Halakhah

Technology vs. Shabbat: An Interview with Rabbi Daniel Nevins

E-books became the dominant format for adult fiction in 2011 surpassing hardcover books and paperbacks according to the BookStats annual survey. We are increasingly choosing to read our novels, magazine, newspapers and even children’s books on e-readers and tablets. But is it permissible to do this on the one day of the week that Judaism commands us to unplug?

Rabbi Daniel Nevins answers questions concerning the use of technology on Shabbat.

Just Thinking About Driving on Shabbat

Previously on the "Jewish Techs" blog, I discussed the technical halachic (Jewish legal) minutae surrounding the permissability of using the Amigo Shabbat Scooter from the Israeli-based Zomet Institute. The Shabbat Scooter is made by Michigan-based Amigo, founded by Allan Thieme, which began making the Jewish Sabbath-approved scooters six years ago.

Will rabbis allow a vehicle controlled by the mind to be used on the Jewish Sabbath?

Artscroll Goes Digital

 Last week on the Jewish Techs blog I wrote about the Shabbat implications of e-readers from a Halachik (Jewish legal) perspective. Now Artscroll, one of the largest publishing houses of Orthodox books including holy texts, has announced it will begin digitizing its collection. Of course, those issues concerning Shabbat and holiday use will come into play for the majority of Artscroll's readership.

When Technology & Shabbat Collide, Give the Benefit of the Doubt

This past Sunday, the president of New York University issued a mass e-mail apology to students and staff. The day after Yom Kippur might sound like a sensible day for issuing apologies, but the question is whether John Sexton actually needed to make a Mea Culpa.

The Virtual Minyan Revisited

It was 1998 and I was in my first semester of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. My Talmud professor, Rabbi Avram Israel Reisner, approached me after class one day to discuss a project he was working on. As a member of the Conservative Movement's Law Committee, he was examining the acceptability of a virtual minyan (prayer quorum).

Can Virtual Prayer Communities Work?

The Shabbat Scooter

The other day I received a call from a reporter at the Detroit News. She was just about to submit a story about a motorized scooter that can be used by observant Jews on Shabbat, but she wanted a local rabbi's comments first. It was fortuitous that she contacted me since I am already familiar with the Israeli-based Zomet Institute, which partnered with the scooter company, but I have also seen this Sabbath-acceptable scooter in action since I know Michael Balkin, who owns one of these scooters and was interviewed for the article.

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