June 10, 2009
Dial up with teeth, no Sabbath desecration
A religious ruling permits ultra-orthodox Jews to operate their mobile phones on the Sabbath and religious holidays with their teeth.
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.
According to Judaism, the Sabbath, which is observed from sunset Friday to Saturday night, is considered a day of rest. Religious Jews do not travel, cook, work or use telephones. They also are prohibited from turning on electricity or driving but allowed to violate the Sabbath to save lives.