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.
Russel Neiss joined the Sefaria team in 2015 as a Software Engineer. He has worked as an education technologist for more than 10 years, and has created several critically acclaimed apps including AlephBet App, PocketTorah and Let’s Bake Challah. Most recently, he was a Covenant Foundation Fellow at G-dcast where he conceived, coded, and launched a dozen apps and digital experiences. Russel is now responsible for the development of Sefaria’s iOS app, all of the latest improvements to our Source Sheet Builder, and much of the creative thinking that goes into addressing the needs of educators and students when it comes to digital learning.
Introducing Assignments, a new feature that transforms the traditional in-class or homework assignment process. Gone are the days when teachers had to write up assignments, print them out, distribute to students, and then collect them back; with Assignments, teachers can easily integrate questions on to a source sheet, share that link with their students, and automatically collect answers once the students complete their responses. Students can annotate, comment, or add additional content, while educators can prompt open-ended or multiple choice questions.
We’re excited to announce a new dictionary feature now live on Sefaria! Adding a lexicon has been a long-standing goal for our team. Expanding Torah’s accessibility is chief among our priorities and translation can be one of the biggest hindrances to learning. This feature represents the beginning of a bigger project to collect word definitions here at Sefaria. Though only available right now for Hebrew Tanach, we are working on adding definitions for multiple languages – Hebrew, English, and Aramaic – with myriad options for varying translation sources.
In just two years, more than 18,000 unique source sheets have been made on Sefaria.org. Thousands of teachers, rabbis, students and lay leaders are turning to Sefaria’s easy-to-use source sheet builder to create beautiful, interactive, bilingual study guides that function as conversation starters and homework assignments as well.