Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Facebook Application

Today I created a facebook app for ZmanimBot. It doesn't do much except allow you to message ZmanimBot directly from your (or your friend's) facebook profile. Invite your friends, and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


The basic syntax is as follows:

You can use any of the following commands:

  • Zmanim - Provides requested Zmanim. You don't actually need to type the word "Zmanim" - if your message does not begin with any of the commands listed below the bot will assume you entered a location. Any of the following formats can be used in requesting Zmanim:
    • Just enter a location. (Example: "New york") This will give a standard set of Zmanim for today.
    • Location and date separated by colons. (Example: "New york: tomorrow" or "New york:4/16/2008")
    • Location and specific zmanim separated by colons. (Example: "New York: sunrise, earliest mincha")
    • Location, date, and zmanim separated by colons. (Example: "New york: tomorrow: candlelighting" or "New york: candlelighting: April 25")
Note that in all cases, the location must be the first thing entered (other than the word Zmanim, if you're using it).
  • Help - Gives information on the available commands.
  • Map - Gives a link to a map of the location, with bearing to Yerushalayim calculated two different ways. This is courtesy of KosherJava.
    Usage: "map location"
  • List - Provides a list of all the Zmanim supported by ZmanimBot.
  • Comment - Sends a message to the people running the bot.
  • Credits - Gives basic information on the creators of ZmanimBot and what it is built on.

Web Interface

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ZmanimBot?

ZmanimBot is an Internet bot that connects to Google Talk and AOL Instant Messenger, and provides you with Zmanim that you request.

What are Zmanim?

Zmanim are halachic times, that regulate when a Orthodox Jews can pray, and the start and end time of holidays.

What commands can I use?

This is documented on the Syntax page.

What programs can I use? How do I send it an IM?

There are currently three ways to use the bot:

  • Google Talk
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  • The Web Interface (which works through AIM)

If you're using the first two options, you'll need to first add ZmanimBot to your Contact List. Each client will have instructions for doing so. If you're using the Web Interface the only thing you can message is ZmanimBot, so there's nothing to worry about.

Does ZmanimBot work with AIM?

Yes. The screen name there is ZmanimBot, and it works the same as on Gmail.

How does ZmanimBot work?

When you enter a location, the first thing ZmanimBot does is check if that location appears in its custom location file. If it doesn't, it looks up the latitude, longitude, and a description of the location on Google Maps, and the time zone on Using the latitude, longitude, and time zone found, it then calculates certain standard zmanim for the location using the ZmanimAPI, written by KosherJava.

How are the Zmanim calculated?

See the ZmanimAPI site for details on this, as well as a disclaimer.

ZmanimBot is offline!

Yes, we probably know. Until we have a computer to permanently house it, ZmanimBot's online presence will be on and off. Even then, we will take it offline sometimes to fix things, or, simply, the Internet may be down.

Can I tell my friends about this?

Yes, please do. This is a public service, and I would like to serve as much people as possible.

What's your privacy policy?

Google archives all chats that go through their server, and we do look through those archives to see what people are using the bot for and to improve performance. We will never publish or otherwise reveal identifying information without your prior permission.

I'm a programmer, and would like to help.

Sure! We don't have a sourceforge project or anything yet, but email us at and we'll be in touch.

I'm not a programmer, but I have other questions or ideas.

Sure! We'd be glad to hear your feedback. Email us at, or leave a comment on this blog.