App that answers a traveller's prayers

By Simon Rocker, July 24, 2014

It's a problem faced by many an observant traveller.

You are saying Kaddish but you have a plane to catch and you wonder if there is somehow a way to find a minyan to pray with at the airport before the flight leaves.

Now an app launched last week will alert to you to any other potential fellow-daveners up to 10-minutes away from you.

The free Minyan Now app is the invention of American web development company, RustyBrick, whose first Jewish app, a siddur, has been downloaded by tens of thousands of users in the past five years.

The siddur app not only contains a prayerbook for smartphones but also the location and details of some 5,000 Orthodox synagogues around the world.

Minyan Now is designed to help you make a minyan when there is no synagogue around, according to RustyBrick's Barry Schwartz.

The minyan-seeker can simply use their phone to learn if there are nine other app-holders in the vicinity who are able to form a prayer quorum.

Once the minyan-men have located each other, they can agree a venue to pray.

Mr Schwartz says he knows its potential, having had to say Kaddish for his mother not so long ago.

Since the device was launched last week, it has had more than 5,000 downloads. "We have made around 20 minyans so far from people using it," he said.

The airport is not the only place where it can come in handy. "If you are go on a skiing holiday, this way you can press the button on top of the mountain rather than go up to people randomly and ask them if they are Jewish," he said.

Spectators at baseball or football games will also will be able to meet up for minchah during a break in proceedings, rather than have to hang around the kosher hot dog store in the hope of gathering a makeshift congregation.

Last updated: 5:45pm, July 24 2014