web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Netanyahu in a previous address to Congress-
ABCD – Applaud Bibi’s Congress Decision
Latest News Stories
The southern tip of the Dead Sea.

Jordan and Israel signed an historic agreement Thursday to implement the Red Sea-Dead Sea rescue pipeline project.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Dec. 30, 2014.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power will represent the Obama administration at AIPAC next week.

Photo of Al Qaeda founder and former leader, Osama Bin Laden, seen above a Palestinian Authority flag.

A NYC jury has convicted Al Qaeda’s ‘minister of communications’ on charges connected to the 1998 bombing of a US embassy in East Africa.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu to meet with bipartisan congressional leadership before he addresses the joint session of Congress on March 3.

Jihadi John, the British beheader in Daesh-land (Islamic State) has been tentatively identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a Brit, born in Kuwait, who grew up in West London and has a degree in computer programming. His former friends who have identified him, and are positive its him.

An Arab tried to stab an IDF soldier at the Gush Etzion junction on Thursday evening.

“It is a development that I did not expect five years ago and that’s a bit shocking.”

The survey also revealed that 52 percent of the respondents have an unfavorable view of the president.

The PA says the New York court decision is “a tragic disservice to the millions of Palestinians who have invested in the democratic process and the rule of law.

No one was injured, and anti-Christian graffiti was sprayed painted on walls.

Hamas security forces stopped PA Arab writer, Atef Abu Saif, from attending a book fair in Morocco recently where the noted writer and the fiction award finalist had been nominated for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

Canadian leaders have condemned an anti-Semitic incident that left five cars damaged and their owners badly shaken in a Jewish neighborhood of Montreal this week.

Frightening anti-Semitic vandalism has arrived at a Montreal parking garage, and a Jewish neighborhood is deeply worried following damage to five cars and death threats.

Israel’s state comptroller has released a report on the nation’s housing crisis that has set off a firestorm of criticism against the government but few solutions.

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: