iPhone App for Jewish Organizations
10/24/2010 - 20:39
Rabbi Jason Miller
Applaud Mobile: An App to Help Jewish Organizations & Congregations Connect to their Mobile Community
Applaud Mobile: An App to Help Jewish Organizations & Congregations Connect to their Mobile Community

Applaud Mobile creates iPhone apps specifically for Jewish organizations like synagogues, temples and Jewish schools. I recently reviewed the app it created for the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Massachusetts. Tamir and Marcia Borensztajn, active lay leaders in their community and parents at SSDS, came up with the Applaud Mobile app.

Noticing how busy they and the other parents in their children's day school were, the Borensztajns, who had hi-tech experience from their time living in Israel, set out to create an app for schools, religious groups and community organizations to keep their members connected and informed. The app enables organizations to give members easy access to calendars, articles and notices. They can expand it with their own categories, such as directions.

Marcia told the Jewish Advocate, “It’s about remembering those pizza lunches, upcoming conferences, special events and having contact information and schedules readily available while you're on-the-go. And with a few taps, people can get right to it – and read it anywhere – on or offline."

Tamir, who came up with the original idea for Applaud, explained that it was ironic since he had actually resisted buying an iPhone. He then discovered the usefulness of the applications created for Apple's iPhone.

Arnold Zar-Kessler, head of school at Schechter, said the app “has created a lot of buzz in the community.” He explained that the "school uses it to provide current information about programs, calendars, schedules to parents, and also articles on Jewish and general education. The school pays a modest monthly fee for the app and gives it to parents for free, he said. The Borensztajns are using social networking, such as Facebook, and PowerPoint presentations to market the app. They say several schools and synagogues (and even a soccer league) have expressed interest. The couple told the Jewish Advocate that they are already thinking of ways to build on the app and hope to turn it into a small business.

 

The app uses the Joomla! Content Management System (CMS) giving each organization multiple ways to update content including articles, notices, emergency bulletins and calendar items). The first option is for staff members to create original content in Joomla! RSS feeds are supported so an organization that blogs with RSS can simply push that content to the app automatically. At SSDS in Boston, content comes from their RSS blog feed, original content, and their Twitter account.

 
Currently, the app pulls information directly from an organization's Google calendar account, but support for RSS and iCal subscriptions is forthcoming.
 
Overall, this looks to be the go-to app for Jewish organizations looking to complement their Web presence and e-mail communication with full format mobile application networking. Applaud Mobile is certainly making it more difficult for parents to miss that after-school soccer game or to forget about their child's Hebrew exam.

 

 

Here are the specs on Applaud Mobile from the iTunes Store:

With our iPhone app you expand your reach into the community and foster stronger ties with your members. You can publish your calendar, articles, and notices. You also have the ability to create additional categories of your own – think of directions, hours, special events, or any relevant information that comes to mind. Now your members enjoy on-the-go access to your organization's pertinent information.

The Applaud Mobile iPhone app may include multiple organizations. As a school you can create a separate section for each grade. If you are a religious institution, easily include separate sections for the preschool or youth program. And if you are a community center with multiple branches, each branch can be represented separately within the app.

Features at a glance:

  • Publish your calendar
  • Publish articles, notices and more.
  • Include multiple organizations or departments within a single app (optional)

Below is a video tutorial on the Applaud Mobile app for Jewish organizations:

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