In this article, I explore use patterns and perceptions of cellphone and smartphone use among Old Order Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women with participant observations, interviews, and a survey. My findings show that although they differ in their cellphone use (the Amish mostly do not use them and the Ultra-Orthodox only use those deemed to be “kosher”), they concur in their nonuse of smartphones – they see the smartphone as impure. Both view smartphones as undermining social relations and community by distracting users away from friends and family.
THE INFORMATION SOCIETY
This article focuses on the experiences, practices and perceptions of the women who participate in the amen meal ritual. The primary goal is to determine what we might learn from them about the mechanisms and social processes in contemporary Israeli religious communities. The amen meal is practiced by a broad spectrum of Jewish women in communities from the Ultra-Orthodox to the secular. It has a ritualistic- religious intention of maximizing the number of blessings recited by the participants and thereby the number of “amens” responded. I conducted a qualitative-ethnographic-feminist study using in-depth interviews and participant observations. The central insight is that the amen meal ritual quietly undermines the gender regime. The practices and perceptions of the participants toward amen meals enable us to reach a new understanding of the terms “time” and “space” in the Jewish halachic hegemony. These relatively new rituals reconstruct these heretofore clearly defined hierarchic terms, transforming them into un-defined and non-hierarchic ones. Moreover, the participants’ very perceptive critiques of rabbinic/halachic attitudes indicate that they also perturb the underpinnings of the fundamental Orthodox rules of male halachic hegemony throughout their daily practice.