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Anonymous Giving
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Q. In a recent column you wrote that it’s actually good for a recipient to publicize the name of the donor. Doesn’t this contradict the ideal of anonymous giving? A.The topic of anonymous donation is a complicated one, so I’m happy for the opportunity to clarify and expand my earlier column. The reason I made […]
Privacy and the Private Eye
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Q. Is it permissible to spy on business competitors to gain an advantage in the fight for customers? A. The absolutely outrageous case of corporate spying recently unveiled in Israel aroused not only outrage but also a lot of serious consideration of where exactly we do draw the line between legitimate “competitive intelligence” and forbidden […]
Death is Different
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Q. The Torah seems to advocate use of the death penalty. Does this mean we should support its implementation today? A. At the very dawn of civilization, immediately after the flood, God commands Noah: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man will his blood be shed, for in the image of God did He […]
Spectator Sports
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Q. In a recent column you write that the Talmud identifies ancient sporting events as “the seat of the scoffers.” Is this relevant to modern-day sports as well? A. In the previous column, we described the love/hate relationship of Judaism and participant sports: we love them in moderation to develop health and human relationships, but […]
Disinformation
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Q. In a recent column you condemned prying into the private information of competitors. My business rivals didn’t read your column, what steps can I take to protect myself? A. Just as there is a burgeoning field of “competitive intelligence,” we are witnessing equally robust growth in the complementary area of “competitive counterintelligence.” One aspect […]
Songs and Sanctity
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Q.In an earlier column you write that it is wrong to copy copyrighted music from unauthorized sites. It seems to me that much popular music is wrong to listen to in the first place. Where do we draw the line? A. In order to answer this question, we need to first clarify that it is indeed damaging […]
Silly Love Songs
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Q. Last week you wrote that we should avoid hearing music with an “anti-social” message. Exactly what music fits into this category? A. The effort to draw the line between constructive and anti-social artistic expression is an old one. The most familiar example is the ubiquitous rating system for American movies. There are also initiatives […]
Hush Money
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Q. Salary information in my company is considered confidential. Can I discuss my conditions with an associate to evaluate my chances for a raise? A. In the United States particularly, salary information is not considered merely “confidential” but actually “top secret”. This approach solves many problems, but it also creates a few. Let’s look at […]
Racial Profiling Part I
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Q. What does Jewish tradition say about racial profiling? A. For years this has been one of the most popular questions to the Jewish Ethicist. I’ve never related to it because it is such a stumper. On the one hand, there is great ethical detriment to profiling. Yet the benefits can be compelling. Because of […]
Racial Profiling Part II
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Q. What does Jewish tradition teach us about racial profiling? A. As we explained last week, profiling — racial or otherwise — involves singling out people for suspicion based on characteristics that are statistically correlated with wrongdoing but don’t have any inherent connection. We gave the example that most crimes are committed by young men, […]