Augmented reality game about NYC's Jewish cultural history

I think one of the most fascinating uses of augmented reality is to reveal the "secret histories" of neighborhoods, buildings, and other locations when you are actually in those spaces. Jewish Time Jump: New York is a new mobile AR game meant to teach young people about New York City's rich cultural history of Jewish immigration and the women's and labor movements of the early 20th century. Jewish Time Jump was created by ConverJent, a nonprofit focused on Jewish learning games, with a grant from the Covenant Foundation, a Jewish education group. I haven't played Jewish Time Jump yet but it is a finalist in the 2013 Games for Change Awards for "Most Innovative." From The Jewish Week:

In a 21st-century twist on the scavenger hunt, players find the requisite clues by physically moving to locations inside and across the street from (Washington Square Park), which is adjacent to the building that once housed the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. (Today it, like most of the buildings surrounding the park, is part of New York University.) As players move from location to location, archival photos, events and characters appear on their mobile devices, triggered by GPS technology. Students also view historical documents — such as old Yiddish newspaper pages (with translations) and flyers — on their mobile devices as they play…

Asked why he chose an episode of labor history — the game deals with the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909, also known as the Uprising of the 20,000 — as opposed to another Jewish topic, (ConverJent founder Rabbi Owen Gottlieb) said that immigrant history is “already a part of many schools’ curricula” and that he liked how this topic incorporated women’s history and provided “fascinating conflict.”

Jewish Time Jump: New York

"Touch-Screen Time Travel In The Park" (The Jewish Week)


  1. The system that this is based on ARIS, only gets a passing mention towards the end trailer. ARIS (Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling) is a open-source platform that has been under development at the University of Wisconsin for several years and can be found at Anyone can build their own “games” and because they are distributed from a server (ARIS or yours) you avoid the hassles/delays of the Apple App Store. 

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