In just two years we’ve added more than 50 million words to our open source library; facilitated the creation of more than 20,000 source sheets; powered 12 third-party educational apps; and reached 36,000 monthly users. As the new year approaches, we wanted to share an overview of what’s next for Sefaria.
Sefaria’s first few years were focused on prototyping product and collecting user feedback.
Now that the library is starting to take shape, our designers and engineers can focus on designing the perfect interface for exploring and studying Jewish texts. In essence, we are rebuilding Sefaria from scratch using just the nuts and bolts and all the lessons learned from the current user experience. The redesign will include a new platform for the Web and mobile, as well as native applications for iOS and Android. With the apps, users will have the entire Jewish canon — much of it also in translation — in their pocket, accessible even when offline.
We expect the new interface and apps to launch during the first half of 2016.
Over the next few years, we will continue to expand Sefaria’s collection of texts and translations. Our goal is to acquire and load the entire core Hebrew canon (what we think of as: what 95% of people study 95% of the time) by the end of 2018. This set of texts comprises 500 works and approximately 140 million words. It includes texts in the following categories: Tanach and commentaries; Midrash; Mishnah/Tosefta and commentaries; Talmud and commentaries; Halacha; Responsa; Kabbalah; Chasidut; Philosophy; Musar; and Liturgy.
Translations are essential to Sefaria’s mission and enormous progress has been made in the last few months; we expect that momentum to continue and plan to acquire many more critical translations over the next three years.
Our next major release will be a complete translation of Rashi on Torah, which should be live on Sefaria in early 2016.
Teaching and Learning with Sefaria
Our product and education teams work closely with a diverse set of educators, rabbis, academics and technologists to determine what features and resources are necessary for Sefaria.
To maximize Sefaria’s impact, we are investing heavily in our work with educators through the School Partnership Initiative, particularly in developing educational experiences that empower students to take part in the age-old Jewish tradition of interpreting and making meaning from Jewish texts. Educators and students are currently doing innovative work in Sefaria’s source sheet module, where users can easily re-format texts in Hebrew and English, annotate them, insert related media and host discussions. The feedback and input we gather from the Initiative will help define what’s next.
One of our big new foci moving forward is our growing presence in Israel. Early in Sefaria’s development, staff connected with education and technology organizations across Israel. We established a strong relationship with the National Library of Israel, our center of operations for our three Jerusalem-based team members. We will likewise continue to strengthen our relationship with other educational and cultural institutions whose objectives align with ours– including 929 and Herzog College’s HaTanakh website.
As a living library, Sefaria will constantly evolve, innovate and improve its platform to grow and interact with its users. Our canon is vast and our task is big but we’re confident that with the continued help of our supporters, we will succeed in this endeavor, and in doing so, change the face of Jewish learning forever.
If you have suggestions for the future of Sefaria, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always open to new ideas.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support Sefaria’s growth, please visit www.sefaria.org/donate.