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Work & Economics: the Domestic Agenda of the Next President
Louis Newman: a Jewish Lens on Money
Paul Buhle revisits Michael Gold's Jews Without Money
Allison Schachter examines poverty through Glückel of Hameln
Shifra Bronznick on working conditions in Jewish Organizations
Steve Gutow & Melissa Boteach on Sh'mitah as an Economic Model
Rebecca Kobrin on Bankruptcy and the Historical Culture of Risk
Scott Shay on Today's Banks
Book Recommendations for the New President
An Economic Round Table with Barney Frank, Simon Greer, and others

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Sigi Ziering Sh'ma Ethics 

Sh'ma publishes a practical ethics column co-sponsored by Bruce Whizin and Marilyn Ziering in honor of Marilyn's husband, Sigi Ziering, of blessed memory. Each month this year, a guest columnist will write about the ethics of leadership, wrestling with questions concerning communal leadership and its abuses. We hope this column will be a helpful resource.

The Housing Crisis: Who Should Be Helped?
John C. Weicher
The crisis in American housing and financial markets started in February 2007 when a number of large mortgage lenders began reporting unexpectedly large losses on their portfolios of subprime mortgages, or securities backed by subprime mortgages.

Encountering the Homeless
Jason Kimelman-Block
As part of my work, I regularly introduce Jewish high school students to homeless people on the streets of Washington, DC. Bringing students to a downtown square where homeless tend to be, I challenge students to find a human connection and initiate conversation.

Landloard and Tenants
Jill Jacobs
Residents of a rent-stabilized apartment building in the Bronx were recently shocked to receive rent increases of up to 16 percent, far above the currently permitted increase of 4.5 percent.

Paintings by Pat Berger on Homelessness


Pat Berger,
Christmas Dinner,Venice, 1986
Acrylic, 40 x 48 inches

Pat Berger,
Home is Where You Find It, 1986
Acrylic, 48 x 72 inches
Pat Berger,
Home for a Day, 1986
Acrylic, 40 x 30 inches

Pat Berger,
Sanctuary, 1986
Acrylic, 60 x 48 inches
Collection: Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
Buffalo, New York

Aryeh Cohen
At the most intense moment of the Jewish liturgical year — Yom Kippur/the Day of Atonement — the tradition dictates that the portion we read from the Prophets, the haftorah, is one that challenges the very practice embodied in that holy fast day.

Broken Silence
Andrew Silow Carroll
Last year the New York Times ran a despairing series of articles on how hard it was becoming to prosecute street crimes because of witness intimidation.

Silence is Not the Opposite of Speech
Sheila Peltz Weinberg
When Sylvia Boorstein and I cooked up the idea to bring rabbis on retreat to learn meditation and have them be in silence for four days, people thought we were crazy.

Doing, Hearing, and Seeing
Abram Sterne
Growing up as the only hearing child in a deaf family meant that I had a unique sense of sound. While my mother, father, and two sisters were profoundly deaf, my home was not necessarily filled with silence.

Silence is Deadly
Naomi Graetz
After much soul-searching and polling among my friends, I came up with a title for my book on wife beating: Silence is Deadly.

Taking Hillel and History to Heart
Abraham H. Foxman
Why did you make that statement? How did you arrive at that position? Is it in the best interest of the Jewish community to speak publicly on that issue? 

A Season for Chutzpah
Alan Dershowitz
Ecclesiastes teaches us that to everything there is a season. Nearly 20 years ago I wrote a book called Chutzpah in which I argued that the Jewish community needs more chutzpah.  

Hands and Tongues
Leonard Fein
There are times we are rendered mute, when silence is both becoming and unavoidable. The most obvious example (though far from the only one) is 9/11.  

When Do We Speak Out About “Someone Else's” Atrocity?
Aryeh Cohen
“If you've grown up taking [the practice of female genital cutting] for granted as the normal thing to do, you will probably respond at first with surprise to someone who thinks it is wrong.

Campus Leadership: When to Listen and When to Lead?
David A. Harris
Imagine you are a Jewish student leader at a prestigious university. You've learned that the Palestine Solidarity Movement will hold a national conference aimed at divesting campus resources from Israel — on your campus.

The Dilemmas and Perils of Enlightenment
Elihu D. Stone
Every Shabbat, shul-goers pray that God will recompense all those who are engaged with the needs of the community.

Inclusivity's Difficult Questions
Sanford Ragins
A colleague recently brought me the following problem: “I was approached by John who was raised in a family that practiced Christian Science. He has been happily married for some time to a woman who has a strong background in Conservative Judaism.

Succession Planning
Hal M. Lewis
Jewish organizations wishing to develop new leaders face a number of systemic challenges.

Developing Rabbinical Leadership: New Ways to Measure Success
Jeannie Appleman
My seven-year-old daughter came home from yeshiva today and announced proudly that she had been unanimously elected to represent her second-grade class on student council. Her view of what it means to be a leader (handing out candy to her classmates) indicates that...

Rainbow Ethics
Anne Underwood
The gritty bathtub flowed over — wasted hot water poured onto fake tiles and polyester carpet. Sixteen hours of delayed flights, a van driver slurping Gatorade with one knee on the wheel while screaming into a cell phone, and now a hideous budget hotel.

Leadership and Authority
Yosef Kanefsky
With how much authority does a contemporary religious leader speak? On any given day, the answer can range from “absolute” to “negligible.” Interestingly enough, both these extremes present significant ethical issues with regard to how a religious leader conducts him or herself.

Personal Models for Jewish Leadership
David Ellenson
Like many others in Jewish leadership positions, I must often consider competing agendas and balance diverse factors – the practical, the visionary, the immediate, and the ethical. Read More...

The Ethics of Learship
Bradley Shavit Artson
Leadership is all the rage these days. Professors of leadership and management define, analyze, and propose models of leadership, and business sections of bookstores are filled with leadership/mentoring books. Read More...

Building Community
Andy Bachman
The principle ethic of building community is forged out of my early experience as a young person seeking Torah. That ethic requires that we must be unafraid of the commitment to, in the words of our tradition, raise disciples. Read More...

Honoring the Influential
Aliza Kline
How does a Jewish community organization meet its fund raising goals while maintaining its integrity and honoring its mission? Read More...

Ethics in Jewish Schools
Bruce Powell
For those of us who spend our professional and often personal lives living and learning among high school students, we understand that hormones are far more powerful than halakhah. Read More...

Talk and Gossip
Laura Geller
Most supervisors and employers have fired someone for improper acts like theft, repeated tardiness, or insubordination. While no dismissal is easy, the moral texture of this kind of termination is relatively smooth; there is a cause and effect. Read More...

Good to Great in Business
Sam Wyman
Most supervisors and employers have fired someone for improper acts like theft, repeated tardiness, or insubordination. While no dismissal is easy, the moral texture of this kind of termination is relatively smooth; there is a cause and effect. Read More...

The Ethics of Dismissing Employees
Moses L. Pava
Ten years later, it still stings. A New Jersey Jewish Day School rejected our daughter's kindergarten application because there was not enough space for her. But friends from her preschool class, in seemingly identical circumstances, were accepted. Read More...

Love and (Non)Judgment
Paula Brody
What does Torah teach us about the ethics of relating to in-laws and others in our family, and our friends and colleagues, who are of other faith traditions? Read More...

Offering Rebuke in an Age of Understanding
Leonard Gordon
"You shall surely rebuke your neighbor." (Leviticus 19:17) The biblical text and the rabbinic commenting tradition are clear: we are responsible for one another, and part of that responsibility demands that we confront a friend who endangers her own health and welfare. Read More...

Does Spirituality Belong in the Workplace?
Arthur Gross-Schaefer
Bringing spirituality into the workplace is not an easy discussion because of, among other things, fear, imprecision, practicability, and goals. Read More...

Personal Virtue
Jeremy Kalmanofsky
Given the immense weight of the legal tradition in Judaism, and Kant’s influence in modern philosophy, it is no surprise that Jews tend to think of ethics as a body of rules. Both halakhah and Kant speak powerfully of duty as the primary ethical dimension. Read More...

Small and Large Truths
Ari L. Goldman
I WORKED FOR The New York Times for 20 years and everywhere I went (in the Jewish world) people asked, "How can you work for that anti-Zionist newspaper?"Read More...

We Have Never Seen...
Lee Meyerhoff Hendler
WHILE LAYING OUT the system for tzedakah collection in the Mishneh Torah, Maimonides declares "We have never seen nor heard of an Israelite community that does not have an alms fund." Read More...

Money in Synagogues
Mordechai Liebling
The typical synagogue board devotes more time to issues relating to money than anything else. But, then, more of the 613 mitzvot relate to money than any other subject. Read More...

Investing Assets as Tzedakah
Jeffrey Dekro
MOST FEDERATION, communal fund, and family foundation professionals look at their grantmaking budgets and see both too little money and too many worthy organizations to support. Read More...

Free-Market Theology
Adena K. Berkowitz
Some time ago, walking down Broadway with two of my older children, we passed a sign in the window of the indoor playground where they played as children. The sign said, "LOST OUR LEASE -- CLOSING." Shocked, my children asked, "Why is this happening? Read More...

Up Against Macherarchy?
Jeffrey K. Salkin
WHEN THINGS GET HOT in synagogue land, I find myself humming "If I Were A Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof , especially the line "when you're rich they think you really know." It is a perpetual pattern in Jewish history: wealth vs. spirituality and learning; lay leaders vs. rabbis. Read More...

Jewish Ethical Considerations: Venture Philanthropy and Communal Practice
by Steven Windmueller
Today's marketplace offers new ethical challenges to both fundraisers and donors; Jewish law and practice may offer insights affecting communal practice and individual conduct. Read More...

Influencing America: Jewish Political Influence
by David Teutsch
AIPAC, the primary pro-Israel lobby in Washington, may be the most powerful single lobby in the United States. Many of its detractors and supporters share this view. Read More...

If There's Flour, Is There Torah?
by Susan Fendrick
In 1962, my family nearly left the Jewish community. A booklet was distributed to all of the contributors to the local Allied Jewish Appeal campaign, listing the exact amount of each person's contribution. There at the very end was the name of our struggling Jewish milkman, and the amount he had given: $1. Read More...

The Ambiguity of Jewish Ethics
by Louis E. Newman
MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN about end-of-life issues from a Jewish perspective. Typically such accounts offer a series of broad principles that, it is claimed, derive from Jewish sources and determine appropriate medical treatments when caring for terminally ill patients. Read More...

Legal Principles and Decision-Making by
Nancy Neveloff Dubler
LEGAL PRINCIPLES and normative bioethical analysis should be clear; but in reality, decision-making in the context of families tends to be muddy. Read More...

Treating Volunteers Well
by Alana Suskin
WHAT ARE THE ETHICS to guide our treatment of Jewish communal volunteers? Read More...

Judaism, Money, and Health Care
by Elliot N. Dorff
MAX, WITH SYMPTOMS OF the onset of Alzheimer's Disease, does not want to squander his money or that of his children on his care; on the contrary, he wants to leave whatever money he has to his heirs. He contemplates suicide to save money and to prevent what he knows will be a humiliating descent into a mental fog. Read More...

Halakhic Considerations
by Julian Jakobovits
THE CONTEMPORARY explosion of medical technology, combined with the evolving acceptance of personal autonomy and decision-making, have catapulted discussions regarding end-of-life management to the forefront of our national consciousness. Read More...

Talking About Dying
by David A. Testsch
AS A POGO COMIC STRIP once put it, "I don't want eternal life "I want to live forever!" Death challenges our instinct that our lives have meaning, and most of us unconsciously react by avoiding thoughts about our eventual deaths. Read More...

by Neil Gillman.
End of life decision-making is complicated. Clinical, economic, psychological, and social values are often in conflict; physicians and nurses, chaplains, social-workers and ethicists, the patient and the patient's family don't always agree; and time is short. The process is tension-filled. Appropriately so, for what is at stake is a human life. Read More...

Read Response to the Neil Gillman's article
by David E. Galinsky MD
Choosing Life When Life Is Not a Choice by Michael Cahana Congregational rabbis serve in two, sometimes contra-dictory, capacities. We are teachers, knowledgeable in matters of Jewish concern, who are charged to think through and interpret our tradition’s teachings as they apply to real-world situations. And we are pastors, placed in the midst of enormous emotional tumult as we guide our people through some of the highest and lowest points of their lives. At times, conflicts arise between these roles. Read More

Please send your responses to:

Shylock's Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe Derek J. Penslar

The Jew Within: Self, Family, and Community in America Steven M. Cohen and Arnold M. Eisen

Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage Barbara Kirshenblatt-GimblettTorah of the Mothers: Contemporary Jewish Women Read Classical Jewish Texts Edited by Ora Wiskind Elper and Susan Handelman And I Will Dwell in Their Midst: Orthodox Jews in Suburbia Etan Diamond Growing Up Religious: Christians and Jews and Their Journey of Faith Robert WuthnowThe Jewish Political Tradition, Volume I, AuthorityMichael Walzer, Menachem Lorberbaum, Noam J. Zohar and Yair Lorberbaum (eds.), A Feminist Ethic of Risk Sharon D. Welch

The Power of Ideas Isaiah Berlin

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