January 12, 2006
The Tangled Web
Google got you down?
Looking for that special Jewish link and have to sift through dozens of unrelated Web sites -- or even worse, anti-Semitic ones -- just to find what you're looking for?
It's probably old news to report that there are specialized Jewish search engines -- there have been since the earliest days of the Web -- but there are still new ones emerging.
Machers.com, an all-Jewish search engine, recently joined the fray of Jewish sites with technology that can search tens of thousands of Jewish and Israeli Web sites, allowing users to search within the Jewish Web, as well as within the world of Jewish bloggers. (You know what they say: two Jews, three bloggers).
Machers.com joins a growing list of Web sites that purport to be the Jewish search engine, from zipple.com to JewGotIt.com to Jewish.com. (Some popular ones are already defunct, like the Golem search engine.) In addition to the all-things Jewish search engines, there are also even more narrower niche engines and Web sites hosting links, such as Ahuva.com, the worldwide directory of synagogues, shuls, temples, federations and foundations (jewishdirectory.com); "Jewish Reunion UK," a finder service for Jews looking for friends and relatives with a United Kingdom connection; and the All Kosher Index, a database of Kashrut organizations, mikvahs and kosher restaurants throughout the world .
Speaking of kosher search engines, the Orthodox Union (OU) recently announced its own Kosher search feature on its Web site www.oukosher.org. Not only does it list all OU-certified products, but it allows consumers and companies to search through ingredients to see if they're kosher.
Rabbi Yonatan Kaganoff, rabbinic coordinator and marketing specialist for OU Kosher, said that the site can aid companies searching for a kosher acid or enzyme. Stearic acid, for example, is often used in vitamins but can be manufactured from a beef derivative. He added that even if a company uses all-kosher ingredients, its product can't be OU certified until it is applied and reviewed by OU.