“Rabbi, I Have a Question”
It is one of the things that make the rabbinate so very interesting. Every so often someone will call with an unusual question. I’m not talking about the “Can I use soy milk on Pesach?” question which I get every year. I mean the truly unique questions which show the breadth and richness of our tradition and the love and devotion to Judaism which the questioner has.
- A local hospital has designated kosher mini fridges available for those patients who keep kosher. When a kosher patient is admitted, the fridge is delivered to their room to store kosher certified food. There is a lack of refrigerator space at the hospital so may the hospital store the influenza vaccine in the kosher fridges when they are not being used?
- A Muslim patient is refusing to take the influenza nasal spray because it contains a porcine (pig) derivative. That was news to me. Should I disclose this ingredient to my Jewish patients?
- A woman was pregnant with twins. One died in utero, the other was born healthy. Both children were delivered the same day. Must we observe the yahrtzeit of the deceased child on the same day as the birthday of the living child or might we observe it on another day, closer to the child’s actual day of death?
Bet you’re curious about the answers to those questions and perhaps some of your own! As Conservative Jews we use the values of the Torah as the guiding principles of our lives. Our tradition is the very definition of a living organism which has imbued within it the capacity for nuanced development and response to human experience in a complicated modern world.