In Battle of Jewish Events Apps, a Question of Online Privacy

Grapevine Wants Your Info — For JJive, One Size Fits All

thinkstock

By Yermi Brenner

Published July 07, 2013, issue of July 12, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

In a tale of two apps, both the Jewish establishment and a private entrepreneur have recently released downloadable software that will enable users to obtain up-to-date listings of Jewish events.

Though similar in their goal of engaging young adults in Jewish life, Grapevine and JJive, as they are called, differ radically in an important respect: Grapevine, the Jewish establishment’s product for digital mobile devices, offers its users individualized listings based on their personal information, which the app requires in exchange; JJive asks for no personal data but, in turn, provides a one-size-fits-all list of events.

The distinction between the two apps highlights the conflicting desires of consumers in the digital age: the right of privacy versus the need for personalized service.

“I don’t really want to be informed about the young mothers event the JCC is holding,” said Sacha Litman, president and founder of Grapevine. People have become accustomed to products that know them, he said, and that are able to make smart recommendations.

The Grapevine app, which is funded by grants from major Jewish organizations like Natan and UJA-Federation of New York, is part of a wider initiative to create a digital database of Jews. The goal is to enable organizations to personalize their interaction with members and potential members.

“The more we know about the customer, the better job we can do in talking in a language that would resonate,” Litman said. “My understanding about your Jewish journey would allow me to do a much better job of recommending events.”

Immediately after downloading Grapevine, users are asked to input their personal details. Email, ZIP code and age are required, while sharing interests and social preferences is optional but recommended. Grapevine uses this information to create personalized event listings for each user.

Litman’s app covers three areas— New York City, Columbus, Ohio and Rhode Island — and she has plans to expand in the near future. Jewish organizations are asked to add their events directly to Grapevine, which then filters the lists based on the personal data provided by each user. Nearly 170 Jewish groups are already on board and posting events, according to Hindy Poupko, executive director for the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, which operates Grapevine in New York.

JJive was founded by entrepreneur Ari Teman, who shared Grapevine’s vision of connecting young adults to their Jewish community but thought it should be done in a much less intrusive manner. Teman claims that by creating a database of users’ personal information and preferences, Grapevine is unjustifiably invading the users’ privacy. He said that even in a large market like New York, the number of daily Jewish events is limited, so the idea of predictive analytics — targeted recommendations based on users’ data — is unnecessary.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.