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Vaccination and Vacillation
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Q. Authorities have requested that healthy people pass on flu shots to leave enough vaccine for old and sick patients. Am I obligated to listen? A. Of course the question of how to allocate scarce medical resources is hardly a new one. Jewish law and tradition provide an instructive ethical approach to this delicate question. […]
Money and Marriage
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Q. I really want to get married and start a family, but I’m struggling financially and feel it would be irresponsible. When should I make the jump? A. Jewish tradition definitely encourages a person to take prudent steps to provide for an adequate income before getting married. Maimonides writes: “It is the way of people […]
Piggyback or Just Piggy
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Q. My neighbor has an unlimited-use wireless internet subscription. Is it okay for me to double up? A. Doubling up on wireless internet, often called “piggy-backing,” has become a common practice as high-speed connections have gone from being a luxury to a near — but dear — necessity for many students and working people. A […]
Shill Bid
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Q. Can I have a friend submit bids in an on-line auction? After all, the actual buyer doesn’t have to outbid him if it’s not worth the higher price. A. The tactic you describe is called a “shill bid,” because the accomplice is known as a “shill,” meaning a collaborator in a confidence game. This […]
No Shop Days
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Q. I see that many individuals are trying to turn one day a year into an international “no-shop day.” Is this a worthwhile initiative? A. The varied organizers of the annual international “buy-nothing day” (BND) explain that if people eschew consumerism one day a year, they will have at least a tiny bit of breathing […]
Foreign Aid
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Q. Our hospitals can’t turn away a medical emergency on the basis of ability to pay. Is it fair for local residents to bear the cost of foreigners, some of whom immigrate illegally especially to get medical treatment? A. A number of people wrote to express concern about this problem. The problem is not only […]
Educational Embargo
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Q. A local retail chain treats the clerks inhumanely. Should we avoid buying there? A. Previous columns have discussed two kinds of boycott: a boycott undertaken in order to counter price-gouging or avoiding a merchant because of his overall ethical behavior . The first is perfectly legitimate because the customers are defending their own interest. […]
Speed Trap
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Q. Is it ethical to use devices that warn drivers of speed traps? A. Many devices are sold which can detect the presence of speed detectors used by police, though they are becoming less effective as technological means used by law enforcers are becoming much more sophisticated. These devices are very popular and are completely […]
Refugee Redux
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Q. You write that communities should initiate programs to provide care for immigrants. Does this apply even to illegal immigrants who are technically criminals? A. We recently discussed the problem of providing humane medical care to indigent foreigners without imposing an unfair burden on the local community. This is a burning issue in many American […]
No News is Good News
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Q. A relative of mine has just gone to visit his son. I am very attached to the son and have just learned that he has been jailed. Should I inform the father or let him find out himself? A. While modern sensibilities and Jewish tradition are closely aligned on many issues, they are very […]