Rabbi's warning over anti-smartphone stunt

Senior figure in London Charedi community orders halt to incidents involving T-shirts bearing Yiddish slogan telling Jews to throw out their phones


Stamford Hill’s most senior rabbi has ordered a halt to an anti-smartphone stunt involving men from ethnic minority backgrounds, wearing T-shirts with a warning in Yiddish that users will end up with “no life” like them.

At least two men were photographed outside strictly Orthodox synagogues in the area last week – although who orchestrated their appearance and why remains unknown.

The slogan on their T-shirts reads, “Fellow Jew, if you don’t throw out your smartphone, you will look just like me – no life, no money, no wife, no children, no current world, no world to come – and yes, I need it for my business.”

But when Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, head of the rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, learned of the stunt, he ordered an immediate stop to it – according to Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, chairman of the Union’s external affairs committee.

The Union did not know who was behind it. But Rabbi Padwa was “very angry”, Rabbi Pinter said.

The Union rabbinate has recently warned of the dangers of smartphones and asked owners not to use them in public.

In a notice in Hebrew and English issued in February, the Union’s rabbis said there had been “a number of instances where individuals have been tragically affected by exposure to deeply disturbing and offensive material on the internet and social media”.

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