Sefaria is all about making the texts of the Jewish tradition accessible to everybody. So far we’ve been accomplishing this by making texts and translations available on our website, in our mobile apps, and as data that people can download in a variety of formats. But could a blind or visually impaired person access these resources? Unfortunately, until recently, most of us on the Sefaria team hadn’t spent enough time thinking about this question.
Sefaria is building a free, living library of Jewish texts and their interconnections. Our scope is Torah in the broadest sense, from Tanakh to Talmud to Zohar to modern texts and all the volumes of commentary in between. We are inspired by the biblical affirmation (Deuteronomy 33:4) that the Torah is the rightful inheritance of the entire Jewish people — and we’re obsessed with imagining new ways for diffusing Jewish knowledge in the digital age.
Sefaria made an early push to get many of the major midrashic sources online early. Many of them had already been digitized by other people and were available in either wikisource, OYW, or elsewhere. While our focus is obviously on the classic midrashic sources, we also have included some of the more modern ones. Currently we have:
Sefaria now includes hundreds of texts with millions of words and hundreds of thousands of interconnections. Designing an interface for easily navigating a substantial library is not a simple task. For Sefaria it’s made even more complex by some unusual characteristics of our project (like our focus on parallel, bilingual text; our handling of multiple versions of texts; our acceptance of fragmentary and evolving content, etc).
After Tanach, the most common question we get about content is about the Talmud.