Jewish ethics

File Sharing: Kosher or Not?

08/13/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

 Q - Is it ethical to download and share current movies, songs and articles without paying for them?

It's hard to find a justification for the free use of video or music that people should be paying for. There's a reason they call it "piracy." But it all comes down to drawing the line between sharing and stealing.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Is it Ethical to Boycott BP?

08/03/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Q- Do you think it's right for people to boycott BP and get their gas elsewhere, as punishment for the oil spill?

There is definitely a "punish at the pumps" mentality afloat with regard to BP and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and I must admit, I haven't stopped at a BP since it happened. Gassing up at BP in this hostile climate would be like wearing a mink at PETA convention.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Hanky Panky on a Shul Board

07/16/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

 Q - I'm a shul president and I've just discovered that two of my board members have been carrying on an affair, using board meeting nights as cover for their trysts. I like them both and they are very hard workers. I like their spouses too. I'm not sure what to do. Do I confront them? Do I tell the rabbi? Do I kick them off the board?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Is It Ethical to Read My Husband's Email?

06/29/2010
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

Is it OK to Hide a Fugitive From the Police?

06/07/2010
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
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