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Sigi Ziering Sh'ma Ethics

This year our Sigi Ziering column focuses on the ethics of kashrut. Each month an esteemed guest columnist will wrestle with what Jewish texts and our tradition teach us about the food we eat; the preparation of food; the people who prepare our food; the food and restaurants that are deemed kosher. This column is sponsored by Bruce Whizin and Marilyn Ziering in honor of Marilyn's husband, Sigi Ziering, of blessed memory.

Democracy and Halakhah in Israel

Yair Sheleg:  Israeli law, as in any Western concept, puts at its center the idea of human equality — certain basic rights of equality — and therefore “the discourse of rights.” Jewish law, or halakhah, on the other hand, puts at its center the idea of sanctity, and thus the obligations imposed on human beings. 

Are Schools Anti-Democratic?

Judd Kruger Levingston: Adult leaders in schools can foster a democratic environment by giving students authentic and legitimate opportunities for written and spoken expression in a free press, in the classroom, and through the arts. 

Should Washington Promote Middle-East Democracy?

Matthew RJ Brodsky: Generally speaking, the countries of the Middle East do not possess the preconditions for a successful democracy — namely, a vibrant civil society, state institutions, a strong middle class, respect for the rule of law, concepts of individual liberty, and an independent judiciary.

The Politics of Compromise

Ethan Felson: We enjoy a rich pluralistic tradition of argumentation and debate within the Jewish community. But while we thrive on this vocal pursuit, we are now witnessing the emergence of a new partisanship. It is buoyed by the belief, sometimes grounded in reality, but often clouded by fantasy, that every decision made, every speaker heard, every word of every resolution will have a profound impact on world events. 

Money and Democracy

J.J. Goldberg
And so we ask: Is there a Jewish ethic of campaign finance?
There are two ways to approach the question. On the one hand, how could there be when our sages (of blessed memory) never considered the possibility of a popularly elected presidency, much less multimillion-dollar election campaigns with 30-second television spots?
On the other hand, [...]

Judaism as a Source of Democratic Thought

David Saperstein 
Four key values necessary for democracy are found in Judaism’s view of human society.

On Jewish Aggregators

Marc Smolowitz
“Copyright is, in my view at least, critically important to a healthy culture. Properly balanced, it is essential to inspiring certain forms of creativity. Without it, we would have a much poorer culture. With it, at least properly balanced, we create the incentives to produce great new works that otherwise would not be produced.” [...]

The Search Engine and the Mirror

Andrew Silow-Carroll
“Hey, you’re Jewish? Have I got something for you!”
The ads that pop up as I cruise around the web don’t exactly say that, but they might as well. Thanks to the wonders of website tracking, advertisers and “data brokers” are able to track my IP address as I move from site to site. Google, [...]

The Other Internet Problem

Jeff Helmreich
One of the starkest contrasts between American and Jewish law involves humiliation. Today, an American can literally embarrass someone to death.

Turn It Off

Andy Bachman “Turn it Off” is this month’s ethics:
Andy Bachman explores the digital world of always being “on” and suggests ways to sometimes “turn it off.”

Multidimensional Judaism

Upcoming: March 2013 Taxes

  • David Brodsky on traditional Jewish sources
  • Moses Pava on obligation & dina de’malchuta dina
  • Doug Hauer on immigration issues
  • Josh Kornbluth on love
  • Steven Wernick on dues
  • Kim Carter on tax reform
  • William Daroff on tax deductions and charitable giving
  • Emma Kippley- Ogman on parsonage
  • Julian Levinson on tax collectors in Yiddish literature
  • Shaul Magid on tzedakah and chari- table donations
  • Andrés Spokoiny on estate taxes
  • Leonard Hausman on lowering taxes