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Warm World
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Q. Does Jewish tradition have any special lessons about global warming? A. Let’s begin by explaining what global warming is. Reliable thermometers have been around for generations, and scientists are convinced that the earth is significantly warmer than it was a century ago. Many researchers believe that the main cause of this warming is carbon […]
Pros and Cons
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Q. You recently stated that selling and providing advice should be strictly separated. How does this apply to professionals? A. In a recent column, I explained that a salesperson doesn’t have to be objective. On the contrary, his or her job is to be an honest but partial advocate for the benefits of the product being […]
Public Service or Public Relation
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Q. My public relations firm distributes “matte releases” — press releases that are published like a regular news article. Is this ethical? A. Let’s explain this distinction a little further for readers. An ordinary press release is an information sheet issued by an organization with information they believe will be of interest to the media. […]
Homeless
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Q. I have a relative who has trouble finding work and supporting his family. He is now homeless, and I am thinking of taking in him and his family. But I am worried that the help he gets from family members is making the situation worse by preventing him from taking responsibility. A. Your concern […]
Garage-Sale Gem
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Q. I often scour garage sales, flea markets, local auctions and the like for bargain prices on rare and valuable collectibles. Often I acquire an item for $20 which is listed in price guides as worth thousands of dollars. Am I taking unfair advantage of the ignorant seller? A. Your question is a good one […]
Stand Up for Elders Rights
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Q. It bothers me when fellow passengers don’t stand up for older people, yet I am reluctant to start giving moral instruction to complete strangers. What should I do? A. The most important thing is to provide a seat for someone who has difficulty standing, whether due to age, some handicap, or even a healthy […]
Decent Working Conditions Part III-Generosity
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Q. My workers get a low wage and have trouble making ends meet, but they don’t really have other options. Do I have to pay them a “living wage”? A. The Torah educates us towards an attitude of concern for and empathy with the needy. “When there will be a needy person from one of […]
Decent Working Conditions Part II-Dignified Treatment
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Q. Is an employer obligated to provide decent working conditions? A. We explained last week that the main obligation of employers in Jewish law and tradition is to keep their word — not to provide any specific level of wages and conditions. However, despite the absence of any binding formal requirement, there are a number […]
Decent Working Conditions Part I-Equitable Treatment
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Q. Do employers have a responsibility to provide workers with decent working conditions? A. Employers need above all to respect all agreements with workers. The Torah recognized that even though work agreements are in theory ordinary contracts between equal parties, in fact the employer tends to have the stronger position and is often in a […]
Decent Working Conditions Final-Motivation
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Q. My workers get a low wage and have trouble making ends meet, but they don’t really have other options. Do I have to pay them a “living wage”? A. This week’s column focuses on self-interest: better conditions mean better work. The fact is that buying labor is not the same as buying an item […]