VIN News: Orthodox Jews Express Dismay as Sefaria Launches ‘Gender-Friendly’ Translation
May 22, 2023

by Yaakov M in the VIN News

The Sefaria platform, whose vast online sefarim library and translation are used by members of the frum community, has added a new translation that 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.

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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.”

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.”

Some Twitter users declared that they would be deleting the Sefaria app in response to the new translation.

Although there are no confirmed reports 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.

Originally published in the VIN News

Photo credits: The Sefaria Project on Wikimedia Commons

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