The Shmooze

Wake-up Calls Help People Rise and Pray

By Nathan Jeffay

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Jewish tradition teaches that the current Hebrew month, Elul, is a wake-up call to repent and prepare for the High Holy Days that follow. Well Israel’s largest telecommunications company, Bezeq, is taking this idea rather literally.

As if weekday synagogue services don’t already start early enough in Israel — often between 5am and 6am — many congregations recite selichot or penitential prayers around the High Holy Days, and start even earlier. The most pious of congregants can have difficulty getting up in time.

And so Bezeq has told customers that it is offering free wake-up calls to anybody who wants. It’s another sign of the importance of the religious market to telecommunications companies. Bezeq and cellular providers have special deals for students at the same yeshivah, seminary or kollel to call each other cheap or free. And if you are religious and don’t call on Shabbat, you can have a discount and a special Bezeq number (starts with 80) to identify you to other religious people.

But back to the wake up calls. Personally, I think if Bezeq really wants to ingratiate itself to the religious market, it should go one step further, and offer to conference people in to their local synagogue service. Penitence in the comfort of your pajamas — ideal!


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