Hammerman On Ethics

09/08/2011 - 20:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | Hammerman on Ethics
As we approach the Days of Awe, our annual exercise in self scrutiny and stock-taking can be a daunting task. Rather than highlight a single ethical dilemma this week, I offer here some suggestions, some “ethics-ercises,” as it were, to assist you on this journey.
09/01/2011 - 20:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | Hammerman on Ethics
Q - A few weeks ago an Israeli court is believed to have made history by being the first to allow parents to extract and freeze the ovarian eggs of their recently deceased daughter.  I know that's been done with a man's sperm, but this seems to cross an ethical red line, doesn't it?
08/25/2011 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics
Q. When I saw the latest Harry potter film I was appalled at the clear use of anti-Semitic stereotype in depictions of goblin bankers, miserly, hooked nose and all.  And this is what we're showing our kids?  Isn’t a tacit acceptance of such damaging stereotypes if we ignore them? Shouldn’t Jews be boycotting Harry Potter?
08/18/2011 - 20:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | Hammerman on Ethics

Q. The mother of my worst enemy just died and I'm not sure whether to visit during Shiva. In truth, I sincerely see this as a chance to reconcile (we haven't spoken in about five years but have a lot of friends in common). My only concern is that he would misinterpret the reason for the visit and kick me out of the house. I really don't want to cause him any discomfort. What should I do?

08/11/2011 - 20:00 | Hammerman on Ethics

 Q:  An acquaintance of mine recently boasted to me that he had happened upon a bird's nest and seized the opportunity to perform what he considered the mitzvah of shiluach hakan, scaring away a mother bird before taking the eggs. This mitzvah is intended to teach compassion, so that a bird should not have to watch the devouring of its young, but I find it hard to believe that it is meant as a mitzvah to be done in ordinary circumstances if one is not in dire need of the eggs.

08/03/2011 - 20:00 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | Hammerman on Ethics

 Q - I have always been under the impression that cremation and tatoos are forbidden by Jewish law.  Yet the recent funeral for Amy Winehouse was very Jewish in nature although the singer — who was amply tattooed — had asked to be cremated.  Is cremation now accepted in Jewish quarters?