Head-covering over video?

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I’m in quarantine for COVID-19, and on zoom video conferences from home a lot. Do I need to have my head covered?

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Asked on March 21, 2020 11:00 pm
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Private answer

This question both has personal aspects and touches on community norms. Questions like these are often best addressed through discussion with an authority with knowledge of the questioner and her community. Our response is intended as a preliminary discussion of the issues.

This is a question in which the letter and spirit of Halacha may seem to be in tension. On a technical halachic level, meeting someone over the internet is not the same as seeing them in person, and that creates grounds for leniency with head-covering for video conferences. Also, head-covering practice at home can be different from outside the home. (For more on the whys and wheres of head-covering, see here.)

That leaves us with a question of tzeniut, which can be subjective and context-dependent. Relevant factors include the gender and number of participants in the meeting, the level of formality, the setting, religious intuition, and community norms.

In our society, many of us experience encounters over the internet as fully realized real-life encounters, (even if we don’t, the people we conference with might), and from our homes we can reach many other places. Therefore, if you would cover your hair for a real meeting, there is good reason to cover it for a virtual meeting.

See more Q&A here.

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Answered on March 21, 2020 11:01 pm