Imagine a digital wonderland where every Jewish text is available free and open-source, where the extraordinary expanse of our texts are waiting to be combed, prodded, and commented upon by interested parties the world over. Good news: this exists.
Started by writer Joshua Foer and techie Brett Lockspeiser—two Jews with a passion for text—Sefaria takes the Jews’ bookish legacy and gives it a 21st-century tune-up. The site aims to compile every letter of Jewish text into one completely interactive space, from Tanakh to Talmud to the Zohar, to modern texts and “all the volumes of commentary in between.”
Sefaria, the word borrowing from the Hebrew words sefer, meaning book, and sifria, meaning library, is non-commercial and built on community support. Volunteers offer to translate Hebrew into any language they can, and can even go at it over translations. The site knows there’s no Judaism without argument: Sefaria is set up to support multiple translations of any given text.
To see it in action is something else. The connections between our texts are innumerable, and to see the loom-like patchwork of it visualized is nothing short of breathtaking.