Dear Rachel Week by Week

Friend Committed Suicide
I just found out that someone I was quite close with committed suicide. I am so shocked and overwhelmed by the news, but I am also feeling incredibly guilty...
Insecure at Work
I am constantly feeling undervalued and unappreciated at my job. I have a great position with a lot of freedom, which intellectually would seem to suggest that they are happy with me and my work. Yet continuously I feel that I am being marginalized and unnecessary...
Husband Won't Say
While I know that my husband loves me, I still feel the need to hear it and it hurts me that he can’t say it, even when it is so important to me. Am I making a big deal out of nothing?
Difficult Passover Guests
This year, for the first time, we are hosting the family Passover Seder. We were very excited to finally be able to have everyone in our home, until we found out that distant cousins, who we find very offensive, plan on coming . . .
Cleaning for Passover
I am a student rooming in an apartment with another Jewish girl. Though neither of us is religious, I decided that I'd really like to be kosher for Passover this year, but my roommate is up in arms about having to do an intense cleaning...
Inappropriate Purim Costumes
I was so excited when my teenage daughter told me she wanted to attend a Purim party. Being that she does not seem so interested in Judaism, I thought this was such a positive step, until I saw what she plans on wearing for her costume . . .
Sister Has Become Religious
I am Jewish but was not really raised with any religious observance. Last year my sister went to Israel for a year abroad in college. The person who has returned is someone I don't even recognize. She calls herself a "baal tshuva"...If she is a religious Jew, will she be able to stay close with me?
This might sound stupid, but I feel like there is nothing that I am good at. I have friends that are great writers, or singers or cooks, yet I can't think of anything that I can do that is unique...

Embarrassing Guest
There is a woman who, although good-hearted, is quite aggressive in the way she speaks to people and has offended friends of mine in the past by telling them how she thinks they should live their lives. I'm making an event in the near future...
Unemployed Husband
About nine months ago, my husband lost his job. I then started working full time and my husband has taken over some of my previous duties (car pool, dinner prep etc.). Unfortunately, he is becoming more and more angry over it, and extremely resentful...
Is Giving Chanukah Presents a Non-Jewish Custom?
I am having a very hard time, as the holidays approach, with teaching my children the beauty of Chanukah and not having them see it as a Jewish x‑mas. I know it has become somewhat of a tradition to give children gifts during Chanukah, but is this really a Jewish custom?
Fertility Problems & Family Events
Unfortunately, my oldest daughter does not have any children though they are still trying and praying. Lately though, she and her husband have stopped attending family events. I understand that it is difficult for her to be around other children...but her siblings are starting to resent her...
Friend's Child is Terrorizing Mine
A good friend of mine invited us over for dinner and when I told my daughter we were going there, she started to cry and said this woman's daughter is the meanest girl in the school. I am not sure if I should tell her mother or not?
Halloween Tradition?
My husband keeps telling me that Halloween is American tradition and that there is nothing wrong with our six-year-old trick or treating, but something just doesn’t feel right. I think whole holiday is weird and I don’t want my child dressed up as a skeleton and going to strangers' homes? Am I overreacting?
Sudden Mood Swings
The man I am thinking of marrying can be very sweet and kind. But just when we are getting along well, he suddenly changes...
Remarrying with Teenage Children?
I am a 50-year-old man, and I have been widowed for the last two years. I would like to start dating again, but my daughters, now ages 14 and 16, feel very differently . . .
School Transitions
My oldest daughter just began first grade and is having a really hard time. She cries all the way to school and when I drop her off. It is heartbreaking. On top of that, my kindergartner has begun to act out on the way to school also...
Waiting for an Apology
I had a falling out with a close friend and feel I wasn’t at fault. I’ve been waiting for her to apologize, but she hasn’t. Finally, I am ready to forgive her, but I don’t even have that opportunity. I just want to put this situation behind me . . .
Fallen Out of Love
I am married to a good and kind man, though I simply no longer feel the kind of love I should feel toward him. Is there anything you can do when you have fallen out of love?
Second Generation Holocaust Survivor
I am a second generation Holocaust survivor with parents who both went through Auschwitz. While my parents both clearly had a relationship with G‑d, they were not observant and were in too much pain to ever discuss what Judaism meant to them...