Get ready now. You've heard of a GPS, that amazingly little device you put in your car which gives you directions to where you are going, telling you where to turn and all the rest necessary to get you from one point to another?Aaron doesn't tell us what the GPS says when you make a wrong turn. Instead of the simple announcement that we get from our Garmin - "Recalculating..." - does the Yiddish GPS kvetch and berate you for being such a shlemiel?
Well, now in Israel they have a GPS that provides those directions in Yiddish. One of the many wonders of having a Jewish state is that the Jewish language is the language of everyday life. For most Israelis, that's Hebrew and there have long been GPS devices that speak Hebrew. But because many Orthodox Jews in Israel are most comfortable speaking Yiddish, yes, there is now a GPS that does just that.
So Yiddish-speakers can use the product to locate more than 10,000 Jewish points of interest - including the addresses and telephone numbers of thousands of synagogues, mikvehs (ritual baths) and kosher restaurants. Meanwhile, more secular points of interest - such as nightclubs, non-kosher restaurants and Internet cafes - are not in the database.
Amazing. And yet there's more. When the device is switched on, the user is automatically shown the Travelers' Prayer. Instead of pressing "OK" to skip to the next screen, the option is instead "Amen."
Chicago Jewish News by Joseph Aaron reports enthusiastically on the new positive Jewish accomplishments in our world. He deserves attention. Here is my favorite item from his April 10 posting about the iGo Yiddish GPS: