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Kosher Cellphones Help Haredi Jews Out of Tech Pickle

Some may not be able to live without the conveniences of smartphones, but Israel's traditional Haredi Jewish community is struggling to incorporate modern communication technologies into their lives while maintaining its doctrine.

Haredi Jews are typically forbidden from watching television and films and using the Internet for nonbusiness purposes. They have adapted the modern cellphone to their lifestyles by creating a "kosher cellphone" that looks like an ordinary phone, but only features basic functions (you know, good old-fashioned making and receiving calls, a calculator, and an alarm clock). The special phones cannot send or receive text messages, browse the Internet, or take photos — as all those features could potentially promote "immodest" behavior.

The phones have a Rabbi's stamp of approval that looks like the one you see on kosher food items. Some can only connect with other Haredi numbers and may come with distinct code prefixes that indicate to others that they are kosher, and are therefore a sign of religious observance.

Join The Conversation
Choco-cat Choco-cat 8 years
I want this phone! I would so like to own a cell phone that is just a phone, and you can't get them anymore!!
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
*of Halacha, not "on"
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Hmmmmm. This is an interesting new circumvention (maybe?) on Halacha. I'll have to ask the rabbi for whom I work what he thinks. :ponder: But they still can't use it on Shabbat and other holy days!
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
That is actually a very smart idea.
Jane26 Jane26 8 years
This would be a great phone for those of us out there who just want a plain ol' phone these days. too.
LilGlamDiva LilGlamDiva 8 years
Wow, that's really interesting. Not sure I understand it completely... but it is great they're looking for ways to still have the technology!
thejenster14 thejenster14 8 years
To be honest, I know Haredim with Blackberries, so in this case the Haredim of Israel are behind or you are behind in publicizing. I think that really what they say when they mean Kosher is the idea that it will not prevent them from the study of torah or from immoral acts. I definitely think that it is something very esoteric to Judaism and hard to understand by those who are not Jewish. I understand why they do it, and I think it's perfectly okay. For some, though, it may seem ridiculous. But no harm in saying how you feel. I think it's hard to identify with what this idea and concept of Judaism means.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 8 years
to each his own if it caters to their needs then why not it doesnt affect me one way or another
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Cool like a Jitterbug!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
ladychaos: sheesh, i cant speak for nyara, but if you've read any of my other comments i think you'd know that i don't discriminate against anyone but idiots. i'm not going to bother explaining myself because i'm sure you'd just think it was offensive.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
ladychaos what is intolerant about what i said??? Did I say i hated this religion, or my religion was better, or they would rot in hell or anything inflammatory, did i encourage any ill will to the jewish religion. I am Catholic yet i will point out that conraception, going to mass, or receibing communion weekly will most probably not be the basis to get in heaven. Before you get your panties into a bunch learn the difference between intolerance and a general comment on religions. I'm actually really surprised that my comment would be viewed as an insult to that particular section of jewish religion when i have seen much worse on pop.
ladychaos ladychaos 8 years
yesteryear and nyaradzom2001...have you ever heard of being tolerant of other's religious observations? Just like there are still Catholics out there that spend more time in confessionals for small sins, just like you may have your reserves about doing things, whether religious or not, you seriously don't have the right to judge someone based off of their values, virtues, and observations. Its just rude.
zeze zeze 8 years
Umm...why text messages? You can speak immodest things just as you can text them.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
I doubt that on judge ment the Lord will base his judgement on what technology you used or waht food you ate, or what you drank. People really need to let go
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
what a wonderful idea.
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