Friday, May 15, 2015

Encyclopedia Talmudit

PROJECT: The “Encyclopedia Talmudit” is a monumental labor of love and learning (Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal).
A vast body of Jewish writing rooted in distant antiquity is headed for cyberspace, thanks to the visionary efforts of an Israeli rabbi who comfortably straddles the worlds of science, faith and scholarship.

Rabbi Avraham Steinberg is chief executive officer of the “Encyclopedia Talmudit” (Talmudic Encyclopedia), a work-in-progress that began in 1942 as an audacious effort to rescue and preserve the writings of Jewish sages even as the Jewish people itself faced extinction at the hands of Nazi Germany and its allies. Thanks to the work of its founding editors, the Talmudic Encyclopedia now consists of 33 volumes and some 1,200 entries that summarize and explain the wisdom of the Talmud in a series of short topical entries.

Given the vast scope of the Talmud, it is not surprising that 33 volumes represent about half of the work in its entirety. Steinberg aspires to complete the print version of the Talmudic Encyclopedia within 10 years, which is why he is traveling widely in the United States to raise funds in support of the enterprise. The campaign was jump-started with a generous contribution from Dov Friedberg, whose matching gift is conditional on the publication of the Talmudic Encyclopedia in its entirety within a decade.

The project, which is staffed by "strictly Orthodox" writers, is written in a Classic-Modern form of Hebrew and is also slated to go online.