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WhatsApp Spreads Fast Among Ultra-Orthodox — and Rabbis Cry Foul – Forward.com


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whatsapp story

This is interesting:

“The rabbis overseeing divorces say WhatsApp is the No. 1 cause of destruction of Jewish homes and business,” read the headline of a January article in Der Blatt, the Yiddish-language newspaper published by members of the Satmar Hasidic group.

Number one?!

The groups feature is so popular:

WhatsApp is similar to the built-in text messaging app on a smartphone, but the messages are free and can be easily sent to large groups of friends. The group messaging function seems to drive Orthodox use of the app. Private, invitation-only groups exist among friends, relatives, neighbors and fellow yeshiva alumnae. The Boro Park Hasid said that he is in a group with family members, and that they use it to debate current events and Talmud.

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“I’m sick and tired of it a little bit,” said Lipa Schmeltzer, the Hasidic pop music star. Schmeltzer said that the number of groups he’s joined — most of them apparently music related — have become too much. “It’s not an easy task, to keep up with all these messages,” he said.

Hasidic users said that their WhatsApp groups don’t focus on national news, but do discuss local stories. The groups were exceptionally active following the disappearance of Menachem Stark, the Satmar developer kidnapped and murdered in early January. “It was very popular during the whole Stark story,” said Joseph Oppenheim, a member of the Satmar Hasidic community and the owner of the iShop, a computer store and Internet cafe in Williamsburg. “You couldn’t get it on the radio and stuff, so this was the main source [where] people got the news.”

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