About Sefaria

A Living Library of Torah Texts Online.

We are the People of the Book. For thousands of years, our culture, our traditions, and our values have been transmitted through our texts. From an oral tradition to handwritten scrolls to a vast corpus of printed books, each new medium democratized knowledge, and brought more people into the great Jewish conversation. We are the generation charged with shepherding our texts from print to digital in a way that can expand their reach and impact in new and unprecedented ways.

Sefaria is a non-profit organization dedicated to building the future of Jewish learning in an open and participatory way. We are assembling a free living library of Jewish texts and their interconnections, in Hebrew and in translation. With these digital texts, we can create new, interactive interfaces for Web, tablet and mobile, allowing more people to engage with the textual treasures of our tradition.

Sefaria's Vision

Access

For the Jewish people, our texts are our collective inheritance. They belong to everyone and we want them to be available to everyone, in the public domain or with free public licenses. Whether it’s copying a page of text for your classroom or downloading our entire database for research and new projects, you’ll enjoy unfettered access to the canon.

Infrastructure

All of our code is released under an open source license, and we offer services including a live API to any project that can make use of them. We invite everyone to reuse our code and data to build apps, conduct research or make visualizations. We believe the basic infrastructure for Jewish tech is something we should share.

Education

Sefaria is not merely an archive for preserving Jewish texts; it is a platform meant to give these texts new life. Accordingly, all of our product development efforts are designed to make Sefaria into a better learning and teaching tool. Sefaria is committed to working in partnership with educators to explore and develop the frontiers of Jewish educational technology.

Conversation

Judaism's core texts grew out of millennia-long conversations and arguments across generations. More than a collection of books on a shelf, the Jewish canon is a giant corpus of interconnected texts that speak to each other. Sefaria is making it easier than ever to explore the conversations of the past, while also creating a space for ancient conversations to continue in new ways, with new participants, new questions, and new layers of dialogue. Stay tuned.

History

2011

Best-selling author Joshua Foer and Google alum Brett Lockspeiser develop the initial concept for Sefaria.

2012

Foer and Lockspeiser quietly release a beta version of the site.

2013

Tech investor Mo Koyfman joins the co-founders to form Sefaria’s Board of Directors. Together they secure crucial early funding from the Natan Fund, Jonathan and Tamar Koschitzky, and the Jim Joseph Foundation.
Sefaria incorporates as a non-profit and hires its first employee – who remains at the company to this day!
The Sefaria library grows to 8.5 million words.

2014

Sefaria’s engineers stretch the limits of what digital Torah can do by pioneering the first data visualization tool showcasing connections between Tanakh and Talmud.
Users create 6,000 source sheets using Sefaria’s Source Sheet Builder.
Sefaria launches its Day School Partnership Initiative with a cohort of four schools.

2015

Sefaria makes its first deal with a major Jewish publisher to digitize and release translations into the public domain.
U sing Sefaria’s database and API, independent developers around the world create 12 third-party apps.
The Sefaria library grows to include 50 million words.

2016

Sefaria’s professional team now spans the globe, including more than a dozen people across eight cities in North America and Israel.
Sefaria releases a complete, bilingual version of Rashi’s Torah commentary.
Sefaria puts the Torah in users’ pockets with its first mobile apps for Android and iOS.
Sefaria reaches 50,000 unique visitors in a 30-day period.

2017

Sefaria makes history by releasing The William Davidson Talmud, including Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel's English and Modern Hebrew translations.
Sefaria launches sefaria.org.il, a website for Israelis and native Hebrew speakers.
Sefaria doubles one of its key milestones within a single year, reaching 100,000 unique visitors in a 30-day period.

2018

More than 1 million users hailing from almost every country in the world visit Sefaria’s library in a single year.
Sefaria launches two pilot programs in Israel with the Ministry of Education.
Sefaria’s library grows to 183 million words: 143 million in Hebrew and 40 million in English translation.

2019

Sefaria celebrates the historic release of Nechama Leibowitz's sourcesheet collection, marking the first female commentator in the core Sefaria library.
Users continue creating source sheets and the database hits 200,000!
Co-founder Brett Lockspeiser is selected to the Forward 50 list of influential American Jews, and Sefaria is named as one of the top 10 developments of the last decade.

2020

Sefaria pivots to meet the needs of COVID-19, offering resources for celebrating holidays at home, tips for distance learning, and video chavruta technology.
Topical search is launched, a major update to the site’s architecture and a critical tool for beginners to be able to navigate the library.
Sefaria hits record traffic with 500,000/users in a month – a full year ahead of our goal.