Kosher Phones

The cellphone continues to morph into a very smart multi-purpose device. A cellphone can now be a camera, an Internet access device, a GPS device and an electronic wallet. Many of us are excited by the possibilities.

But not everyone. The cellphone’s expanded functions have raised the concerns of ultra-Orthodox Jews. One Israeli magazine called “the multitasking new phones ‘a candy store for the evil impulse.’”

The solution? “Find a cell phone that’s only a phone.” Various rabbis, lawyers and Orthodox community leaders have joined forces to offer a stripped-down cellphone just makes phone calls without all the fancy bells and whistles. Further, the phone is restricted by a constantly updated block list containing dial-a-porn providers and other phone content providers inconsistent with Orthodox tenets.

One feature the manufacturers might consider adding: an automatic timer to turn off the phone (and block incoming calls) during Shabbat.