By COLlive reporter
This is one call that can cost you…
Gabboim at a few shuls around Israel have decided to put an end to mobile phones going off in the middle of davening and disrupting congregants.
Despite notifications and signs requesting to set their phone’s profile to “vibrate”, ringtones and jingles keep playing during prayers.
As a response, a few shuls in Tzfas, Ber Sheva, Netanya and Jerusalem instituted a new rule: A monetary fine will be imposed on those whose phones ring during prayers.
The fine at the Viznitz shul in Tzfas is 10 Shekels ($2.8 U.S. dollars), while in other Shuls the rates vary, some up to 18 Shekels ($5).
The proceeds are been used for maintenance of the shuls. “In the first few days, the tzedaka box has been filled with hundreds of shekels,” one congragant reported.
“It took time for people to digest the new rules,” the person told Israeli news site Mako. “But they are slowly getting it, and there are less phones ringing since. Either way, the fine is actually a charitable donation.”
“It is a great sin to disturb the prayers,” commented Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel, Chief Judge of the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court.
“People don’t realize the damage they cause when the phone rings suddenly in middle of kaddish or Shmone Esre. It interrupts the prayer and degrades the sanctity of the synagogue,” he said.
Jewish music superstar Avraham Fried has called in the past to start “a campaign to leave cellphones out of shul,” saying that it shows a lack of faith in Hashem.
“If you are concerned that you might miss a call or email – it shows a lack in emunah. Hashem is the one providing parnasah so what is there to be afraid of?” he told COLlive.com in an interview in 2011.