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Welcome to AskMoses, the Internet's premiere Jewish live information service. We have included the answers to some frequently asked questions to help you understand how our live chat works.
1. Am I talking to a real, live person?
Yes, once you are connected, you are talking to a live scholar, not a computer. There are short bios of all our scholars in the "Meet The Scholars" section of our homepage.
2. Is there always someone available to respond to me?
AskMoses scholars are generally available 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. There are no scholars online on the Jewish Sabbath or on major Jewish holidays. Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday and continues until after dark on Saturday night.
Because our scholars live in different time zones, you may find it difficult to connect with one late Friday afternoon and early Saturday evening. But even when there is no scholar available, you can browse the site and leave a message that will get a reply.
3. Why is the scholar slow in responding to me?
The volume of traffic at AskMoses.com varies. At busy times, a scholar may be chatting with as many as five people at once. This means that you may have to wait while the scholar is answering other questions, and we ask for your patience. If you are in a hurry or find it annoying to wait, try coming back a bit later when things have quieted down.
4. What should I do if my connection is terminated?
Depending on the system or server you are using, you may occasionally experience trouble with your site connection. If you are dropped from the site, try to log back on immediately. You will automatically be transferred to the scholar you were speaking with.
Sometimes, it is the scholar who experiences trouble. In that case, if you wait online, you will automatically be transferred back to the scholar when the scholar logs back on.
5. How long can I chat?
Generally, you can chat as long as you like. However, when the site is very busy and there are many people waiting for their turn, the scholar may limit the length of a chat.
If you want to discuss a difficult or complex issue, ask the scholar before you start if the site is very busy. You will find it more pleasant to discuss these issues at quieter times, when the scholar has fewer interruptions. If the scholar has to leave in the middle of a chat, you can ask to be transferred to another scholar – or if you prefer to finish the chat with the same scholar, ask when he or she will be online again.
6. What kind of questions can I ask?
AskMoses scholars answer all sorts of questions about Judaism. From Torah to tradition, from law to mysticism, if you have a Jewish question, we will help you find an answer. Scholars also often advise on practical and personal matters from a Jewish perspective, and can refer you to other resources for further assistance.
Some detailed or difficult questions cannot be answered on the spot. Such questions can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone from our team will perform research and get back to you. Questions that require consultation with a rabbi for a specific legal ruling can be referred to email@example.com. If you have a crisis and need immediate help, please call 310-208-7511.
7. Can you help with my homework?
If you are working on an assignment and get stuck, we are happy to provide assistance. For example, we can help clarify a passage in a Jewish text or translate a difficult word or phrase. We can also direct you to additional resources or suggest how to get started on a project.
However, while we offer help, it is against our policy to do homework for a student. We do not dictate research papers or answer long lists of homework questions. To do so would deprive students of the chance to discover how to learn on their own.
8. How else can I enhance my chat experience?
Remember that the scholar does not know you or your style of speaking. It is easy to misconstrue the tone or meaning of a statement during a chat. At times, the scholar may not immediately understand what you are asking. Be patient if the scholar needs further clarification from you. Please use polite and courteous language at all times.
AskMoses.com prides itself on the reliability and usability of our site. However, with all of the factors involved in keeping open live 2-way connections on the Internet, there are times when a few extra steps may be necessary to ensure the best possible experience.
If you are having difficulties connecting to chat with an AskMoses scholar, please check the following potential trouble spots:
Java must be enabled in your browser in order for AskMoses to perform properly. If you are unable to launch our site, you should first check to confirm that Java is enabled in your browser.
To verify that your browser is set up to handle the necessary java protocols, click here. If the page that opens gives you the "EVERYTHING LOOKED OK!" message, you should be good to go.
IMPORTANT: if you do not get the "EVERYTHING LOOKED OK!" message, please go to www.java.com and get Java there.
Java is enabled in most browsers (IE 4+, Netscape 3+) by default. If you have disabled Java, see the How to Enable Java instructions.
Problems can arise if the network you are using to access the AskMoses chat is behind a restrictive firewall. The result is often a window opening up but the interface never loading, or loading for just a moment before immediately disconnecting.
To get around this, please check the firewall checkbox when you log in. You may need to close all browser windows and begin again, so be sure to bookmark the page you are launching from in order to find it again quickly.
3. Popup Blockers
If a window doesn't open when you click on the "live chat" button, it may be because your popup blocker is restricting the interface from opening. First make sure that the window is not hidden behind another browser window, then try clicking the button again with your popup blocker disabled. Note that most popup blockers can be temporarily disabled using a keyboard shortcut.
Frequent disconnections from the scholar
AskMoses.com has taken great pains to ensure the reliability of our products. At times, certain user environments make it nearly impossible to keep a consistent connection. The determining factor is often a weak connection to the Internet from the end-user's computer -- one that continually drops after short periods of inactivity, is a slow dial-up connection, or passes through many hops (routers) to reach the AskMoses.com server.
If you are frequently disconnected in the middle of conversations, you may want to try clicking the "firewall checkbox" (see above) to try to give yourself the best possible chance of staying connected.
Connecting to a "ghost" scholar
It is possible (although very rare) to connect with an AskMoses scholar who is in the process of logging out, resulting in the impression that you are chatting with someone event though they are not there. If you don't get a response to your question after a minute or two, you may want to close all browser windows, wait about 3 minutes and try logging in again. If the problem persists, please contact us.
The AskMoses.com chat engine is fully compatible with Windows, assuming you have an adequate Internet connection and a Java-capable browser. Make sure you have Java enabled (see Java above). The AskMoses.com chat engine works equally well with either Netscape or IE, but has not been fully tested on Opera or other browsers. Netscape 6.x is particularly "buggy" and should not be used for browsing in general.
The AskMoses.com chat engine is fully compatible with Macintosh, assuming you have an adequate Internet connection and a Java-capable browser. Make sure you have Java enabled (see Java above). The AskMoses.com chat engine works equally well with either Netscape or IE, but has not been fully tested on Opera or other browsers. Netscape 6.x is particularly "buggy" and should not be used for browsing in general. In some instances, the interface takes on slightly different proportions within a Macintosh version of a browser. While things may not "line up" perfectly, functionality should not be affected.
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