web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Orthodox Groups Sharpen Focus On Jewish Ethics


On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Moshe Shulman of the Young Israel of St. Louis devoted his sermon to yashrut, the Hebrew notion of fairness and honesty, calling it a “foundational concept” in Jewish life.


“That goes without saying, but sometimes it needs to be said,” he explained in his September talk.


After a year of highly publicized scandals involving Jewish institutions and businessmen, the Orthodox world has been paying markedly greater attention this holiday season to promoting Jewish ethical behavior.


Two books on Jewish business ethics have been published. Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella organization of haredi communities, is holding seminars on the topic. And in the biggest initiative of all, the three major institutions of Modern Orthodoxy – the Orthodox Union, the Rabbinical Council of America and Yeshiva University – sent a joint letter in early September to movement rabbis asking them to address Jewish ethics in at least one of their High Holiday sermons.


Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, first vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America, said he cannot remember any other instance of all three major arms of Modern Orthodoxy issuing such a joint appeal.


Richard Joel, president of Yeshiva University and a co-signer to the Sept. 3 letter sent to more than 2,000 Orthodox rabbis nationwide, said the community needed to make a serious statement.


“There has been a great shock to our system,” Joel said, “and there cannot be any prevarication.”


The letter cited “recent scenes of religious Jews being led off in handcuffs, charged with corruption, money laundering and even organ trafficking,” referring to the late July arrests of New Jersey rabbis - an incident that Joel and five leading rabbis who signed the appeal said left them “sickened and embarrassed.”


The letter suggested rabbis discuss the prohibition against stealing, which includes stealing from the government by not paying taxes; the need to obey secular laws; and the goal of serving as “a light to the nations” through honest social interactions.


Quoting the late Rabbi Joseph Breuer, the letter said that “a Jew must not only be glatt kosher, he must be glatt yosher,” one who leads an upright life.


More than 50 Orthodox rabbis heeded the call to address Jewish ethics from the pulpit.


It was the first stage in what organizers hope will be “a unified international initiative” to promote Jewish ethics in the Orthodox community, said Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg of Congregation Etz Chaim in Queens, New York, who spearheaded the appeal with Rabbi Asher Bush of Congregation Ahavath Yisrael of Wesley Hills, New York.


Orthodox day schools also are signing on to the campaign. Rabbi Shmuel Jablon, principal of the Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia, said his K-8 school developed a new curriculum this fall to teach one midah, or positive character trait, every month related to the Jewish text being studied.


“We want them to know there are real ethical lessons to be learned from the text,” he said. “Torah is not just about prayer, kashrut and Shabbat, although those are important, but also about how we treat each other and each other’s belongings.”


The haredi world, which generally ignores negative media coverage, is taking it seriously this time.


In late July, at a “legal symposium” in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, the grand rabbi of the Spinka sect delivered a personal apology to more than 1,000 attendees for his 2007 arrest on money-laundering charges. Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Weisz had pleaded guilty the previous week.


And Agudath Israel is sponsoring a series of workshops to urge its member organizations to obey all state and federal laws, in the name of Jewish ethics. A first workshop in late September addressed administrators of charitable funds, including synagogue funds, and similar workshops are planned for yeshiva and day school administrators, as well as other fervently Orthodox groups.


Dealing fairly and honestly with non-Jews is a central Jewish value, say the organizers of these recent initiatives.


Noah Alper, founder of the Noah’s Bagels chain, notes in his new book Business Mensch that the first question departed souls are asked by the heavenly court is how did they conduct their business.


Goldin, also the pulpit rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, New Jersey, gave two High Holiday sermons on Jewish ethics specifically addressing the ethics of dealing with the non-Jewish world. He planned to deliver another during Sukkot.


“There is a sentiment within the Jewish community that believes you can have different ethical standards when dealing with the non-Jewish world,” he said. “That to me is frightening. If our role is to be an example unto others, how can we fulfill that role through a desecration of God’s name?” (JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Orthodox Groups Sharpen Focus On Jewish Ethics”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
rocket in a field near Kibbutz Mefalsim
Heaven on Earth (With Rockets)
Latest News Stories
rocket in a field near Kibbutz Mefalsim

Half the population gone at any one time, but residents of Gaza Belt remain strong.

Protecting a young baby from rocket fire when the Code Red rocket alert siren sounds

IDF soldiers are fighting in Gaza; Israelis are holding firm as massive rocket fire continues at home.

naqba day unrwa

UNRWA has found a third set of rockets in a one of their schools. We’re sure they’re shocked.

he "Green Rock" system designed to provide an early warning before mortar shells hit their targets.

A radar system might stop mortar attacks, but that doesn’t change the truism that “the best defense is a good offense.”

“He had a hopped-up ‘cycle that took off like a gun/That fool was the terror of Highway 101 – ‘ from the song “Black Denim Trousers.”

The Givati Brigade has foiled another attempted infiltration via a tunnel into Israel, killing five terrorists who might have murdered hundreds of Israelis.

PLO officials say ‘all’ terror factions agree to a 72 cease fire, but rocket fire continues as usual.

The lights are out again in Gaza, but it’s not clear who is responsible this time around. Does it matter?

There’s a battle going on for Jerusalem’s soul, and Cinema City proves you don’t need to compromise on Shabbat or Kashrut to be a success.

Global anti-Semitism is doing the ‘Gaza Strip’ and unveiling itself, no longer needing an excuse to hide.

While Israelis couldn’t sleep in Rishon Lezion, IDF pilots were busy making sure Gaza terrorists were awake Monday night as well.

Without fanfare, supermarket magnate Rami Levy has been quietly unloading truckloads of food and basics at the homes of all the fallen soldiers…

After killing 5 IDF soldiers, Hamas terrorists tried to steal the soldier’s bodies.

Kerry’s performance panned by Israeli public, media, and even the PA. Why fury directed only at the Israeli government?

Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Gantz announce Israel will not stop the war until all terror tunnels are destroyed.

This is probably the first time in my life I’ve seen an IDF barber. Who knew we even had them! (Notice he’s using an electric shaver!)

More Articles from Sue Fishkoff

Jewish institutions throughout the United States are reassessing their security following last Friday’s mail bombing attempt of two Jewish institutions in Chicago.

Jewish institutions throughout the United States are reassessing their security following last Friday’s mail bombing attempt of two Jewish institutions in Chicago.

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Moshe Shulman of the Young Israel of St. Louis devoted his sermon to yashrut, the Hebrew notion of fairness and honesty, calling it a “foundational concept” in Jewish life.

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Moshe Shulman of the Young Israel of St. Louis devoted his sermon to yashrut, the Hebrew notion of fairness and honesty, calling it a “foundational concept” in Jewish life.

SAN FRANCISCO – They’re baaack. Duly chastened by the Great Tam Tam Crisis of spring ’08, the Manischewitz Company went into overdrive and will have plenty of the crunchy six-sided unleavened crackers available this Passover season.

SAN FRANCISCO – They’re baaack. Duly chastened by the Great Tam Tam Crisis of spring ’08, the Manischewitz Company went into overdrive and will have plenty of the crunchy six-sided unleavened crackers available this Passover season.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/orthodox-groups-sharpen-focus-on-jewish-ethics/2009/10/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: