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Five tragedies occurred on Tisha B’Av. It was decreed that those who left Egypt would not enter the land of Israel, the first and second Temples were destroyed, the city of Betar was captured with thousands massacred, and Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the razed Temple. Consequently, Tisha B’Av was declared a day of national mourning and a fast day.
Question: Since my daughter in high school started researching the topic of shemot for her school newspaper, I have become more and more confused. Does shemot only include items, such as books and sheets of papers, with Hashem’s name on them? Or does it even include items containing Torah concepts or even just Hebrew letters? For example, how do you advise I dispose of The Jewish Press? Finally, concerning Hashem’s name, must the name be spelled out fully in Hebrew to constitute shemot? What if it is in English in abbreviated form – “G-d,” for example? Shlomo Newfield (Via E-Mail)
In the good old days, Forest Hills, New York - where I grew up between 1939 and 1951 - was a shtetl for assimilated American Jews. Like my parents, all our neighbors were American-born offspring of Eastern European immigrants. A generation removed from their identity conflicts, we children knew that Forest Hills, liberated from Judaism, was our promised land.
Back in the day when I was growing up, members of the Jewish community were categorized into three groups - Orthodox, Conservative or Reform. Those who kept kosher and were shomer Shabbat were considered Orthodox. Period. How men or women dressed, their choice of head covering - or not - was irrelevant. In fact, going to public school didn't disqualify you from being viewed as Orthodox. The fact that you brought your own lunch, while everyone else lined up at the cafeteria for burgers and French fries confirmed your religious status.
QUESTION: I was at a kiddush recently where a lot of food (hot and cold) was served. Kiddush on wine was made, but no one washed the hands for eating bread. I am sure that most people were unable to eat a seuda afterwards. This seems to be a trend which is far from the kiddushim of the past, when a piece of herring and kichel and shnaps were the fare.As I do not wish to denigrate my hosts, who were so gracious in spite of what I see as doing something incorrect, please omit my name.Name Withheld On Request