We are excited to announce that Professor James Kugel, the Director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar Ilan University in Israel and a noted scholar and lecturer, will be giving the annual Norman E. Alexander Lecture in Jewish Studies on November 19, 2014.
More information to come…
Sefaria is a new, crowdsourced website which is "building a free living library of Jewish texts and their interconnections, in Hebrew and in translation. [The] scope is Torah in the broadest sense, from Tanakh to Talmud to Zohar to modern texts and all the volumes of commentary in between."
Thus far, over 200,000 words have been translated, and it looks as if Sefaria already is a wonderful resource for referencing Bible and commentaries in both English and Hebrew.
Ladies and Gentlemen, drumroll please – we have fantastic news about updates from two of the most important resources in Jewish Studies:
1) RAMBI, the Index to Articles in Jewish Studies, profiled here, sent the below email yesterday:
"Subject searching in RAMBI, The Index to Articles in Jewish Studies, is being changed so that searching a subject either in English or in Hebrew will retrieve both Hebrew and European language articles.
This change is being gradually introduced and we hope will be completed by the summer. Until then, if a search retrieves articles only in the script of the search term we recommend searching also under the alternate script term."
This is a major change which should halve searching time, as previously one had to search separately in Roman characters and in Hebrew for subjects in both character sets.
2) The Bar Ilan Responsa Project has now added features to support Aramaic and acronym (ראשי תיבות) searchability:
- Dictionary for both acronyms and Hebrew-Aramaic/Aramaic-Hebrew
- Ability to search acronyms and Aramaic in the database
- "Fast reference": While browsing a text, you can now highlight an Aramaic word or an acronym, and a pop-up will provide a Hebrew explanation/translation
In honor of the upcoming holiday of Purim (March 8), here is a Megilat Esther from Columbia's Smith Collection. Professor David Eugene Smith, a professor at Columbia's Teacher's College from 1901-1926, was a scholar in the History of Mathematics who went around the world collecting manuscripts and rare books related to his topic. He spent a lot of time in Persia, studying the Persian system of mathematics. While there, he also purchased some Hebrew manuscripts, like the Esther Scroll shown here, which he then donated to Columbia University. The story of Esther, of course, takes place in ancient Persia, or present day Iran.
While other such decorated cases exist, it is rare to find one in such good condition due to the fragility of the ivory.
The second image, below, is the portion of the text with the names of the ten sons of Haman.
Thanks to a project with the National Library of Israel's Institute for Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, the manuscript can be viewed in its entirety here: