Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cell phones, like pork & shellfish, are unkosher

There are ultra-orthodox in Israel now using kosher cell phones, which are extraordinary inasmuch as they do what phones were originally intended to do -- make and receive calls. Users can’t take a break from studying or praying to ring up for phone sex and dates, take photos, text message and connect to the Internet. The phone, unlike the I-Phone, has no catchy name, but I'm guessing in contention is the OU-Phone or K-Phone (using the widely recognized symbols for kosher) or the Oy-Phone.

More than 10,000 numbers for forbidden sites have been blocked by rabbinical overseers, who keep the list current. You have to wonder who gets that job. Rates promote observance by charging less for calls to other kosher phones. On Sabbath, when talking on the phone is a lo-lo (“no-no” in Hebrew), calls are pricier, a levy for Levys. A surprising omission from the equation is the free calls to Jewish mothers.

They're planning to introduce the kosher mobile to Jewish communities elsewhere. The phones will, like all technology, surely be modified and upgraded. I suspect Manischewitz, Carmel and Mogen David are looking into incorporating a breathalyzer test to check for the consumption of unkosher wines, which would then make the current model obsolete, “so 5768”.