By Tamar Satov
Advice on tax planning or charitable giving is typical territory for a CA, but when it's doled out by Toronto CA Rabbi Jay Kelman, there's a definite twist. As a founding director of Torah in Motion, an organization offering Jewish adult education programs, Kelman shares his views on business from a faith perspective.
His columns, which are posted on Torah in Motion's website and published monthly in the Canadian Jewish News , address issues including Enron ethics and the whistle-blower, suing for bad advice, taking personal responsibility and ethical investing. The content draws both on Kelman's knowledge of Jewish law as an Orthodox rabbi and on his experience as a CA. "My whole interest in business ethics is connected to my work as an accountant," says Kelman, 45, who also teaches western and Jewish ethics at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, the largest Jewish high school in North America. "The profession plays a crucial role in ethics - it's the watchdog and the one advising people."
Kelman's CA career included a number of years at small and mid-sized accounting firms in Toronto and a two-year part-time stint in the international tax department at Arthur Andersen while he was working as associate rabbi at Toronto's Beth Jacob synagogue. His CA work eventually took a back seat when he became the synagogue's rabbi in 2000.
Kelman left the synagogue last year to spend more time handling the programming for Torah in Motion, which he cofounded in 2002. The organization offers lectures and seminars on such hot topics as science and traditional Jewish teaching, cloning and biotechnology, and physical and spiritual healing. His work with TiM also earned him an award in 2004 for rabbinic leadership from the United Jewish Communities, which represents 155 Jewish federations and 400 Jewish communities in North America. "The subjects we pick are ones not too many people are looking at - we focus on larger issues that are controversial," he says. What's the next project for Kelman? He'd like to create a business ethics institute. "The foundation of Jewish life is treating everybody fairly," he says. "If you're not honest, nothing else counts."
Reproduced with permission from CAmagazine , published by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, Toronto .
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