Sefaria’s Impact – Reflections and Insights from Users

When I saw your email I had to tell you how you have impacted me and the small town I live in! I am 15 and I live in Northern California. The Jewish population is super small here and, with no other option, I go to a public high school. But, I started a Jewish club with about 6 Jewish students. I always read your resources and I share the source sheets with the Jewish Club because they are so perfect! Often when I need to be strong in school, I think about the wisdom you share and it makes me prouder and stronger as a Jew. Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful website and for adding so much light into my world and the entire world! With deep appreciation.

Moriah Rosenthal

Daniel Libenson, founder and president of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future, speaking on the the #TrendingJewish podcast, Episode 13: Turning the Crisis Narrative on Its Head

I would not be able to run my class without Sefaria

Danny Weininger, Adas Israel

The accessibility of primary Jewish texts like the Talmud in an excellent digital format helps spread the words of our Sages across time and space so that they can live more profoundly and more closely within us. Sefaria has done so much to help Jewish texts travel and have meaningful impact. As an educator and a lifelong student, I am most grateful.

Dr. Erica Brown

“When anyone asks how we finished Masechet Megillah,” Purim 2017, via Instagram Photo courtesy of Isabella Kestenbaum

Without Sefaria I would be stuck as I literally cannot afford many sefarim and do not live close to a Beit Midrash I can easily access as a woman. It is brilliant and more translations and more texts are always welcomed by those of us who do not have top notch Hebrew and Aramaic.

Sophia Chidgey-Hallan

Five stars. I'm not one to give five stars, but this is worthy of it. Thank you for making so much available and downloadable to be read at offline mode, I will never be bored in my life as long as I have battery on the phone haha

Anonymous Google User (Android App Review)

27 open tabs on my web browser. 23 have the Sefaria icon. #WhatTheInternetWasMadeFor

Micha Berger

Last week I was working with a congregant, a woman in her 70s, and I realized it would be helpful to pull up a text to show her, so I opened Sefaria and showed her the text. She had no idea what Sefaria was or how I could find a text so easily online... and as I showed her around the website, tears came into her eyes. She was astounded that someone like her could have such easy access to the Jewish textual library. She doesn't read Hebrew, but just what is available in English opens worlds for her. Thanks for making this available, for her as a student relatively new to Torah study, and for me as a teacher whose life is so much easier when I can find and use your source material.

Rabbi Shahar Colt, Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, Newton, MA

When Brooklyn Beit Midrash first started two years ago, we immediately began relying on Sefaria for all of our source sheet needs. Two years and about 50 source sheets later, we've helped fill our borough with meaningful grassroots Torah!

Jeremy Borovitz, Brooklyn Beit Midrash

A night of learning at the Brooklyn Beit Midrash Photo courtesy of Jeremy Borovitz

Thank you, you have made long distant Chavruta possible.

Hindy Finman

Thank you so much for developing Sefaria. I do not attend a Jewish college, and for the first time in my life I am without formalized Jewish education. Sefaria has played a huge role in my continued effort to devote non-school time to serious Torash study. It is helpful, accessible, and truly impactful.

Tamar Yastrab

Sefaria is making a major contribution to Jewish learning by placing the Jewish bookshelf freely online in an open source format. Thanks to Sefaria, students of all kinds and all levels, Jews and non-Jews, wherever they happen to live, can explore the richness of the Jewish textual tradition. Unlike other endeavors of this kind, Sefaria is free of all restrictions and fees and is also multi-lingual. It embodies the democratic spirit of the internet and will hopefully have the same transformative impact.

Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University

I teach middle school, and I use Sefaria nearly every day. The connections feature is wonderful, and my colleagues make fun of me for my constant refrain: “Well, let’s check Sefaria!

Saul Zebovitz

Sefaria did not only expand my knowledge and passion for Torah, but also gave me the confidence to prepare and teach Torah to others.

Shoshana Lehman, student at The Frisch School, Paramus, New Jersey

Throughout the centuries, Jews have always been the people of the book. With the wonderful development of the new National Library in Jerusalem, our people has a physical home for the book. The Sefaria project has the potential to become the digital home of the book for the people of the book. The digitalisation of our books, manuscripts and journals, is not just creating a vital online resource, but is opening up our ancient heritage to a new generation on a global scale in a digital age. I commend all those involved in this initiative and wish it every blessing and success.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Two nine year olds navigate Sefaria for their nightly pre-bed Mishnah chavrutah with Mom Photo Courtesy of Sara Wolkenfeld

A Beit Midrash in your pocket! This is an amazing resource.

Geoffrey Stern

I was leading a Masa for Ramah in the Rockies summer 2017, which was a backpacking trip in Northern Colorado, in Rocky Mountain National Park. I forgot the source sheets at camp, and only realized when we stopped for our first snack break on the trail. Luckily, I had my Sefaria app and found the pesukim I needed. I took a screenshot, and promptly turned my phone off. When we came to the big river crossing, we learned Parshanut from Shirat HaYam. It was this beautiful fusion of technology making this remote experiential education accessible...and Sefaria made it happen

Dave Yedid, Rabbinical Student

About three years ago I began podcasting Mishnayot, Monday through Friday. Every morning those signed up receive an audio file and a Sefaria link to a page with the day’s Mishnayot in Hebrew and English. Our subscribers literally span the globe. Most are from New York and New Jersey but we have had hits from Europe and Asia as well.The podcasts and links have been used over breakfast tables in Long Branch, New Jersey, in cars and trains on the way to work and at work. They have been used on vacation and work trips throughout the world. I have had people come back from Cancun, Aruba, China, and so many other places saying – I took you with me on vacation. The ability to simply send a Sefaria link has enabled learning day in and day out in multiple environments throughout the world.

Nasanayl Braun

The Arbit family using Sefaria to access Megillat Eicha on a trip to Alaska Photo Courtesy of Josh Arbit

Thank you for such a wonderful resource! It would be very hard to do my job as a teaching assistant without Sefaria.

Dina Kritz

I don't yet have my own books to study from so the ability to look at the text and ALL of the commentary side by side as needed has been invaluable. It's a very clean, organized site with no distractions which is exactly what I need during study. Thank you so much!

Danella Georgiev

Love your website and app. Your content is awesome and revolutionary. I learn daf yomi with a split screen: Gemara (English and Hebrew) at the top, and Steinsaltz at the bottom. As I move down to the next passage in the text, Steinsaltz commentary refreshes to match. What a graceful and brilliant way to study. Thank you!

Shaul Lilove

Thank God I go to rabbinical school in the age of Sefaria! I don't know how I would get on without it with the amount of sources I see every day.

Kayley Romick

I LOVE Sefaria.org. It allows me to engage with the text online beyond anything I have been able to do in the past. When our tradition says the Torah belongs to each generation, Sefaria.org makes that wisdom tangible. Searching for word frequency, connections, and commentary all allow me to fully analyze text in a way I only thought possible after years of rabbinic or yeshiva training.

Neil Green

I’m already using Sefaria in the classroom - not only do I use it to create sheets but my (mostly not Jewish, mostly not reading Hebrew) undergraduate and graduate students are using Sefaria for their own research. It has made teaching Jewish texts to non-experts infinitely easier and has made researching those texts accessible in a meaningful way for the first time for those students who study Jewish topics as beginners.

Dr. Deidre Butler. Director, Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies Associate Professor, Religion program; College of Humanities, Carleton University

My wife and I, in retirement, have become passionate about Talmud Torah and your site is becoming more and more useful as we expand our sources.

Anonymous

Thank you for everything you do! A few years ago, on the night before the funeral of my father ע"ה, I found myself in a hotel lobby without access to my books and trying to prepare a fitting הספד. Sefaria was a Godsend! It was very comforting to me to find a puzzling midrash from that week's Parasha and spend several hours engaged with it, looking up sources, asking questions, and gaining insights. I ended up sharing the first part of what I figured out at his funeral, and I wrote up the rest as a supplement to my remarks. To this day, when I think about the experience of his funeral, I am moved by that Midrash and the way my pshat brings me closer to my father's memory. Thank you for enabling that memory and for increasing our Torah knowledge!

David Bar-Shain

The great task of Jewish educators in our generation is to help people enter the richly layered textual tradition that is our legacy as contemporary Jews, to welcome people into the complexity, beauty, and depth of a conversation that has been carried on for millennia – not simply as passive observers, but as active and creative participants. The significance of Sefaria’s contribution to this effort – by making Jewish texts widely available in responsible and accessible translations – cannot be overstated.

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, President of Hebrew College

I’ve been using Sefaria for about a year. It’s so helpful for me because I don’t own/have access to a lot of sefarim and none really with translations.

Sarit Charli Shull

As an educator, I have come to appreciate Sefaria more and more. I now make sure to expose all of my students to what Sefaria has to offer. I show them how to use Sefaria to make sourcesheets. I love hearing their excitement as they realize how easy it is to make a sheet on Sefaria and how organized their final products look. They also are impressed at how Sefaria helps them do research by finding sources that connect to their topic. I am grateful that Sefaria is there to provide Torah resources to my students after they complete their formal Jewish education.

Sarit Anstandig

We made a grade-wide Siyum @frischschool on all of Sedar Nezikin on the shloshim for the father of one of our students. In 40 minutes the entire grade finished the Sedar of Mishna, learning in groups using @SefariaProject sheets. It was very meaningful & touching.

Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky, the Frisch School, via Twitter

Photo Courtesy of Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky

Amazing. Thousands of dollars of authoritative classical​ Jewish texts. Well organized, and improving all the time. The donors and workers behind this effort absolutely deserve the highest praise. They have my enduring gratitude.

Mike Perkins

I was just unexpectedly stuck waiting for a train. I opened @SefariaProject and learned an omud gemora (with some rishonim)! Thank you, Sefaria! Incredible!!

Shaul Wertheimer, @RabbiShaul via Twitter

Sefaria’s commitment to digital text access for all who seek to take hold of Torah played a pivotal and unparalleled role in my rabbinical school journey. As the first blind woman in the world to become a rabbi, Sefaria’s digital library enabled me to access rabbinic texts with ease for both educational as well as Torah lishma purposes. With much hakarat hatov do I thank Sefaria for the incredible and holy work you are doing.

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman

Note received by Sefaria in May of 2018