Zoom Seders: “In bold ruling, some Israeli religious authorities say use of technology permissible because it allows families to celebrate together during time of crisis”

14 Sephardic Orthodox rabbis say Passover Seder can be held via videoconference
by Nathan Jeffay
March 25, 2020

In what may be one of the boldest rulings issued on technology in recent years, several Sephardic Orthodox rabbis in Israel have declared that families may conduct their shared Seder over videoconference. While Orthodox religious law normally bans the use of electronic devices on Shabbat and festivals, the ruling, signed by 14 rabbis, permits the use of software to connect the elderly to their families on the first night of Passover. The written ruling (Hebrew) comes as leaders are warning the elderly not to heighten their chance of coronavirus infection by meeting with young relatives — and as Israeli families are discussing the pain this separation causes them. READ MORE

TABLET MAG The Resilience of Rituals Despite the stilted nature of [a shiva] gathering like this over Zoom, I was amazed that we all knew what to do. Without any clear set of rules, we understood that the mourner was not to play hostess. During the lulls in conversation, it was not her responsibility to fill the silence or entertain. Someone else would open up conversation with a prompt, “Let’s share some stories [about the deceased].” 

TIMES OF ISRAEL Israel’s chief rabbis say Passover Seder can’t be held via video-conference David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef dismiss previous ruling that green-lighted tech option, while two rabbis behind it stick to their guns

JTA You’ve probably forgotten how good ‘The Prince of Egypt’ is. Well, now it’s on Hulu. While it may not be the perfect animated movie, “The Prince of Egypt” is about as good as an hour and 40 minute encapsulation of the Passover story can conceivably get. It tells the story in full, from Moses being sent down the Nile River to Pharaoh’s palace, to his realization that he is not a prince of Egypt but a Hebrew, to his eventual parting of the Red Sea, to his leading his people from charging Egyptian soldiers to freedom in the desert. 

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