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Wednesday, September 30

I survived my first week without my Mobile

Rosh Chodesh Elul 5775,

Mizrach Beis Hamedrash, South Tottenham, North London, Western Europe

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done before. I forgot to put my Mobile on when I left the house for work.
That meant being about 14 hours without my watch. Over half a day with no notifications, or TxT tracking, or quick replies to eMail messages.
For the first time since I bought my first mobile, I was disconnected.

And I was kind of pleased.
The reason was that I now had chance to see just how used to the Mobile I had become.
My failing memory had given me the opportunity to spend a working day away from the Mobile to find out just how engrained it was in my daily life, and importantly, whether I would miss it or not.
At first, apart from my initial irritation that I managed to forget to pick it up, I didn’t miss the Mobile so much.

Come to think of it, before I bought the latest model, I hadn’t used a Smartphone ever before so not having my whole life crammed into a piece of silicon wasn’t as alien as it might be for some.
How I managed to forget it in the first place is down to the fact that we’re having some adaptations done in my flat - otherwise I would have noticed that it was missing (or, shall I say “I was missing it) much sooner.

Whatever the ins and outs of the situation, I was facing a day without my mobile, checking my pockets for it like some sort of hungry animal.

Oh the indignity!

Initially, I didn’t really notice that I didn’t have my Mobile with me.
Sure, I was conscious of the fact that I was pressing the left button of my mouse to check the time or for notifications while it sat on the desk, only to realise that I am mobileless – not mouseless.
The sky didn’t fall in, my head didn’t fall off, and the world kept on spinning even while my Mobile sat on the shelf at home. But then I started receiving messages and Twitter replies as a couple of conversations sparked.
My desktop alerts on my office PC started bleeping with alarming regularity and I found myself checking the Message Ticker more often than I really needed to, but I felt compelled to because it was shouting at me.

Like a baby crying, it’s impossibly difficult to ignore the Messenger, which is so desperate for your attention. And then I realized that the Mobile would have stopped all that. Instead of all the distracting noises and perceived requirement to check notifications, the Mobile would have tapped me on the chest and then gone away, keen to let me finish what I was doing.
The Mobile is so much better at letting you know that sure, there’s something for you to look at, but you can do it on your own terms. No need to stop everything to find out that someone has sent you a message on Twitter.

There are offshoots of this too.
When I was checking notifications on my office screen, I found myself replying to tweets or messages when I didn’t need to because they could have waited.
What’s worse is I then ended up browsing Twitter or tapping a link that took me further away from what I was meant to be doing.
People talk about the Mobile reducing distractions but it’s true, it really does. At the end of the day I went home with my initial beliefs confirmed.
The Mobile is not something any of us need, and not having one isn’t going to ruin your life by any stretch of the imagination. If you do have one though, I’m willing to bet that you’ll feel a little off should you not use it for a week.

You might not be able to quite put your finger on what’s wrong at first, but it will dawn on you soon enough. The Mobile has found a little hole in my world and while it’s not going to change lives, just plugging that hole can make a difference.
I’m still not convinced that apps are the culprit, and that may never change even when “filtered apps” arrive after the Asifa, but if receiving notifications of things happening and then triaging the resulting information sounds like something you do a lot of, then the Mobile may just fill a hole for you as well. If you own a Mobile and have used it every day for the best part of your adult life, I challenge you to go a week without it and see how you get on.

I’m not going to say that people don’t know what they’ve got until it’s gone, but I have a sneaky suspicion most will want to make sure they put their Mobile after a week, which points to our generation’s degeneration: we’ve become slaves to our Mobile SmartPhones.
I know I did. Not anymore…

Put away yours, you’ll thank me for the prodding and pat yourself on the shoulder!

Your thoughts please,

Based on an article by Oliver Haslam of May 28, 2015 "I survived my first day without my Mobile"

Wednesday, September 2

Hashgochoh Protis X - השגחה פרטית

This week Sunday (30/08/2015), I was busy preparing the launch event of HaGefen UK and took off a couple of hours to visit an elderly family member in Golders Green.  As I was sitting on the 210 bus, I was in a quandary: how on earth can I leave North London when in a mere three hours I will have to welcome the attendees to HaGefen UK?!  On the other hand, the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim is as vital – if not more important – than a new initiative, which may or may not succeed.  As I was stepping off the bus, I heard someone calling my name, which turned out to be an old friend of mine who was waving wildly to me.  He shouted to me that I should please wait for him and started to drive his car into a side road.  Gesturing to him that I will wait for him, I made my way to a spot where we could meet: he in his car and me on the pavement.  He drove his car alongside me and rolled down the window saying: “I just returned from abroad and was going to search for your number.  You see, since the interview about the Shadchonim Crisis was published in Inyan (a HaModia supplement) on Chamishoh Osor beOv this year I was looking for you, as we urgently need to do something about this.”  I was astonished at this Hashgochoh Protis: here I am, wondering whether I should really be in Golders Green and now it’s all clear: this meeting had to take place just in time to invite him to the inaugural gathering of HaGefen UK!