A year ago, I decided to take action on an epiphany that led me to the creation of a Jewish app. My journey through building Shalomoji enabled me to feel deeply connected to my Jewish identity. I grew a stronger appreciation for my Jewish faith as I continued to learn more about other Jewish brands who had also dedicated their businesses to positively serve the Jewish community.

In celebration of the New Year, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate Jewish startups who are changing the way that Jews around the world connect, communicate, and embrace one another. Here are 5 Jewish Brands to look out for in 2018.

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1) Shalom




(Source: iTunes App Store Preview)

There is an abundance of Jewish dating apps in the market right now. But, the October 2017 launch of Shalom by two Sikh entrepreneurs KJ Dhaliwal and Sukhmeet Toor, shines brightly in the dating app business. Why? Shalom’s algorithm is set up to account for both behavioral data, such as how users have interacted with others on the app to find a match, and external data, like a user’s social media profiles. It is Shalom’s incorporation of advanced technology that results in a significantly higher chance of matching with someone you would end up marrying one day.

The duo has already garnered massive success utilizing a similar algorithm for Dil Mil, a dating app targeting the South Asian community. “We're the first AI-based matchmaking company focused on vertical markets, and our technology and product experience really sets us apart from the crowd, we're already doing 1 marriage per day on Dil Mil and hope to do the same on Shalom soon,” says KJ Dhaliwal, CEO of Shalom.

“I believe the future of online dating is moving towards apps focused on high-affinity communities where people know what they want and will join these apps based on things such as religion, ethnicity, interests, hobbies, etc,” says Dhaliwal. "Shalom was started to help people in the Jewish community find their life partners, as we saw many similarities between the Jewish and South Asian communities, such as values around family and marriage,” Dhaliwal explains. 

In addition to Facebook sign-in to validate the authenticity of users, Shalom also gives users the optional feature to integrate both their LinkedIn and Instagram accounts in their profiles, to help establish a better picture of professional standing and social background. 

Another exciting twist that sets Shalom apart from its competitors is the option of using the app via Facebook messenger, which allows users to chat with a bot that asks questions and suggests possible matches. “The FB Bot is another channel we can reach users by notifying them when they have activity on their Shalom account or letting them try out the Shalom platform without the friction of downloading an app” says Dhaliwal.

Shalom even offers a premium version, where users pay $19.99 per month to receive VIP access. Users with VIP access have the opportunity to enjoy a plethora of features ranging from unlimited likes, reset dislikes, viewing mutual friends with others, sending notes to potential matches, and rewinding where you can change your past decision.

When downloading Shalom, be ready to land an extra special treat - your potential basheret.


2) Unkosher Market



(Source: Unkosher Market Site)


If you’re searching for a funny and chic clothing brand that celebrates Jewish culture look no further than Unkosher Market. The fun, cute, and sassy, athleisure inspired t-shirts with cleverly written Jewish sayings mixes cultural humor and trendy fashion in epic proportions.

Created by Shiran Teitelbaum and Alice Blastorah, the Los Angeles based duo were throwing a “Jewchella” party for a friend who was planning to convert to Judaism. The shirts they made for the event were an absolute hit and ultimately marked the birth of Unkosher Market.

Unkosher Market features tees with silly phrases like “Shivtz It Out” perfect to wear during your Pilates classes, “Vodka + Latkes” a must wear while attending a Chanukah party or “Kiss My Tuchis” essentially useful to wear on the daily. The Kiss My Tuchis shirt has become so popular that it was featured on an episode of Bravo’s Odd Mom Out. The brand resonates beyond popular pop culture Jewish sayings, even including a “Not in The Tribe But I Dig The Vibe” tank.

If you’re wanting to showcase your Jewish pride while upping your wardrobe with witty cultural humor, Unkosher Market is the way to go.

3) Shabbat.com



(Source: iTunes App Store Preview)


Founded on the principle of strengthening Jewish community and cultivating friendships, Yehudah Koblick’s Shabbat.com serves as the world’s largest Jewish social network. Both a website and free app, Shabbat.com gives members the opportunity to connect and meet for Shabbat hosting, events, jobs, dating and so much more in a safe and friendly environment. Through its user-friendly interface, members can host or be hosted on Shabbat and Jewish holidays for meals and lodging. Seemingly appearing to be the Jewish amalgamation of facebook, twitter, and Instagram, users can post status updates, and upload pictures and videos to a global feed.

Ideal for anyone looking to connect with fellow Jews across the globe for a nice home cooked meal, Shabbat.com consists of members located in over 6,000 cities and 143 countries.

Shabbat.com gives members access to a slew of Jewish learning resources such as the weekly Torah portion featuring Rabbi Juravel, Kabbalah practices, biblical insights, and global news affecting the Jewish community.

Shabbat.com also features a Jewish Job Board with daily updates on employment opportunities while also serving as a great networking tool to connect with like-minded professionals.

If you’re looking for a way to connect with fellow Jews around the world, Shabbat.com will be a dream come true for you.



4) InstaRabbi



(Source: iTunes App Store Preview)

GoSephardic Inc’s InstaRabbi gives Jews around the world an opportunity to ask Torah or halachic questions with speedy responses according to Orthodox Jewish observance. Users submit questions via the InstaRabbi app as they await for immediate answers from a qualified staff of rabbis including Rabbi Chaim Levy, Rabbi Mordechai Cohen, Rabbi Yonatan Nacson, and Rabbi Shai Cabessa. Committed to enhancing halachic observance throughout the globe, the rabbis answer questions ranging from what Bracha to make in a particular situation, meat and dairy restriction questions or simply a Judaism related question you prefer to ask anonymously. Users can see live questions, archived answers, and either publicly or privately ask their own personal questions.

If you’re in need of a Rabbi on the go, look no further than Instarabbi


5) Jake TV



(Source: Jake TV site)

Founded by a group of media professionals and educators, Jake TV is a media source and distribution network that offers enriching and entertaining video content dedicated to the Jewish community. The core mission of Jake is cleverly embedded within each letter of its name, “Jewish Arts Knowledge Entertainment.” Jake TV feature programs in animation, live-action, music, comedy and documentaries that celebrate Jewish values and culture. Dedicated to a young Jewish American audience, every program such as Jake TV originals, PragerU, The Accidental Talmudist content, all offer knowledge and wisdom about the Jewish heritage and history.  

Prepare yourself a glass of Manischewitz wine and be ready to enjoy 24/7 on-demand videos.


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