Appaholic: Top 5 Shabbat apps

Shabbat observance and smartphones diametrically opposed? These apps prove that may not be the case.

iphones R 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
iphones R 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
When we first started researching Shabbat applications, we too were under the impression that your iPhone (or other mobile device) has no business meddling in the affairs of the holy Shabbat, especially insofar as more religious Jews (who prohibit the use of electronics) are concerned. However, this week, you'll see how the app-creators got creative and designed several noteworthy applications that won't compromise your Shabbat observance, and might even enhance it. 
Toddler’s Shabbat 
As always, we like to include something for the kids. Toddler Puzzle: Shabbat is a nice app that will allow you to familiarize your little boy or girl with Shabbat symbols and images. And so, while you're puttering around the kitchen, creating Shabbat feasts and worrying about the new dietary restrictions of your guests, entertain your toddler with this fun game. Interactive puzzles and picture-games with a focus on Shabbat will ground your little ones into the spirit of the day.
Toddler ShabbasToddler Shabbas
Cost: 0.99
Supported formats: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
Rise and shine, shomer-Shabbat style
Rising on time on Shabbat, and High Holidays, is now a problem of the past. AryTebeka’s Shabbat alarms is a special app designed with the observant user in mind. This alarm, much like the post man, will only ring once, which means you don’t need to turn it off yourself and actually use your iPhone and violate the sanctity of the Shabbat. 
Oh you alsowanted a snooze function? Keep dreaming.
Shabbat AlarmsShabbat Alarms
Cost: 1.99
Supported formats: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
How-to Shabbat
There are those of us who'd like to have a more meaningful Shabbat, but lacking a strong foundation in Judaism, we find ourselves flailing around on Shabbat, mumbling pieces of blessings under our breath and humming along inconspicuously during Kiddush. 
Perhaps you'd like to finally be able to say Kiddush on your own, master the blessing over the candles or learn Havdala. If so, iShabbat is the app for you. It includes the major blessings for Shabbat: Candles, children, Kiddush, wine and bread, and Havdala. Each blessing includes a short explanationfor the blessing, as well as the Hebrew text, and the translation. Tap on the Hebrew word to see the transliteration. Some blessings even include a chanted recording. 
Cost: 2.99
Supported formats: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
Just the facts
Likely to the chagrin of the seasoned expert, many of the apps we've listed are designed with the Shabbat-newby in mind. However, even the well-versed Shabbat observer needs a catalogue of times to know when to welcome the Shabbat queen and when to bid her off. And so, for you, we recommend the Shabbat Shalom app. This app uses your GPS-location information (or whatever city you manually input) to let you know exactly when Shabbat starts, the weekly Parsha, and when to say the Havdala blessings. 
Shabbat Shalom AppShabbat Shalom App
Cost: Free
Supported formats: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
While Shabbat is a designated day of rest, the week surrounding Shabbat is filled with work—and much of that work is related to prepping for a stress-free, restful Shabbat. But who said that the preparations were limited to planning meals and ripping toilet paper? 
We also must learn the Parsha of the week to further our understanding of Judaism and study of Torah. Parsha to go will give you access to a detailed English-language summary of the Parsha of the week, as well as great commentary to infuse your learning with the subtleties of interpretation and Torah scholarship. Better yet: If you have your own credible interpretation of the Parsha, you can submit it as a "User Dvar" and interact with your contemporaries using this app all over the world.
Parsha to goParsha to go
Cost: free
Supported formats: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
Appaholic is a bi-weekly column which thematically reviews mobile apps with a Jewish or Israeli twist. If you have an app to suggest, send details to [email protected]