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Hebcal by voice on the Amazon Echo/Alexa

amazon echo alexa We are pleased to announce that we have released an Alexa Skill for Hebcal for users with an Amazon Echo device.

Skills are new voice-driven capabilities that enhance the functionality of your Alexa device. Turning on the Hebcal skill lets you ask questions such as:

  • Alexa, ask Hebcal when Shabbat starts.
  • Alexa, ask Hebcal for candle lighting times in 02906.
  • Alexa, ask Hebcal for the Torah portion.
  • Alexa, ask Hebcal when is Chanukah in 2018?
  • Alexa, ask Hebcal for today’s Hebrew date.
  • Alexa, ask Hebcal for the Omer count.
  • Alexa, ask Hebcal for Daf Yomi.
  • Alexa, ask Hebcal to convert October 20th.
  • Alexa, ask Hebcal when is Rosh Chodesh?
  • Alexa, open Hebcal.

Hebcal is pronounced HEEB-kal, as in HEBrew CALendar.

To turn on the Hebcal skill, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Alexa app.
  2. Open the left navigation panel, and then select Skills.
  3. Scroll through the list of available skills. When you want to go to a different page, select Next or Previous at the bottom of the list.
    Tip: You can also use the Search bar to find a specific skill, or sort skills by title, average customer review, or release date.
  4. When you see a skill you want to use, select Enable.

Look for new features in the coming months. We’re planning to add candle-lighting times for Shabbat and holidays, Daf Yomi, and more. Update March 2016 – these features are now available!

If you have a suggestion for what you’d like to see in the Hebcal Alexa Skill, please share your feedback with us!

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Chanukah candle lighting times

Due to popular demand, we’ve added support for Chanukah candle-lighting times.

If you specify a city for Shabbat and Yom Tov candle lighting times, you’ll see Chanukah candle lighting show up as a timed event. If you don’t enable candle-lighting times (and instead choose the generic Diaspora or Israel locations) you’ll see Chanukah events show up as all-day (untimed) events reminding you to light candles that evening.

Candle-lighting times should show up on all iCalendar feeds (Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, iPhone, etc) when the application refreshes Hebcal events. This could take up to a week for the refresh, depending on the app.

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New holidays: Tu B’Av and Sigd

At the request of several users, we’ve added support for Tu B’Av and Sigd.

Tu B’Av is a minor Jewish holiday of love, similar to Valentine’s Day. It occurs on the 15th of Hebrew month of Av, corresponding to July or August on the Gregorian calendar. This year, Tu B’Av begins on Thursday, 30 July 2015 at sundown.

Sigd is a modern holiday celebrated by the Ethiopian Jewish community on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, corresponding to late October or November on the Gregorian calendar. Sigd became a national holiday in Israel in 2008. This year, Sigd begins on Tuesday, 10 November 2015 at sundown.


Chile Daylight Saving Time changes in 2015

Chile will not change clocks in April 2015 or thereafter; its new standard time will be its old daylight saving time. We have updated Hebcal’s candle-lighting times engine to reflect the change.

If you downloaded or printed candle-lighting times for Santiago or any other city in Chile, be sure to re-download sometime before Pesach.