NEW YORK (Yaakov M / VINnews) — The Sefaria platform, whose vast online sefarim library and translation are used by members of the frum community, has added a new translation which appears to be heretical.
In response, some orthodox Jews say they are going to delete the app from their phones, and have expressed their disappointment that this valuable resource is not aligned with Torah values.
Sefaria announced a new “gender-sensitive” edition of one of its translations of Nach.
The institution tweeted: “The Revised JPS (RJPS) edition aims to present a more linguistically and historically accurate translation that reflects advances in scholarship and changes in the English language, while staying true to the original Hebrew.
The translation, from the Jewish Publication Society (JPS), pledges “greater gender inclusivity” in talking about people, and “greater gender sensitivity” in talking about G-d.
One Twitter user observed that the translation changes the meaning of the words from the original Hebrew.
Yochonon Donn, Editor at Mishpacha and Yated, tweeted, “Sefaria is a tremendous resource for the olam hatorah. Messing around with sefarim hakedoshim to conform to western ideas of equality is an unacceptable breach. If this is true, I can’t see people learning from an unholy source.”
Sefaria is a tremendous resource for the olam hatorah. Messing around with sefarim hakedoshim to conform to western ideas of equality is an unacceptable breach. If this is true, I can't see people learning from an unholy source. https://t.co/MUMJSyNLLB
— Yochonon Donn (@Yochidonn) May 18, 2023
Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, sarcastically tweeted, “Next up: to be more inclusive of atheists, they’ll provide a “historically accurate translation” that avoids mention of the Supreme Being. “In the beginning, heaven and earth were created.”
Next up: to be more inclusive of atheists, they'll provide a "historically accurate translation" that avoids mention of the Supreme Being. "In the beginning, heaven and earth were created." https://t.co/0r3uexiIGw
— Rabbi Yaakov Menken (@ymenken) May 18, 2023
Some Twitter users declared that they would be deleting the Sefaria app in response to the new translation.
Although there are no confirmed report of Rabbis officially banning Sefaria, such a move would certainly be plausible, as supporting a platform that endorses false interpretations of Torah, no matter how valuable, would appear to contradict Torah values , and possibly be against Halacha.
@SefariaProject you cannot both be using a translation that is more “linguistically and historically” accurate translation that you are intentionally altering to reflect modern politically charged sensibilities. You’re doing no favor to your users. https://t.co/72w31TUTm1
— Bible 4 Community (@Bible4Community) May 19, 2023
This isn't Jewish or religious in the slightest. Shame on you!
— Mr. Kitty (@Sassy_Khat) May 18, 2023
It’s a shame. I use and have used seferia many times. I too will delete their app.
Shown below is an exact copy of an email message that I sent to www dot sefaria dot org on 2023 May 17:
Dear Sefaria Staff,
No offense intended, but I cannot
congratulate you for this new development.
The original JPS Tanach was never based on Jewish sources.
The original JPS Tanach is a Gentile Tanach translation
that misleadingly appears as a Jewish Tanach translation.
Like a Halloween costume or disguise,
it appears to be something that it is not.
Additionally, “Gender-sensitive” Tanach translations
are a big, bold, blatant distortion Tanach.
As I write these words, I clearly understand
that you will never listen to what I am saying,
for many reasons.
But I feel compelled to try, against all odds.
You can send email to: [email protected]
NOW everyone wakes up to Sefaria’s content? They have the “regular” JPS Tanakh (JPS mostly caters to Reform and Conservative Judaism).
There are also “seforim” on Sefaria on topics such as Pride month, Queer Torah Study (I kid you not!), and a myriad of other “seforim” that are probably more offensive than this “gender neutral” farce.
So, why now? Where was everybody before this came to light?
Using Sefaria is akin to going into a McDonald’s and claiming you’re only buying a Coke.
Face it: Sefaria ain’t kosher.
I wonder if Artscroll will remove their links to sefaria from their app. If not, I will have to delete Artscroll as well.
I’m far from being a frumie, yet I never understood anyone using Sefaria, when it’s run by non-orthodox jews. Nothing can be learnt there even if not distorted. Sefer Torah shekosuv bo Apikores?
I was so surprised at the siyum hashas in Jan 2020. On the big screens they had pesukim and davening from sefaria! It was even credited in the corner of the jumbow screens!
Sefaria was founded by people who aren’t Orthodox, and has never claimed to be Orthodox. Their vision is a “big tent” where people from all denominations can learn. I really don’t like this translation, and I wish they made it easier to select which translation you want (or better yet, select your hashkafa to filter out translations that you have no interest in), but people really have no right to be outraged over a non-Orthodox site run by non-Orthodox people using a non-Orthodox translation.
Using that website is like reading from a Torah that was written by an “Apikoros” which is prohibited.
Its like sneaking a few non kosher food items in middle of a kosher grocery store.
I used to donate to Sefaria. No more of that
FYI – The default translation of Torah used by Sefaria is JPS – which is Conservative.
It is important to know this! You can change the default to another version to ensure accurate translation (Metsudah or Koren)
But Sefaria should probably not be a resource used by the Torah world…before or after this gender-bender translation…
Sefaria is a great resource, but don’t fool yourself. They have had a whole catergory of seforim chitzonim (books from ~Bayis sheini era that weren’t included in tanach) for quite some time and chazal tell us whoever learns those seforim have no share in Olam habaah. I use sefaria on occasion, and will probably continue to… but there are way worse things on there than one of many translations they offer…. I’m not sure why people are only starting to realize this now. They are not run by frum people…
I just went to Parshas Naso the default Englisg translation is The_Contemporary_Torah,_Jewish_Publication_Society,_2006 But if you click on the word translation other translations such as Metsuda and Koren are available. For gemara the default translation is Koren publishing which I think is affiliated with YU
I’m sort of glad this happened.
Sefaria was never a kosher site.
Now more people will know
Ok, who is willing to work with me to design an effective site (and the backend systems) as an alternative to Sefaria? Feel free to contact me if you are an IT professional interested in this project.
Reach out to me on LinkedIn search for Yankel Ganef (pronounced ĵa-nef)
Ban it. There is no room for compromise with evil
I look at Sefaria as a seforim store. As in any store there are things that may up to your standard of kashras and some things not. I go to the main seforim on their website. If you aren’t sure about a sefer’s author you can click the “about this text” button and all information comes up. As far as the translation when you ask for translation it tells you on the on the top of the page where the translation is from. There is also a scrolll down for other English translations. This new problem is truly a problem as it distorts the meaning of the text However the issue isn’t really new. I was once learning mishnayos on their web site using their English translation. On top of the page under the title of the mesechta it says the name of the English translation . It says Rabbi Joshua Kulp. If you click on his name it says he is from conservitiveyeshiva.org So this problem isn’t really new.
This May, while using a totally treife social media website,Orthodox Jews on twitter expressed dismay regarding Sefaria.
That was a half-joke.
I went to two alternatives websites today . One is called mercava the second is alhatorah.gov alhatorah has a search feature similar to sefaria
How would you translate Tanakh into genderless languages such as Afrikaans or Hungarian?
Everyone calm down. The only differences (as listed on the jps website) are: 1. They will now write “GOD” instead of “The Lord” 2. Instead of translating ויקבר עם אבותיו and the like as “and he was buried with his fathers,” it will now say ancestors, which is still an accurate translation.
All this outrage is ridiculous. Now you all wake up and realize Sefaria isn’t Orthodox? It’s still plenty usable and extremely useful. Change your default translation to Koren (which is frum) if you are concerned about the translation and calm down.
If you don’t like it don’t read it. But I don’t think it is right to try to censor what people might want to read.
Could someone explain what is wrong with a gender neutral translation? HaShem has no gender, so what is the issue? Actually, I think that the meaning now is more accurate
I wonder, how many people complaining about this new or revised translation are monthly or annual supporters of Sefaria? Likely none. So stop complaining. Either be a supporter (as I am) and your views will be considered or just use a different resource if available.