A Glimpse

Cycling with my friend along the towpath next to my house in East London, where a sizeable Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community lives, we came across scattered cards; four of them perched on a cement post underneath a railway bridge. The scene was intriguing. We stopped and started looking at them. They were mostly in Yiddish (Hebrew script) and many had Hashomrim, a community safety patrol, on one side, and detailed illustrations warning of different scenarios involving smartphones and the distractive and therefore disastrous potential they can have, on the other. While the message conveyed by some of the illustration is universal and many would agree with it, the cards however offered a glimpse into how Hashmorim tries to influence the community. Free access to ‘uncontrolled’ information seems to generate anxieties in a community that tries to maintain its way of life.