Jewish Techs

An occasional column from Jason Miller, a rabbi and tech maven.

Email, May it Rest in Peace

Email is like a cat. I don't know if it has nine lives, but people still use this form of communication even though it's been pronounced dead many times in recent years.

The general consensus among experts in online communication is that social media is killing the medium of email. Just as companies and organizations are getting pretty good at making their email newsletters look professional, it seems that more people are rendering email as the means of communication from a bygone era (sorry ConstantContact.com!).

Is Social Media Killing Email?

There's a Kosher App for That

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.

 

New Apps Locate Kosher Fare

Twitter & Jewish Non-Profits

 Twitter may very well be the social media site that everyone counted out as not having any utility, but is actually thriving. That is because Twitter users are finding new and innovative ways to use the application.

Using Twitter for Philanthropy

Mark Zuckerberg, Emily Gould & Rabbeinu Gershom

What do Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, blogger Emily Gould, and the 10th-11th century scholar Rabbeinu Gershom have in common?

They all articulated their views about privacy.

Zuckerberg was criticized last month for Facebook's new privacy settings. Over 500 million worldwide users of Facebook had more of their information made public because Zuckerberg believes that "if people share more, the world will become more open and connected. And a world that's more open and connected is a better world."

 

Even the Weather in Jerusalem Has Become Political

The LA Times Babylon & Beyond blog reported on Sunday that Apple has reunified Jerusalem.

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.

 

What's the Weather Like in Jerusalem? Which Jerusalem?

Fauxtographing the News: From Herzl to the Flotilla

Cross-posted at Blog.RabbiJason.com

Photoshop might not have been around a century ago, but the altering of images to change history has been around for a very long time.

This is a doctored photo of Theodor Herzl from 1898

Rabbi Nesenoff's 25,000 Pieces of Hate Mail

Before this past weekend, Rabbi David Nesenoff was a virtually unknown rabbi who lives and works on Long Island. When his teenage son finished his high school exams and uploaded a 2-minute video of Helen Thomas expressing her anti-Israel views on the Whitehouse lawn, Nesenoff gained global fame. That 2-minute video on his RabbiLIVE.com website brought Helen Thomas' long career in journalism to an abrupt and embarrassing end.

This photo of Charles Manson was sent to Rabbi David Nesenoff

A Rabbi, a Flip Camera & YouTube

 If the answer is "A Rabbi, a Flip Ultra Video Camera and YouTube," then the question is surely "How did Helen Thomas' career end?"

Aspiring filmmaker Rabbi David Nesenoff, a Conservative rabbi at Long Island's Temple Tikvah Synagogue of Hope, took his Flip video camera and 17-year-old son/webmaster along with him to the White House for last week's annual Jewish American Heritage Month celebration.

David Nesenoff - Rabbi, Filmmaker, Career Killer

Fake Israeli PR Twitter Feed

Time Magazine released its list of the top ten satirical Twitter feeds. By "satirical," Time is referring to an intentionally faux feeds that seeks to poke fun at its subject. Topping the list is British Petroleum's fake public relations feed, which notably has five times as many followers as BP's official, verified Twitter account. [I'm sure it will only gain in popularity with this publicity.]

IsraelGlobalPR is a satirical Twitter feed critical of Israel

Tweeting the Flotilla Attack

Peter Beinart's essay "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment" in The New York Review of Books argues that most of the mainstream American Jewish organizations have abandoned liberalism on the issues of the Middle East and are responsible for a generation of young Jews who hold no connection to Israel.

Palestinian members of Hamas naval police prepare for arrival of flotilla
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