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The Chabad.org Blog

Chabad.org Is Now on Apple TV

September 28, 2016 1:16 PM

While Jews around the world prepare to dip apples in honey on Rosh Hashanah Chabad.org has an apple of its own for people around the world to enjoy before the holiday.

For the very first time, Jewish.tv—Chabad.org’s premier video site—can be accessed and enjoyed using Apple TV.

Keeping with Chabad.org’s mandate of making Judaism accessible wherever people are, the app makes the full breadth of more than 13,000 videos on Jewish.tv accessible wherever an Apple TV can be found. Users can now relax on their couch at home and effortlessly turn their televisions into a rich source of Jewish educational and entertaining video content.

The app, released in August, takes advantage of Apple’s platform and lets users choose videos from a wide variety of genres, with specialized channels for kids, music, food, and a broad range of Torah classes and lectures.

Using the new app, there is no need to worry about stopping in the middle of a class. The app makes it easy for users to resume watching from whatever point a video was paused. The app also suggests additional video viewing based on a new “suggestions engine” built especially for this release, taking into account the user’s viewing history.

As a bonus, using the user’s location, the app provides local Shabbat times and suggests nearby events at local Chabad centers right on your Apple TV. Prior to each Jewish holiday, the app will also suggest content-related videos.

What the Shofar Teaches Us

September 23, 2016 10:06 AM

Dear Friend,

The most important part of the Rosh Hashanah service is hearing the shofar. Even if you can’t attend the entire service, be sure to hear the shofar. And if you can’t get out at all, see if your Chabad rabbi can pay you a “house call.”

What about the shofar is so central to Rosh Hashanah?

Here is a thought: In life, we may set out with the best intentions, but sometimes things don’t go as planned, and we must “right the ship” and refocus.

Back to the sounds of the shofar. We start off with tekiah (one long, smooth blast). It is followed by shevarim (three short ones) and then teruah (a series of even smaller blasts). And then comes a final tekiah.

The opening tekiah represents the beginning; everything is going smoothly. But then our journey through life gets a little bumpy—shevarim and teruah. Nevertheless, as long as we keep focused, eventually everything will return to being as smooth as the tekiah.

On Rosh Hashanah we set goals for the coming year. But then, things turn out more challenging than expected. This is the message of the shofar: hang in there, it might be a bumpy ride, but if you stay focused you will succeed, and even more.

May you have a happy, healthy, and sweet new year!

Eliezer Zalmanov,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial team

My Hero

September 20, 2016 1:55 PM

Dear Friend,

He inspired me. He grew up in Israel to parents who both came of age on secular kibbutzim. To him, Rosh Hashanah had always been a day to go to the beach. Then, with the help of a Chabad rabbi, he rediscovered Judaism and began learning more and more.

“I loved the study but still didn’t like praying; it bored me,” he said. “Then I moved to a very small Jewish community, and they needed me to be the 10th man for the minyan (public prayer quorum), so I had no choice. I needed to pray. Now I’ve learned to like praying as well.”

Rosh Hashanah is approaching. I suspect that many people secretly (or not so secretly) feel bored during services. Like my hero, we can all learn to love the prayers. The simplest course of action is to: (a) learn what they mean; and then (b) invest ourselves into the prayers as we say them.

So what are you waiting for? Open your machzor, go online, call your rabbi. Do whatever you need to do and get yourself in tip-top shape for Rosh Hashanah.

Menachem Posner,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial team

P.S.: Do you have any tips for making prayer services relevant, fresh and engaging? Please share them in the comments section.

Shofar for All

September 14, 2016 9:11 AM

Dear Friend,

Time is moving fast, and there are less than three weeks to Rosh Hashanah. Rabbis are practicing their sermons, cantors are perfecting their melodies, and homemakers are already cooking and freezing holiday favorites.

Do you know someone who isn’t yet set with a place for Rosh Hashanah services? Please give her a call, and offer to take her with you. Do you know someone who does not have a family or close friends to join for a Rosh Hashanah meal? Please reach out, and invite him to your festive meal.

And if you are currently in need of a place, please don’t be shy. Get in touch with your closest Chabad representatives. We are a loving, extended Jewish family, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how comfortable you’ll feel among your fellow Jews—even those you’ve never met before.

We read in the daily prayers, “Bless us, our Father, all of us together.” When we stand united, we are assured a year of peace, security, spiritual inspiration, and prosperity for all.

Amen. May it be so.

The Chabad.org Editorial Team
P.S.: Have you ever spent Rosh Hashanah as a guest of a family you did not know? How did it go? Please share your experiences in the comment section.

Get Ahead of the Times With the Chabad.org ‘Hayom’ App

September 13, 2016 11:44 AM

In the month of Elul, the preparatory month before Rosh Hashanah, it is a Jewish tradition to undergo a personal stock-taking of how we’ve used our time.

“Hayom,” one of the latest in a suite of apps by Chabad.org, is the perfect companion for time-conscious users. “Hayom” (literally, “today” in Hebrew) focuses on delivering relevant content tailored to the user’s location and the time of day.

Using an intuitive “deck of cards” design, “Hayom” allows users to quickly find the information or topic of Jewish study they want, while simply swiping away others when complete.

For example, “Hayom” focuses on enabling personal, customized Torah study. The user is able to study relevant daily Torah texts and videos, swiping them away when finished, leaving only those not yet completed on the screen.

Using the phone’s location, “Hayom” can show an ever-expanding list of upcoming Jewish events at nearby Chabad-Lubavitch centers.

Of particular interest is the ability to sync Hayom with the Chabad.org calendar. Once logged in, the app can give reminders before personal events, yahrtzeits and birthdays—all based on the Jewish calendar.

Other features include the ability to track Shabbat candle-lighting and halachic times for locations around the world. These times can be programmed as an alert—be it 30 minutes before the start of Shabbat or a week before a yahrtzeit. They can also be shared with family and friends using built-in social sharing features, allowing users to let people around the world know relevant times and events on the Jewish calendar.

“Hayom” also has an accompanying app for the Apple Watch.

Hayom” is available for Android and iOS, and was made available free of charge by the generous partnership of Dovid and Malkie Smetana, Alan and Lori Zekelman, the Meromim Fund, and Moris and Lillian Tabacinic.

Where Were You on 9/11?

September 6, 2016 5:17 PM

Dear Friend,

For my grandparents’ generation, it was Dec. 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor); for my parents’ generation, it was Nov. 22, 1963 (the assassination of JFK); and for my generation, it was Sept. 11, 2001.

Ask anyone, and they can probably tell you where they were and what they were doing when the heard the news. (I was in yeshivah in Brooklyn, having just studied a challenging chassidic text, and was able to see the burning towers from the windows of the study hall.)

It was a painful and shocking moment, never to be forgotten.

I remember that afternoon. The streets were eerily still, and people stood outside in small groups. Police officers, men in do-rags and yeshivah students shared wild rumors and projections, bound by a common fear of the unknown. In other neighborhoods, people set up free refreshment stands for those trekking home from Manhattan.

We were all under attack together, and we felt it.

With time, the unity, patriotism and pride that we felt on that day dissipated. The radio turned back to its regular programming, Wall Street reopened, and life continued as usual.

Let us honor the lives of the 2,977 victims by recreating the oneness that resulted from that tragic day. Reach out in friendship, and the world will become a better place.

Menachem Posner,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial team

P.S.: We are now in the introspective month of Elul. What Elul message do you take from the events of 9/11?

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