Let’s say you drive a lot and you need some tool to help you find your way around. Most of us, of course, are free to enjoy smartphone applications like Waze, which use GPS technology to get us anywhere we need to go fast. But what are those of us who are Gur Hasids to do? Like many in the Haredi world, their community views smartphones as an abomination, a gateway to all the filth of the world wide web. How, then, to enjoy modernity’s useful tricks without risking its corruptions?
Enter The Ark. That’s not the device’s official name, but one look at it and there’s no mistaking what the big wooden crate was designed to resemble. Instead of a Torah scroll, however, there’s a cell phone inside, locked exclusively on Waze. You can use it as often as you’d like, but good luck trying to download Tinder as well.
And, just in case someone wondered, the device, first featured on the popular Haredi blog Be’Hadrei Haredim, comes with a sticker indicating its kashrut.
“This device,” it reads, “is for navigational purposes only. It has been screened.” Amen to that.
Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.