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Jan 15, 2008

upping the ante

Kosher cell phones.

A recent study analyzing the penetration of kosher cell phones into the market found that among the Haredi consumer, they had achieved 60% penetration. I am not sure on the source of the numbers (how did they calculate the number of households and people considered Haredi for this study?), but they claim that 60% of Haredi people with cellphones have switched and are using the kosher cell phone rather than the regular phone.

To remind you, "kosher cell phone" is a type of phone that has every feature aside from regular phone calls disabled. There is no internet access, no emails, no sms, no camera, etc. Nothing but talk.

It seems that the success of the Haredi pressure to transferring to a kosher cell phone has encouraged them. They see the success and have now set their sites on increasing the percentage.

The Yated Ne'eman recently reported that an order has come from Rav Elyashiv to school administrators that schools in the Haredi school system should no longer accept any child whose parents use the regular cell phone and refuse to switch to the kosher model. By not switching to the kosher cell phone, "they have removed themselves from the Haredi society that has united in trying to abolish this plague [of regular cell phones]", and that should prevent them from joining our schools. Upon registration of children to schools, parents should be made to sign agreements that they do not use regular cell phones.


  1. I don't understand how the haredi community can be Poresh Me'Hatzibur? This is the total opposite of the kiruv movement. Instead of bringing people into the fold, they are pushing them out.

    This works well if your goal is a small tight society, but what about all those other jews who you could affect in positive way to increase their knowledge, faith and observance?

    The more I learn about haredi society, the less I like. I believe in trying to reach out to all segments of the population. They are still Bnei Yisrael even if they are Amay Haaretz, Kal Vchomer if they are actually shomer shabbat.
    Weekend Hospitality

  2. Elliot - "Poreish min hatzibur is a matter of perspective. They will say that because they are "torah true" they are the only tzibbur that counts, so they are not poreish from anything..

    Think of it like this. You have someone who is a trendsetter. He puts on a new tie that is nothing like the current styles. People see him and they start wearing that tie... Very quickly it becomes popular and everyone is wearing it, despite the fact that it is ugly.

    They say, we do not follow others, rather we are the trendsetters. It does not matter that the trend being set is backwards (from our perspective), but they are saying we do not follow others, but others follow us.

  3. Interesting.

    I understand why there have instituted these phones but my first reaction when my brother told me about them (he had to get one because that's one of the rules at his yeshiva) was that it was a complete rip-off because you can't have all the other useful feature. And also because it's often easier for us to send sms than have to make an overseas phone call.

    How many conditions (eg: kosher phone, no tv, internet etc) do such schools have for children to go there?

  4. how many rules? don't know. But remember that all the old ones are really givens now. Like No TV. That is not even included because it is such an old one and was so successful there is "no need" for it to be included anymore...

    anyway, there are too many to remember. Don't forget about the ones such as not to have extracurricular activities in groups with kids from other schools....

    "complete rip-off" is the wrong term. It would be a rip off if you bought the phone expecting sms and found no sms. Anybody buying these phones knows there is no sms on it. So finding otu afterwards that there is no sms does not make it a rip off.

  5. I have no problem with anyone saying that they require such and such a stricture for their constituents. Go ahead and require all women to cover their faces and leave only their eyes visible. If that is what the community wants, then have a good day.

    The problem is how to accept or deny affiliation with your group.

    The Haredi school systems are meant to educate only those who follow the strict observance. This means that anyone who does not observe according to these standards cannot learn the standards and hence cannot join the group. Its a catch-22. I have heard of schools that do not allow baalay tshuva to attend because their extended family will bring bad attitudes. Now we extend this to making sure that parents will not use SMS. Doesn't this drive people away?

  6. that's right. it is a bit of a catch22. Anyone wanting to join has to accept the rules and standards in advance, even without knowing what they all are....

  7. I have to say that I am suspicious. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing was the brainchild of the cellphone manufacturer. Create a kosher phone, then create an instant market by arranging for askanim to create a ban on regular phones.

  8. when I read things like this I thank G-d that I do not live in that repressed environment.

  9. cellphones don't kill people, people using cellphones kill people.

    I love it. I believe that the more secluded and isolated the Haredi society becomes the better for me. I don't diminish their choice or mock their way, I would just be really happy if they isolated themself more completely from me.

  10. Sarah is right, I text many people in america.. I cant call even if I wanted to! I get big talk sms cards, they are 25 shekel for 100 sms so 25 agurot a pop to america and here.. I send about 200 texts a week ;)thats here in israel. on a busy week I can do 500 hehe. I want to ask orange if I can like buy 10,000 at a discount ;)

  11. what about someone who needs some of the features for work? are his kids banned?

  12. shaya -I think someone who absolutely needs it for work can get special permission. Though I am not sure.

  13. Sorry dude -- my cellphone's much more kosher than theirs.

    I used to have a "kosher" one from Hatzalah, but it was upgraded to a better model that didn't have the "hechsher".

    I outdid them. My cellphone has actually been dunked in the mikva, while on, and it continued working till I dove in after it (it was the mikveh keilim), grabbed it out, and yanked out the battery.

    After letting it dry out for 24 hours, my holy cellphone came back to life, and is no much holier than any phone with a hechsher.

  14. Typo fixed :)

    After letting it dry out for 24 hours, my holy cellphone came back to life, and is NOW much holier than any phone with a hechsher.

  15. Now, THAT's a kosher cellphone!

  16. Jameel...perhaps you have an idea for an even better invention...

    The Tahor cell phone. Much better and for those really machmir.

    each tahor telephone could be toiveled first.

    Reality...what a concept!


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