Brian Blum
January 1, 2012
Israel365 app

Got an iPhone? Love the diverse and often dazzling landscapes of Israel? Enjoy a bible quote every now and then? Then a free iPhone app from a newly minted immigrant, Rabbi Tuly Weisz, should keep your fingers swiping in inspirational bliss.

Weisz’s app, Israel365, is a visual calendar of sorts. Each day has a different picture and quote from the bible. The quotes are in English and Hebrew with transliteration. And that’s it. Nice and simple. Well, not quite: If you want to dig deeper there’s also a Hebrew lesson based on the passage. But most people will probably just look at the pictures.

Which is absolutely fine, because they’re really quite pretty. Weisz assembled some 30 Israeli photographers who donated their pictures to the app. Inspiration aside, the app is also a form of subtle advertising  (if you like what you see, you can contact the photographers and Israel365 takes a 50% cut).

Weisz says he got the idea after reading that, when Herzl was considering establishing the state of Israel in Chicago, a Christian pastor named William Blackstone set out to visually illustrate the connection of the Jews to Israel, not Africa, by underlying every passage referring to the Promised Land in the bible.

Weisz was fascinated and did the same thing. “I couldn’t get over the fact that [references to Israel were] on nearly every page,” he says. Before you could say Holy Sand Dune, Weisz had made aliyah, launched a non-profit called “Teach for Israel” (it connects rabbis back in the States with their local Christian Zionist communities, something Weisz was already doing as a congregational rabbi in Ohio), and found an enterprising software developer who could get the app out in time for the beginning of the 2012 calendar year.

Weisz has big plans for Israel365, including versions that will run on the Android and other mobile platforms, along with the addition of more languages. “Since the content is limited to 365 bible verses and the bible already exists digitally in other languages, this should be very do-able,” he says.

The app is officially published by the United with Israel organizations, which calls itself “the world’s largest pro-Israel social community with nearly 900,000 supporters on its Facebook page alone.

You can get a preview of the app here.