When Sefaria launched in 2013, co-founders Joshua Foer and Brett Lockspeiser dreamt of creating a free, open source, online library of Jewish texts in Hebrew and in translation. Three years later, Sefaria boasts more than 50,000 unique visitors per month, 36,000 user-created source sheets, and a library of over 60 million words.
A little over a year ago, our engineers began a massive project we called S2. Our goal: to completely rebuild Sefaria from the ground-up. The process was fascinating and difficult. Our team spent dozens of hours consulting with scholars, rabbis, and experts, and carefully studying how people interact with Jewish texts in a wide variety of settings, from advanced learners in Batei Midrashot, to educators in classrooms, to casual readers on the subway. In addition to these behavioral studies, we delved deep into the history of the daf, and of Jewish publishing, to understand the design choices that have shaped Jewish learning over the centuries.
All of us on the Sefaria team are thrilled to announce today that the new site is live, and ready to provide our users with an even more intuitive and enriching experience for studying Jewish texts.
The new site will do everything the old site did, but better: It features a faster backend, a streamlined look, and easier navigation. With the introduction of a new multi-panel experience, users can now study multiple texts in tandem, side by side, and click from one to the other without losing their place.
And the new Sefaria includes a number of simple but critical features we’ve heard requested from our users over and over: font-size controls, easy copy and paste, language settings for individual panels and a quick list of your most recently viewed texts.
Sefaria is now not only better, but better at being there for you where you need it. The new site was designed first and foremost with mobile and tablet users in mind. In addition to the launch of the new web site, we have also developed native Sefaria apps for your mobile devices. Our Android app is available today, with the iOS app soon to follow. With these apps, you can now access Sefaria anywhere–whether at home on your laptop, in class or the Beit Midrash on your tablet, or even underground on the subway on your smartphone.
Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing additional blog posts that highlight different aspects of the new site. Stay tuned, and feel free to write in with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.