Hammerman on Ethics

Seder Guests and the Dysfunctional Family

04/07/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - "I heard from an observant friend that it is inappropriate to invite non Jews to a Seder; but doesn't it also say in the Haggadah, "Let those who are hungry come and eat?" So am I supposed to invite only Jewish homeless and hungry people? Plus, given my strained family dynamics, I think it would be best not to invite any guests at all. What's the ethical thing to do?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Is it Cruel to Force Dogs to Keep Passover?

03/31/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I've heard that pets are supposed to keep Passover. I'm fairly traditional regarding Passover and just got a dog. Isn't it cruel to force an innocent animal to change its entire diet for a whole week? It's hard enough for humans!

A- As the proud owner of two adorable standard poodles, one of whom is extremely neurotic, I can sympathize with you.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

If I'm an Ethical Person, Does That Make Me a Good Jew?

03/24/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I have been struggling with some issues. I am not observant and the teacher of a class I've been taking has led me to believe that this makes me a bad Jew. I do lots of good deeds and am ethical in my actions. So can a good person be a bad Jew?

A - Relax. Loving your neighbor puts you are well on your way to being a "good Jew," whatever that means.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Is Drunkenness on Purim a No-No?

03/17/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - In an age where addiction is so widespread, is it ethical to promote drunkenness on Purim?

A. No it is not.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Live or Let Die?

03/06/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I am the designated medical surrogate for an individual who has a living will specifying DNR/Do Not Resuscitate. The physicians and hospital have been informed and have copies of the living will and DNR. Our loved one took a downward turn but the medical team resuscitated him. The patient prospered from their efforts and returned to his pre-resuscitation health status. Should I report the medical team for ethical non-compliance of the DNR/living will orders?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Is Jeter a Cheater?

02/18/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - With baseball’s spring training underway, I’m reminded of an incident from last season. Derek Jeter, one of the few superstars from the past decade not implicated in baseball’s steroid sample, was caught on video pretending to be hit by a pitch.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Snow Days, Facebook and Cheating

02/03/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I am a high school student. My math final was postponed because of a mid-day snow storm, but a friend of mine had taken the test earlier that day. That night while I was studying, I paused to take a peek at my Facebook news feed and saw that my friend had posted a page from the test. I didn't realize what it was at first so I looked at it. But when I realized what it was, I deleted it. I took the test the next day and did not say anything. I had studied hard and would have gotten those answers right anyway. Was I right to say nothing?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Gabrielle Giffords' Jewishness

01/13/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I am a traditional Jew who subscribes to the traditional definition of Jewish identity (you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish or if you've converted). By this definition, Gabrielle Giffords is not Jewish. But by other definitions, including her own, she is. Given all she has done and what she has gone through, and given the strong possibility that her assailant attacked her in part because of her self-declared Jewish identity, what is the proper ethical response to all this?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Michael Vick and Forgiveness

12/30/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

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

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Photos at a Bris?

12/23/2010
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
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