Sefaria.org is one of the wonders of the modern Jewish world.
The free website offers an ever growing library of Jewish texts, starting with Torah and Talmud (with English translation!) and myriad commentaries, but including contemporary authors such as Teaneck’s Rabbi Chaim Jachter, whose four volumes of Gray Matter halachic discussions are online.
And it’s not just the texts; it’s the features. There’s the ability to make, save, and share source sheets; topics range from the weekly Torah portion to the question of whether one should punch Nazis.
This year, of course, computer-based learning has gone into overdrive, and Sefaria has risen to the challenge with two exciting new features.
One is a new video-conferencing feature, allowing chavruta study partners to talk with each other on screen while viewing the same Sefaria texts. It’s like a watch party, but for Torah.
The other is a way for websites to automatically create links between references to the classical Jewish texts and the actual texts on Sefaria. We’ve implemented this on our site (JewishStandard.TimesOfIsrael.com).
In a typically clever move, the software creates automatic links back from Sefaria to the websites that cite it. So on Genesis 1:27, for example, Sefaria now shows not only 10 Talmudic citations and 34 quotations from chassidic writings (among many other categories of classical writings), but 1015 citations from web pages — seven of them from the Jewish Standard.
Until, that is, this article is posted online. Then it will be eight.