The help center states that questions about "general knowledge (science, etc.) as it relates directly to Judaism" are acceptable.

My question is: how direct.

I am asking particularly about questions about activities based in Jewish observance, whose answers ultimately lie outside the realm of religion.

For example: "What is a good way to stay awake on Shavuot night" (I made this question up on the spot). The real question is how to stay awake. Staying awake might just happen to be useful to Jews practicing Judaism.

Related to different degrees are: Is there a way to minimize soreness or getting a lip blister from blowing the shofar? and How do I avoid thirst when fasting? and How can you quit a habit of visiting inappropriate websites? and many more.

The last one would not have been included in my listing had it been phrased: "what do Jewish sources say about...".

However, without such additions the questions are asking about blisters, fasting, and addiction respectively, rather than, for example Judaism's take on these.

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    BTW "Staying awake might just happen to be useful to Jews practicing Judaism" was not meant to imply that staying up all night is an inherent part of Judaism.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 4 '15 at 1:56
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    – Double AA Mod
    Sep 4 '15 at 4:09
  • @DoubleAA was that meant to show that such question are in reality acceptable, or the extent to which questions on the site veer from its intended scope?
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 4 '15 at 4:11
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    I think it's the strongest example of the extremity to which Isaac takes his position. See our discussion here judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/31202/…
    – Double AA Mod
    Sep 4 '15 at 4:13
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    @DoubleAA Thanks for finding those. mevaqesh, thanks for making a Meta post for this.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Sep 4 '15 at 4:21

All of the questions you list, and many other in the tag, are not asking for Judaism's take on something but asking for best practices in the implementation of Judaism.

In each case, it is reasonable to expect that a group of people who base their lives on Judaism would be especially able to give informed answers. This is especially true if there are (or could be) any aspects of the particular context within Judaism that present special conditions relevant to the implementation. For example:

  • Staying awake on Shavuot night is particularly for the purpose of Torah learning, typically (if not always) followed by davening, with particular time parameters, and subject to the laws of Yom Tov.

  • Shofars are blown out of the side of the mouth, are made of natural polished keratin, and are blown a specific number of times, typically, over a particular time-period, by someone who's also davening and subject to the laws of Yom Tov.

Therefore, such questions are valuable to ask and answer here and are on-topic.


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