Nov 14, 2016

The call to prayer and the call to Shabbos

Yesterday the Ministerial Legislative Committee passed a law proposal (which will now go to the Knesset for voting) that would prohibit places of worship from blasting their prayers over PA systems for the entire surrounding areas to hear. The law was proposed by MK Moti Yogev of Habayit Hayehudi.

The Muslims felt targeted, as the mosques famously use the call to prayer fro the muezzin. This is a sore spot for many, as in the hills of Israel that sound at various hours in the night and morning echo through the valleys and disturb many a sleeping person.

Due to the law of unintended consequences, this is now going to become a fight among Jews as well.

A complaint has already been filed in Arad, a town with tense conflict between the growing Haredi community and the pre-existing secular community, over the "Shabbos sirens" that blare through the town prior to the onset of Shabbos and holidays.

The woman complaining says she went to the police with her complaint when she first heard the siren, but they did nothing. At some point the siren was stopped for a while, but eventually, after about half a year, started up again. She claims the volume of it has gotten louder and half the city can hear it and is disturbed by it.
source: Kikar

While this very well might not be regulated by the same law, if it is blared from the top of private houses rather than from a synagogue, it could boomerang. In places with Arabs looking for revenge for the law stopping their mosques from blaring the call to prayer, or where the secular don't get along too well with the religious, complaints might increase against such sirens, and maybe even force them off.

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  1. And so what if Shabbat Sirens are lowered in volume? Before the onset of Shabbat Sirens every family noted the time on a calendar & began Shabbat at its destined time.

  2. siren's are a tradition, ostensibly going back to the blowing of the shofar as described in the mishna and gemora.
    The sound and length of sound could certainly be trimmed to be less of a public inconvenience.
    I personally would be most glad if this was used to stop the aweful spine tingling funeral dirges played on erev shabbos


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