Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Best Jewish Apps

What's on my phone right now?  I always love the coolness of combining technology with religiosity.  So fun.  So I decided to share with y'all which Jewish apps are currently hanging out on my phone:

1. Zmanim

This literally means "times."  In Judaism, the exact minute of sunrise and sunset are very important, as well as many points in between (like their midpoint).  Why?  There are certain times of day designated for certain prayers.  When Shabbat and holidays start and end.  When ANY day starts and ends.  Like if you need to figure out which is the 8th day for a bris.  So this app detects your location and offers you all the important times:  sunrise, till when you can do the morning prayers, midday, the earliest time you can do the afternoon prayers, sunset, nightfall, and mid-night (not to be confused with 12:00 am).

You can also change the date or location, like if you want to know when Shabbat will begin in four months (like for people who plan Shabbatons, ahem) or if you'll be traveling and want to know if you can still catch a minyan at your destination.

2. Siddur

This is a prayerbook app.  The free one is Hebrew only (yup, that's what I've got - I'm cheap, but for a small fee you can download one with English) and has bookmarks for the morning blessings, the Shema, the Amidah, the afternoon prayers (mincha), the evening prayers (maariv), "bentching" - Grace After Meals, the travelers' prayer, and more.  It's perfect for when I'm on the go, but, like many anti-Kindle peeps, I feel it's just not the same.  Also quite distracting when an email or call comes in while I'm supposed to be concentrating on the Lord.  But there's a concept in Judaism of looking at the words while you pray - even if you know it by heart.  Or maybe especially if you do.  Because it helps you concentrate, while you might be tempted to rattle it off by rote.  So this is great in a pinch.

3. Tehillim

This is the Book of Psalms.  Yeah, in an app.  Oxymoron?  Nah.  Jewish tradition has us turning to this book to pray for assistance or gratitude in any circumstance.  I confess, I've never used it.  I always revert to whispering the ones I know by heart.  But it's very cool and has fun bookmarks.  Also, it makes me feel good just by being on my phone.

4. Calendar converter

This is a totally fun app that gives you the Hebrew dates for English and vice versa.  Very handy for choosing bar and bat mitzvah dates for our Sunday school kids.

5. Google calendar: Jewish holidays

This isn't really an app, but did you know you could download the Jewish calendar into your google calendar?  Then all the Jewish holidays appear instantly, including Rosh Chodesh (first day of  the new Jewish month), and, if you'd like, the various Torah portions each week.  You can even choose your dialect for Hebrew (like Shabbos or Shabbat).  Very useful for making sure you don't schedule an event on the first night of Passover or something like that.

6.  Avot

This is all six chapters of Pirkei Avot - the Ethics of the Fathers.  I'm teaching it in a class, and it's perfect for checking quickly what we're up to or reviewing before class.

7. Kol Halashon

Just downloaded this last week and I've already used it a bunch of times.  It's for the more experienced learner, and basically it takes what is already a telephone learning service and offers it in app form.  It's an extensive and organized collection of Torah lectures by today's most popular lecturers.  You can choose parsha, mishna, Talmud, Jewish law, character improvement.  You can choose Hebrew, English, Yiddish and other languages.  I've bookmarked my four favorite lecturers.  You can either download the lectures or just play them, so it's great for travel.  Eats up quite a bit of memory, but for me, totally worth it.

Which Jewish apps are hanging out on your phone?


  1. I don't have a smartphone so no apps at the moment, but if I did I know I'd want to get some of the apps you describe. Great list!

  2. Good start. For more, incl. Talmud, Mishnah, Zohar, apps for Chagim, Shulchan Aruch, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and app with much more Sifrei Kodesh visit Happy iHanukkah :-).

  3. I have a CRC app (I have an iPhone) that has the full CRC product list. It also keeps me updated on what things have had hechshers removed, a list of acceptable hechshers in the Chicago community (it helps me here b/c most people here accept CRC's rulings and CLE Kosher doesn't have any useful info on their site. and by "most people" i mean my bro & SIL ;-) It helps me make sure everything I give their kids is acceptable.)

    Hebrew translation app

    Jewish CLE

    Parasha To Go

    Pocket Siddur (every nusach)


    I have HebCal integrated into my iPhone and MacBook calendar w/candle lighting & havdalah times, weekly parasha, if it's a special shabbat like HaGadol, etc, holidays, what have you.

    "Kosher" - restaurant/grocery/butcher database for every major city in the world. really. it rocks.

  4. Ok Ruchi. You dangled the bait and I'm taking it. I won't tell you all the Jewish apps I have, but here are some of them.

    No Chametz! has halachos, option to sell your chametz and a candle and feather that turns the light on your phone to go searching.

    Noisemaker has all different sounds to choose from to play when you hear Haman's name on Purim.

    Shabbat Shalom has candlelighting times for upcoming Shabbos,with the Hebrew date, parsha name and Havdalah times (8.5 deg) and (R'Tam)as well as next week's parsha and candlelighhting time.

    Say a Blessing shows a placemat with different foods, fish, apple, greens, roll, cookie, etc. You press on the food and the blessing is said in Hebrew with time for you to repeat after each word and then translates the brocha out loud.

    CRC Kosher has lists of beverages, foods, fruit and veggie washing guide, liquor, slurpees (has its own category, btw. Ruchi please blog ab the Slurpee. What's up wit dat?) and the list for all these foods is extensive.

    The Kotel allows you to write a note or send a video and someone will put your note in the wall. It's the Western Wall Heritage Foundation's app.

    ParvOMeter reminds you if you are Meat or Dairy and when you can eat the other. You just press meat (which has settings for different lengths of time depending on how long you abstain)and the countdown begins and ends with an alarm.

    Mezuzah has a picture and you can tap it to read the parchment. It's a joke to hold up to a Jew's doorframe (without a mezuzah) and you can touch it and kiss it.

    Jewish Cleve tells you what's going on in our community and there's articles too.

    Hebrew Next are flashcards to teach you to read Hebrew. Quite fittingly, the flash card i just read said, "Etmol haya mabul." Yesterday it was pouring.

  5. btw "Kosher" app is free - add supported, so if you want to remove the apps you can purchase an add-free version.

  6. actually i think most of the apps i posted are free.

  7. I also love my CRC app, and although it's not an app, I have the website bookmarked so it looks like an app- it has an alphabetical listing of all foods, and the appropriate bracha rishona and achrona (the after-prayer) for it. I love that one- it has saved me many times!!

  8. I use my tehillim app all the time! Whether it's sitting and waiting at carpool, between patients at work, whatever downtime I have it's a great one to have. Another good one is the Elist, which is the entire Cleveland phone directory.

  9. I am downloading a bunch of these now! Great tip about the holidays


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