OU Kosher Rabbis Hail Groundbreaking New Technology

February 24, 2014
Leading rabbis from the Orthodox Union Kashrut Division enthusiastically endorsed revolutionary new technology by Zman Technologies to enhance Sabbath observance. The rabbis, including Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, posek (halachic advisor) to OU Kosher, Rabbi Menachem Genack, Chief Executive Officer of OU Kosher, and Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Chief Operations Officer of OU Kosher, were joined by Rabbi Menachem M. Weissmandl, Nitra Rav of Monsey, NY, and Rabbi Tzvi Ortner, rabbinic advisor to Zman Technologies, at OU headquarters. The meeting also included representatives from the electrical and appliance industries as well as marketing experts.
The rabbis received a firsthand demonstration of the new Zman Switch, the first of many new and innovative technological products that will dramatically enhance the observance of Shabbat. Joel and William Thea, owners of Zman Technologies, presented the new development that will ultimately guide the use of electricity on Shabbat. The rabbis enthusiastically welcomed the initiative, indicating that the technology would solve many age-old problems that could not be addressed to date.
Zman Switch is the first of many new technological products that the company is developing to help observant Jews conform to the highest standards of halacha regarding Sabbath and Yom Tov observance.  Some of the rabbis are already using the trailblazing technology in their homes. It is scheduled to be available to the broader market in the near future.
Zman Switch is built with a fool-proof, patented program, approved by rabbis and tested by experts. The switch, which also serves as a regular timer during the week, replaces most regular light switches and can be installed in minutes.  After the Sabbath observer uses the advanced LED screen to select one of the many Jewish communities throughout the country that are preprogrammed into the device, the switch automatically configures to the start of Shabbat in that location and allows the user to preset the desired time for when the light should turn on each week (e.g. 20 minutes before candle-lighting time). The user can also preset the switch to go on and off during Shabbat at preset times, eliminating the needed for the common weekly adjustments. The Shabbat and Yom Tov times in each location are already programmed in the device until the year 2050.
The feature that most intrigued the rabbis was that once the timer is in Shabbat mode, it cannot be switched on or off (save for an emergency bypass for first responders such as Hatzalah), eliminating the need for tape, velcro, and guards to protect against accidentally triggering the switch. Many households have experienced sitting in the dark as a result of inadvertently turning off lights on Shabbat. The rabbis were intrigued by the cutting-edge technology which will ultimately enhance Sabbath and Yom Tov observance and eliminate some of the complex problems that are inherent in current modes of use of electricity.

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