How We Approach Expanding the Sefaria Library
October 14, 2022 | 19 Tishrei, 5783
Welcome to Sefaria, a living library of Jewish texts. If you’re reading this, you’ve already made it through the front door. Wherever you find yourself at this moment, you are surrounded by stacks upon stacks of digital texts — ranging in content and authorship, some thousands of years old and others published just recently.
As the library grows, we want to take a moment to reflect on our values as an organization and offer insight into how we approach building our collection.
We view Jewish texts as the collective inheritance of the Jewish people. It is our mission to make these texts accessible in the digital age, harnessing the power of technology to preserve and enliven the future of our rich textual tradition.
With an average of 39,000 users on any given day, we are a virtual house of study that never goes dark. Sefaria users run the gamut of age, gender, geography, denomination, and educational background. They are experienced Torah learners and first-timers, teachers and researchers. Some use the library daily, some periodically, and some stumble upon us by accident. The contents of our library aims to reflect the diverse needs of our community of users.
To support Jewish learning for all, we maintain an ever-growing collection of classic Jewish texts in original language and translation, modern works with cultural significance, and additional resources to help users study and understand core texts more deeply — like dictionaries, reference tools, and explanatory works. Sefaria is a Jewish library. In the rare case that a supplemental resource is not penned by a Jewish author, we have included it because it is widely used and valued in Jewish scholarship. And in the process of making as many Jewish texts freely accessible as possible, we place special emphasis on acquiring texts with broad usability and connectivity to other texts.
Our tradition is one of curiosity, of deep learning, of discourse and debate. In our most foundational and sacred texts, we find an array of opinions — from leadership disagreements between Moses and Aaron in the Torah to the well-known halakhic disputes of Hillel and Shammai. Just as our texts embrace conversation and even conflict between different perspectives, so does our library. We invite users to explore all that the library has to offer and utilize the materials that best serve them on their learning journeys.
As we add texts and translations to our collection, we also continually improve our design and develop new features to make learning on Sefaria a more enriching experience.
With each update to the Sefaria library and platform, we aim to open wider the doors of the virtual beit midrash (study hall), inviting all who are called to enter to make themselves at home. It is an honor for our non-profit organization to facilitate Torah study for millions of people around the world, and we look forward to continuing to serve generations to come.