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Hebrew In Hand – Free Hebrew Texts On Your BlackBerry

hebrewinhand1.jpgWe have received quite a few questions about Hebrew support for BlackBerry devices so here is a new development. The developers at have provided a free solution for viewing Hebrew (and Yiddish) texts on your BlackBerry called Hebrew In Hand. This application includes support for fully pointed Hebrew, including vowels (nekudot) and cantillation marks (te’amim). No Hebrew fonts or other Hebrew support are needed on the BlackBerry. So far this seems to be more of a proof of concept. The integration with your BlackBerry device is minimal but it does work.

They seem to have ported this J2ME application to work on BlackBerry devices but as of now there is not much functionality available. Currently there are only 5 texts available for download and you cannot add texts yourself. You can check out the available texts here as they claim to update them soon. They have notified us that they have a full set of the Haftarot (Weekly readings from the Prophets in the Bible) is in the works. The way the application works is that you first download the reader and then you can download each of the texts by entering in the text code. Keep in mind that the application is pretty primitive as of now. You have no control over font size (which is quite small) and the keys for navigating the program are a bit weird. The menu button does not work when your reading a text and you have to click in on the trackball to get any sort of menu. I downloaded some of the sample texts and they ran quite slow on our test 8800 and 8300 devices. Scrolling through the texts is also a bit jumpy and could use some work. There were quite a few bugs in the program and I even had to reboot once to exit the program. All in all I think this application has some future and we will definitely be keeping an eye on its development. Hopefully in the future they will allow for user submitted texts. Though it may not be ready for prime time yet you can give it a whirl by downloading it OTA at this link.

20 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Thank you for reviewing our software so quickly!

    You are correct that this is an early version of Hebrew in Hand, designed with cell phones in mind, and that it does not make use of the specific user interface features for the BlackBerry. Improvements in this area are on our “to do” list. We are also planning for the other user interface improvements, such as different font sizes and styles, scrollling/paging, bookmarks, search, etc.

    Currently though, we are continuing to improve the core text display capabilities — both in terms of efficiency of the implementaion and correctness of the rendering. And, of course, expanding the collection of available texts.

    We would appreciate knowing more specifics about the bugs you encountered. Please feel free to write to us directly.

  2. Hi, I download the hebrew on hand but when I download text and try to open in the 8830 it wont open? anyadvice

    Thanks so much

  3. Can you tell me what text you were downloading, and if there were any error messages? Were you able to view the Welcome text?

    Thanks for letting us know about this.

    You can also write to us directly through our website at

  4. Thanks for handling that Marsha. I like the coverage of all the Purim texts. Very useful. Any chance you will be updating the interface?

  5. Hi, Yes I do see the welcome and when I tried to get the text it did show up on the list but when it loaded the screen was all white=blank and kind of froze. When I shut the phone and then turned it back on. I got a message uncaught exception:
    Aplication Hebrewinhand (275) is not responding; process terminated
    The things I tried to download are stil on the list but when I try to open them it happens,
    I have the welcome plus shema and Yiddish Shema-Excerpt

  6. Jay — Thanks for the additional information. This sounds like a problem that we are aware of, related to the length of the text to be displayed. We do not yet know exactly what is happening, but larger texts can sometimes cause the program to freeze. (The sizes of all the available texts are listed at
    We are working on this.

    Ronen — We are working on the user interface, including a Hebrew font with a more traditional appearance and a convenient way to handle much longer texts (e.g. mincha). I do not yet have an expected date for when the improved version will be available. Will keep you posted.

  7. Hi r there any files that u suggest I try

  8. Jay — We have found that files under 8K (8,182 bytes) tend to not have this problem.

  9. Marsha,
    Let me know about the new interface. I really wish you could store text on the BlackBerry memory card. Also the speed on a BlackBerry is pretty slow.

  10. Ronen–I will keep you up to date as we go. Thanks for the suggestion about the memory card; we will certainly take a look at that for a future version. Regarding slowness: as we rewrite the user interface, we will also be looking at ways of improving that.

  11. to get hebrew font on your BB open the following link and download the file.

  12. What device does that work with David?

  13. Hi,

    I have just downloaded the application and it is working fine. However, whenever I try to download the texts on my blackberry (curve 8320), I get the following error message: “Download failed: Tunnel failed”

    Could someone please tell me what the problem is and how i can actually get the texts?

    Thank you very much!


  14. Hi Marsha,

    I installed the Beta version (3-D style Alef) and it worked perfectly – thank you so much for your help, I appreciate it!


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