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, I told you about the Maps, Charts and Diagrams we included in the book. I also mentioned 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 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
Editor The Israel Bible