Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Kosher Calling

Jerusalem is the best place in the world for keeping kosher. Wherever you are in the holy city, you will find a wide array of kosher eateries for your every taste. Whether it's pizza or shwarma, Chinese or Mexican, it's all here and it's all kosher.

Once the Jerusalemites had found a way to ensure that most food was certified as "kosher", they started making other things kosher. You can now travel on a "kosher bus route" - instead of split hooves there's split seating, men at the front, women at the back. You can also find "kosher shops" that don't allow entry to immodestly dressed women, and the more mehadrin shops have separate opening hours for men and women.

In my quest to find a moving company, I noticed an advert plastered over a Mea Shearim bus stop for Yosef Movers, "ten years of experience and low prices". About to tear off the tag with his phone number, I spotted that he had mentioned that his phone number was a "kosher number". I had never heard of such a thing. What made it more interesting was that the sign had been stamped in red ink - several times - "Beware, this number is not kosher!" Someone was going around stamping adverts with a kashrut warning. Memories came flooding back of that time I bought a Push-Up Lolly Pop to school, only to be told by one of my classmates that he had heard it "might not be kosher".

Desperate to get to the bottom of this, I decided to poll a few of the locals. The first chassid to pass, an elderly man, took a glance, squinted his eyes as if he was reviewing the whole Talmud Bavli for a reference to Hilchot HaPelephon, and then shook his head. Realising that the answer to my question would more likely be found with a younger Talmudic sage, I pulled over a teenage lad. He knew the answer straight away: "A kosher phone is one with no internet or SMS".

"So, is Yosef Movers kosher?" I asked. Examining the number carefully, my young friend said he couldn't be sure so to be on the safe side, I should probably find a different company.

As my bus arrived, I couldn't help but wonder what was so treif about a text message? How much impurity can you write in 300 characters? And how much porn can you squeeze into a screen that small?! With no one looking, I tore off the number and slipped it in my pocket. Let God be my judge.


ifyouwillit... said...

Reading this post makes me realize I must have missed the fanfare - the announcement passed me by...

The world is perfect, our lives our complete. World peace and hunger MUST have been resolved if a phone number is the focus of this much energy.

To think, someone had a stamp printed and goes round checking the numbers... I am sure that's not what G-d had in mind when he created the world.

ifyouwillit... said...

I've tagged you in my latest post, 12 to 12