According to the latest demographic information, nearly 1 million of the 5.3 million Jews who live in the U.S. observe the Jewish Sabbath. An additional 2 million Jews around the world also observe Shabbos, including those in Israel, Europe, South America, and Australia. Despite the large number of observant households, appliance purchases can be difficult to ensure a stress-free experience.
GE Appliances and ZMAN Technologies are working together to change that. The two companies recently collaborated to bring the first 100 percent Shabbos-compliant refrigerator solution to market. Endorsed by the Orthodox Union (OU), Central Rabbinical Congress (CRC) and Halachic Tech USA, the Shabbos Keeper is a pocket-sized device that connects to a refrigerator through a data port that automatically puts the appliance into Shabbos Mode each week based on the Jewish calendar.
According to Rabbi Tzvi Ortner, advisor to the Orthodox Union and head of Halachic Tech USA, the most important aspect of the Shabbos Keeper is what the eye can’t see.
“Most people are not aware that running along inside the refrigerator walls is a heating coil that turns red hot. The auto-defrost is activated by computers reading your refrigerator usage. So, you can have a potential situation where a Shabbos-observing person is turning on a hot coil, similar to an oven, on Shabbos,” Rabbi Ortner said. “The Shabbos Keeper goes above and beyond anything else that’s available to cover all electric components for a truly stress-free experience.”
The Shabbos Keeper is simple to set up on more than 100 GE Appliances French-Door refrigerator models. Once activated, it is programmed to 2050 to automatically go into Enhanced Shabbos Mode 90 minutes before Shabbos and then convert back to weekday mode after. Interior lighting stays lit during Shabbos and automatically deactivates door switches, sensors, internal computers, touch screens, water dispensers and ice makers.
According to GE Appliances and ZMAN Technologies, the Shabbos Keeper is just the beginning. They are continuing their collaboration to make it available on more refrigerator models, as well as seeking opportunities to create other Shabbos-compliant appliance solutions.
“Observant Jewish households have been limited in their choice of Shabbos Mode appliances—until now,” said Kevin Nolan, president and CEO of GE Appliances. “Nothing of this magnitude has ever been done for the Jewish community by any appliance manufacturer, and we are proud to be the frontrunner. We look forward to a continued collaboration to provide a much wider selection of compatible refrigerators and potentially other types of appliances.”
The Shabbos Keeper is currently compatible with more than 100 GE Appliances refrigerator models with more to be added in the future. It is currently available through GE Appliances dealers and online at GEApplianceParts.com or ZMANtechnologies.com.