Best Jewish Education Innovation Since Two TabletsPosted on March 12th, 2013 No comments
You know how it goes, you learn a great piece of Torah and want to share it. Or maybe you have a big idea and you know just the mishna to exemplify it. Sometimes it is as simple as the source of the words to a new song you want the choir to learn. But standing between our understanding and interest in the text and the people you want to reach is that ever so finicky tool of the trade, the study sheet.
Sure the days of mimeographs and carbon copies are gone but even with Hebrew data bases and Hebrew language word processors the cutting and pasting, the margins, the fonts can all make one throw up their hands.
But, NO MORE!!!
There is a new kid on the block by the name of Sefaria, which is in my opinion the best thing since Moses brought us the tablet. Okay, an exaggeration for certain, but Sefaria is indeed a wonderful tool that every Jewish educator should be taking advantage of. Merging the best of what modern technology has to offer together with a well honed sense of what goes on when people study Jewish texts, they have created a site that allows users to create and share study sheets with ease. The texts are in Hebrew and in English. There are a few choices about how to lay out the material. You can see traditional commentaries or add your own annotations. And lickety split, you have a hand-out ready to go.
Okay, true not every text is there and you may not love the translations that are available. But, there is a great deal available and in the best of open source ie. collaborative tradition, if you want to add or contribute, you are welcomed and encouraged to do so. It was co-founded by Brett Lockspeiser who has worked in tech including places such as Google and Joshua Foer an author of many books including Moonwalking with Einstein. The main team includes rabbis from across the spectrum like Rav Yehoshua Kahan and Rabbi Ellen Bernstein. But they need more of us to get involved. If you don’t want to translate or enter text, then make some sheets and share them. Help build the future of Jewish learning.
And if you are the kind of person for whom learning a new tech tricks is hard, there are training videos and detailed instructions that lay things out pretty clearly.
Try it. It really is pretty cool and mighty useful too.
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