Orthodox Jewish commencement speaker finds a Shabbat workaround

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Don Greenberg, student speaker for Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences commencement and an Orthodox Jew, pre-records his commencement speech with help from video producer Andrew Hatling. Greenbergs' recorded speech will be played during the Watson ceremony which falls on Saturday, May 16, 2015, the Sabbath, which Orthodox Jews do not use electronic devices such as a microphone, so that he can observe the holy day. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cohen/Binghamton University

Don Greenberg, student speaker for Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences commencement and an Orthodox Jew, pre-records his commencement speech with help from video producer Andrew Hatling. Greenbergs' recorded speech will be played during the Watson ceremony which falls on Saturday, May 16, 2015, the Sabbath, which Orthodox Jews do not use electronic devices such as a microphone, so that he can observe the holy day. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cohen/Binghamton University

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(RNS) A university found a way for an Orthodox Jewish student to speak at a Saturday commencement, despite the restrictions of Shabbat.

  • Barry the Baptist

    I don’t know whether to join others in congratulating him on his ingenuity or criticize them for applauding his escape from a trap of his own making.

    I think I’m just going to chuckle, instead.

  • Mildred

    Wow…I didn’t know religious beliefs were a trap.

  • Susan

    This is a great opportunity for young graduates to learn a valuable lesson as they move into the business world, regardless of the specific path they choose. We live in a diverse society and it is imperative that we respect one another and try our best to accommodate the special needs of our neighbors and colleagues, whether they are physical, religious or otherwise. Kudos to Binghamton University for sending the right message and congratulations to Mr. Greenberg on his achievement!

  • Looks like @Barry the Baptist is an antisemite, seeing a Jewish young man, loyal to his heritage and religious beliefs, as some sneaky, deceived person who has escaped from the trap of his own history and people. Keep laughing Barry.

  • Lee Heft

    Mazol Tov!

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  • Rita-Rivka Lewy

    YASHAR KOCHACHA and Mazal tov!!! You embraced the right Torah values, inspired others to choose the higher road in their future without being apologists, offered Binghamton the opportunity to show enlightened and inclusive support, and showed our fellow Jews that some things are more important and timeless than the lure of public acclaim. This is much deeper.
    I am sure you are familiar with Achad Ha’am’s profound statement that ‘more than the Jews have kept Shabbes, Shabbes has kept the Jews’. As a KG teacher of long standing in SAR Academy, and one who made the journey to discover the beauty of Shabbes in my own life B”H, it is always my heartfelt prayer that our precious children will keep the light of Torah burning brightly in their neshama, and not be blinded by the bright lights and beguiling sounds of Western life.
    May you continue on this path always true to whowhom (?) you are!
    Kol tuv and shefa brachot tovot – (Morah) Rita-Rivka Lewy (Gan Gimel, SAR)
    .

  • Celestial Torah

    When rabbis don’t know where the origin of the word “Torah” comes from how in the world can they teach us Jews about Shabbat, even where that word came from? Hebrew is the origin of these religious concepts borrowed from Egypt and Kingdom of Sheba without attribution or understanding as ancient Judah made up its own ideas about why Saturn’s Day was important. And like the earthly Torah, they got it all wrong because of failure to include the past foundations of these religious ideas meant for everyone, not just us Jews.

  • Celestial Torah

    I mean Jews are in hot water when this Jew cannot post his opinions on RNS because RNS protects rabbis from criticism, even from Jews themselves. You do know RNS censors comments rabbis don’t want anyone to see, e.g. how they don’t know where Torah originates and have to play dirty to block anyone finding out. It’s telling that rabbis along with televangelists and Catholic priests hit the news as criminals more so than any other religious groups. Fear of truth is the sign of moral decay. The Celestial Torah is now recovered for Jews and Gentiles btw, and Judaism’s earthly torah is no longer appropriate for Jewish religious beliefs.

  • Garson Abuita

    Stephen Lewis, once again you’re peddling your nonsense that I’ve debunked ad nauseum. Every rabbi can tell you that Torah comes from Hebrew for teaching. Your theory that it comes from the Egyptian deity “Taurowet” is nonsense because there was no such deity. There was a hippo goddess named Taweret. You switched the phonics to make it seem closer to Torah. You’re a fraud, plain and simple. No one should listen to a thing you say. That includes your latest offering, that Shabbat comes from Saturn’s Day or from Egyptian polytheism. Real scholars – the kind that don’t spend their time in Ojai getting high with their aging hippie friends – left such speculation behind years ago.