Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So, What Would You Do?


You are the rabbi of an Orthodox shul and you are asked whether or not you will allow a Mercedes dealership advertisement from a Jewish man who owns the dealership and wanted to sponsor the advertisement in the shul's calendar.

Would you permit the use of the advertisement since you will thereby be raising more money for the shul's programs, or do you refuse to include this advertisement since it is for a German car?

12 Comments:

At October 24, 2007 at 6:22:00 AM EDT, Blogger Gandalin said...

Thousands of German tanks during WW2 were manufactured by General Motors (Opel).

 
At October 24, 2007 at 8:00:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

And Henry Ford was a major backer of Hitler yemach shemo.

 
At October 24, 2007 at 8:03:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Talmid said...

As much as I wouldn't buy a German car, there is no actual aveira to sell German cars, but it is a mitzva to raise money for a Shul and to help another Jew make parnasa

 
At October 24, 2007 at 8:08:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Gandalin & Bob: That said, what is your answer to the question above?

 
At October 24, 2007 at 12:18:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Reb_Baruch said...

I've been taught that there are some things in this world (like pork) where the kedusha lay only in our avoiding them. I don't think that German cars would fall under that category, no matter what that nation perpetrated upon our people. I personally hold with "a talmid". I think that you are doing far more good by allowing that Jew to support the shul, and possibly be supported by the ad. If it isn't an aveira to sell a German car, then who knows, after Moshiach comes (soon, Hashem, please!) and we get all our answers, we may find out that Hashem only made these cars so that the Jews can earn a parnassah, give more tzedakah, pay for more shabbos meals, support more shuls.. in other words without excusing one iota of the German people's less than sterling history with our people, even here we can uplift and convert the world into a dwelling place for Hashem. The only caveat would be to find out if there are any members of the community (i.e., holocaust survivors or their familes) who would feele genuinely pained, or even betrayed by seeing such an ad in their shul's calendar. If the salesman who placed the ad is a prominent, strongly affiliated member of the shul, then anyone who knows him would probably be okay, or at the very least, the Rabbi might be able to bring the two parties together to work it out somehow.

 
At October 24, 2007 at 4:12:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Ezriel said...

If the Litvishe yeshivos accepted reparations from the GERMAN GOVERNMENT after the war for harbotzas hatorah, mimeilah it is at least acceptable to accept money from a GERMAN COMPANY to help with the propagation of Torah Yiddishkeit.

I'm sure there are other precedents, probably both ways.

 
At October 24, 2007 at 6:34:00 PM EDT, Blogger Alice said...

Simply driving a German car to shul could offend some of the older congregants, perhaps Holocaust survivors, or their kin- let alone offend them if the shul accepted advertising for a German car company. So in that spirit I would lean against even owning a German car.

 
At October 25, 2007 at 7:50:00 AM EDT, Anonymous little mordie said...

This is why we have the Halochoh to follow. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a single product we could possibly purchase, due to one chashash or another.

We sympathise with the Holocaust victims, but the welfare of the kehilloh should certainly take precedence.

 
At October 25, 2007 at 8:10:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

If Daimler AG made a sincere apology for its wartime activities and full restitution to Jews (such as slave laborers) it harmed, I would not object to the use of its products by Jews.

 
At October 25, 2007 at 11:17:00 PM EDT, Anonymous koolchossid said...

If you take money from a mechallel Shabbos,taking money from advetising for a German car is OK,
You have to make a cheshbon, if u don't lose more money from donors than the proceeds from this advertisement

 
At October 28, 2007 at 8:42:00 AM EDT, Blogger Gandalin said...

Simple,

Apologies for not returning to this discussion sooner, I was away from the internet. In agreement with the comments from A Talmid and Reb Baruch, avoiding the use or purchase of German products is a personal preference, not a mitzvo. I've known Koreans and Korean-Americans who are more stringent about avoiding Japanese products than American Jews have been about avoiding German products. While I have no problem at all with someone who declines to own or use a German or a Japanese product because of the recent wartime atrocities committed by these nations, it is also true that Germany is at peace with Medinat Israel, and the Bundesrepublik did pay "reparations," and that Japanese banks did in fact finance the Pohang steel plant when they were shamed into it by a Korean delegation after the World Bank refused the money. Personally, I drive a Korean car.

 
At October 28, 2007 at 8:44:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Interesting thoughts, Gandalin. I drive a Japanese mini-van :)

 

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