web analytics
November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest News Stories
Jonathan Pollard Protest in 2011

Bnei Akiva religious youth members joined forces with far left Meretz youth group members on July 4, 2011, to protest in front of the US Consulate in Israel, calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard. That was years ago, and as of today, Pollard has now spent 30 years in jail. Enough is enough.

Paul Goldenberg

The task force will aim at keeping Americans from joining ISIS and other radical Muslim murder gangs.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The cell that planned to kill Lieberman was only of several planning to kill PA official and Israelisץ

Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.

Arab pathologist who originally agreed with the findings of Arab bus driver’s autopsy showing suicide, now disagrees.

Secret Service officers arrested a woman with a gun while she was walking along the White House fence around 8:30 p.m. (EST) Thursday at the same time President Barack Obama was addressing the country on the issue of immigration. The woman was identified as April Lenhart, 23, from Michigan. She was wearing a holster and […]

And we can already hear Obama and Kerry telling him not to upset Allah and thank God on the Temple Mount.

The 388 bus line from BeerSheva to Arad was attacked by rock throwing Arabs near Arad.

The IDF foiled a plot by a Hamas terror cell to fire an RPG rocket at the vehicle of Foreign Minister MK Avigdor Lieberman.

Three Palestinian Authority terrorists linked with Hamas planned to murder Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack on his vehicle near his eastern Gush Etzion home, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) revealed Thursday night. It did not say exactly when it uncovered the plot but revealed that the assassination plan was […]

The Israel Law Center wins a landmark decision against the Palestinian Authority (PA) on behalf of 11 families of victims of terror.

Young Jewish women and a family come under attack from Arab elementary students hurling rocks in the Golan Heights.

Israel has agreed to cooperate with a UN board of inquiry appointed by Ban Ki-moon, probing UNRWA events in Gaza this summer.

A U.S. parole board has turned down a request for release by former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, now in his 30th year in prison.

Dmitri Diliani, a spokesperson for Fatah in Jerusalem and a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, had taken issue with Klein’s characterization of recent violence in Jerusalem as being instigated by the Palestinians.

Hundreds of Ethiopian Jews take part in a prayer of the Sigd holiday on the Armon Hanatziv Promenade overlooking Jerusalem on November 20, 2014. The prayer is performed by Ethiopian Jews every year to celebrate their community’s connection and commitment to Israel. About 80,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, many of them came in massive […]

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.

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: