Orthodox Jewish Rabbi: Don’t Use Amazon Echo While Observing Shabbat or You’ll Upset God

There are questions about religion that we’ll still be debating for centuries to come, and there are questions about religion you didn’t even realize anyone had to ask.

This one falls in the latter group.

You may be aware that Orthodox and conservative Jews who honor Shabbat refrain from doing any work during a stretch of time from Friday night to Saturday night. (It’s the day of rest, after all.) This has led to a number of silly work-arounds since, you know, human people may need to turn on a light switch.

But what about Amazon Echo? That’s the voice-activated device that responds to the name “Alexa” that lets you play music, set a timer, or order certain goods from the website — all without lifting a finger.

If you’re an Orthodox Jew, are you allowed to use the product on a Saturday morning when you’re observing Shabbat?


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Mississippi Billboard Takes Aim at Christian Hypocrisy in State’s New Anti-LGBT Law

Planting Peace, the organization responsible for the rainbow-colored house across the street from Westboro Baptist Church, has put up this billboard in Mississippi in response to the state’s new anti-gay legislation:


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Idaho’s Republican Governor Vetoes Bible-in-Classroom Bill, Calling It Unconstitutional

A couple of months ago, we learned about an Idaho bill that would allow teachers to use the Bible in their classrooms when they felt it would enhance the lesson. Even though that was already legal, this legislation specifically said the Bible could be used in astronomy, biology, geology, world geography, and archaeology classes… which raised the question of why the hell that would ever happen.

After a lot of public outcry, the science classes were stricken from the bill, but it still didn’t make much sense. It’s not like there was a need to bring up the Bible in world geography or archaeology, after all. Comparative religion or English literature? Maybe. But nothing that dealt with facts or evidence.

In March, S1342a passed in the Senate on a 31-3 vote and the House on a 54-15 vote.

With only Republican Governor Butch Otter standing in the way of the bill becoming a law, it seemed like a foregone conclusion.


That’s why it came as a bit of a shock yesterday when Otter vetoed the bill:

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Televangelist Jim Bakker Believes the Government Will Arrest Him for Preaching Christianity

It’s amazing how Ted Cruz can claim Christians are being persecuted in the U.S. when he’s ridiculously close to winning the presidency.

Televangelist Jim Bakker is no different. On his show last week, he explained to the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin that Christians are under attack so badly, that he’s practically waiting for the government to arrest him.


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Swiss People Are Furious That Two Muslims Boys Won’t Have to Shake Their Female Teachers’ Hands

There’s a delightful tradition in Switzerland in which students shake hands with their teachers before and after class — it’s a sign of respect, not to mention a way to calm everyone down before the lessons start. But a school in the Basel-Country canton is now at the center of controversy because of how administrators dealt with two Muslim students who didn’t want to participate in the tradition.

The reason? Their religion prevents them from touching women who aren’t in their family.


The problem is that school officials seemed to be okay with this, making an accommodation for the boys:

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