Friday, August 22, 2014 Av 26, 5774

Dear Miriam,

I have a bris to go to next week, and I'm not sure what an appropriate gift is for the occasion.  Should I give money?  If so, how much, and if not, what do I give instead?

Signed,
Milah Moolah

Dear Moolah,

A bris, or brit milah, is the ritual circumcision for a Jewish baby boy that takes place on the eighth day of life. It's also an opportunity for family and friends to meet the baby, share a celebratory meal and, yes, bring gifts. But just because it's a bris, the gift doesn't need to be any different from any other...

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Dear Miriam,

My husband and I are expecting our first child in July. My own mother lives across the country and isn't well, but my mother-in-law lives close by and has offered to come stay with us to help out when the baby arrives. I appreciate the offer and think she'll be a big help, but I'm also nervous about her being in my space for an unspecified amount of time during a potentially emotional and difficult time. What should I do?

Signed,
Giving her a grandchild

Dear Giving,

B'sha'ah tova!  You're very lucky to have a family member...

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Dear Readers,

We are currently (until sundown tonight) in the part of Passover called chol ha-moed, or the intermediate days. Even though work is permitted on chol ha-moed, it should be done a little bit differently so that it still feels like a holiday. In that spirit, today's column will be a little bit different as well.

The Omer is the seven weeks in between Passover and Shavuot, ostensibly the time that the Jews wandered in the desert before receiving the Torah. The Omer starts on the second night of Passover, so tonight will mark the sixth night. Some people set...

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