useful jewish links

There are a number of websites that I find extremely useful and you too might enjoy.

News from Israel:

One of the more popular news site is ynetnews.com   Its the English language website for Yediot Ahronot which is the largest circulating daily in Israel.  It tends to be a bit left leaning, but is more what I would call center-left.

The largest English language daily in Israel is the Jerusalem Post.  It tends to be more right leaning.  Between the two, you will get a good balance of coverage.  

Israel’s equivalent of The New York Times, both in its reputation as the “paper of record” and its political leanings is Ha’aretz.  Unfortunately, that paper is behind a paywall so I don’t check it all that often.

If you prefer to watch the news, try i24news, Israel’s equivalent to CNN.  There’s a link on that page which will allow you to stream their programming.

Calendar:

When I began Hebrew school, one of our ritual skill requirements was the ability to read a perpetual Hebrew calendar.  By the time I had finished, that skill had been taken away because now there is Hebcal.  Hebcal will give you a full calendar for any year in history you want.  You can set the parameters you desire as to what the calendar will show - weekly Torah portion, Hebrew dates, candle lighting times, you name it.  It also has a date converter feature which allows you to plug in any English date and get the Hebrew date instantly. This is very convenient for calculating dates of yahrzeits.  There is also a way to integrate Hebrew dates with your Google or other web-based calendars.

Torah Study:

The list here is virtually endless.  The new Jewish Publication Society’s translation of the Jewish scriptures (new being the 30-year old translation as opposed to the old translation which recently turned 100) can be found on the Jewish Theological Society’s  Torah Online page. This is the translation I send out each week and it is one of the most popular (though I am not sure it is the best).  You will need to look the translations up by parashah but once you do, you will find a lot of resources available to you.

If you find these translations confusing (and they can be at times)  I would highly recommend my teacher’s site, Rabbi Eric Hoffman’s Sedra Summary.  Each week Rabbi Hoffman provides a detailed summary of the week’s Torah portion in clear, easy to understand language.  He also includes a summary of the haftarah and insights from the rabbinic literature.

Finally, one of the most comprehensive sites for Jewish texts (both in Hebrew and English translation) is Sefaria.  The site is the repository of an ever growing library of classic texts.  It also allows you to create wonderful study sheets in either (or both) English or Hebrew.

Finally, a bit of arcania for those of you who are into that sort of thing.  The site HebrewBooks.org is a repository of pdfs of ancient Hebrew texts (I mean up to 400 and 500 years old).  If, for instance, you want to see what a 16th century Italian siddur looks like, you can find it here.  You can even, for $15 or $20, have the book custom printed and mailed to you. You really need to know some Hebrew to use this site, but if you do, it’s an amazing treasure trove.

If there are specific things for which you might be looking that are not covered in these suggestions, please contact me.  I might have a suggestion.

Enjoy!