Economic crisis from a Jewish perspective

Posted Thursday, Jan 26th, 2012

A program presented at Chabad Jewish Center in Naperville is examining today’s financial morals, or lack thereof, from a 3,000-year tradition.

“Money Matters: Jewish Business Ethics” looks at modern practices from the perspective of the Jewish Torah and Talmud.

“The recent failures in the financial industry have drastically changed the way we think about business,” Rabbi Mendy Goldstein of Chabad said. “At JLI, we deeply believe that business should be a force for good, and that’s why we’re presenting students with timeless Talmudic insights into real-world ethical dilemmas.”

Money Matters has been developed by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and will be taught in 300 locations throughout the world during the next six weeks. It is accredited for nine CLE ethics credits.

Goldstein, who will lead the local program, said the class will be conducted in an interactive format, which will include PowerPoint, a textbook and discussion.

“Everyone gets involved and shares their opinion on the matter,” he said.

Naperville attorney David Fish will be a co-presenter with Goldstein. While Goldstein will present the historical Jewish perspective on issues, Fish will address the legal aspect.

Fish, who specialized in business law and litigation, said that preparing for the program has been educational for him.

“I’m learning as I’m investigating the topic,” he said. “It’s interesting that the Jewish laws have been around for thousands of years, and that many current laws are based on them.”

Each session will explore a different issue. Topics will include insider trading and the stock market, wages of the working poor, bankruptcy and debt discharge, unionization and collective bargaining, shopping ethics and extravagant CEO compensation.

Goldstein said the class will not delve into politics, and the objective of the program is not to reach definitive conclusions.

“We just want to get people thinking,” he said.

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