My list of the Best Jewish Apps of 2010 here at The Jewish Week has generated a lot of attention. The list of thirty-three apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android phones has been reposted on several blogs around the Web.
From tehillim to kosher restaurants, from kaparot to recipes, our tech guru picks the top 33 applications.
Rabbi Jason Miller
Special To The Jewish Week
As more Jewish people acquire the latest in handheld technology – think iPhones, iPads, Android-powered smartphones, BlackBerrys and tablet PCs — there will be more Jewish-themed applications available for download.
Some of these apps will be utilities for checking the Hebrew date or learning about the weekly Torah portion. Other apps will be novelties like making shofar sounds for Rosh HaShanah and grogger sounds on Purim. With many Jewish developers around the world, you can be certain there will be no dearth of Jewish apps in the coming year.
When I hooked up my kids' new Nintendo Wii a couple years ago, I noticed that each player has to create their own Mii. The significance wasn't lost on me (or is it Mii?). As I set up this new video gaming device, I wondered if it would promote community or promote loneliness.
Would other kids join my children in the basement as they all took turns participating in an activity that prioritizes the Wii... or would each child find himself "bowling alone" with an interactive television in the basement thereby prioritizing the Mii?
I've been following the Offlining campaign pretty closely. It's the brainchild of Eric Yaverbaum and Mark DiMassimo. They partnered to launch Offlining, an initiative to promote unplugging that was introduced on Father's Day, to ask people to make a pledge to have 10 device-free dinners between then and Thanksgiving. To date, more than 10,500 have signed on to this pledge.
As the Apple iPhone has become even more popular and an increasing number of Apple fans have picked up the iPad, there has been a wave of new applications created for these devices. Some are good and useful, while others... well, let's just say I'm not going to take the time to write a bad review.
Rabbi Eli Garfinkel, now calling himself "The App-ter Rebbe," has announced the publication of a new commentary on the Torah for Apple’s iOS devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
As someone who not only keeps kosher, but also works as a mashgiach(kosher supervisor), I often find myself away from the computer and searching for kosher food options. There are two good iPhone apps that help users locate the closest kosher options, whether it's a box of cereal or an Italian restaurant you're looking for .
RustyBrick's kosher app links to the largest kosher database on the web at the Shamash site. With over 2,000 restaurants in the database, the Jewish Kosher App for the iPhone or iPod Touch looks up the nearest kosher place to eat from your current location, using the iPhone's GPS features. (If GPS or localization isn't on or available, a location or name can be typed in.) Additionally, a kosher symbols database is available to quickly look up what kosher symbols are backed by which organizations or rabbi. As a bonus feature, all of the food blessings and prayers in Hebrew are included in this app so one can give proper thanks before and following the meal.
Another new iPhone app to help the kosher eater locate food is called My Grocery Master. It allows users to browse and search a database of over 100,000 Kosher, gluten-free and lactose-free items across the United States, meeting the user’s lifestyle and dietary requirements. Created by Nosh Maven LLC, My Grocery Master enables people following kosher diets to find acceptable food near their location.
Has Steve Jobs become a United Nations peacekeeper? Did Apple release a new app that unites the holy city of Jerusalem during these tense times? Maybe you thought Jerusalem had already been reunified several decades ago.
Well, it turns out that even the weather in Jerusalem has been politicized. Yahoo, who runs the Apple iPhone Weather app with information gathered by Weather.com changed created two choices for viewing the weather in Jerusalem – East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem. This is different than the designations on Yahoo's own site and on the Weather.com site.
There will no doubt be many times when a new app is released for Apple's iPad and people exclaim something to the effect of "Well, it was only a matter of time until someone created that!"
This was certainly the case yesterday, when RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology, released its first iPad app. Approved by Apple, it is named the iPad Torah, and is essentially a scan of the Torah scroll on the iPad screen.
In a recent blog post, my colleague and teacher Rabbi Hayim Herring writes about the Fast Company article that questions whether the introduction of smartphones and handheld computers into classrooms worldwide will be the start of an educational revolution. Anya Kamenetz, author of the book DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education wonders "How technology could unleash childhood creativity -- and transform the role of the teacher."