For some, it is a spiritual moment of human dignity finally resting upon everyone. For others, it is a sign that society is being sucked into an eddy of moral dissolution.
As I write this The Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Los Angeles' annual gala to be held on June 1, 2005 is a few days away.
During my genealogy research I was surprised to learn that my great-grandfather was a real scoundrel. While it's impossible to know what was happening inside of his head, I've found clues that give me a better understanding of who he was.
In a Sept. 11 New York Times Op-Ed piece by Thomas L. Friedman on the feelings of angst that linger a year after Sept. 11, 2001, the distinguished columnist reports that he turned to Rabbi Tzvi Marx, a teacher in the Netherlands. Here's what Marx told Friedman: "To some extent, we feel after Sept. 11 like we have experienced the flood of Noah -- as if a flood has inundated our civilization and we are the survivors. What do we do the morning after?"
This week's Torah portion opens with a fascinating topic: the psyche of a soldier at war, and the ethical boundaries that even a soldier must observe.
Physicians played a significant role in the Holocaust, and today's doctors can learn from the ethical failures of that period, according to an article recently published by Dr. Joel Geiderman, co-chair of the emergency department (ED) of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
In "Physician Complicity in the Holocaust: Historical Review and Reflections on Emergency Medicine in the 21st Century," Geiderman sets out a series of moral failures he attributes to German physicians before, during and after WWII. Published in the March issue of Academic Emergency Medicine journal, the two-part article enumerates ethical challenges requiring greater vigilance from today's physicians.
Scottish philosopher David Hume hit the nail on the head when he observed that "the heart of man always attempts to reconcile the most glaring contradictions." Hume, of course, wasn't thinking of Palestinian apologists back in 1749. But he certainly wouldn't have been ashamed of applying his pithy aphorism to their persistent bouts of moral incoherence.
Honesty, morality and ethical behavior -- these are the calling cards of Leviticus, and they are the centerpieces of Jewish behavior and identity. Amongst the mitzvot enumerated in Leviticus 19 (known by some scholars as the "Holiness Code") are respect for parents, charity for the poor, prohibitions against stealing and lying, a reminder to pay an employee's wages on time, the moral obligation not to take advantage of the deaf or blind, honesty and fairness in justice, prohibitions against holding grudges or exacting revenge, and the famous mitzvah to "love your neighbor as yourself."
These days, many people seem to be threatened by immigration as though it were a mysterious virus.