Phone app: Take me to the nearest Mikvah

The Israeli GPS app Waze, now provides mikvah (ritual bath) locations. The service also contains a security ‘glitch’ that reveals Orthodox Jews who use a ‘non-Kosher’ smartphone, when they shouldn’t.

By i24news

 

The popular navigation application Waze can now direct you to the nearest mikvah – a Jewish ritual bath, the Israeli daily Maariv reported Monday.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews hold hands during a protest against their young men being called up for military service on February 6, 2014 in Jerusalem ( Gali Tibbon (AFP/File) )

Ultra-Orthodox Jews hold hands during a protest against their young men being called up for military service on February 6, 2014 in Jerusalem – Photo: Gali Tibbon-AFP/File

The service had been developed in coordination with Israel’s Ministry of Religious Services.

Now, if you are in immediate need of ritual immersion, you can type in “mikvah” on your app and be directed to the nearest one.

Ministry Director Elhanan Glatt was cited by the Israel daily Haaretz as stating that “improving religious services and making them friendlier is a strategic objective we have set for ourselves early on. Navigating to mikvehs is an important, technologically advanced, step.” Deputy minister, Eli Ben Dahan, stated the update is consistent with the vision of the revered leader of religious Zionism, Rabbi Avraham Kook, “The old shall be renewed, and the new shall be made holy”.

Waze, a multiple award-winning app and one of the most successful in its field, was developed in Israel starting 2008. The company was purchased by Google in 2013 for a reported $1.3 billion.

In a less pleasant turn of events for some religious smartphone users, a system used by the Orange cellular phone company, which had been accidentally made public, could be used to reveal the phone models associated with numbers belonging to the company, Haaretz reports.

A glitch in the system, which was used for internal purposes in Orange, made the website accessible via a simple browser search.

This glitch could be exploited by hackers trying to break into a phone – but could also reveal ultra-Orthodox Jews who use smartphones despite being members of a community which strictly forbids them.

Israeli cellular companies provide so-called “Kosher” smartphones, which offer restricted Internet access and a limited selection of apps, and are marketed mostly to the crowd of Orthodox businessmen.

However, some Orthodox Jews, especially of a younger generation, nevertheless use the prohibited smartphones.

Orange’s security glitch could land them in trouble with their communities.

Partner Communications Company, which operates Orange, stated that the security glitch was an “isolated incident” that has been fixed.

 

View original i24news publication at: http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/society/140407-computer-take-me-to-the-nearest-ritual-bath

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