October 2008

Top Stories
• Sinister Ad Campaign
• Iron Wall That Was
• Moderate Muslim?
• McCain's Falsehood
• NOW Endorses Obama
• Fear and Loathing
• Letters to the Editor

In Their Own Words
• Sarah Palin
• Joe Biden
• Dennis Ross

Media Watch Post
• A Media Test

• Great Schlep

• Driving Miss Daisy

Raising A Mensch
• Protect your Children

Living Judaism
• Siddur for IPhone
• Kosher Debackle

Teen Voice
• At The Wheel & Beside

The Kosher Table
• An Easy Fast

Click for www.electoral-vote.com

Free Subscription

Past Issues


    Email This     About     Subscription     Donate     Contact     Links     Archives  

The Siddur and Zmanim for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Living Judaism

Siddur & Zmanim for iPhone/iPod Touch

-- Gabrielle Loeb

Your iPhone won't actually daven for you, but the iPhone Siddur is the next best thing. Not only does this new application include all the prayers, from Shacharis to Maariv, but it has every prayer in three different nusachs: Ashkenaz, Sfrard and Sefarad Mizrachi. With the iPhone 3G Siddur application, davening three times a day is made simple with enlargeable text and your choice of font. Although we may still be far off from having a synagogue where all pray into their phones as they shuckle, this new tool can still come in handy especially for travelers and mourners.

For those who travel often and carry their prayerbooks wherever they go, it is a convenience not only to reduce baggage weight, but also to find out the prayer times at the current location. The Zmanim feature of the Siddur application allows users to enter a location or use the current location detected by the GPS (Global Positioning System) built into the iPhone. Once entered, a list appears with the specific times for each tfila, for sunrise and sunset. Want to start early? "In order to say early Maariv or make early Shabbos," the iPhone explains as you tap the "Plag HaMincha" button on the list, "one must daven Mincha before this time." With this iPhone application, there are no longer any excuses for missing a tfila.

A whole new way to daven

Not only does the iPhone provide prayer times for every location, it also provides prayer locations for every time of day. The minyanim tab lists every orthodox minyan within 40 miles of the iPhone's current location. Each minyan's meeting times are listed, along with its website, its address, and its Rabbi's phone number and email address. All of which can be accessed directly from the iPhone using its GPS, phone service, web surfing, and email server. Mourners can now easily locate the nearest minyan and fulfill their duty of saying kaddish three times a day.

In addition to minyanim, the iPhone application also includes a Luach, or Jewish Calendar, allowing users to look up any date on the secular calendar and immediately convert it to the Jewish date or visa-versa. Also included are all of the Jewish holidays and parshiot, allowing users to plan ahead of time to future parshiot, or find out the date of a yarzeit or bar-mitzvah.

Although the iPhone Siddur application's fifth version includes many useful features for the comparatively low price of $10.00, many users would still like many features added. Above all, the top demand among users is an English translation and transliteration of the Hebrew text. "While I'd like to improve my davening skills," an anonymous user explains, "it's not entirely practical to take all day trying to wade through all the prayers."er themselves Orthodox, and the Siddur application fails to address the other 90% of Jews who may prefer to pray in a synagogue of their denomination. By listing only Orthodox minyanim, the Siddur application ignores the other branches of Judaism; however, this dilemna may perhaps be addressed in a future version of the appplication.

Despite the iPhone siddur application's lack of English and exclusively Orthodox minyanim, it certainly remains a great tool, and is continually being improved. Plans for future editions include Siddur bookmarks, Chabad nusach, and a mizrach compass to point to the direction one should pray. The first version, published on July 25, 2008, did not even include the minyanim database. Less than two months later, on September 16. the 6th version was published with far more features than before. At this pace, the coming features will arrive in the very near future. For more information about the Siddur and Zmanim for the iPhone and iPod Touch, visit their website or contact siddur@rustybrick.com

To view previous editions of "Living Judaism", please click here.

Did you enjoy this article?

If so,

  • share it with your friends so they do not miss out on this article,
  • subscribe (free), so you do not miss out on the next issue,
  • donate (not quite free but greatly appreciated) to enable us to continue providing this free service.

If not,