Posts Tagged β€˜prayers’

12
Feb

Important announcement regarding Hospital Prayers

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom all!

A couple of years ago I came up with the idea for hospitalprayers.org. The premise was very simple: recruit volunteers packed with laptops with internet connectivity to visit people in hospital beds and allow them to send prayers to the Western-Wall. Dozens of people around the world (mostly in the U.S. and Canada) volunteered and many prayers were sent via the extremely simple and user friendly website. I’m happy to say that over the past couple of years I have received emails from people that were admitted to the hospital, or their relatives, that told me what sending a prayer to the Kotel meant to them and how much it helped them in a time when they needed the Almighty the most.

However, since Hospital Prayers was launched, a few things changed in the world of technology:
1) The iPad was introduced (and then the iPad 2), and many many tablets followed.
2) Smartphones became very prevalent.
3) We introduced an iPhone app and an Android app.

Following up with volunteers and doing some analysis I found that most prayers that arrived via our volunteers were sent with either a tablet computer or a smartphone.

And here’s the important part:

Running Hospital Prayers costs money. For instance, there are a few domains I need to renew every year (about 11-13 USD each). The reason I have several domains for one service is that more than once unfriendly people registered domains for services Tweet Your Prayers was associated with, I assume in an attempt to capitalize on the work that I do (shame on them!).

So, keeping what has changed in the past 2 years in mind, I decided to shut down the dedicated websites for Hospital Prayers. More precisely – I won’t renew the domains, so they would disappear from the internet in the months to come. However, the service will remain operational. All volunteers from now on will use their tablets or smartphones (or laptops) to send prayers for the sick via either the dedicated apps or the standard twitter page. It will save Tweet Your Prayers about $50 a year, and as you know, this service is free of charge so money is always tight.

So, if you are a volunteer – keep in mind that in mid-march hospitalprayers.org will no longer be accessible. Use the apps or Twitter instead.

If you are not a volunteer – why not become one? All you have to do is to go to a hospital adjacent to your place of residence, bring your phone\tablet\laptop with you, and bring some hope and comfort to those who need it the most. You can go just once, or as often as you feel like it. Do you want more information? No problem! Just shoot me an email at contact@tweetyourprayers.org .

Anyway, that’s the big update!

Thanks for your attention and G-d bless! πŸ™‚

 

 

24
Sep

@TheKotel Android app – what’s next?

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom all!

 

Some background

Last Tuesday our 1 month long campaign on Indiegogo has come to an end (link). For those of you who haven’t been following, it was a campaign to raise funds in order to pay for the development of an Android app for Tweet Your Prayers @TheKotel. Many thousands have installed the iPhone app, and prayers are flying in all the time from its users, so the next logical step is to develop an Android counterpart (for the non-techies reading this: Android is currently the most popular smartphone operating system out there. If you have a smartphone that’s not an iPhone, there’s a good chance it runs Android). Our mission here on Tweet Your Prayers @TheKotel is To Affect Change by Facilitating Prayer, and I believe facilitating prayer for the many millions of Android users is the next ground to conquer.

So the campaign ran for 30 days, and quite a few of you nice people have pledged to help make it happen. We raised $847, and after giving Indiegogo its share, we’re left with around $770, which should cover the fee an east European or Asian freelance developer would charge for a decent app (app development is crazy expensive anywhere else).

Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform set to help people raise funds for their projects, and part of the game is to offer nifty perks to the people that help your campaign. So, friends who opened their hearts got (or will get in the mail in the next few weeks) nice things such as: a video of their prayer being placed in the Western-Wall, Star of David bracelets from Jerusalem, thank you letters with photos, being credited within the app, and more.

What I adore about the people who helped this campaign is that the vast majority of them don’t even have an Android phone. Some of them own an iPhone and wanted other people to have the same app they have, others don’t have a smartphone at all. All of the kind people who contributed to this campaign, and the aforementioned people in particular, gave to this project not in order to benefit themselves, but in order to help others. That’s kind, noble, and definitely not something you see everyday, in a world consumed with a “what’s in it for me?” attitude. I am humbled by this behavior, and cherish these people. Thank you.

 

Time frame

Initially I had hoped to have an early version of the app ready for launch by Rosh HaShana (the Jewish new year, coming this Wednesday!), as my gift to you. I don’t know if you remember, but the iPhone app was released as a Passover present a year and a half ago. I found a freelance developer who agreed to be paid only when the campaign ends, and we started working on the app. Alas, things didn’t work out, and we had to call it off. This was, however, a blessing in disguise, as I have gained some important experience from working with him. I believe this experience will help me make the app better than it would have been had that developer and I kept working together.

One of the lessons I learned is that there’s no way to get a fully functional app out there in such a short period of time. So, now that the campaign is over and the funds are waiting, I’m going to set a more realistic time frame: Hanukkah! By then, I sincerely hope to have the app built, bug fixed and tested by users on multiple devices. I would of course be delighted to have it available before then, but I believe it’s a reasonable time frame and want to do things right.

 

So, what’s coming next?

Well, first of all I have to send people who contributed to the app what they are entitled to. These people should expect nifty things from Jerusalem to hit their mailboxes soon! πŸ™‚

Other than that, I’m going to start looking for a new developer to work on the app (interested? Drop me a line).

I’m also going to revise the app description and specifications to see what features I can add to it and how to make it as user-friendly as possible. If you have any ideas for the app, any features you’d like to see, any usability advice, or pretty much anything – drop me a line in the comments below (it will go straight to my mail box, won’t be published) and let me know. This is especially true for the iPhone app users who are reading this – let me know what I can do better for your friends that have Android phones!

After the description is revised and a talented developer is on board – we’ll go into building the app full force!

 

You can still help this project

See that orange button on the sidebar? It’s up there on the right. It has “Donate” on it. Yea.. that’s the one. Click it :).

You can check out the list of perks other people got by looking at the sidebar on the campaign page, and apply for the perks by donating the sum associated with each perk (or more). Drop a line in the donation notes section and ask for the perk.

 

How to be the first to know

Please go to www.birdofprayer.org and register there to be the first to know when the app is launched! Also, please tell all your friends about it. I’m counting on you ;).

 

Anyway, I’ll keep you all posted as things progress and in the meanwhile thank everyone that’s been a part of this campaign and helped in any way.

I’d also like to wish you all a Shana Tova :).

Blessings from the Holy Land,

Alon

5
Mar

Bring hope to the sick

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom everyone!

Please watch this video blog, in which I detail how to bring The Kotel to the sick:

So, if you think it’s a good idea, and would like to take part, contact me.

Here are some photos from the event at Tel-Hashomer Hospital. To respect their privacy, I did not include many of the photos, which showed the sick children’s faces. Please understand.

(Click on any photo to enlarge. You can also click on a photo and slide to the next by clicking on it’s right side).

Carrying the box all around the hospital

Some of the above photos were taken by Star Rajuan. Thanks star :).

Let me know what you think of my idea.

Best regards from the Holy Land!

Your friend,

Alon

18
Feb

One Kotel, Many Prayers (Pictures)

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Shalom everyone!

Last Thursday’s trip to Jerusalem was one of the most fun I’ve had. There was such a festive atmosphere there, with many Bar-Mitzvah celebrations, and no one could stay nonchalant.
Here are a few pictures from last week’s ride to Jerusalem. Many beautiful pictures from Jerusalem will be added to the Gallery section soon!

Click on any photo to enlarge.

First thing’s first – arriving to the right place!

Taking your prayers to the Kotel itself:

…and making sure the Kippa (Yarmulke ) sits securely on my head:

Looking for my special niche in the Western Wall…

…and finally getting set up:

many minutes and many prayers later that day…

More pictures to come!

If you can, please consider helping out by making a donation:

Best regards from the Holy Land! πŸ™‚

10
Feb

All ready for tomorrow :)

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

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