Rabbi Tzvi Ortner

Rabbi Tzvi Ortner, the OU’s first director of Jewish law and technology. Joining the organization in 2017, Rabbi Ortner leads the effort to make smart kitchens entirely Jewish holiday and sabbath observance friendly. Opening a refrigerator door turns on a light. Switching on electricity is not allowed on the sabbath so Sabbath observers unscrew the bulb.  However, on new more sophisticated appliances, opening the door can turn on hidden computers, sensors and motors.  Rabbi Ortner’s job is to find technological solutions to the new challenges created by today’s smart kitchens.   

Born in Lod, Israel, where his father served as the city’s chief rabbi, Rabbi Ortner moved to the US after marrying his wife Rivky.