The team at Koren Publishers of Jerusalem is making another bold effort to capture part of the market for high-quality English translations of Jewish religious literature. Joining up with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz of Jerusalem, the author of the most successful modern Hebrew annotated translation of the Babylonian Talmud, Koren has produced a handsome first volume of the new English-language Koren Talmud Bavli, tractate Brachot, which deals with laws of blessings and prayers.
The volume makes available to the English language reader the excellent tools that Rabbi Steinsaltz is famous for in his Hebrew work: maps, illustrations, helpful historical notes, and language notes that draw upon the skills of experts in Persian, Greek, Latin, classical Hebrew and Aramaic – all of which are necessary for an accurate understanding of the Talmud’s unique language. For the benefit of beginners, both the Hebrew/Aramaic text of the Talmud and the commentary of Rashi are printed with vowel points.
The publication is timed for a niche market: Jews who study the daf yomi, the daily folio (a folio being the two sides of a page) of Talmud on a fixed schedule. The 7-1/2-year cycle began again this past Aug. 3 with Brachot. Koren has announced plans to keep pace with the daf yomi schedule in publishing the rest of the volumes. All volumes, including this one, will be available in print or through an iPad app.