Sy Syms Forum Focuses on Jewish Law as it Pertains to Workplace Predicaments

Oct 18, 2004 — On Oct. 17, Sy Syms School of Business kicked off its innovative new series on ethical dilemmas in the workplace with a program at Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, NJ.

“An Interactive Forum: Case Studies of Halacha in Workplace Predicaments” was the first of three series programs, and featured discussion by Rabbi Mordechai Willig, rosh yeshiva and the Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth Professor of Talmud and Halakhah at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, on halachic ramifications on employees involved in each case. Dr. Charles Snow, Syms dean, moderated.

Each participant in the cases presented were Jewish. The cases included an employee who witnesses an illegal act by a colleague that must be reported to the supervisor and to regulatory authorities—does Halacha permit him/her to do so; an employee who spends too much time surfing the Web—can a supervisor ask MIS to monitor and report back on the employee’s Internet use; an employer who hires a programmer from a rival firm and asks him/her to divulge intimate knowledge of the competitor’s product; an employee who is leaving the firm after negotiating for the business of a new client and wants to know if he/she should notify the new client; and a financial planner who suspects his client does not fully understand the risks of a certain investment—one from which the planner stands to profit—and instructs the planner to proceed with the sale.

After Rabbi Willig offered the halachic interpretation of each scenario, audience members asked questions related to the cases.

Dr. Snow said he hopes a series of such forums might be presented every two or three months at various locations. Additional programs are slated for Oct. 24 and Nov. 7.

The Oct. 17 program was videotaped and is available through the Sy Syms School of Business (; 212-960-0845). Ultimately, Dr. Snow said, these sessions may lead to a book published by Sy Syms School on these halachic business dilemmas.

All sessions begin at 8 pm. The schedule for the remaining programs in this series is as follows: Oct. 24 at Young Israel of Woodmere, 859 Peninsula Boulevard, Woodmere, NY; and Nov. 7 at Congregation Ohab Zedek, 118-24 West 95th Street in Manhattan.

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