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High Tech and Halacha

High Tech and Halacha Meet at STAR-Ks First-Ever Interactive Eruv-inar
by Margie Pensak

On Wednesday, September 7, at 8 p.m. EST, STAR-K made history by hosting the world's first Eruv-inar. The inaugural long distance interactive presentation allowed participants from around the globe to experience a live workshop highlighting eruv shaylos through the use of pictures of eruvin. STAR-K’s Rabbinic Administrator, Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlit”a, has always been on the cutting edge of the juxtaposition of advanced technology and halacha; the Eruv-inar featured Rav Heinemann discussing hilchos eruv.

The Eruv-inar enabled seventy-five eruv checkers and rabbonim hamachshirim from Providence, Rhode Island to Mercer Island, Washington, and from Alpharetta, Georgia to Ottawa, Canada, to review Hilchos Eruv and pose their eruv shaylos, gratis, with no strings attached! Rabbi Yitzchok Feldman, the Rav of Congregation Emek Beracha, in Palo Alto, California, planned his community’s eruv with Rav Heinemann’s help, checks it, and fixes it when it is broken.

“STAR-K’s Eruv-inar was a good use of the medium to convey pertinent halachic information,” feels Rabbi Feldman, who participated in the Eruv-inar.  “The pictures made it very hands-on.  One of the special things about Rav Heinemann is that he is so deft at applying the constructs of halacha to real life situations.  This gave so many the chance to see this in real time.”

Rabbi Eliezer Eidlitz is the Rav Hamachshir of the San Fernando Valley eruv, servicing over 100,000 Yidden.  A few months ago, his community flew in Rav Heinemann to go over a few issues and in general to look again at it.  “I had all of our eruv checkers, and myself, watch the Eruv-inar,” says Rabbi Eidlitz.  “It was very detailed and clear.  It also provided a great source for discussion of many of the halachos that we encounter here with fences, Tzuras Hapesach, and sound walls along the many freeways that we use.  Everyone who participated is eagerly waiting for more.  Yasher Koach!”

Just one of Rabbi Eidlitz’s San Fernando Valley eruv checkers, who participated in the Eruv-inar, is Yitzchak Feiglin, an avreich learning in Kollel in Yerushalayim who still helps out with the eruv when he visits Los Angeles. 

“I found the Eruv-inar very informative, and gained much practical knowledge from the shaylos that Rav Heinemann, shlit”a, discussed,” says Mr. Feiglin.  “It made me aware of concepts and issues that I had not previously seen.  In fact, the Valley eruv I had been involved in seemed incredibly simple compared to some of the intricate shaylos that were answered during the session.  The only drawback for me was that I had to get up at 3 a.m.  Israel time to participate in the shiur!  Regardless of that, I would be eager to participate in future sessions on eruvin and other topics in which the Rav, shlit”a, would be willing to hold shiurim.”

The Eruv-inar was just one in a series of webinars that STAR-K has been presenting monthly since 2006, on a wide-range of topics such as:  Buying Kosher Foods at Non-Kosher Stores; Schach Mats; Kosher Travel; Pesach; Women in the Kosher Kitchen; Raisins; Vegetable Checking; Liquor; Shechita; Fish Worms; Laws of Kiddush; Laws of Shaimos; Candy; Coffee; Shmittah; Pruzbal; and Sabbath Mode appliances. Currently, our library has 50 webinars.  Replays and signup info are available at www.kosherclasses.org.

“STAR-K has always invested a tremendous amount of its energy and resources into education, both in kashrus and other Torah areas,” says STAR-K Kashrus Administrator and educational program director, Rabbi Zvi Goldberg.  “This series of Eruv-inars is yet another area where we can benefit the Torah community, using modern technology to our advantage.  On a personal level, it is a great zechus and pleasure for me to work directly with Rav Heinemann, whose breadth of halachic knowledge on these and other topics is well-known.”

A recording of the Eruv-inar is available at www.star-k.com under Programs in the sidebar of the home page. To be notified of our regular monthly STAR-K webinars or receive other STAR-K information, sign up for STAR-K alerts at www.star-k.com.

Eruv checkers and rabbonim hamachshirim – The next Eruv-inar is scheduled for Wednesday May 2, 2012 at 8 pm ET. To register, email eruv@star-k.org  with your name, the capacity in which you serve your eruv, and the location. If you have a shayla regarding your eruv, please forward pictures of it (along with a note detailing the question) to the same address.

NEW!! Mikvah Webinar—Rav Heinemann will interactively address questions regarding mikvah construction and maintenance. Rabbonim and Mikvah overseers: register at mikvah@star-k.org, stating your name, location of the mikvah, and the capacity in which you serve it. The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, February 22 at 8 pm ET. If you have a shayla regarding your mikvah, please forward pictures of it.




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