[Rabbi Jeffrey] Fox believes that e-readers – like other electrical appliances that don’t generate light and heat – are technically permissible on the Sabbath but should not be used because they are a step away from forbidden activity and because, in epitomizing our weekday existence, aren’t appropriate for the Sabbath.
Rabbi Daniel Nevins, dean of the rabbinical school at the Conservative Movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary, says that even if an e-reader is invented that adheres to Jewish law, he worries such a device could undermine the Sabbath’s values.
‘The Torah says you shouldn’t leave your place on the seventh day,’ Nevins explains. ‘You can say Judaism is creating a local ideal that you experience Shabbat in a place with people and don’t go out of those boundaries … The problem with virtual experiences is they distract our attention from our local environment and break all boundaries of space and time. Shabbat is about reinforcing boundaries of space and time so we can have a specific experience.’