July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Away for the Holidays Tech

For two weeks this past month I was “out of town,” as they say in Texas, where I visited. With all the apps we use in the New Jersey and New York area I figure we see more and are more in the know with apps than out of towners. But there are always some great surprises.

Technology always impresses me when there is a charge for a service but provides a huge value added. My host did not drive, which in Texas might be an a issue, because everything is remote, but it’s easily solvable today. Obviously Uber and Lyft are critical to getting around when you do not drive or if renting a car is not in your budget. So far I have had nothing but great experiences with Uber. Some airports do not allow pick-up from Uber. I used Lyft for the first time; it’s a bit cheaper though I felt the drivers and services were the same.

Now everyone has the airline app that you scan at the airport to get your boarding pass; that means no huge lines and no waiting for harried check-in folks. They weigh the bag, and you pay or don’t pay. Off you go. My wife works for Nefesh B’Nefesh and as a master packer, she weighs everything. My kids and I complain about this but we are thankful when we are coasting through the line.

If you still prefer old-school car services, you can schedule them at no extra price. There are some great local car services. For now, I must give a shout out to Randy Jerome who does our airport runs in the Bergen County area. For younger folks and those who must have confirmation that the car will be ready in advance and great service, Randy can’t be beat.

My host needed some kosher and bulky items delivered to her home. She was using a term called “instacart,” which I have never heard before.This service will pick up items you need from their approved stores list and deliver them to your door. Amazon and Costco have their own delivery services to fill in the gaps. Check out www.instacart.com or Google Express.

Stop seeing these services as the mom-and-pop killer. The local stores I use can easily take email or online orders with better service to compete with big box stores. The Chopstix website is awesome, for example.

There seemed to have been a constant flow of doorbell rings the day of the holiday. I still find the whole process amazing that one can order this way without a car. There are fees to pay but they are not as high as one would think.

I do love talking to delivery and Uber drivers and getting their stories. It’s nice knowing your money is going to hard-working people. In my past column, I wrote about Uber before it became a term. Now we just “take an Uber.”

On my many day trips with my host’s husband, all of the trips were planned and navigated with Waze. I found a smartphone holster that is amazing. It’s a beanbag base and your smartphone is held in place with a type of plastic heavy mouth. This holster fits any phone, this I assure you. No adhesive that works for every car but the ones I drive. This holster is weighed down and can easily be moved but stays in place. It’s called the ChargerCity Hippo Series NonSlip Dashboard Beanbag from Amazon.

We forget how blessed we are in New Jersey that one can travel and get kosher options that are not potato chips and soda. See a hechsher you haven’t seen before? Google it! Or, if that doesn’t work, scan or take a pic and send it to your local rabbi (thanks, Rabbi Simon!).

I did meet a fellow Chabadsker who stuck out at the amazing shul in San Antonio called Rodef Shalom. He works for a non-profit that kashers kitchens. One is moving, has an issue with something they may have made and they don’t know if it is kosher or not. Check out Gokosher.org; they do charge for this service. They do rely on the honor system that folks who just want to kasher a kitchen will pay a nominal fee. I heard all about the work Gokosher.org does and was extremely impressed. Other than those nominal fees, they rely on donations.

Being with family away from home is exceptional. It was great dancing with my kids and nieces and nephews while we cooked for the holiday to Jewish music in my host’s kitchen in San Antonio. Google music and “a tiny Bluetooth speaker that is much louder than its looks.”

However, Yom Tov, when smartphones are prohibited is really a great time to unplug. I loved seeing our family play with puzzles, board games or,like myself, reading. Maybe the three-day holidays are to remember all the tech in the world does not trump time with family.

Congregation Rodef Shalom in San Antonio is a beautiful, new-looking shul with great gabbis, and an in-house chef for the never-ending meals at the shul. Of course one of the best parts is the friendly people. The shul has been around for 40 years. It’s a great place to visit, and there are great sites to see locally cheap and even free. Email [email protected] for details.

By Shneur Garb

 Shneur Garb is the CEO of the Garb Consulting Group and recently launched ArWare Software. Questions can be sent to [email protected].



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