JUDAISM 101: Why is This US police force getting lesson in Shabbat observance?

In two hours, officers learned about common situations that might arise with Shabbat-related interactions.


Rabbi Yossi Greenberg, director of Chabad at Miami University in Ohio, said of his 25 police pupils that “when they interact with the Jewish community, they should understand a basic level of knowledge.”

Earlier this month, alongside police chaplain Mendy Kalmanson, Greenberg taught a course to Ohio’s Oxford Police Department and the Miami University Police Department about the core teachings of Judaism. Instruction also included potential police interactions related to Jewish Sabbath observance, which starts at sundown on Fridays and ends after sundown on Saturdays. That’s when many synagogues hold services and other programs for individuals and families.

“Conversation flowed about what to look out for and how to be the best resource for the Jewish residents and students,” Greenberg said of the class.

Greenberg had previously consulted with the Oxford police when they had questions on Judaism and proposed a course in 2022 in response to rising antisemitism.

One officer, Lt. Lara Fening said of the rabbi: “He understands that we don’t know, and he’s very accommodating to our questions.”

As a takeaway from the session, Fening described learning that she “could see situations on the Sabbath where they [Jews] would have limitations or restrictions.”