The Making of the Israel Bible

Jul 25, 2017

TIB Update #6: What our Bible, the Redemption and Heinz Ketchup Have in Common

Dear Supporters of The Israel Bible,


There is a famous passage in the Talmud describing how two rabbis were watching the sunrise. One sage noted to the other that just as the sun comes up slowly over the horizon, so too, the redemption process will occur slowly.


This always reminded me of the famous Heinz ketchup commercial which stated that the “best things come to those who wait.”


Which leads me to our beloved The Israel Bible, which like the redemption and similar to Heinz ketchup, is slowly and gradually making its way towards publication.


I’ve tried updating you along the way (you can read update #5 here which contains links to previous updates as well) to fill you in on some of the behind-the-scenes hiccups we have encountered. It is important to me to be as up-front as possible with you, our valued partner in this process. I can assure you that we continue to work hard, each day moving forward with proofreading, photo editing and all other aspects of production.


I am very pleased with the beautiful quality of the draft prepared by the Koren Publishing company which you can see below or download by clicking here.


Further, I am excited to announce that we recently hired a fantastic director of publishing in order to move The Israel Bible forward and to begin developing the marketing and sales strategy as we get closer to our publication date, which at this point, will God willing be in the fall.


Friends, I am deeply appreciative of your patience over the past year since you contributed to our crowdfunding campaign to produce the world’s first ever The Israel Bible honoring the God, the People and the Land of Israel. When it finally does come, we pray it will be like the Redemption and well worth the wait!



Rabbi Tuly Weisz




TIB Update #5: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Dear Supporters of “The Israel Bible”,


I wanted to update you on the progress of our one volume, hardcover “The Israel Bible” which you contributed to and share a bit of a hiccup that we recently ran into. The good news is that the professional editors at Koren Publishing are finished editing our more than 1,000 commentary notes and 24 introductions. The next step was going to be ‘layout’ to arrange the English on the left, Hebrew on the right along with the commentary below.


Now for the less good news… In my last update to you I told you about the Maps, Charts and Diagrams we were including in the book and I also mentioned the formatting of the translation and how we were working hard to ensure consistency in adapting the JPS English translation and making it our own, by manually “hebraicizing” hundreds of names (Solomon to Shlomo) and places (Jerusalem to Yerushalayim) to make our translation the most authentic and “Israel-focused” as possible.


Well, in that process, we noticed something very surprising. Something that might be entirely FASCINATING to bible-translation aficionados, but was extremely FRUSTRATING to our editorial team at The Israel Bible.


What did we notice? That the scholars at the Jewish Publication Society who produced the best English Tanakh translation available today, made some pretty creative decisions when translating the bible from Hebrew to English. While there are many times they translated words in a different order from the original Hebrew, we were shocked to see they rearranged entire verses “for clarity” so that the order of the translation of Ezekiel 24 is 21, 24, 22, 23, 25!


We immediately paused to dig deeper and found additional complex issues between our Hebrew text and English translation. As a result of our findings we had to re-do much of the formatting of our text before we pass it along to Koren Publishers for the layout process. Unfortunately, this has cost us several weeks of time, pushing back our print date even further. We were hoping to have been able to print The Israel Bible in March, but are now hoping to print in May, in time for the 50th anniversary of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem.  As one of my mentors in this project told me, “the world has waited 3,000 years for The Israel Bible, it can wait a bit longer to make it better!”


I do apologize for those of you who – like me – are eagerly anticipating the arrival by mail of your copy of The Israel Bible and I sincerely appreciate your patience in our historic undertaking. All I can do is assure you that we are working tirelessly to move forward in both a quick and responsible fashion. As always, I welcome your questions, comments and feedback.



Rabbi Tuly Weisz




TIB Update #4: Behind the Scenes

Dear Supporters of “The Israel Bible”,


I want to give you an update on the status of the one volume, hard cover “The Israel Bible” which you contributed to, and provide you with a little “Behind the Scenes” perspective on what we have been busy with over the past few weeks.



For the past several weeks, we have been collaborating closely with the team of designers at Koren Jerusalem on the proper usage of maps, diagrams and charts. While we agreed upon a template for the “text pages” of our English-Hebrew Tanakh which I sent you an example of in my previous update, we needed to spend additional time to make sure that the maps, charts and diagrams will be presented in a clear and beautiful way.



We have also been going back and forth with the Koren editors regarding transliteration. We had developed our own ‘style guide’ which differed from theirs and so we needed to make certain updates to ensure that our transliterations are both consistent and user-friendly.



As you know by now, one of the great features of the upcoming Israel Bible will be a new and improved English translation based on the JPS. As I have pointed out, the new JPS translation is the best available, but we are making important updates by ‘Hebraicizing’ the names of important people and places. Although we relied primarily on an automated process, we noticed recently that certain words had slipped through our filters and had to painstakingly edit hundreds of words manually.


My staff is working full steam ahead and I have the assurances of the Koren team that they too are at full-throttle. However, the scope of such an important endeavor and our insistence upon accuracy and quality demands that we move carefully as well. With God’s help, I hope that “The Israel Bible” will be ready in March 2017 and I assure you that as soon as it is printed, we will be mailing you your copy.


I hope that this update provides you with some insights into the process which your donation has enabled and I welcome your questions, comments and feedback.



Rabbi Tuly Weisz


PS – You might be interested in an article I wrote last week “How Israel Created Thanksgiving: The Biblical Origins of America’s Holiday.”




TIB Update #3: What do you think of this Sample Page?

Dear Supporters of “The Israel Bible”,


Today is the last day of the Jewish year 5776 as we prepare for the Rosh Hashana new year which begins tonight. It is a time of introspection and anticipation as we take stock of our past accomplishments and look forward to further steps, which is why I wanted to share another update with you on the progress of “The Israel Bible.”


As I mentioned in my previous update at the end of July, we established a partnership with the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) and the Koren Jerusalem Publishing House. We licensed the New JPS English Translation but have spent the past several weeks updating and upgrading it to meet our needs. In order to emphasize the original Hebrew, we have changed the names of people and places so that Jerusalem is now Yerushalayim and Abraham is now Avraham. That was a painstaking manual process which we have recently completed.


Furthermore, we have been working for the past several weeks with the professional staff of Koren Jerusalem Publishing House on the layout. We want “The Israel Bible” to have a number of unique features and of course to be as visually appealing and aesthetic as possible within the limits of a one volume hardcover edition. In the past few days Koren submitted a beautiful draft of a sample page that you will notice has illustrations, maps and photos to highlight our unique commentary.


I’d love to know what you think of this sample and if you have any suggestions or ideas, please let me know and we will discuss them with the graphic design team.


Once the design is finalized, the Koren editors and layout designers will begin to prepare the book for print which I hope, and with God’s help, will take place in early 2017.


Thanks for your patience as we strive to create a one of a kind Tanakh that will contribute to greater love and appreciation for the God, the People and the Land of Israel for years and years to come. May the coming year of 5777, be not only the year of “The Israel Bible” but a year filled with health and happiness, peace and prosperity for you and your loved ones.



Rabbi Tuly Weisz




TIB Update #2

Dear Supporters of “The Israel Bible”,


In my last email I promised some exciting news and am delighted to share with you two incredible developments that have – thank God – been finalized in recent days.


Firstly, we have a Publisher!


I am absolutely thrilled that The Israel Bible will be published by Maggid Books, an imprint of Koren Publishing, Israel’s premier Tanakh publisher! While I met with several outstanding Israeli publishers, I was most impressed with Matthew and Yehoshua Miller who explained to me that their company produced the first Hebrew Bible made by Jews in over 400 years. If you would like to read more about the fascinating history of Eliyahu Koren, click here and here.


Publisher Matthew Miller had this to say about the partnership, “Maggid Books, a division of the premier publisher of Hebrew Bibles, Koren Jerusalem, is delighted to collaborate with Israel365 on publishing The Israel Bible, a first of its kind edition of the Tanakh. With a running commentary highlighting the importance of Israel, we hope that The Israel Bible will become a beloved source of inspiration to both Jewish and non-Jewish students of the Bible, we feel that the interlinear The Israel Bible is filling an important role in explaining the eternal connection between the timeless words and ancient messages of the Tanakh with the miraculous story of the return of the People of Israel to the Land of Israel.”


Secondly, we have a new and improved English translation!


In the last few weeks we finalized an agreement with the Jewish Publication Society and are pleased to announce that we will be using and adapting their new 1985 translation in The Israel Bible. The new translation will be a great enhancement over the current 1917 edition that we have been using and you can be assured there will be no more “thous”, “shalts” and other archaic language. The New Jewish Publication Society of America Tanakh is the gold standard of English translations of the Hebrew Bible and we are thrilled they were willing to let us use it and adapt it, something they rarely ever do.


The special partnership between Israel365, Koren Publishers and the Jewish Publication Society will ensure that The Israel Bible – the Bible you generously contributed to – will be beautiful, meaningful and an appropriate tribute to the God of Israel, the People of Israel, and the Land of Israel.



Rabbi Tuly Weisz




TIB Update #1

Dear Supporters of “The Israel Bible”,


Firstly, I want to offer you my deepest appreciation for your support of “The Israel Bible” through our Crowdfunding campaign that we just concluded. I was literally blown away by the response we received. Thank God, we hit our goal of $100,000 in just 3 weeks, and then surpassed it by more than 20%!


I will be honest though, having such a successful campaign has added a certain amount of pressure and stress and sleepless nights!


Judging by the way “The Israel Bible” was enthusiastically embraced by close to 800 supporters in just over a month, I feel an extra burden and heavy responsibility to make sure that “The Israel Bible” is as beautiful, comprehensive and professional as possible since I know that it will not only be something seen by our Israel365 community, but by Jews and Christians who love Israel and the Bible – all over the world.


I have spent the past few weeks in close conversations with two of the leading Jerusalem based publishing houses. As a supporter of this project, I wanted to let you know that in the next few days, we are going to be making a very exciting announcement with information that just a few weeks ago, I literally could not have believed.


In order to be as open and transparent as possible with you, our valued contributors, I am going to continue to keep you informed on our progress by sending out an email update whenever we have some news to share. If you ever want to discontinue receiving these not too frequent updates, feel free to unsubscribe from these notifications by hitting the link below.


If you have any suggestions or comments, please be in touch – I always enjoy and appreciate your feedback! Stay tuned for some amazing developments from “The Israel Bible” and again, thanks so much for helping to produce the world’s first ever Bible to honor the God, the People and the Land of Israel.



Rabbi Tuly Weisz

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