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Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Dining out on kosher apps

Tags: Food
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Last time we looked at apps that help you shop kosher and keep a kosher kitchen. Today we eat, with the help of a few more apps. All are free and iPhone/iPad compatible unless otherwise noted.

Dining Out

Several apps do a fine job helping you locate kosher restaurants and provide contact info, maps and more.

Kosher Near Me: Automatically detects your location and produces a list of nearby kosher establishments. If you’re going on a trip, you can type in a zip code (unfortunately, not postal codes) to find kosher restaurants at your destination. http://bit.ly/koshapp9

Kosher GPS (iPhone and Android): Similar to Kosher Near Me but you can select local restaurants, synagogue services and mikvah information. Allows you to search by city name. http://bit.ly/koshapp10

Kosher Free: Includes info about kashrut supervision and brief reviews that you are invited to contribute. http://bit.ly/koshapp11

Parve (or not)

You’re ready to eat. But should you? These apps tell you when you’ve waited the prescribed amount of time between meat and dairy.

Basar VeHalav, $.99: Start Basar VeHalav (“Meat and Milk”) and the countdown clock will tell you when it’s time to indulge. Since various communities have adopted different traditions about waiting times, you can modify each of the four timers to signal you after one, three or six hours or a customized waiting time. http://bit.ly/koshapp12

ParveOMeter: This app is free, boasts a cooler name and better background about the concept of mixing meat and dairy. Unfortunately, its timer is not customizable like Basar VeHalav’s. http://bit.ly/koshapp13

Blessings (before)

One more thing. Before we dig in, know the proper brachah to recite. These apps help.

iBlessing, $.99: You are first presented with a photo of a dinner setting. Click on the wine, bun, fish, vegetables or desert, and you’ll hear the correct brachah recited in Hebrew and English. But wait, there’s more. The Instructions section presents an overview of the types of blessings over food, while Info explains the philosophical concepts behind them. http://bit.ly/koshapp14

iBless Food, $4.99: This app nicely complements iBlessing. Although most people know that you say Hamotzi over bread, blessings for other foods are not always so obvious. What do you say for calzone or chicken salad or pineapples or stuffed cabbage? This app has the answers. When you think you’ve got the hang of it, try out the Blessing Quiz. http://bit.ly/koshapp15

Blessings (after)

Now that you’re done eating, it’s time to say the blessings after meals.

iBirkat: A good, basic Birkat Hamazon app. It includes the complete blessing (in Hebrew only) along with Boreh Nefashot, which is recited after eating certain grain dishes. You can select the liturgy of your benching according to your background: Ashkenazi, Nusach Ari, Sephardi, Oriental and Yemenite. http://bit.ly/koshapp16

Bentching app, $2.99: If you want to splurge, you can purchase this app, which includes the complete text in Hebrew and transliterated Hebrew. What sets it apart is listening to a cantor recite the entire Birkat Hamazon. What I didn’t like: I found it difficult to skip ahead in case you want to pray faster than the cantor.  What I did like: Hearing the cantor sing part of the Shir Hama’alot using a tune from Les Misérables. http://bit.ly/koshapp17

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