Hammerman on Ethics

The Ethics of WikiLeaks

12/10/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Q. Was the leaking of a trove of private diplomatic communications ethical? And once leaked, is it ethical for news organizations to publish them?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Airport Screenings and Jewish Ethics

11/26/2010
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

Is 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Ethical?

11/15/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - Is "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Ethical?

A. Since you're asking, I'll tell:  "Don't Ask,, Don't Tell" is unethical.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Cliff Notes, Moby Dick - and Rashi

11/09/2010
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

10/29/2010
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

10/20/2010
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

10/08/2010
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

09/21/2010
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

Getting More Than You Paid For

09/03/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

 Q. I just came from the store, having bought an mp3 player. When I opened it I noticed that they had given me a newer, enhanced model, not the one I had paid for. The store is about 25 miles away. To return it I would be spending as much on gas for the round trip as I would have spent had I purchased the newer model. What is the ethical thing to do?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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
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