Ever tried to find a minyan in an airport or a sports arena? For Barry Schwartz, who co-founded the web development company Rusty Brick with his brother Ronnie, the irksome problem he frequently encountered had a simple solution: an app that would help observant Jews locate enough other people to make a minyan, the quorum of ten Jewish male adults required for prayer.
RustyBrick specializes in coming up with hi-tech fixes for the observant Jew’s modern-day needs. As Schwartz told Tablet in 2011, “Anything we find useful that we want in our phone, we’ll develop.”
The company is behind smartphone apps like the iPhone Siddur and the Shabbat app, which shares candle-lighting times with users. as well as the Jewish Google Glass app, JewGlass.
Their latest offering, Minyan Now, is a free smartphone app that allows users to enter their location and the time at which they’d like to pray, and then notifies other users in the immediate area. When nine other users have agreed to join the minyan, the app confirms the details of the location and time.
While there are already several apps out there that connect Jews with synagogues, local Chabads, or other Jewish establishments at which to pray, Minyan Now facilitates unofficial minyanim in all locations.
Schwartz believes that the app can go a long way in allowing the observant Jew to travel with ease: “Now,” he says, “I can go to the airport and feel confident enough that I will get a minyan by just using this app and saying, let’s go to Gate A4 and have a minyan.”