Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Iyar 5766 - May 24, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











013 Barak — A Kosher Telco

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Kashrus certification has long since extended beyond the realm of food products. Today every company seeking to increase its share of the chareidi market knows that the more problematic a product is and the more it is liable to contain elements that are unfit from a religious standpoint, the greater the need to win a seal of approval. The latest entry into the telecom industry, where the need for hechsherim is crucial, is Barak 013. The long-distance calling company has long been working hard to make itself worthy of a mehadrin seal of approval.

First it paved the way with philanthropic programs within the chareidi community, such as setting up a nationwide communications network for Yad Sarah and an inter- organization communications network for ZAKA.

Then it set about sweeping aside hazards that could be bad for chareidi business. The company made preparations to provide suitable alternatives for existing customers and new subscribers to ensure they would not be exposed to unseemly materials, investing tens of thousands of dollars in a special system that automatically identifies and blocks problematic international calls. The company has even trained special staff to monitor the calls.

The agreement, which was signed in the homes of HaRav Nissim Karelitz and HaRav Yehuda Silman, earned the company certification from Mishmeres Hakodesh Vehachinuch in Bnei Brak. In exchange, 013 Barak pledged to block all inappropriate content services and to show sensitivity by not participating in events the chareidi and religious public would find offensive.

CEO Natti Frei explained to Yated Ne'eman why 013 Barak is motivated to pursue this initiative. "In a Jewish state obtaining a hechsher is a very natural move that can benefit everyone. And if it allows us to do better business with the chareidi public, that's great. As a commercial enterprise we are constantly alert to our customers' needs. And since we employ dozens of chareidi women on our staff we insisted on meeting the unique and important requirements and decided to accommodate ourselves to them."

Frei considers the hechsher to be a significant improvement for the company and the chareidi consumer, like an additional standard the company meets that represents a declaration of faith in its activity. "We made a point of adopting the Standards Institute standard for data security - - although it is not mandatory — to safeguard our customers' data and improve service. By the same token it is important to us to receive this hechsher and it improves the level of religious service. Perhaps you could call it our religious standard. A technical improvement alongside a spiritual improvement. This kashrus makes us more efficient in every sense and comprises a part of our strategy of constantly improving ourselves and positioning ourselves better."

The move is the first in a series of marketing plans that Barak 013 for the chareidi sector, such as offering various benefits and attractive rates. "I am confident that as a result of these plans more chareidi customers looking into Barak have now received an official answer and will join us."


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