Hammerman On Ethics

07/08/2011 | | Jewish Week Online Columnist | Hammerman on Ethics

Q - I frequently use a 10-trip punch card on the LIRR. Often the conductor fails to appear to punch the card before I get off.  What is my obligation here? Should I tear up the card before it runs out to make up the difference or am I free to use it again as it is the responsibility of the railroad to collect the fare? This does not involve deception since I am ready to pay the fare.

06/30/2011 | | Hammerman on Ethics

Q - I have some sympathy for gay marriage, just legalized in New York, but I can't understand how anyone who takes the Torah seriously could consider it the proper moral choice. I mean, the book of Leviticus is rather explicit in describing homosexuality as "an abomination." How can anyone get around that?

06/24/2011 | | Hammerman on Ethics

Q - My daughter, a freshman on a large college campus, was invited to the home of a local rabbi for Friday night dinner. The rabbi is nontrivial affiliated with Hillel or any synagogue, but has gotten deeply involved in college life and invites groups of students to his home nearly every week. The kids seem to really enjoy it. Last weekend I found out one reason. The liquid refreshment flows freely, and I'm not just talking about Kiddush wine. On the one hand I'm glad my kid is doing something Jewish, but serving liquor to minors scares me.

06/17/2011 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics

 Q -  I recently heard reports about the creation of artificial meat, using with animal stem cells.  To this point, it exists only in a Petri dish, but it's time to start asking the tough questions.  As one who keeps kosher and who is a vegetarian, would this kind of meat would be kosher - and would that be true even for pork?  And since no killing would be involved, could a vegetarian eat this meat with a clear conscience?

A- As they say at Citi Field, it’s time to “Meet the Meats.”

06/09/2011 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics

 Q - Does Rep. Weiner's admitted act of sending out explicit photos of himself disqualify him from public office? Is this a new form of adultery? Given the fact that "sexting" is so common these days among young people, will it become a political albatross comparable to pot smoking for aspiring pols who came of age in the '60s? After all, isn't this just a byproduct of the Internet revolution in the way that drug use was the byproduct of the counter culture?

06/03/2011 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Hammerman on Ethics

Q -In reading about the recent Mississippi River floods, it was shocking to see how spillways were opened in less populated areas, in effect deliberately flooding out thousands of homes in order to save more populated areas downstream. How can anyone justify wiping out entire communities like that? And conversely, is it right for people to deliberately move into areas that are known "spill zones," where flooding is known to occur.