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.
What follows is a roundup (in no particular order) of the top Jewish-themed apps from the past year. This is far from an exhaustive list as there are hundreds of other Jewish apps available, including Jewish and Israeli newspaper versions, apps that let you donate to particular charities, a Gematria (Jewish numerology) calculator, and a guide for keeping kosher at Disney World. Check out www.jewishiphonecommunity.org for a comprehensive listing of Jewish apps as they are released.
POCKET iSIDDUR – Free: This free iPod and iPhone version of the prayerbook comes with every version imaginable, from Sephardic to Ashkenazic. The new version has adjustable font size. iPad version also available. Available from Apple’s iTunes App Store.
SIDDUR – $9.99: RustyBrick’s version of the siddur for Apple’s mobile devices is expensive, but impressive. Comes with real-time zmanim (prayer times) for each day based on your location. Available from Apple’s iTunes App Store.
iPARASHAH – $4.99: Created by JACA Software Solutions, this app gives you the weekly Torah portions in the palm of your hand. Search for any parsha by name or date with this app. Available from Apple’s iTunes App Store.
TANACH FOR ALL – $3.99: Get the whole Jewish Bible on your iPhone, iPod or iPad. Developed by Yaniv Kalsky, the latest version includes Parshat Hashavuah and an onscreen Hebrew keyboard. Available from Apple’s iTunes App Store.
MILA-4-PHONE – Free: Learn basic Hebrew on your iPod thanks to Birthright Israel NEXT, which just released this free Hebrew word flashcard app. Developed by Rusty Brick, this free app makes building up a Hebrew vocabulary quick and easy. Available from Apple’s iTunes App Store.
TEFILAT HADERECH FOR ALL – $0.99: Another app by Yaniv Kalsky. This provides the English and Hebrew version of the traveler’s prayer for travel by air, sea, and long car trips. Available from Apple’s iTunes App Store.
iBLESSING – $0.99: Not sure which blessing goes with which food? This app will remind you which blessing to say. If you’re Hebrew reading isn’t very good, just listen to the app say the blessing in Hebrew or English. Available from Apple’s iTunes App Store.
iZKOR – $0.99: This app provides the text for the mourning rituals in Judaism that are said in all prayer services as well as at funerals and memorial services. Just input the name of the deceased and it will generate the memorial prayer for the individual.All of the following are available from Apple’s iTunes App Store.
KOSHER – $4.99: Find the nearest kosher restaurant from the exhaustive Shamash.org database with over 2,000 trusted restaurants to choose from.
TEHILLIM – $1.99: The entire book of Psalms with linear translation.
iTALMUD – $24.99: CrownRoad developed this expensive English translation of the Talmud complete with thousands of footnotes, references and insights. You certainly get what you pay for.
PIRKEI AVOT – Free: The teachings of Pirkei Avot, the ethics of the sages, available in Hebrew and translated into English, Spanish and Portuguese.
KITZUR SHULCHAN ARUKH – $14.99: The entire Jewish legal code laid out in a beautiful format. Developed by RustyBrick, this app allows for quick keyword searches for specific laws and bookmarks to save texts for later.
HEBREW/ENGLISH TRANSLATOR – Free: RustyBrick’s dictionary is easy to use and accurate. For a free Hebrew-English dictionary, you can’t do better. Great onscreen keyboard and copy/paste functionality.
HEBREW CALENDAR – $4.99: Functions just like iCal, but with the luach (Jewish calendar) including all Jewish holidays, z’manim (special times for prayer including sunrise and sunset), event-setting feature, and easy switching between Hebrew and Gregorian calendars. Easy to read fonts on all screens.
KOSHER COOKBOOK – $2.99: Choose meat, dairy, or parve meals and this app guides you to the perfect recipe. Also develops the shopping list for each recipe and allows you to email the shopping list to others. Available from jewishsoftware.com:
JASTROW DICTIONARY – $14.99: The complete Talmud dictionary with over 120,000 entries and bi-directional Hebrew-English and Aramaic-English references.Available from jewishsoftware.com
Available from Apple’s iTunes App Store:
iMENORAH – $2.99: Developed by Matthew Parrot, this virtual menorah lets you light candles with the touch of the screen and then watch them burn down on each night of the holiday. Perfect for small children and dorm rooms where lighting candles is not allowed.
@THE KOTEL – $1.99: This app lets you put a kvittel (note) in the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem. Developed by Yoram Berkowicz, this app allows for note writing in several languages.
SHABBAT CANDLES – $0.99: Light Shabbat candles virtually every Friday night from anywhere. Great app for the business traveler who might not be able to actually light the Sabbath candles.
LULAV WIZARD – $0.99: Download this app to virtually shake the lulav and etrog in a realistic 3D motion with the blessings appearing on the screen.
PARVEOMETER – Free: Press the meat or dairy button after your meal and this app will count down for you. You can set it to your own custom for the dairy countdown after a meat meal so you won’t miss a minute of being able to eat your ice-cream.
KAPAROT – Free: The folks at PETA would be thrilled to see the custom of waving a chicken above ones head solely done virtually before Yom Kippur, but this app only provides the blessings for the ritual. It should be noted that a sack of money can be used in lieu of the animal.
GROGGER – $0.99: If you forget to bring your noisemaker to synagogue on Purim, don’t worry and just download this app. Developed by Stuart Rubin, this app makes enough grogger sound effects to impress the whole congregation and drown out the name of the wicked Haman.
iPRAY JEWISH FOR ANDROID – Free: Siddur developed by Envision Mobile for the Android. Available from www.androidzoom.com
HEBREW SONGS – $0.99: While this app doesn’t actually play famous Hebrew songs, it is great for learning the lyrics, and figuring out the source for various songs and which holiday they’re associated with. Available from www.appstorehq.com.
DAF YOMI – Free: Learn Talmud on the go with this daily page of the Oral Law for the Android. Available from www.apppstorehq.com
JEWISH RECIPES – $0.99: Developed by Brighthouse Labs, this recipe app contains the most extensive list of Jewish-themed recipes in existence. Available from www.appbrain.com/app/com.brighthouselabsjewishrecipe
JBLESSINGS – $0.99: The Android version to determine which blessings to say before and after various types of food. Available fromwww.appstorehq.com.
HEBREW CALENDAR WIDGET – Free: Full Hebrew calendar including Jewish holidays and z’manim for the Android homepage. Available athttp://sites.google.com/site/androidhcal/
PRAYER DIRECTION – Free: Find the right direction for your prayer. Jews in North America traditionally face east in prayer. Available from www.appstorehq.com
ANDDAAVEN – Free: AndDaaven strives to be a siddur application that is easy to use, and leverages the full capabilities of the Android platform.http://code.google.com/p/anddaaven/
LUACH HEBREW CALENDAR FOR ANDROID – $1.99: Most complete Jewish calendar program for the Android powered smartphones. Available at www.androidzoom.com.