David Assaf (in his wonderful Hebrew blog "Oneg Shabbat") writes at some length and detail about how a few 19th century rabbis apparently permitted speaking on a telephone on Shabbat.
He ends up with a "that was then, this is now" contrast citing a rabbinic wall poster that was seen in Givat Shaul in Jerusalem a few weeks ago. The poster warns Jews that "iPhones, Android devices, iPads, Blackberrys, MP4 and the like" and all video players and Internet devices, all of these "endanger the sanctity of the house of Israel" and they are bringing a "spiritual Holocaust" upon those who use them, "G-d Forbid..."
"It is surely forbidden to own or use these devices" the rabbis warn.
Just so there is no confusion, we disagree with those rabbis. We rule that these devices are kosher, permitted for use by all Jews. We are sure that is a relief for some of our readers.
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