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Monday, July 28, 2014

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Free Jewish apps for iPhones, iPads

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Today an eclectic roundup of handy apps that you can download. Unless noted, they are in English and work on both iPad and iPhone. All are free.

Israel HaYom English Edition

Since it debuted five years ago, Israel HaYom has leapfrogged to become the country’s most popular newspaper. Like its hard-copy counterpart, this iPhone edition is free and includes news, commentary and photo galleries. [http://bit.ly/jewapp9]

Channel 2 News (iPad only)

If you prefer to watch the news rather than read it, then download the superb Channel 2 News app. Watch broadcasts live, when available. (Don’t forget about the time difference.) Or choose from a huge selection of on-demand reports. Even if you don’t speak Hebrew, you’ll feel like you’ve just switched on an Israeli TV. [http://bit.ly/jewapp10]

Yeshiva World News

For a window into a different kind of news, this app draws on content geared to developments in the haredi world – although I certainly saw a mix of general news when I visited.  Also, check out the “Coffee Room,” where I found fascinating discussions about “Yeshivish Hipsters,” people having difficulty finding shiduchim (matches), and some inspirational stories. [http://bit.ly/jewapp11]

Hebrew Date Converter

The High Holiday season is around the corner, and if you find yourself scrambling for the dates of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur or Sukkot, download this app. You get today’s Jewish date at a glance, as well as the Jewish and secular dates for all holidays during the upcoming year. [http://bit.ly/jewapp12]

Shadows of Shoah (iPad only)

Using striking, contemporary black-and-white photos, subtitles and a piano score, this app tells the story of five Holocaust survivors.  In 2008, New Zealanders Perry and Sheree Trotter interviewed and photographed several Holocaust survivors living in Israel. Starting with that encounter, the Trotters plan to create a comprehensive website, an audiovisual art exhibition and this free app, which will eventually include teaching plans and additional Holocaust-related material. [http://bit.ly/jewapp13]

Anne’s Amsterdam

This one is geared to visitors to Amsterdam. Rather than just retell the story of Anne Frank, this app challenges you to interact with Anne’s Amsterdam by “collecting” 30 items from various locations in the city. For example, when you click on Niersstraat 41-43 (Montessori school), you learn about Anne’s prewar days and view a short video with her childhood friend, Hanneli Goslar. [http://bit.ly/jewapp14]

For Israelis Abroad

This is a handy app designed for Israelis who venture beyond their borders. It includes general information about safety and how to conduct yourself while travelling. “Avoid political debates with strangers and keep away from demonstrations.” Also includes basic travel information about dozens of countries and facts about Jewish communities. A handy reference guide for anyone who speaks Hebrew. [http://bit.ly/jewapp15]

Kibbutz Lotan Ecological Living Guide

The kibbutz, located in the Arava Valley north of Eilat, is a well-known centre for ecotourism. Even if you aren’t planning a trip to the Negev, the kibbutz’s free app is certainly worth a download. You’ll find tips for “Thinking Ecologically,” with information about gardening, lowering your water usage, sowing seeds indoors and vermi-composting, using worms to break down organic waste. After that, you can learn about passive building design and about the community’s responsibility to the environment. [http://bit.ly/jewapp16]

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