Want To Pray, But Can't Get To The Synagogue?

by Shirley Yom Tov for TheMarker.com - RUSSIA

May 19, 2005

Internet has long since become a means for people hopelessly far apart to communicate. Now Gilat Satellite Networks (NASDAQ:GILTF) technology is helping Russia's Jews to communicate with the Lord.

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, headed by Israeli-Russian diamond magnate Lev Leviev, is adopting Gilat satellite communications technology, and installing the outer-space infrastructure to link Russia's synagogues to the people.

People with Gilat's VSAT terminals can use them to access phone service – and fast Internet transferred via the Gilat satellite system, including content from the synagogue network. They can watch prayer services, read prayer books, and even shop for religious products.

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia commented that the network is designed to help provide religious education and bring access to religious content.

About 200 Jewish communities throughout Russia with about 70 synagogues belong to the Federation. Rabbi Beral Lazar commented that under the pilot project, 50 synagogues in the big cities will be equipped with satellite communications technology. At a later stage all the communities will be hooked up to the system, he said.

The contract is an intriguing one, but a small one in terms of Gilat's usual scope of business. The company didn't even bother mentioning the deal to the stock exchange.

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