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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 April 16, 2007 / 28 Nissan, 5767

The Apprentice

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir


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Are they being taken for a ride?


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: Many successful firms hire summer interns. These dedicated volunteers are generally of significant value to the firms, yet are paid nothing. Is this fair to the youngsters?


A: There is certainly something paradoxical about internships. The law forbids hiring workers for below minimum wage, but allows employers to hire them for nothing! This may be understandable in the context of a non-profit organization, which solicits donations. But the wealthy business firms which engage summer interns are hardly in need of voluntary support.


However, there actually is an important logic behind this institution. One of the most valuable assets a young person brings to the job market is experience. Even a few weeks as an intern in a well-known firm provides valuable exposure to the environment and culture of business, and the backlog of willing volunteers shows that the young people feel they are getting adequate recompense via experience and the addition to their resume.


The logic of internship is dictated by a number of considerations. One is the short-term nature of the work. Small businesses with high turnover are often accustomed to hiring workers for short periods of time, but the kind of firms that employ interns usually create a strong mutual commitment with workers and seek only employees interested in a prolonged working relationship. It's not worth changing this orientation in order to provide pay for a few dozen summer interns. Another consideration is that these interns often make significant demands on managers. While it is true that companies actively solicit interns, it is also true that universities sponsoring student internship programs actively solicit sponsors, who are sometimes reluctant to take responsibility for students who are sometimes outstanding employees but sometimes can turn out to be dead weight or worse.


Jewish tradition acknowledges the importance of workplace learning. The Talmud makes frequent reference to a "shulia," or apprentice. The relationship of an apprentice to the workman is not an ordinary employee-employer relationship; the master workman is almost like a parent. The reason is that the apprentice is learning a valuable skill, and giving someone the means to earn a livelihood is an important mitzvah (commandment) in Judaism.


The book of Ecclesiastes (9:9) tells us: "See life with the wife you love". (Today we might translate this, "Live it up!") The Talmud comments, "This likens life [i.e., livelihood] to a wife," and concludes: just as parents need to provide their children with the social skills and standing to establish a durable marriage, they must provide their children with the skills they require to make a living. (1) (It is instructive which is learned from which: in Talmudic times, it was taken for granted that parents appreciated the importance of educating their children for stable family life. They needed to be reminded about the importance of making money.)


For this reason, the employer of an apprentice has the legal status of an educator, not an employer. The Talmud explains that this is precisely because the employer is teaching him a livelihood. (2)


By the same token, firms who take on short-term interns with an express commitment to provide them with skills and experience that will serve them in future jobs should be considered educators, with the corresponding responsibilities and simultaneously with a legitimate exemption from the need to pay.

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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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