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Sefaria adds works of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’s to digital library

Published by Koren Jerusalem, they will be accessible on the Jewish library; the collection is supported by William Davidson Foundation.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks's work will be available as part of the Sefaria online library. Credit: Courtesy of Sefaria.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks's work will be available as part of the Sefaria online library. Credit: Courtesy of Sefaria.

Sefaria, the nonprofit organization that digitizes and freely shares Jewish texts in Hebrew and in translation, is collaborating with Koren Jerusalem and the Rabbi Sacks Legacy to bring all of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’s works published by Koren into the Sefaria library. 

“We are deeply grateful for this collaboration that brings Rabbi Sacks’s literary legacy online and will maximize its impact and reach,” said Sam Moed, Sefaria board chair. “Rabbi Sacks was one of the most consequential, contemporary Torah scholars with thought-provoking insights that inspired countless lives. Adding his work to our digital library is particularly special because Rabbi Sacks believed in Sefaria when we launched in 2014.”

Sefaria will add more than three dozen volumes by Sacks to the library, released in stages over several years. This month’s release is the first batch of these works. The entire collection of Sacks’ writing that will be accessible on Sefaria is made possible through the support of the William Davidson Foundation. This initial collection includes:

  • The Jonathan Sacks Haggada: Much more than a guide to the seder meal, this volume includes commentaries, essays about Passover and the Haggadah base text with a translation by Jessica Sacks.
  • The five-part Covenant and Conversation series: Sacks’s writings about the weekly Torah portions are known for bringing together different schools of philosophy with the stories of the Five Books of Moses.
  • Collected essays about the weekly parshah: In addition to the Covenant and Conversation series, Sacks wrote many further meditations on the wisdom and ideas found in the weekly Torah portions. These five books examine the Torah from various vantage points such as ethics, spirituality and leadership.

At Sefaria’s recent 10th anniversary gala, Sacks’s daughter, Gila Sacks, said that her father was a passionate supporter of Sefaria from the beginning because “he knew that Sefaria was a gamechanger for the Jewish people. It was the next step in a tradition spanning thousands of years of tearing up old hierarchies and democratizing learning and knowledge for all.”

“Sefaria has opened up the world of Jewish learning to everyone helping to make genuine universal Jewish literacy a true possibility, perhaps for the first time in modern times,” she added. “Sefaria and its partners make possible the ongoing Jewish conversation that continues throughout the generations up to today, throughout the globe. This conversation doesn’t simply study Torah, but expands it, creates it, and enriches it.”

Beloved by millions the world over, Sacks was a central intellectual force in modern Jewish thought. He wrote more than 40 books, many of which became touchstones of Jewish thought, spoke at venues the world over on myriad topics, and received many accolades during his 72 years, including the 2016 Templeton Prize in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.”

Before his death in 2020, he wrote: “Judaism is, in short, an ongoing conversation between that once, and once only, Divine voice at Sinai and the human interpretation of those words that has continued in every generation since. It is the great conversation that has never ended.”

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Sefaria is a nonprofit 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.
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