The key is to come up with strategies that affirm Jewish pride while not adding to the politicized atmosphere of Christmas.
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
Jewish Week Online Columnist
Q: It’s that time of year, when everyone everywhere is saying “Merry Christmas” to me, even people who know that I am Jewish. Should I simply smile and repeat the greeting or politely correct the greeter and say, “I’m sorry, I don’t observe Christmas.”
Q: When I daven, I am tempted to ask God for help improving my difficult financial situation. But I always feel this is wrong since so many other people are in worse circumstances involving their health, safety and even worse financial conditions, whereas I at least have a job and a healthy family. Is it unethical to ask God for more money, or should I just be grateful for all the good things I have?
Editor's note: Earlier this year Rabbi Hammerman discussed the ethical implications of exchanging terrorists to save the life of an Israeli soldier. In light of the dramatic news of such a deal emerging from Israel he is revisiting that issue this week.
Q – Is the release of Gilad Shalit worth an exchange of a thousand Hamas prisoners, including some who have blood on their hands and could well kill more innocent Israelis (and others)?
As the Yom Kippur approaches, rather than present a specific ethical quandary I present some reflections and tips on what this holy day can mean for us as we perform the sacred act of engaging with other human beings and with God:
Q - My brother and I are running the Chicago Marathon which is the day after Yom Kippur. We want to fast, however we have been told that it is unwise to do so the day before running 26 miles. Since this is an ethical dilemma, we need your advice.
A – Well, at the very least, by observing Yom Kippur you could label yourself a “fast runner.” Sorry.