With their instant access to kol-isha-laden ringtones, frivolous purchasing via e-commerce, spam email touting Viagra, illicit and grammatically incorrect text messaging and potentially pornariffic photos, it seems fairly clear that cellular telephones are the tools of the devil. And what’s more interesting, restricting the lascivious bells and temptation-ridden whistles of cell phones seems to be the one area in which Jews, Christians and Muslims all agree.
Luckily, there are companies who have undertaken the holy work of stripping down ungepotchkaed cell phones to their basic functions. Making phone calls. And while there’s no “OU” or “Khof K” or any of those other wacky kosher certifications for phones, the Wall Street Journal reports that “as rabbis stamp kosher food with special markings, so-called “kosher” phones carry symbols that they have been ‘Approved by the Rabbinical Committee for Communications.'”
Well, you all know what’s coming next. We’ve gotta have ourselves a bargain with the calling plan, right?
On the recommendation of the committee, and to encourage calling within the community, phone companies charge higher calling rates when “kosher” phone users call phones outside the network. In MIRS’s case, a “kosher-to-kosher” phone call costs 10 cents a minute whereas calls made to other phones cost five to six cents more.
So keep your trayf phones if you want to, but if your trayf-phone-bearing daughter meets a kosher phone dude on Ben Yehuda Street, expect some major phone bills. And parental disapproval of the shidduch.
Just in case you’re interested, other religious people have other concerns. One Christian service provides “scriptures, Christian ring tones, and one-minute-long inspirational videos to subscribers who sign up on its Web site” and has services like “e-prayers” in the works. Additionally:
[cellphone company] Good News also is planning to launch a branded phone this summer in conjunction with six ministries across the country, which will provide subscribers sermons, news, movie reviews and other content. Good News originally thought of calling it the “godphone,” but thought better of it and named it the FaithMobile phone instead.
Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a Godphone? But the long-distance charges would probably be killer.
Muslims have different concerns:
Ilkone, which comes from the Arabic word for “universe,” also equips its phones with a Hijri, the Gregorian calendar, and alerts users to prayer times with an alarm that features an actual muezzin’s voice. It also has a complete version of the Quran, with an English translation. […] In England, Muslims have been using MyAdhan.com as a digital muezzin. The service provides them with calls to prayer five times a day in the form of a text message sent from cellular towers instead of vocal announcements from minarets.
Say it with me: “Rabotai, higiah zman kriat Shema shel Shacharit…” [My friends, it’s time to say the morning prayers…]