Jewish ethics

Pushback From Some Orthodox Rabbis On Brain-Death Ruling

Major players uphold former ruling; RCA seeks to clarify its non-position; UK rabbinate rejects brain-death criteria.
01/10/2011 - 19:00
Staff Writer

A panel of Conservative rabbis, faced with two well-founded conflicting positions of Jewish law regarding same-sex commitment ceremonies, ruled in 2006 that both were valid opinions.

Faced with two well-founded positions of Jewish law on when death occurs for the purpose of organ donations, the country’s major Modern Orthodox rabbinic group has similarly ruled that both brain-stem death and the cessation of heartbeat are valid opinions.

In both cases, the two movements left it to their fellow clergy members to determine for themselves which opinion to follow.

Rabbi Dov Linzer, left, RCA’s Rabbi Shmuel Goldin.

Michael Vick and Forgiveness

12/29/2010 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - Does Michael Vick deserve the accolades he is getting?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Photos at a Bris?

12/22/2010 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

 Q - My son's bris is in a couple of days and lots of family and friends will be attending. I'm OK with people taking pictures but I really don't want photos of my son all over the Internet. What can I do?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Ask the Ethicists: a Jewish Week Community Forum

Relationships: what should I do?

 Featuring New York Times ethicist Randy Cohen and the Jewish Week's Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, moderated by Jewish Week editor and publisher Gary Rosenblatt

Airport Screenings and Jewish Ethics

11/25/2010 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q. Has airport security crossed the line? Things were far less complicated back when only Superman had X-ray vision. As long as we stayed clear of the Daily Planet, we were in the clear. Now, with the new airport security measures, nothing is hidden anymore - not even our privates are private. Is this a good thing?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Cliff Notes, Moby Dick - and Rashi

11/08/2010 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q:  My teacher thinks I plagiarized an essay, but I didn’t. True, I looked at Cliff Notes about the assigned book, Moby Dick, but I also read much of it and only used the notes as a guide. So what’s wrong with that?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

To Gift or Not To Gift, That is the Question

10/28/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q.  My daughter’s bat mitzvah will occur next December, and she is currently in 6th grade. Parents are encouraged to invite the entire Hebrew School class, but because the synagogue office has been giving out addresses by calendar year and not by grade, she is already getting a number of invitations from 7th graders whom she doesn’t know.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul - At a Coffee Shop

10/19/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

 Q - Last spring I lent $200 to a woman who works at a midtown coffee shop near my office. I've gone in there every day for years and have gotten friendly with her - in fact, I know her whole life story and we are on a first name basis. When I lent her the money to pay for an emergency medical procedure, she promised to pay me back, although I had my doubts that she would be able to.

I went away over the summer and when I came back to the coffee shop I decided not to mention the loan and see what would happen. But when I went to pay for my coffee she smiled and waved me by and said, "It's on the house." This has now happened for a couple of weeks and I suspect she is giving me the freebies to pay off the loan. The problem is, she doesn't own the shop. What do I do?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

You Broke It, You Own It, Own Up to It

10/07/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q.  While visiting a friend, I almost tripped on an expensive piece of electronics that was not where it was supposed to be - in fact, it was on the floor, sticking out into the hallway, posing a hazard. When I hit it, I heard an ominous "crack." Obviously I did it some real damage, although it was not immediately visible.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

My Big Fat Employee

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

 Q – An employee of mine has put on a lot of weight. He really looks horrible. We are a service related enterprise and appearance counts. Plus, I’m concerned about the added health risks that could be harmful to his job performance (as well as to his personal life). Do I have the right to warn or suspend him?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
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