Friday, November 07, 2008

Prayer Box (as opposed to Prayer Book)

'The JewBerry': Praying every day on the PDA


Thousands of observant Jews around the world are praying three times a day - using their PDA.

A software program for BlackBerries combines Hebrew prayers and technology, the brainchild of two entrepreneurs who attended New York's Yeshiva University. They dubbed it "the JewBerry" - a $30 program that provides texts of daily prayers instead of the traditional, printed book. The program is not linked to Research in Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry.

"Throughout the day, Jews gather in office-building stairwells and conference rooms to pray, and while sometimes you might not remember your prayer book, no one goes anywhere without their BlackBerry," says co-creator Jonathan Bennett of Cedarhurst, Long Island. Among JewBerry users is the president of Yeshiva University, Richard Joel. "I love it, because now I can not only look how the market is doing, but I can also say my evening prayers," he says, adding that "at the heart of what Yeshiva is about is the notion that it's not our technology that informs civilization; it's our values."

1 comment:

Carmi said...

Considering how much of my life is devoted to the BlackBerry - I use one, and I comment extensively on the technology and on the company - I felt a little shudder down to the base of my spine when I read this.

I guess anything that facilitates tefilah is a good thing. But it's still just different enough to raise my eyebrows. Sort of like the observant gentleman I observed at a hospital 11 years ago yakking on a cell phone. It seemed so incongruous that I asked him if he'd mind my taking his picture. He laughed and happily agreed.

Today, such a scene is commonplace, the different-appeal of such a picture diminished. Maybe one day BlackBerry-siddurim will be just as mainstream.

Next up, iJewPhone, I guess.