New smartphone app, based on the book by Rabbi Debra J. Robbins, helps users engage in personal contemplation during the month of Elul and the High Holy Day season.
New York, NY – August 2021 – CCAR Press, a division of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, is honored to announce its newest smartphone app, Psalm 27: Opening Your Heart. The app, available for iOS and Android phones, is based on the book Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27: A Spiritual Practice for the Jewish New Year by Rabbi Debra J. Robbins, which was published by CCAR Press in 2019. Rabbi Robbins serves Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas.
The Psalm 27: Opening Your Heart app similarly guides the user through a reflective process in the weeks leading up to the High Holy Days and through the festival of Sukkot. Each day presents a phrase from Psalm 27, a focused reflection, and an opportunity to write and sit quietly. The app includes all the essentials: spoken versions of the psalm, daily reminders, writing prompts, and a meditation timer. Also included are a variety of meaningful photographs and musical settings of the text by contemporary musicians and cantors.
Rabbi Dan Medwin, CCAR’s Director of Digital Media, said, “This is the most beautiful app we have created so far, with design elements intended to convey the calm which can be achieved through the mediative practice. We have gathered an amazing collection of original music to further enhance the experience.” While the app is intended to be used to help users prepare for the High Holy Days, it can also be used all year round by those who would like to engage in a more consistent routine.
The app’s companion book emerged from Rabbi Robbins’s own spiritual practice. She began reading the psalm daily in Elul, then began writing, and then added specific reflections and music to her ritual. When she shared her reflections with others, they encouraged her to compile a book. What emerged was a volume that helps us consider the deeper meaning of Psalm 27’s fourteen verses and reflect on our relationships, choices, beliefs, and practices during the month of Elul and the High Holy Day and Festival season.
“We created the app in response to requests from many people who have used the book, lay people and clergy alike. I’m grateful to everyone who shared their feedback and encouraged us to develop this twenty-first-century digital tool for spiritual practice,” said Rabbi Robbins. “I hope people will use the app in a variety of ways. It can be a complement to using the book or it can be used on its own. What I hope most is that people will use the app to do the real work of this season, open their hearts, and then be moved to continue that spiritual work into the new year.”
The Psalm 27 app joins CCAR’s preexisting collection of mobile applications. Among them are the Reform Luach, a calendar app designed specifically for the Reform Movement; Omer: A Counting, which, like its companion book, helps users along the transformative path from Passover to Shavuot; and Daily Blessings, which offers a full array of traditional and innovative blessings for life’s sacred moments. All CCAR Press apps are available for use on both Apple and Android devices.
The Psalm 27: Opening Your Heart app is now available to download in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. The book can be ordered on ccarpress.org. CCAR Press also offers a free downloadable study guide ideally suited to adult education, book clubs, or individual study. Rabbi Robbins is available to teach at community events.