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Rabbi Testifies in Senate Hearings on Privacy Under Jewish Law

Rabbi Norman Lamm of New York told a Senate subcommittee hearing on privacy that Jewish religious law considers non-physical intrusion “the equivalent of physical trespass” and that “the spirit of Jewish Law rejects the idea of a national data bank.”

Rabbi Lamm, a member of the Jewish Law Commission of the Rabbinical Council of America, testified before the Senate subcommittee headed by Sen. Edward Long of Missouri which is conducting hearings on threats to the privacy of Americans.

He also told the Senators that Jewish Law does not consider the right to privacy as absolute, holding that some rights would be automatically suspended in situations of grave threats to national security. However, he added, privacy in Jewish Law “is more than a legal right; there is also a moral duty for man to protect his own privacy.”

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