Why Sephardi and Mizrahi Approaches to Jewish Law Were Friendlier to the Zoom Seder

Lenient rulings in response to new situations are not necessary if unfortunate accommodations, they are instead a testament to the strength and durability of Judaism.

An Israeli family at an online seder on April 8, 2020. Nati Shohat/Flash90.

An Israeli family at an online seder on April 8, 2020. Nati Shohat/Flash90.

Response
May 18 2020
About the author

Rabbi Daniel Bouskila is the director of the Sephardic Educational Center in Jerusalem and Los Angeles and the rabbi of the Westwood Village Synagogue.


As a member of the Association of Scholars of the Maghreb in the Land of Israel, which issued the now-famous Zoom-seder ruling, I am very grateful to Chaim Saiman for devoting his scholarly attentions to it, and for his careful analysis. In my response, I would like to focus my attention on the distinctively Sephardi and North African methods of legal decision-making that lay behind the ruling. In doing so, I not only wish to offer a better understanding of the mindset behind it, but also to provide a window into a philosophy of halakhah (Jewish law) that is different from the conventional Ashkenazi conceptions that inform Saiman’s essay.

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More about: Halakhah, Passover, Religion & Holidays, Seder, Sephardim, Zoom Seder