Text ended: synagogue bans mobile phones


Shabbat morning worshippers at Borehamwood Synagogue are having their mobile phones confiscated by security staff at the shul gates.

Borehamwood chair Anthony Arnold said the action had been taken in response to a noticeable increase in texting and photograph-taking during services by youngsters and adults alike. “It has now become an embarrassment.”

On arrival at the shul, congregants are asked if they are carrying phones. If the reply is affirmative, they are asked to deposit them in numbered transparent plastic zipped bags, thus avoiding the need for security volunteers to handle the devices and break Sabbath laws. The phones are collected after the service. Members are being asked to advise any guests of the new policy.

Mr Arnold believes that similiar restrictions are in place at other north-west London congregations and although the Borehamwood scheme is in its infancy, he said: “We know it is working. We’ve noticed a definite decrease in the amount of texting and picture-taking. But we will really know how successful we have been when we can stop checking in the phones at the gate because people have stopped bringing them to shul.”

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