You don’t need to purchase expensive software for offline work with Hebrew — not since the amazing open source programmers behind LibreOffice, the Document Foundation, developed a free and open source solution for working with Right-to-Left texts like Hebrew. Until the Open Siddur web application is available for crafting siddurim and other curricular resources on Jewish liturgy, we recommend LibreOffice. . . . → Read More: How to Work with Hebrew in LibreOffice
Keep the Internet as open as Avraham and Sarah’s tent. Help us oppose ACTA & TPP: — free trade legislation with specific language that will undermine free speech on the Internet. . . . → Read More: STOP ACTA & TPP from Undermining Free Speech on the Internet
The Open Siddur Project is pleased to distribute a masterful Yiddish translation of the Tanakh by “Yehoyesh” (Yehoash) Shloyme Blumgarten (1870-1927) as published in Torah, Neviʼim, u-Khetuvim (New York: Yehoʼash Farlag Gezelshaft, 1941) that now resides in the Public Domain. . . . → Read More: תנ״ך | Yehoyesh’s Yiddish Translation of the Tanakh
Keep the Internet open, like Avraham’s tent. . . . → Read More: Call Congress: Stop SOPA and PIPA
How good are you playing this amazing, venerable role-playing game called Judaism? Playing your whole life? Grand. So is it fun? Is it worthwhile? Would you recommend it to your friends? No. All right… so why not? Oh. Yeah. Oh… true. Ok, yeah, those are all good reasons. But what if I told you there was a way to play it better. Not everyone will catch on at first, but it should satisfy the most conservative players AND the most innovative. The geeks will love it and it will lower the bar for entry to even the most simple of players. Ok, it does sound too good to be true. But hey, what’s the point of playing the game if you’re not willing to suspend the physics of the familiar and try on a new set of rules. Embrace the illusion. Try on a new reality. Help create a new one, together. I just want players to use their imagination, feel appreciated instead of alienated, and just improve the game for everyone. So what is it? I’ll tell you. . . . → Read More: The afikoman hiding in plain sight
This post continues the series of advocacy posts directed at Jewish content creators and aggregators. Other parts of the series discussed the global communal benefit of free primary data resources and issues of copyright license compatibility and the connection between copyright licensing and remixability. While my previous post briefly mentioned the non-free Creative Commons licenses, this post details why you should choose a free culture license. In particular, it urges you to avoid the licenses with the non-commercial-use only (NC) terms. . . . → Read More: Just say NO to NC — choose a *free* Creative Commons license
To help creators of new works navigate the panoply of free/libre, open source, and copyleft licenses, I made a decision tree flowchart as an image map with clickable links to respective licenses and relevant articles. . . . → Read More: How to Select the Right Free/Libre License for Sharing Your Work
In 1960, Sara Levi-Tanaiׁ (1910-2005) published the now popular Ḥanukah song and melody Banu Ḥosekh l’Garesh in a songbook, Zman Ḥeyn (p.49) by the Publishing House of the Composers’ League in cooperation with the Center for Culture and Education (הופיע בספר/חוברת “זמר חן”, בית הוצאה של איגוד הקומפוזיטורים בשיתוף עם המרכז לתרבות ולחינוך). The work . . . → Read More: When will Banu Ḥoshekh L’Garesh enter the Public Domain?
Given that more than 50% of the Siddur is comprised of text from the תנ׳׳ך (TaNaKh) any project that seeks to rigorously attribute its sources depends on a critical, digital edition of the Masoretic text of the Hebrew bible. And such is the case for our Open Siddur Project. The entire history of the transmission . . . → Read More: A Tale of Two Codexes: The Aleppo and Westminster Leningrad Codex of the תנ׳׳ך
A belated post that our humble project was mentioned in a cover story in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles on September 28th, 2010. Thanks to writer Jonah Lowenfeld, a very patient interviewer. In his article, “The Ten Commandments of social networking” Jonah felt the Open Siddur Project exemplified the eighth commandment:
[No.] 8. . . . → Read More: The Sfas Emes on Sharing Torah in Parshat Terumah
In an insightful blog post on eJewish Philanthropy — which you should read if you haven’t already — Russel Neiss writes “[w]hile we have had many illuminating conversations since our presentation [at the JFNA General Assembly], the questions and feedback we have received overwhelmingly surrounds the first value of “Open, Discoverable and Accessible.”” He refers . . . → Read More: Openness, remixability, and free culture
Last week, I attended the first NewCAJE conference for Jewish educators and the young professionals retreat that followed. I met a lot of good people who chose an often under-appreciated profession; all of them dedicated to what they do: teaching the next generation of young Jews what it means to be Jewish. In recent days, . . . → Read More: NewCAJE 1: Post-conference thoughts and appeal to technologists
This post links to both the audio and slides from my talk at the 2010 NewCAJE, a conference for Jewish educators currently taking place at Gann Academy in Waltham, MA. My talk was in the first session and the crowd was small, but, thanks to the powers of the Internet and my small digital audio . . . → Read More: How you and your students can help build the Jewish library of the future (NewCAJE 1)
The following is the unedited text of the speech I read at the Future of Jewish Non Profit Summit. There’s a for-fee video of the speech at Fora.tv. You can also listen to this audio recording.
Efraim and I have made many of these points before, so if you’re so inclined check out more . . . → Read More: How Jewish nonprofits can save the world and themselves with open-source sharing strategies
Five fonts from the Open Siddur Open Source and Unicode Hebrew Font pack: Miriam CLM, Hadasim CLM, Linux Libertine, Mekorot-Rashi, and Shlomo Semi Stam (credit: Aharon Varady, license CC-BY-SA)
“Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems.”
. . . → Read More: פונטים קוד פתוח ביוניקוד | Free/Libre and Open Source Licensed Unicode Hebrew Fonts
Is spirituality important to a meaningful Jewish identity? If spirituality describes an intimate and evolving experience within and between individuals, then what might a meaningful resource look like that is both rooted in tradition and respects the integrity of personal and communal growth? Most Jews would say such a resource does not yet exist. The . . . → Read More: Spirituality, as our hearts are stirred to create and share
We just learned that yesterday John Bruno Hare, founder of the Internet Sacred Texts Archive, passed away. John’s last decade of life was deeply invested in breathing life into public domain texts that had never been digitized. All this material was released back into the world as freely licensed content. Just as the many texts . . . → Read More: Thankful for John B. Hare
Working on the Open Siddur Project has afforded me the opportunity to meet some amazing people, communities, and institutions. On Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5770, (March 16th) this year, I was honored to speak before the good folk at the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR).
AJR is a non-denominational Rabbinical College in Riverdale, New York committed . . . → Read More: Presenting the Open Siddur Project at the Academy for Jewish Religion
Think of a favorite book, or siddur, and think of the style of the letters in it. Fonts are used to forms the words and portray the liturgy, poetry, and other texts. More often than not, these fonts are not free. They are licensed from typographic designers for a fee or used with permission. Sometimes . . . → Read More: Culmus Project’s Ancient Semitic Scripts Fonts Now Licensed GPL with “font exception”
Over at Darim Online‘s blog, Phillip Brodsky reflects on Apple’s release of the iPad and asks some leading questions concerning the future of the book with the “People of the Book”, similar to J.T. Waldman’s posts on JPS’ blog last June and July last year. Considering e-readers and e-book formats, Brodsky asks,
How might the . . . → Read More: Access, sharing, and innovation through digitization
There are two principles on which the success of data on the contemporary web rests: the web makes content available, and it adds value to that content by linking it to other related information.
When considering bringing old content online, both of these aspects are important. A first level of digitization involves simply making data . . . → Read More: An Economic Argument for Free Primary Data
The free culture community has developed mechanisms to make sharing and collaborative development easier. The principles that define works of free culture are:
- the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
- the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
- the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
- the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works
Note that these freedoms do not discriminate on the basis of endeavor, and all free culture works allow creation of derivative works and commercial use. . . . → Read More: Jewish Content, Free Culture and “Content Compatibility”
One question I’ve been asked a number of times about the Open Siddur Project is: why are you developing all that software? It’s a fair question. After all, the siddur is just text. There are other do-it-yourself siddur kits out there. They sell you (or, more accurately, license you) a text. You open the text . . . → Read More: Why all the software?
Often we are asked here at the Open Siddur Project why we cannot simply use the digitized texts of the siddur that are available from Davka Corporation. Our instinct was that Davka only granted permission for individuals to use their digitized Hebrew texts under fair use doctrine. To be certain, we sought to find the . . . → Read More: Free as in Freedom
In his essay, “Even A New Siddur Can’t Close the ‘God Gap’” (in The Forward, 8/18/2009), Rabbi Saul Berman seems almost ready to give an honest critique of the siddur and the practice of t’fillah, but instead steps back to make a more general critique on modernity. The central problem Berman addresses is the problem . . . → Read More: Spiritual Alienation and the Siddur
The Open Siddur is an online tool for individuals and groups to craft the siddur they’ve always wanted. The Open Siddur will provide content (translations, transliterations, art, tfillot, piyutim, and other source texts) from an archive of current and historic nusḥaot (both well-known and obscure) and enable users to adapt, contribute new content, and share . . . → Read More: Why, davka, an Open Siddur Project
Culture hacking either respects copyright or ignores it. One of the pillars of the Open Siddur is its respect of copyright and its attempt to make available a digitized repository of Siddur content that is available for editing, mashups, and remixing, i.e., “derivative works” that may be redistributed without restriction.
. . . → Read More: Pirate Siddurim vs. Open Siddurim
Busy days this week at the PresenTense (PT) hub for the Open Siddur project. Wednesday was the heaviest and began in earnest with work on a website, opensiddur.org, from late Tuesday night into the lonely hours before the sunrise.
Each Wednesday, PT encourages its fellows by requiring the submission of a deliverable. The first was . . . → Read More: First Pitch from the Hotseat
One of the enduring challenges of the Open Siddur and its sister, the Jewish Liturgy Project, has been acquiring digitized siddur content that is in the public domain (or which is at least distributed with a very permissive copyright license such as CC-BY-SA). Our greatest advance so far been attaining a digitized copyleft version of . . . → Read More: Digitizing Siddurim