Years ago, before the answering machine was invented, dinnertime was invariably interrupted by the sound of the ringing telephone. As technology advanced and created the automatic answering device, the telemarketing industry adjusted with the robotic dialing machine.
But the marketers did not give up. They began to inundate homes, businesses and automobiles with flyers promoting their products.
Under a Qaulity of Life initiative, begun in the Rudolph Guiliani administration in New York City, and culminating with the Bloomberg administration, the legislature passed a law prohibiting placing advertisements anywhere a placard requests that one not do so.
Which brings me to Davening. Armed with laminated approbations and jingling coins, collectors have become more than an annoyance during Tefillah. In a recent Mishpacha essay, Rabbi Ron Eisenman of Passaic raised many of these issues and has instituted a policy that requests that Shluchim not enter his Shul during prayer.
I see both sides of this issue, as I don’t know what I would do if I was in dire straits, but it seems like the Tzibur’s needs take precedence.
There is no perfect solution. I’ve seen some people with little signs saying “I don’t talk during Davening”, or “Don’t tell me any Loshon Hora”. Perhaps the time has come to create personal placards saying in 3 languages “Please don't ask me for Tzedakkah during Tefillah”. Think how much revenue it would generate if some organization would send out a Tzedakkah letter with such a placard enclosed. They would certainly get my donation!