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The Schmooze

Memo to Rubberneckers: Pray, Don’t Look

It is an international problem, only accentuated here by Israeli curiosity — or what in America is called nosiness. Whenever there is a road accident, traffic slows as people peer to see what’s going on. Everyone knows deep down that it’s unhelpful, but everyone just wants to know what is happening. And nobody has found a way to reprogram people not to look… until now.

The Israeli medical service Hatzolah has come to the realization that if you give would-be rubberneckers a responsibility for the injured, it will keep them busy and away from the scene. What role can you give them that keeps them away? Tell them that they are with the injured in a spiritual sense!

The Orthodox-run organization has printed 100,000 credit card-sized handouts that ask people to request divine help for the injured when they see an accident. They are asked to recite Psalm 121 — the one which asks “from where does my help come?” — as a way of petitioning for God’s intervention. “Help us save lives. Please keep away from the area and say this chapter of Psalms,” plead the cards, which include the text of the Psalm and will be distributed at public events.

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