New York – The Schottenstein Talmud is about to undergo a massive transformation in size, as publishing giant Artscroll has announced the development of a groundbreaking digital version of their best selling Gemara series to run on mobile devices including the iPhone, iPad and iTouch.
According to Artscroll, tens of thousands of hours have gone into the creation of the Talmud app, which will feature the familiar format, fonts and layouts of the popular print edition, whose English translation and elucidations forever changed the world of Gemara study for countless Jews worldwide. Each page will appear on the mobile device exactly the same way as it does in the print edition, enhanced by software that will give the user the ability to better navigate and learn the Gemara.
The video below describes the The ArtScroll Digital Library technology transformation Featuring the Schottenstein Talmud Bavli to be released this summer.
Among the features included are a scroll bar on the side of the Aramaic page showing which part of the text is currently being translated on the English page, place tracking technology giving the user the ability to simultaneously keep track of their place in both the original text and the English translation, quick scroll, allowing the user to jump easily from phrase to phrase within the Gemara, floating translation, which can display the English translation directly over phrases in the Aramaic text, a Daf Yomi shiur locator, a Daf Yomi calendar and monthly Daf Yomi subscriptions.
Users will also have the ability to color code different sections of the text to distinguish between different portions, resize the text and take notes and attach them to the current page.
The Artscroll Digital Library will start with the Schottenstein edition of the Talmud Bavli and future additions to the library will include the Talmud Yerushalmi, Medrash Raba, Mishnayos, Chumash, Siddur, Sefer Hachinuch and other Artscroll classics.
This project has been in the making for several years according to Artscroll founder, Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, who estimates the total cost for this app in the $5 million range.
“We have a mandate from R’ Gifter that we must harness technology and use it make Torah accessible to as many people as possible,” Rabbi Zlotowitz told VIN News. “We have been hoping to do this since the e-book concept first began, but the proper hardware and software didn’t exist for the ambitious type of project we were envisioning. Just a year or two ago doing something of this magnitude meant having a dedicated hardware platform which was totally impractical. With so many people using iPhones, iPads and iTouches, many people already own the hardware they need to use this app.”
Suffern based software developer Rusty Brick, creators of numerous Jewish iPhone apps including Siddur, Tanach, Tehillim, Tikkun, Mishne Torah, Sefiras Haomer, Selichos and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch apps, has paired up with Artscroll for this massive undertaking which is is scheduled to be ready for July 2012, just prior to the launch of the new Daf Yomi cycle.
The cost of the app to users, is still undetermined but according to Rusty Brick there will be a varied pricing structure depending on the options selected and Artscroll hopes to keep the cost as low as possible in order to make the app available to as many people as possible.
“It is a true honor for us to work with Artscroll on this project,” Barry Schwartz CEO of Rusty Brick told VIN News. “To be able to pair our technology with the best Jewish content in the world, we are confident that this new app will change how the Jewish world learns Torah forever. We are privileged to be a part of it.”
The widely acclaimed Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud Bavli is a seventy three volume set, whose volume were published over a fourteen year period, from 1990 to 2004, at an estimated cost of twenty one million dollars, contributed by private donors and foundations. With each volume consisting of two side by side pages, one with the original Aramaic text and the other with a well written English translation as well clarifying what can sometimes be difficult passages in the Gemara, as well as explanations and commentaries for the Gemara, it not only changed the way thousands of people learn Gemara but it made the previously daunting concept of Daf Yomi an attainable goal.
Over two million copies of the Schottenstein Talmud are in distribution, with a full set dedicated to the Library of Congress in 2005. Widely credited with opening up the world of Gemara to the masses, the goal of the Schottenstein Talmud project, as stated by the Schottenstein family, was to “open the doors of the Talmud and welcome its people inside.”