Hammerman On Ethics

05/02/2010 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics

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.

04/14/2010 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics

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.

04/08/2010 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics

 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.

03/31/2010 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics

Question: My husband wants a lavish bar mitzvah for our son next year. I think it's wrong to spend $ 50,000 on a party for a 13 year old kid when so many of our fellow Jews are experiencing hard times. What does Jewish law have to say about this?

11/22/2009 - 19:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics

Question: Should Mrs. Madoff have reported Bernie? What does Jewish law say about her obligations?

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Ruth knew about the Ponzi scheme and that Bernie's crimes were committed while of sound mind and body. From the public record there is little information about Bernie's mental state - aside from indications he is a grade-A sociopath, of course.

So should Ruth have blown the whistle on Bernie? By all means.

Family loyalty cuts deep in Jewish tradition, but not that deep.