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Jerusalem - Israeli Science Institute Announces Shabbos Phone For Use In Critical Situations

Published on: August 10, 2016 03:00 PM
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 Dan Marentz, director of the Alon Shevut based Zomet Dan Marentz, director of the Alon Shevut based Zomet

Jerusalem - A new device that makes use of the halachic concept of “gramma” would enable those in life or death situations to use their smart phones on Shabbos and yomim tovim.

Developed by the Zomet Institute in Israel, the Telegramma was designed to minimize the possibility of chilul Shabbos by those who must use their phones on Shabbos, including physicians and security personnel. 

In an Arutz Sheva interview, Dan Marentz, director of the Alon Shevut based Zomet, explained that the Telegramma works by syncing a bluetooth device to a smartphone app.  When the user presses the gramma button on the bluetooth device, actions are performed indirectly, by gramma, on the phone, something that is far less problematic from a halachic standpoint. 

While the bluetooth device sends a signal to the smartphone that performs the action with a minimal delay, a special red button on the app enables users to engage the phone immediately without any delay in cases of extreme urgency.


The device is not intended for use only in life-saving situations and is not meant for the general public.

Marentz said that Zomet is extremely enthusiastic about the Telegramma which is already being used by Orthodox Jewish medical staff at Hadassah Medical Center.

“We have been working for years to help doctors first of all do things in a different way but more importantly, in a halachic way which is going to limit the amount of chilul Shabbat while enabling them to do all of their jobs and save people’s lives on the Shabbat,” said Marentz.

According to contemporary Halchic expert Rabbi Yair Hoffman, gramma phones were first created by Machon Madai Technology Al Pi Halacha in Israel many years ago under the guidance of Rabbi Eliezer Halperin.  Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach deemed them halachically acceptable for security personnel, doctors and high ranking politicians and then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin used one of their gramma phone on Shabbos.

“The amount of people who were allowed to use one was very limited and Reb Shlomo Zalman told Machon L’Technologia that they could only be sold to individuals who were permitted to use them,” said Rabbi Hoffman.

Because of the high cost of silicon chips at the time for an item that wasn’t going to be massed produced was so expensive, the initial gramma phones were actually made using hardware produced by Russian engineers who were still creating chip-less technology.

Zomet is confident that, today, the Telegramma will make its way beyond Israel to shomer Shabbos individuals who deal with life and death situations all around the globe.

“Before you know it this will be all around the world and changing the way doctors and security people can make the Shabbat even holier,” said Marentz.

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Read Comments (6)  —  Post Yours »


 Aug 10, 2016 at 03:12 PM Hasid Says:

If what he claims is true regarding the touch screen nor being a halacha problem so why when i place a call i have to use the gramma device why not do it on the touch screen?


 Aug 10, 2016 at 03:32 PM utazoy Says:

If it's pekuach nefesh you need gramma use any phone nobody should chas vshlom think they can't use any phone thats amarotziz and could end up costing someone's life


 Aug 10, 2016 at 04:09 PM inNY Says:

They have had grama phones for years. This merely extends it to cellphones. which are halachically "easier" anyway, since there are no actual circuits being directly connected - so everything about it is technically a grama anyway..


 Aug 10, 2016 at 04:11 PM qazxc Says:

There already was a phone that was allowed to be used for pikuach nefashos. It is called a regular cell phone. There was already a cell phone that was assur to use otherwise. It is called a regular cell phone.


 Aug 10, 2016 at 07:03 PM Applestein Says:

It's a shanda


 Aug 10, 2016 at 07:03 PM Anonymous Says:

The scientific genius is a grub am haaretz or a shoteh shebolam. When life is in danger on Shabbos it's doche all the Torah -that means even cell phones and texting. Instead I believe his intention is to cause additional chillul Shabbos and Yom Tov with his dumb suggestions of gramma rays to the many addicted fools out there.
Please someone tell this fool not to mix into matters of chillul Shabbos that he has very little understanding of or knows nothing.


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