Jewish Techs

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

Yenta Helps Single Jews Find Each Other Through GPS

When I received an email from Luba Tolkachyov, the co-founder of a new Jewish singles app, I was intrigued. Luba wrote, “I’ve been following your writing on Jewish Tech and thought you may be interested in Yenta, a new location based mobile phone application for Jewish singles.”

Like a virtual matchmaker, the Yenta mobile app locates like-minded Jewish singles in a crowded room.

Apple’s Jerusalem Problem

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, an influential ultra-Orthodox rabbi, says it is forbidden for religious Jews to own an iPhone and has instructed his followers to burn the device if they own one. It’s not that Kanievsky sides with Android in the smartphone war, but that he’s concerned about what observant Jews will see with such a device. Burning ones iPhone seems a drastic measure, but Kanievsky wasn’t the only Jewish leader with angst against Apple’s iPhone this week.

While Google Maps lists Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Apple's new operating system omits it.

Texting on Rosh Hashanah

There was undoubtedly more texting in shul this Rosh Hashanah than in past years. In most liberal congregations, texting was likely done as discreetly as possible, often with a cellphone hidden low in one's lap. In some congregations it might have been more overtly outside in the lobby or perhaps outside the synagogue building.

Is it tactful to text during Rosh Hashanah services?

Summer Camp Online Photos

Like many parents I was concerned that my son wasn’t getting enough sleep while he was away at sleep-away camp. As it turns out, it was my wife’s lack of sleep that posed a bigger concern. Each night beginning around 11:30 she would sit anxiously in front of the computer screen scanning each new photograph as it was uploaded from the camp. It was a slow process that lasted well into the wee hours.

Just because summer camps have the technology to post daily photos for neurotic parents doesn't mean they should.

Checking Your E-Mule on a Donkey In Israel

Back in December 2004, I wrote about my technology experience at the Mamshit Camel Ranch, a Bedouin village in Israel. I explained how funny it was to be at a Bedouin village that appeared to be authentically rustic to the Birthright Israel participants I was chaperoning, but behind-the-scenes the place was equipped with the latest technology.

Tourists at Kfar Kedem in Israel will now have WiFi access while riding donkeys

Technology vs. Shabbat: An Interview with Rabbi Daniel Nevins

E-books became the dominant format for adult fiction in 2011 surpassing hardcover books and paperbacks according to the BookStats annual survey. We are increasingly choosing to read our novels, magazine, newspapers and even children’s books on e-readers and tablets. But is it permissible to do this on the one day of the week that Judaism commands us to unplug?

Rabbi Daniel Nevins answers questions concerning the use of technology on Shabbat.

Fielding Jewish Legal Questions by Text Message

Like many rabbis, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner receives many requests for religious advice. A hundred years ago, Jewish people would put pencil to paper and send off their question to the rabbi and then await a response. At the end of the last century, email inquires became popular. Today, it’s not uncommon for rabbis to receive text messages from their congregants asking them to render a decision.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner will respond to hundreds of text message inquiries a day.

New Tanach App for Android Has All the Bells and Whistles

Spreading the Social for Nonprofits

Making a substantial donation to your favorite nonprofit organization is great, but not everyone is in a position to write a big check to the local food pantry, JCC, synagogue or homeless shelter. There are other ways to support the important mission of these organizations. In the 21st century, individuals who use social media to help promote the services provided by nonprofits are helping these institutions in big ways. When a layperson shares the good works of local nonprofits, it is as if that individual works for the nonprofit.

Using social media to help your favorite nonprofit is the new philanthropy

Ultra-Orthodox are Correct About the Dangers of the Internet

When I first heard that a rally was planned for Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews to protest the Internet, I didn’t think it would attract much attention. After all, the Internet has long been under attack in Haredi communities and their rabbinic leaders have forbidden it in the past.

Haredim filled Citi Field in New York to learn about the dangers of the Internet
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