From a JPost report: A major publisher of Jewish books is moving into the digital age while trying to strike a balance between technology and Jewish observance. ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, which calls itself the world’s largest Jewish publishing house, has begun digitizing the first batch of some of its 1,500 titles.
But ArtScroll’s most popular books – its Shabbos and High Holidays prayerbooks — will not be coming out for e-readers like the iPad and Amazon’s Kindle. The reason?
The Shabbat prohibition against using electronic devices is a major barrier.
“The vision of people coming to shul on Shabbat with their e-siddur just doesn’t cut it,” Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, president of the Orthodox-run publishing house, told JTA.
There are other reasons, too – notably a lag in technology. Amazon’s Kindle is not yet equipped to present Hebrew and English texts on facing pages, which the prayerbooks require, and the iPad’s capability to do so is “quite limited,” according to Zlotowitz.
None of the e-readers can do Hebrew-English hyperlinking, whereby a reader of the Hebrew text could touch a word or phrase and be taken to an English explanation. Nor can they cross-reference between the two languages.
Meanwhile, ArtScroll is moving ahead with plans to publish digitized versions of its weekday prayer book, as well as the Schottenstein Talmud, as soon as e-readers are able to handle the technology.
“We’re doing all the preparation now, so we’ll be ready as soon as they have the platforms,” Zlotowitz said.
The first of ArtScroll’s e-books are available now for downloading to iPads and iPhones through Apple’s iBookstore. They include self-help titles, novels and books by Orthodox writers such as Rabbi Abraham Twerski and Esther Jungreis. The first books of ArtScroll’s 14-volume “Daily Dose of Torah” series, which offer daily Jewish lessons taking 18 minutes, also have come out in e-format.
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