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Jewish Journal

JewishJournal.com

June 11, 2009

A way for Jews to use cell phones on the Sabbath

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/a_way_for_jews_to_use_cell_phones_on_the_sabbath_20090611/

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If Jimi Hendrix was Jewish and needed to use his cell phone on Shabbat and was alive, he’d be in luck: A recent ruling in Israel permits religious Jews to use cell phones on the Sabbath, provided they are using phones rigged to not accidentally power down and they punch the keys with their teeth.

From UPI:

Many of the ultra orthodox volunteers and workers at Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency services work on the Sabbath and were confronted with the dilemma of how to activate their mobile phones without violating religious rules, Ynetnews.com reported.

Recently, the agency began replacing workers’ paging systems with modern mobile phones equipped with GPS technology that locates workers and volunteers closest to the scene of an accident, shortening the response time, the report said.

MDA asked the Scientific Technology Halacha Institute to come up with a solution. Rabbi Levy Yitzhak Halperin issued a new set of rules involving the use of a specially designed case that prevents phones from being shut down accidentally. To confirm response to dispatch, workers are permitted to hold a small metal pin between their teeth and press the necessary buttons on the phones, the Web site said.

Maybe it’s permissible, but in a situation like this, I think one has to ask themselves: What would Walter do?

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