Shalom Life | April 20, 2014

For the Synagogue Turn Right

Israeli religious services will use Waze to guide believers to the Holy Places

By: Omer Shachnai

Published: October 30th, 2013 in Business » Israel

For the Synagogue Turn Right

Looking for a close synagogue? Seeking spiritual guidance? Israeli navigation startup Waze, which was recently acquired by Google for an astounding price tag, will help religious and faith-seeking people find their way to the closest synagogues and yes, even to the neighbourhood’s mikvah.

This unique cooperation is the result of negotiations held between the Israeli Ministry of Religious Services and Waze.

According to the plan, in the first step, Waze will allow to look up some 1,000 mikveh in the holy land and 130 religious councils which provide marriage registration services and sometimes burial services.

In the second step, the addresses of thousands of synagogues will be uploaded to the application’s databases. For the new service, which is now under development, the Ministry of Religious Services will pay Waze about $30 thousand a year. The development will be complete in three months.

If it succeeds in Israel, other Jewish communities worldwide already expressed their will to adopt the concept.

Moreover, when searching for mikvahs or synagogues, the app will not just point to the precise location of the place, but also show its opening times and even the name of the mikvah’s operator (“Balanit” in Hebrew) and contact number. “Going to the mikvah is a matter of discretion. If a woman is searching for such place, she shouldn't start worrying about asking for directions to it. Using the application, will make it simpler," commented Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan.

As for the synagogues Ben Dahan said that "it is more complicated, because there are thousands of synagogues across Israel, but this is the most modern application and we will get there."

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