You may have noticed in many places around, whether in magazine advertisements, bus stop shelters, billboards or other places there are 2D barcodes. Invented over a decade and a half ago in Japan (where it is quite popular), these quick response (QR for short) codes can be read by a smartphone’s barcode scanner.  As more and more people are getting smartphones, that means more people can access these codes.  Although there are multiple types, the most popular of them are QR codes, although Microsoft Tag has a very colorful product (which has been promoted recently with P. Diddy) (see here for a comparison with QR codes), and there are others, as well (e.g. JagTag and EZcode).

So how can they be used?  Actually, pretty much however you want to use them.  Most commonly, you can use them for people to scan and get sent to a particular link – this is great because they don’t have to type in anything – they just scan it and arrive at whichever destination you’ve arranged for them, whether it’s a coupon, a video, a website, or even a Facebook event page.  They can also be used to have someone’s contact information embedded in the code, which makes getting their information into your phone simple.  There are other uses, as well.
Why am I bringing this up now?  Well, I haven’t seen much of it used in Jewish life and I think it’s useful.  Let me give just three simple examples and you can hopefully figure out some more (or just search for creative uses for QR codes):

1) Sending a reader (perhaps in a Jewish newspaper) to a particular organization’s website or some particular element of them website (e.g. donations page).

2) In addition to simply handing out flyers with information of a particular event, including the QR code linking to the Facebook event page will be a way of them being able to find out more about the event and who will be there, as well as an online reminder.

3) On the back (or front) of your business card, embedding your contact card.  It’ll save time for someone who knows what to do with it, with them simply scanning and downloading the information, rather than having to type the information into their computer or phone.  You can see my using Microsoft Tag on my contact card (pictured).

I hope someone in Jewish organizational life out there is willing to give this a shot – after all, it’s free.

About the author


Having begun blogging in the summer of 2005, Drew joined the Jewlicious mega-Jewblog after Jewlicious Festival 6.0 in February 2010. Drew is committed to serving the Jewish people, and is one of a small number of rabbis who were bloggers whilst in rabbinical school. He's thrilled to be a part of Jewlicious: The Blog and aims to spread his views, thoughts, and ideas amongst the masses.


  • In November 2010, JFNA used Jagtag at the GA in New Orleans in an attempt to send users an updated schedule each day. Problem: Jagtag only worked on iPhone, leaving Android/Blackberry users disappointed.

  • One thing missing:
    Kosher certificates and updates.
    Business displays QR code showcase on his shop window. Scan the code and you know the updated kosher status – has it been revoked, who is the supervisor, when does it expire, etc.
    Obviously it would be better to have an app the uses the scanning capability and verfies that the information is coming from a known kosher status service, rather than have you scan from a generic scan app and seeing a forged kosher certificate.

  • Forge partnerships with other companies you work with. Make an agreement to help each other out if a natural disaster comes your way.