As the ultra-Orthodox community continues to raise awareness and take action against the dangers they claim are posed by the Internet and technology, the primary target has become the smartphone. Many from the community are abandoning their smartphones and encouraging others to do the same.
Other leaders within the community are taking more drastic approaches. The Rebbe of Satmar has instructed his followers to ditch their smartphones, ordering them to stop using their phones within one month or find a new rabbi for religious guidance. This same rabbi banned individuals from acting as witnesses at a wedding in the Satmar community due to their possession of smartphones.
Another rabbi’s decision to smash a bride’s smartphone at her wedding without her permission has also attracted widespread attention.
The movement against the usage of technology gained much media attention last month when haredi leaders organized a rally at Citi Field Stadium, which garnered more than 40,000 all-male attendees. Women were prohibited from attending the event.
The leaders behind the movement have said that women are prohibited from using smartphones under any circumstances, but exceptions will be made for men who require smartphones for their livelihoods.
To date, more than 800 customers have already been assisted in removing their laptops’ wireless internet capabilities. This free service is being listed in haredi newspapers, where the ads encourage the public to call a hotline to disconnect their computers from the Internet to prevent themselves from searching on the web by accident.
Danielle Chazen is a regular contributor to Jspace's technology division. Danielle is a freelance reporter and technology event coordinator with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.