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Fixing Tickets
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Q. I recently got a ticket for parking in a handicapped space. The sign wasn’t so clear and I didn’t notice it. Can I ask the judge to let me off? A. The phenomenon of “ticket fixing” no doubt exists the world over, but I have the distinct impression that it is particularly common in […]
Living Benefits
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Q. Some terminally ill patients are in desperate need of cash despite having life insurance policies worth a fortune. Shouldn’t they be able to tap into these assets? A. A fascinating letter from a reader brought this subject to my attention. There are many people who due to age or disease seem to be nearing […]
Shameful Shaming
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Q. My tenant caused me a large loss by canceling his lease on short notice. Can I shame him into making good my loss by threatening to bad-mouth him in our closely knit community? A. Any kind of extra-legal sanctions should be viewed as a last resort. When you write that the cancellation “caused a […]
Settling Up
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Q. I fell behind in my credit card debt and accumulated a lot of fines. I want to pay what I can, but I can’t afford the whole amount. Is it ethical to seek a settlement involving partial payment? A. You’re certainly not alone. Statistics show that Americans are holding a record amount of credit […]
Jewish Democracy
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Q. The board members in our synagogue are working to replace our wonderful rabbi for illegitimate reasons. How can I prevent them from harming our congregation in this way? A. When you say the board’s reasons are “illegitimate,” you could mean one of two things: 1. The board’s actions do not reflect the desires of […]
Read Recipts
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Q. May I demand read receipts of people? Do I have to respond to them? A. Modern e-mail programs include a lot of useful bells and whistles: cc, bcc, forward, request read receipt, etc. It’s fine to to take advantage of these features, but it’s wrong to take advantage of your correspondents. All of these […]
Limits of Protest
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Q. My teenage daughter is very proud that she has been hired as a model for a fashion show, and she would like me to come. I have always considered these shows demeaning to women, and boycott them on principle, but my daughter doesn’t really understand this and will be deeply insulted if her mother […]
Quote Unquote
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Q. Our study group obtained a very attractive price quote from a salesman on a set of Torah books. We told him we would try to collect the money, but when we finally did, the seller told us that he discontinued this salesman and he cannot sell at the price offered us. Instead, he offered […]
Forwarding Email
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Q. Do I need permission to forward an email? A. Forwarding an email without the permission of the sender can involve a number of ethical problems related to revealing information transmitted in confidence. One specific Jewish stricture “forwards” run afoul of is the famous “ban” of Rabbenu Gershom. Rabbenu Gershom, was a leading Rabbinic leader […]