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Right on Time: First Jewish App Released for New Apple Watch

Right on Time: First Jewish App Released for New Apple Watch

One hot technology product will go with another, making the watch more useful for Jewish wearers

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A much-anticipated Jewish app for the new Apple Watch was released on Wednesday night by Chabad.org’s app team, the first of its kind. (Concept Image)
A much-anticipated Jewish app for the new Apple Watch was released on Wednesday night by Chabad.org’s app team, the first of its kind. (Concept Image)

Watch out! Watch this! Many clever lines will draw attention to the novelty of the upcoming Apple Watch, but right now, all eyes can turn to the first Jewish app for the new gadget, which will make the technology even handier for many users.

Released on Wednesday night, a much-anticipated Jewish app for the watch was launched by Chabad.org’s app team, bringing together the 3,000-year-old Jewish calendar with the hottest new item in technology these days: wearables.

The first of its kind, the “Hayom” app (Hebrew for the word “today”) for the Apple Watch harnesses Apple’s latest product with Chabad.org’s extensive Torah knowledge. The amalgam of the two was a natural. After all, the observance of Judaism’s rituals revolves heavily around precise adherence to the clock: Make a blessing at this time, say a prayer at this time, stop working at this time and so forth.

The new app tells time according to Jewish law, known as “halachic time,” which is governed by the movement of the sun. It also displays Hebrew dates, which are determined by a complex synthesis of the solar and lunar cycles.

“The watch app reveals only some of the strategic planning that went into Chabad.org’s existing ‘Hayom’ app and other products,” explains Chabad.org’s lead app developer Dov Dukes. “We’re prepared for the latest developments in technology, including for wearables. Our app allows you to glance at your wrist and let you know right away what date it is on the Jewish calendar, and how much more time there is until the next halachic phase of the day.”

The new watch app works according to Jewish law, known as “halachic time.”
The new watch app works according to Jewish law, known as “halachic time.”

The screen will also inform them, for example, of how many more minutes remain for reciting the morning prayers, and offers the added bonus of inspirational Jewish quotes.

“The possibilities in app development for Jewish audiences keep expanding,” says Chabad.org’s managing director, Rabbi Meir Simcha Kogan, “and this step into wearable technology—to enable and assist with Jewish education and observance—is another important advance.”

More Applications in the Works

To make it all more personal, a greeting appears on the screen according to the time of day.
To make it all more personal, a greeting appears on the screen according to the time of day.

The Chabad.org app team is analyzing further applications for the Apple Watch and other wearables, such as an alert notifying a nearby Jewish event, center, synagogue or services taking place in real time.

Other features of the Jewish app being considered include detecting when the wearer is strapping on tefillin and instantly pulling up the appropriate prayers on his smartphone; reminders to remove the watch in advance of Shabbat and Jewish holidays; and help tracking a user’s waiting time between eating meat and dairy meals.

The “Hayom” watch extension joins Chabad.org’s Jewish Apps Suite in strategically leveraging Chabad.org’s content and know-how to make Jewish information and observance accessible on other platforms.

Users of Chabad.org's Jewish watch app will get the added bonus of inspirational quotes.
Users of Chabad.org's Jewish watch app will get the added bonus of inspirational quotes.

The most recent offering, the “Omer Counter,” which was released earlier this month before Passover, has already been used 225,000 times in less than 20 days of Omer-counting—an impressive demonstration of the app’s widespread appeal.

Like the “Omer Counter,” the watch extension was made possible through the generosity of a group of funders. The drive, vision for and underwriting of the apps, which are available free of charge, come from the generous partnership of Dovid and Malkie Smetana, Alan and Lori Zekelman, the Meromim Fund, and Moris and Lillian Tabacinic—all dedicated to spreading the wisdom and practice of Judaism worldwide.

The watch app joins the “Hayom” app, the “Passover Assistant,” the “Jewish.tv” video app, the “Shabbat Times” app, a JewishKids.org app for children, the “Omer Counter” and others—all designed to help bring Jewish wisdom and tools to the fingertips of users. Additional apps are in the planning and developmental stages by an international Chabad.org team.

The new Jewish app will make wearables even more handy for many users. (Concept Image)
The new Jewish app will make wearables even more handy for many users. (Concept Image)
The “Hayom” watch extension joins Chabad.org’s Jewish Apps Suite in leveraging Chabad.org’s content and know-how to make Jewish information and observance accessible on other platforms. (Concept Image)
The “Hayom” watch extension joins Chabad.org’s Jewish Apps Suite in leveraging Chabad.org’s content and know-how to make Jewish information and observance accessible on other platforms. (Concept Image)


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Anonymous Aventura September 6, 2016

Please make halachic times for Android & Android Wear. A zmanim widget on my android would be great. Also on Android watches. Reply

Sam Leon April 27, 2015

You see, innovations like this only serve to encourage the use of modern technologies for divine purposes. I'm an Android user myself, and I've downloaded all of Chabad's apps, except for mymobilemikvah. Reply

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