Is your Yiddish rusty? Want to whip up a kosher culinary masterpiece? Trying to remember which prayer to say as you cast off your sins on Rosh Hashanah? Don’t worry—there’s an app for it!
Ever wonder when it’s OK to toss out an “oy”? The opportunities, it seems, are endless. The Oy! app for iPhones and iPads provides five recorded variations on the go-to favorite for moments when no other expression of dismay will work. Does the situation call for a full-blown “oy gevalt”? Done. Need a classic “oy vey”? No problem. The app even covers that perennial favorite, “oy yoy yoy.”
The makers of Jewish Mother have remedied the logistical difficulties of constant maternal accompaniment: In lieu of an actual mother, a virtual version programmed with more than 100 phrases follows users. “Happy Chanukah, bubbeleh,” she might say. “Of course, I’d be happier if you had kids.” The digi-mom even spouts out phrases based on gender and marital status.
Gematria, part of kabbalistic thought, assigns a numerical value to each of the Hebrew alphabet’s 22 letters, used to decode deeper meanings in Hebrew words and phrases. For those unable to perform such complex calculations in their heads, the Gematria Calculator determines the numerical values of phrases in Jewish texts, making the trajectory to spiritual reward a little less mathematically onerous.
Jewish Temple Jigsaw
Re-jigger this app’s puzzle pieces to form the Holy Temple, known in Hebrew as the Beit HaMikdash. Those who solve the puzzle are rewarded — the screen flashes: “You built a Beis Hamikdash!” Not even King David could say that.
Tashlich, the Rosh Hashanah ceremony in which pieces of bread symbolizing sins are cast into a body of running water, has gone high-tech. This handy app explains the ritual and provides audio of the main prayer in both English and Hebrew, as well as the Hebrew text of the three primary blessings. It also prompts reflection on possible modern sins, such as, “Have you used other people’s unsecured wireless Internet?”
Sure, that photo of you at cousin Jake’s wedding looks nice, but does it need a little Jewish je ne sais quoi? Jew Booth is here to help. Take any photo and make it distinctly Jewish by adding a kippah, a Star of David necklace or other Jewish accoutrements. Your Facebook friends will think you’ve undergone a religious transformation when they see photos of you wearing a black fedora. Whether or not you clue them in to Jew Booth’s photographic trickery is up to you.
Yiddish Slang Dictionary
The next time you’re at a party and someone calls you a shlemiel when you spill your soda, whip out the Yiddish Slang Dictionary on your smartphone for an appropriate retort. Thanks to this app, Yiddish experts and neophytes alike can parse the language’s rich rhetorical epithets. The dictionary includes common words (schlep, mensch) along with more obscure bon mots such as tummler and schmutter.
The Amazing Jewish-Fact-a-Day Calendar
Can you name the play into which Shakespeare slipped some Hebrew? What do you know about the Talmud’s seemingly prophetic stance on airplanes? This app informs users about important historical events that occurred on that date, fascinating religious practices and famous figures. Learn about everything from Louis Armstrong’s early job working for a Jewish family to historic disagreements between Hillel and Shammai.
Before World War II, as many as 250,000 Jews lived in Budapest, filling the Hungarian capital’s 125 synagogues. When they weren’t praying, they were cooking up a treasure trove of culinary treats, such as rakott krumpli (potato casserole), paprikas csirke (chicken paprikas) and gomboc (dumplings). Those longing for a taste of Hungary’s Jewish heritage can download this app, which features 120 kosher Hungarian recipes and the tales of how they came to be.
Thumb twiddlers on subways and in office meetings can now brush up on their Jewish symbols while passing the time: A new version of the popular logic game Sudoku, usually played with numbers, features images such as the shofar, the Star of David and Hebrew letters. Just make sure to follow the cardinal rule of the game: no more than one menorah in each three-by-three box.
(This article originally appeared in Moment Magazine, momentmag.com.)