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

Published Winter 2012

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 eruvim, which were submitted. 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, led the political battle which got it approved, and oversaw its installation. Rabbi Feldman also helps check it and often fixes it when it is broken. Rav Heinemann helped with the planning of the Palo Alto eruv, but its ultimate Rav HaMachshir is R’ Elchonan Tauber of Los Angeles.

“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. Yaasher 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. Although he is not actively involved in any Eruv work at the moment on a regular basis, he was heavily involved with the Valley Eruv, responsible for checking, repairing, overseeing repairs and ‘upgrades’ recommended by Rav Heinemann after he inspected it. When the Feiglins return to Los Angeles for a visit, Mr. Feiglin still helps out with the Eruv when he can.

“I found the Eruv-inar very informative, and gained much practical knowledge from the shailos 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 shailos 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, Sabbath Mode appliances, as well as a wide range of discussions of the latest Kosher issues. 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. We were able to show the wires and fences up close and delineate exactly where the problem was, almost as if the participants were on a tour of actual eruvin with Rav Heinemann. We plan to continue this series and expand to other areas, such as questions that arise during mikvah construction and maintenance. 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.”

To be alerted to STAR-K webinars, see a replay of the eruvi-nar when it is posted, or receive other STAR-K information, sign up for STAR-K alerts here.