Joshua Hammerman

Is It Ethical to Read My Husband's Email?

06/28/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q. Is it ethical to read my husband’s email? I don't have reason to think he's cheating, but I' m the nervous type…

If you have no reason to suspect him, you would be putting far too much at risk by invading his privacy.  You in fact would be the one guilty of betraying trust.  Let it go.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Helen Thomas: Should We Forgive an Anti-Semite Who Apologizes?

06/09/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q: The Helen Thomas case prompts a question: What she said on that video was horrible, but given the fact that she apologized and is so old, isn’t it in the spirit of Judaism to forgive her?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Is it OK to Hide a Fugitive From the Police?

06/06/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q: You are out for a walk one night and you see a man running towards you. He looks terrified, stressed and panicked. He comes up to you with tears in his eyes and says, “I am going to hide right here. I can’t run anymore. I didn’t do anything wrong. Please, promise me you won’t tell them where I am!”

So you promise the man, he hides behind a bush and you keep walking.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

The Ethics of Giving: Jewish vs. Non-Jewish?

05/17/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q: My wife and I disagree about charitable giving. I believe most of our charitable dollars should go to helping our own Jewish people; she wants to give to local non-Jewish groups, like the homeless shelter and food bank. What's the magic formula about Jewish v. non-Jewish giving, according to Jewish law?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Should I be concerned about my kid's non-Jewish friend?

05/09/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q. My daughter, 10, goes to a Jewish day school, but her best friend is a non-Jewish neighbor. Should I be concerned? What should I tell her?

A. There might be underlying reason for concern, though not specifically because her BFF isn’t an MOT (Member of the Tribe).

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Animal Cruelty and Jewish Law

05/02/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q: This may sound weird, but I think my neighbor is cruel to his pet beagle. I know that if this was a person we were talking about, Jewish law would obligate me to go to the authorities. But this is a DOG. What's my obligation here?

A. You need to pursue this. I say this not merely because I am life-long pet-o-phile, a vegetarian with two cuddly standard poodles. I say this also because it is the right thing to do. Jewish culture has long championed animal rights.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Rabbi As Car Dealer

04/19/2010 - 20:00

I try to treat my colleagues with respect, but I resent being compared to a Toyota salesman and I strongly suspect that God may not be fond of being compared to a Chelm story (“Toyota, Auschwitz and Chelm,” Opinion, Rabbi Joshua Hammerman).

Coming Clean with a Fiancée

A relationship that begins with massive deception has little chance of long term success
04/14/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q:  I'm about to get married to the woman of my dreams. She knows I was married before; what she doesn't know is that the marriage broke up because I was a schmuck. Ethically speaking, how much do I need to tell her?

You have a right to privacy, but a relationship that begins with massive deception has little chance of long term success.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Toyota, Auschwitz And Chelm

04/12/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

This week, I’ll be joining the March of the Living, an annual pilgrimage from Poland to Israel. The experience of the Holocaust stands alone in Jewish history, a godless counterpoint to all things sacred. Alongside the majestic peaks of Sinai and Zion, our view now includes this man-made mountain of children’s shoes, empty luggage and echoing shrieks, a clump of human refuse that dwarfs everything around it, taller than Sinai, more imposing than Zion, more insurmountable than Everest.

Should I Keep An Undeserved Bonus?

04/08/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

 Q. My boss has decided to give me a big bonus for something I only helped with; another worker deserves it more than I do. But I need the money, and she is pretty well off. What's the right thing to do?

 A. Maybe your contribution was more integral to the success of the project than you realize. But, regardless, you should be forthcoming. Not only does our tradition demand honesty in how we conduct business, but it's really the most practical professional decision you can make.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
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