MDA Volunteers to Operate Cell Phones With Teeth On Shabbos


cell-phone-teethFrom a Ynet report: The issue of working on Shabbos presents a difficult dilemma for the frum  workers and volunteers of the Magen David Adom emergency services. A recently-issued halachic ruling now permits on-call volunteers to activate their mobile phones on weekends, provided that they do so using their teeth.  MDA has lately began replacing its workers’ old beepers with modern MIRS mobile phones equipped with GPS technology, which enables the dispatch center to locate the volunteers closest to the scene of an accident, thus shortening the emergency teams’ response time. But the switch to the new technology has created a problem for the charedi volunteers, who were concerned that the use of the MIRS device on weekends will amount to chilul Shabbos desecration. Some have even called on the volunteers to keep their old beepers.

 In an attempt to resolve this dilemma, MDA approached the head of the Scientific-Technological Halacha Institute, Rav Levy Yitzhak Halperin. Rav Halperin permitted the use of the new mobile phones, but stipulated a series of conditions for this: The devices will remain open at all times during weekends and placed in a specially-designed case which will not enable them to shut down accidentally.

 On Shabbosos and Yomim Tovim, on-call volunteers will respond to calls by using a small metal pin, which they will place between their teeth and use to press the buttons and confirm their arrival.

 “Magen David Adom is committed to adopting the GPS technology while making sure not to disrupt the lifestyle and customs of the volunteers,” said MDA Director Genera Eli Bin.

{Ynet/Yair Israel}