The National Library of Israel (NLI) and the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society (FJMS) are proud to announce a historic cooperation agreement that will guarantee the long-term stability and development of the most advanced digital projects related to Hebrew manuscript research in the world, merging the cutting-edge resources of the FJMS with the NLI's vast collection.
The NLI is the world's largest and most comprehensive repository of Jewish books, manuscripts, periodicals, and archives, in both physical and digital formats. The FJMS, for nearly twenty years, has developed multiple digital humanities projects designed to enable research into Hebrew manuscripts. According to the newly signed agreement, the projects affiliated with the FJMS will be gradually integrated into the NLI's technological infrastructure, allowing the resources of both projects to mutually support one another.
The FJMS's flagship digital initiative is the Friedberg Geniza Project, which allows scholars to view, read, and annotate hundreds of thousands of images of fragments and documents from the famed Cairo Geniza. The website's advanced technologies assist in identifying separate fragments that originally stem from the same document. The hundreds of thousands of visits to the site demonstrate its unparalleled contribution to learning and research. In addition, the FJMS sponsors Hachi Garsinan, a website that provides images and transcripts of textual variants of the Babylonian Talmud; Yad HaRambam, which provides a synoptic text of Maimonides' influential code of Jewish Law, based on early printings and manuscripts; an online collection of important Judeo-Arabic texts and annotated bibliography of the field; the comprehensive Sussmann Thesaurus of Talmudic Manuscripts; and the Yemenite manuscripts from the collection of Yehuda Levi Nahum.
The FJMS is the brainchild of Albert Dov Friedberg, a Toronto-based philanthropist and investment manager, whose concern for Jewish sacred texts has made him a leading supporter of Jewish manuscript research.
Over the course of 125 years, the National Library of Israel has developed into the world's leading Judaica library. Through its current renewal process the NLI has also now emerged as a technological leader, with a world-class online catalog and digital presence. Particularly relevant in this context is Ktiv: The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts, which aims to provide centralized online access to all of the world's Hebrew manuscripts. Millions of images of nearly 50,000 manuscripts are already available on the Ktiv website, which was launched in August 2017. Ktiv is a joint venture of Albert D. and Nancy Friedberg through FJMS and the National Library of Israel, in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage's Landmarks project.
According to Oren Weinberg, Director General of the NLI, this agreement will "bring the technological developments of both bodies into conversation with one another, allowing the best minds and products of the Jewish digital humanities to cross-pollinate."
Albert Dov Friedberg added, "Our agreement assures that this work, to which I have dedicated so much of my concern and resources, will continue to grow, develop, and be preserved into the future."