Sefaria is an online open source free content digital library of Jewish texts. It was founded in 2011 by former Google project manager Brett Lockspeiser and journalist-author Joshua Foer.[1] Calling itself "a living library of Jewish texts", Sefaria relies on volunteers to add texts and translations.[2] Texts are provided under a free license both in Hebrew and in translation. The website also provides a tool for creating source sheets.[3]

The Sefaria Project.svg
Available inEnglish, Hebrew
Current statusActive

Sefaria is a non-profit organization.[4] The technology is maintained by a team of 18 engineers.[5]


Sefaria was originally founded in 2011, by Joshua Foer, and Brett Lockspeiser, a former product manager at Google. The site's first beta was released in 2012. The company was formally incorporated in 2013, with funding from the Natan Fund, Jonathan and Tamar Koschitzky, and the Jim Joseph Foundation. By 2015, twelve apps used Sefaria's API and database. Also in 2015, Sefaria reached a deal to use Urim Publications' translations of the Tanakh and commentaries.[6] Sefaria's website received a major redesign in 2016, alongside the release of new apps for smartphones running iOS and Android, and a complete English translation of Rashi's commentary on the Torah. By this point, over a dozen people were part of the website's staff. Sefaria reached a major milestone in 2017, with the release of the William Davidson Talmud.[7] In 2019, Lockspeiser was listed among Forward Magazine's 50 under 50 for this advancement in Torah technology.[8]


Sefaria has a vast library of Jewish text, including Tanakh, Talmud, and Jewish prayers alongside sources in philosophy, mysticism, Jewish law, and newer works.[9] Sefaria's content comes from a variety of sources. Books in the public domain are scanned and processed by OCR software, which a team corrects and formats. Other online sources such as On Your Way are also used. Some publishers have also provided works directly to Sefaria.[10]

Sefaria also produces visualizations of the texts in its corpus, such as illustrating connections between the Tanakh and Talmud.[11]


Some works, such as Tanakh and the Talmud, feature English translations. These are either crowdsourced, provided by publishers, or in the public domain. Some translations are written by Sefaria.[10]



Many works are linked with their respective commentaries. For example, clicking on a verse in Tanach will open a window on the side, allowing the user to open a commentary on that verse.

Source SheetsEdit

Sefaria's Source Sheet Builder allows users to create a page with source text from Sefaria. Source Sheets can be made public, and available for other users, or can be downloaded as a PDF and printed.


  1. ^ Maier, Lilly (February 8, 2017). "You Can Now Read The Whole Talmud Online - For Free". The Forward. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  2. ^ Borschei-Dan, Amanda (November 13, 2014). "Old-school educators go hi-tech to promote Torah accessibility". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  3. ^ Schifrin, Dan (11 July 2014). "Locally fueled Sefaria project has radical ambitions for traditional Jewish texts". J. The Jewish News of Northern California.
  4. ^ Chabin, Michele (February 10, 2017). "Nonprofit offers online English-language translation of the Talmud for free". Religion News Service. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  5. ^ "How Can Secular Jews Create the Future of Torah?". Oshman Family JCC. Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  6. ^ "Sefaria and Urim Publications Strike Unprecedented Agreement". The Sefaria Blog. 2015-02-11. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  7. ^ "About Sefaria". Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  8. ^ RudorenDecember 20, Jodi; Montage, 2019Forward. "Forward 50: Meet The Machers And Shakers Who Influenced, Intrigued And Inspired Us This Year". The Forward. Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  9. ^ "The greatest Jewish website in the world". Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  10. ^ a b "Content FAQ". GitHub. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Sefaria: Visualizations

External linksEdit