Sinai Successes

Technology and Shabbat with Rabbi Judith Hauptman

Rabbi Hauptman is the E. Billi Ivry Professor Emerita of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She received her Ph. D in Talmudic Studies from JTS in 1982. The evening program on January 28 was an informative and meaningful dialogue between Rabbi Hauptman and Rabbi Wolpe.

• The program discussed who and how new laws were made dealing with Shabbat and holiday observances and the use of technology during the Covid-19 pandemic.
• Rabbi Hauptman explained that the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards was made-up of twenty-five Rabbis from around the country.
• Rabbi Hauptman discussed the process of the committee. The committee will look at questions of halacha and a member will be assigned to conduct the research using traditional Jewish sources including Talmud, Shulchan Aruch, and other legal documents. A position paper is then prepared and submitted to the committee for review and dialogue prior to any decisions.
• Rabbi Hauptman pointed out that the Rabbi of the synagogue will make decisions for the community as she explained that she did for her community.
• Rabbi Hauptman discussed the current topic that she was researching and the process that is involved.
• Rabbi Hauptman suggested that perhaps in the future, Zoom and online services and outreach should continue in conjunction with in-person services to allow for more participation.
• In regard to using technology once in-person services begin, Rabbi Hauptman suggested that the congregation should have standards for services and that becomes a matter of manners and respect for the congregation.
• Rabbi Hauptman said that she feels that the lessons learned from zoom are important and should be looked at and used to reach people in our community who are far or who cannot attend in person.

Thank you to Rosa Berman Ruder, Faith Gershbock, and Mehrzad Roshan for contributing.

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