People of the Book Become People of the Byte
By: Gad Nahshon
Want to know what Judaism says about artificial insemination, extra-terrestrial life, or cremation?
Ask the "Vebbe Rebbe," cyberspace's leading Jewish theologian. Residing on the homepage of the Orthodox Union (OU), the webscholar offers religious counsel 24-hours a day, 6 days a week (he doesn't work on Saturdays) to those engaged in a high-tech hunt for religious enlightenment.
"Advanced technology is changing the centuries-old way Jews have studied their religion. The people of the book are swiftly becoming the people of the byte," explained the virtual sage. Serving as an online spiritual guide to devout technophiles from Riyadh to Los Angeles, the cybersage answers hundreds of questions each week ranging from the legal (Is a swan kosher?) to the mystical (Can the dead be buried in a mausoleum?); from the mundane (How do I polish a pair of phylacteries?) to the esoteric (What is the Kabbalistic view of reincarnation?). Offering his services free of charge, the cyber-rabbi fields questions from hundreds of Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and unaffiliated Jews as well as Noahides, Christians and even curious secularists.
Beneath the virtual persona, the electronic sage is actually a group of media-shy scholars. He (they) can be reached at www.ou.org
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