m thinking ahead to Rosh Hashanah, and I’m already dreading it. I know, Passover was much better than I expected, because I was able see all of my relatives living far away by video chat and I had not expected to feel connected at all. I loved my family’s creativity in substituti…

Question:  I am completely flummoxed. I clicked on a website about “pinkwashing” expecting to hear about the price of tampons, and instead discovered the term is anti-Israel! The website claimed that Israel is using its queer liberalism to hide violence against Palestinians? I’m so confused!…

Question: I don’t know what to call my family. My husband was born into an historically Christian family, but was raised with no religious affiliation. He was not Christened or Baptized. His family traveled over Christmas break, so they rarely had a tree, and there was no hearth for Santa to…

Question: I keep thinking about your work in my college Parents Facebook group. There are so many grandparent issues. I cannot count the number of times I've recommended your books! It's funny, I see so many adult kids lamenting that their parents or in-laws aren't a certain way (eg: drop ev…

Isolation does not mean being isolated from one another. We are all finding new ways to reach out and communicate with each other. Just because we’re practicing physical distancing, doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected with our loved ones. 

Question: Here’s a question for you: What’s a trichitza?  I ask you because my daughter came home from college so excited that her Hillel has one. I had no idea what it is, even though I am an observant Jew.  When I found out, I felt I must educate more people about this nifty invention. My …

Question: It’s December, gift season, and I’ve been thinking a lot about who I owe a present to, and questioning why I feel I owe them. Shouldn’t gifts be about affection, not obligation? I’ve been thinking about the question of freely given affection versus obligation often lately. As a new…

Question: I was wondering if you might address whether Jewish mothers tend to be stereotyped as being more self-absorbed and emotionally self-centered, and whether these stereotypes have some truth? In my experience, the middle-aged Jewish women I know are obsessed with looks, makeup, and cl…

Question: I was scrolling through my news feed the other day and saw a Tweet which mentioned “code switching.” It said that words like “ain’t” are cultural markers, and should be applauded instead of corrected in the classroom. I’m confused – I thought we go to school to learn how to speak p…

Question: I am a Christian college student dating a Jewish guy. When I was in high school, my friends and I regarded Jews as a race. We were not as aware of the religious traditions. Now, I’m in college, and my friends attend services and there are several who look like different races. I am…

Question: I am new to Judaism. I became aware of Jewish customs at university (so long ago!) and, as I was working on my conversion process, I fell in love with a Jewish boy. I converted for myself – not for him! – but we did marry briefly and had a child. I am now a single mother, and I dec…

Question: College acceptances are rolling in, and I realize that I have about six months to “vaccinate” my child for what they will encounter at college. Hopefully, I have done a good job so far discussing sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. However, I read in the newspaper that I better start dis…

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Question: My mother is going to move to a nursing home. As I was cleaning out her attic, I found papers from her lifetime of Jewish communal work. Apparently, my mother kept records of her women’s Rosh Chodesh group, she documented her tenure as first woman president of the synagogue board, …

Question: I am a secular Jew. I went to #ShowUpForShabbat to seek solace in my Jewish roots after the Pittsburgh shooting. I do not usually attend Temple, but it seemed like the appropriate thing to do, and the only thing to do to deal with my feelings of horror after the Pittsburgh shooting…

Question: My world is shaken. I thought my children had a future in America. Now, I’m not certain. Are Holocaust analogies an easy exaggeration? Or are they the warnings that the prescient heeded when they left Nazi Germany in the 1930s? Are we Jews paranoid, or just wary because we’ve been …

Question: This month, there is only one question and everyone is asking it in many ways: How do I talk to my kids, my grandkids or my parents about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings? No matter your political persuasion or who you believe, difficult topics are now in our face: on the TV, in podcas…

Q: This month, I have decided to explore my own question: In light of the recent allegations of Stephen Cohen’s sexual misconduct, how do we, as a Jewish community, interpret his research? Cohen is the researcher who called our attention to the increasing number of intermarried couples and s…

Question: I was attending a program at a Catholic Church with my Christian partner. It was sponsored by the Voice of the Faithful, an organization of lay Catholics protesting sexual abuse by priests. A responsive reading and prayer sheet was handed out to all in attendance, affirming a stron…

Question: I am a mother of four, and I very successfully homeschooled my children throughout their preschool and early-elementary years. I lived in a liberal-leaning community and participated in homeschooling groups which were comfortable and inclusive: Parents of a variety of genders broug…

Q: I am a senior at the University of Maryland, poised to graduate this May. I’m an Orthodox Jewish woman, and my amazing boyfriend of a year and a half who attended Yeshiva University in New York. He graduated a year before me, and we have spent the past year driving to each other on weeken…

Question: My husband and I are in our 50s and living in small Midwestern Jewish community. We love to have company for Shabbat, because we love the conversation. It’s an easy way to entertain, in that it’s easy to throw a chicken in the oven with some potatoes. I’m a nervous host, and am not…

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Q: My daughter is about to have a baby, and of course my wife and I are thrilled. Her spouse is a Sephardic guy, and the kids just told us they are planning to name the child after my son-in-law’s father, who is still alive. I am horrified! I am also incredibly disappointed. My own father di…

Q: The granddaughter of a Cincinnati couple was one of the 17 students and staff killed in the Florida school shooting Feb. 14.

Q: I am an Orthodox Jewish girl, and the recent exposure of Jewish sexual harassers worries me. Are Jews disproportionately sexual predators – Is there something about Judaism that causes this behavior? Have so many Jews been exposed to public scrutiny because of anti-semitism, or are Jews t…

Q: I am a senior at a left-leaning university. Like many students, I’m interested in social justice. However, I am disturbed by much of campus conversation regarding Israel, and I’ve noticed that many other Jewish students share this feeling. How do I communicate with both Jewish and non-Jew…

Q: I don’t particularly like my daughter’s boyfriend. I thought I would like him prior to meeting him for the first time. I usually trust my daughter when it comes to picking friends. She had told me that he was tall, handsome, and Jewish! Unfortunately, I don’t like him at all. 

Q: I am about to have Jewish grandchildren, and I am terrified! Don’t get me wrong; we love our son-in-law. He has brought out the best in our daughter and they make sensible decisions together. We have never had any complaints; in fact, we are looking forward to learning about new holidays …