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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 2, 2008 / 28 Iyar 5768

Lie to outsmart discriminator?

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: A want ad states "Only city residents," but I live out of town. The demand for local residents is illegal and unfair. Can I give the address of a friend who lives in town?


A: Many jurisdictions have laws forbidding discrimination on the basis of characteristics which have no obvious relation to job performance. This began with race discrimination, but today extends to a wide variety of traits including sex, marital status, sexual preference, and sometimes even place of residence. You state that in your area the employer's demand is illegal. What rights does that give you?

King David proclaimed before G-d, "With a pure one, You show Yourself pure; but with a crooked one, You deal crookedly" (II Samuel 22:27). But there are limits to how far human beings may emulate this quality.

Let's start with the rules that apply for a fair employer who plays by the rules. In this case, we may not make misleading statements, nor even give a misleading impression on any trait of interest to the employer. We learn this from the following Talmudic story:


[The rabbinic sage] Shmuel said: It is forbidden to mislead others, even heathens. And this position of Shmuel was not stated explicitly but rather learned from a story. Shmuel once crossed in a ferry, and told his valet, satisfy the ferryman. He satisfied him, but he [Shmuel] was upset. Why was he upset? Abaye said, he gave him a non-kosher chicken as if it had been [kosherly] slaughtered." (1)


Non-Jews in Babylonia were not insistent on kosher meat, but they did have some appreciation when a Jew makes the gesture of giving them kosher meat; thus, this gesture must not be feigned. Even though the valet didn't explicitly state that the chicken was kosher, the ferryman had a reasonable expectation that it was; thus, the valet had an obligation to disabuse him of this expectation. By the same token, if an employer has some reasonable basis to value a particular quality, and has a reasonable basis to assume the applicant has it, it is forbidden to give him a false impression.

However, in your case the demand is unreasonable, even illegal. This case is also discussed in Jewish law.

In the section of the Mishna dealing with forbidden misleading behavior, we read, "It is forbidden to paint a person".(2) The Talmud asks, what does it mean to paint a person? The example given is a classic case of lying on one's resume. An elderly man who wanted to be acquired as a slave died his hair and beard black. After he was purchased, the dye was washed off and his poor master realized that he had bought an aged servant who was useless to him, yet whose livelihood he was still responsible for.

A few years ago a similar query reached the eminent authority Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in New York. He states that dying one's hair in order to appear younger to obtain a job is permissible "as long as there is no fraud, for example where he knows that he can work just like a younger person." (3) Rabbi Feinstein is referring to a case where the discrimination against an older person is unjustified, since he can work just as well as someone younger in all respects.

This however is still different than an outright lie. Many people dye their hair; the employer has no reason to assume that a dark-haired person is necessarily naturally dark. Even so, actively giving a false impression is generally forbidden. However, in this case the person is giving a true impression of his work ability, which is after all what the employer is ultimately interested in.

So if you are certain that you are able to get to work on time, and stay late if necessary, "just like a local person" (to paraphrase Rabbi Feinstein), it would be justifiable for you to take means that are occasionally used by ordinary persons. If it is not unusual for someone to give a mailing address in another city for convenience, or to have a phone number with a city dialing code, then you could put such an address or phone number on your resume.

However, it is not permissible to lie outright and state that you actually live in the city — just as Rabbi Feinstein didn't permit outright lying about the applicant's age. If the employer puts you on the spot with such a question, and you are unable to finesse it, I would recommend emphasizing that you have no problem getting to and from work on time, and reminding the employer that his questions are improperly (and illegally) intrusive.

SOURCES: (1) Babylonian Talmud, Chullin 94a (2) Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 60a-b (3) Responsa Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah II 61

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology. To comment or pose a question, please click here.

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