Wednesday, October 22, 2014 Tishri 28, 5775

Dear Miriam,

Lately, I've started hanging out with a group of people who are a lot more knowledgeable than I am about most things Jewish, and while I really like them, I'm embarrassed to ask them what's going on and end up being left out of a lot of the conversations. How can I ask without looking dumb, or how can I find out what they were talking about after the fact?

Signed,
It's like learning a new language

Dear Learning,

Sometimes, people use "insider language" to show that they belong and to make that fact clear to anyone who's...

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Dear Miriam,

I ride the SEPTA bus to and from school every day, and I often see older people standing and younger people sitting. What's the etiquette for offering someone a seat?

Signed,
SEPTA Seats

Dear Seats,

I, too, ride the bus pretty frequently, and I like to think about how public transportation is one of the great equalizers (that is, for people who actually use it). If there's traffic, we're all stuck in traffic together. If someone's eating a smelly sandwich on the bus, we're all smelling it together. If it's crowded, we're all...

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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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