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February 24, 2013 11:19 am
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Celebrating Purim Smartphone Style

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

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Screenshot of the Megillas Esther app available on Google Play Store.

There are a number of unique Purim apps available to smartphone users that help make the holiday marking the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia, an even more unique experience both in Israel and across the world. What would Purim be without the following apps?

For the complete reading of Megillat Esther, there is an app available for Android users, which includes the Hebrew text of Esther, complete with vowels and cantillation marks, seven different font sizes, as well as a verse-by-verse English translation. One of its unique features is that it provides a noisemaker (grogger) to drown out the name of the evildoer Haman during the reading, with several options for noisy sound effects.

The English translation is based on the 1917 Jewish Publication Society version, whose text has been updated to replace “thee” and “thou,” “hast” and “didst,” and similar archaisms.

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In addition, the app also includes the text for the Purim Service (seder Purim) with the appropriate texts for four different customs: Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Nusach Sefard and Nusach Ari.

The app is available on Google Play Store by the name of Esther by ZigZag Inc. and costs $1.99 or NIS 7.46.

Other Purim apps, which are both fun and free, include the Megillas Esther app, which was made available to Android users this year (it was available to iPhone and iPod Touch users last year).  According to the Google Play Store description, the app allows you to scroll through verse by verse with a flick of a finger and the ‘virtual’ noisemaker (ra’ashan) allows you to choose the flowing noises including crowd booing, air horn, firecrackers, and machine gun for the reading of Haman’s name. There is also a helpful Haman highlighter.

And finally, in order to enjoy a safe and happy Purim, there is SoberApp, developed in Israel, which helps a person monitor the intake of drinks and estimates the blood and alcohol level. By entering basic information about weight and gender and the type of drink a person has had as well as the time he had it, the app will inform if one can drive now or later or if the drinker has exceeded the alcohol limit in whatever country he is located.

The free app is available on Google Play Store and is especially suitable to those celebrating Purim with plenty of traditional drinking. Happy Purim!

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