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Rabbis approve online Seder to include isolated elderly family members

Ruling comes out of concern for emotional state of elderly people who have been cut off from families outside world; call app must be turned on before holiday begins

Kobi Nachshoni |
Published: 03.25.20 , 18:55
Several community and city rabbis have signed a decree on Wednesday allowing the use of online applications to share the Seder dinner on Passover with quarantined and isolated family members.
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  • The decree allows many of the congregations' elderly members who are isolated from their family because of the coronavirus pandemic to celebrate the holiday with their families, if only in a virtual manner.
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    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    The groundbreaking ruling was made for a congregation of predominately of Moroccan origin and after a philanthropist inquired about the use of a computer during the Passover week as he was planning to donate some for elderly people who are now isolated from their families.
    The ruling is conditioned on the app being turned on before sundown when the holiday begins and comes with a strict warning that the decree is valid for the current emergency and should not be mistaken as a free pass for any other time.
    The rabbis wrote in their ruling that they are concerned about the emotional well-being of elder people who have been cut off from the outside world.
    "We hope to ensure they have a will to live and fight off disease," they said.
    The ruling raised objections from other religious leaders who said that the use of the technology should only be reserved for life-threatening situations.
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