Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

The Torah as traditionally written has two kinds of paragraph breaks: "open" and "closed". Open paragraphs are the same as in English typography: the next paragraph starts on the next line. Closed paragraphs start the next paragraph on the same line, after a 9-em gap. In the image on the page linked to above, there are 3 closed paragraph breaks, 2 open, then 1 closed.

I was thinking about representing this in CSS, with semantic HTML; something like <p class=open>First Paragraph</p><p class=closed>Second paragraph</p>. The Mechon Mamre tikkun uses a single <p> for the entire portion, then has <br>'s and &nbsp;'s hard-coded into the text. But there ought to be a better way.

See the final formatting.

Continue reading ‘Formatting the Torah’ »

Updated flexcal to 1.2.1; nothing major, just changed the Hebrew numbers to use the technically correct Unicode code points HEBREW PUNCTUATION GERESH (&#x05F3; ׳) and HEBREW PUNCTUATION GERSHAYIM (&#x05F4; ״) rather than single and double quotes. Also similarly updated the Hebrew keyboard.

This doesn't belong in a programming blog, but I wanted this out there on the web.

I recently had a need for the Hebrew text of the traditional marriage documents, the ketubah and tenaim, and was very surprised that they are nowhere to be found, at least with my Google-fu. So I transcribed them and offer them with a liberal license to the world. The ketubah text is from Goldin's 1939 Hamadrikh and the tenaim text is that of haRav Feinstein (example).

Creative Commons License
These documents are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

tenaim (ODT)

tenaim (PDF)

ketubah (ODT)

ketubah (PDF)

For those following this, I corrected some typos (חשון spelled wrong; numbers should not use the סופית form) in the Hebrew calendar. flexcal now stands at version 1.2

Now that sendkeys is fixed to work with contenteditable and I've analyzed Lebedev's VirtualKeyboard to allow typing on the physical keyboard, updating the hebrewKeyboard plugin was straightforward. I had to learn a fair amount about the difference between keyup, keydown, and keypress events, but I think everything works. Check it out!

One downside of the virtual keyboard is that it takes over the physical keyboard, so that typing is in the language of the virtual keyboard. This is often an advantage, but I usually want to mix Hebrew and English text. So I modified the program to track the Caps Lock key: if the caps lock key is depressed, then the physical keyboard types in the virtual language; if not (the usual state) the physical keyboard remains at its default. I'm using the new code in the Young Israel Hebrew Keyboard (now renamed the Bililite Hebrew Keyboard).

Continue reading ‘New Hebrew Keyboard’ »

My children's Jewish history teacher, Rabbi Yonason Goldson has been teaching at Block Yeshiva High School for many years and presents Jewish history with a mix of traditional and scholarly sources, always from a Torah-true perspective and always looking at the broad sweep of history and the Jews' role in it. He has now published his notes (which I have always found fascinating) in book form, as Dawn to Destiny: Exploring Jewish History and its Hidden Wisdom. I'm looking forward to reading it.

From the publisher's summary:

A comprehensive overview of Jewish History from Creation through the redaction of the Talmud, illuminating the intricacies and complexities of Torah tradition and philosophy according to the sages and classical commentaries, spanning the length and breadth of Jewish experience to resolve many of historys most perplexing episodes, offering profound insights and showing their relevance to life in the modern world. An invaluable resource for scholars and laymen. A priceless tool for education and outreach.
How did the sin of Adam transform mankind and the world? How were the prophecies of Noah fulfilled through the rise of the Greek Empire? How did the builders of the Tower of Babel believe they could wage war against G-d? Why did there have to be three patriarchs? What was King David's crime regarding his involvement with BasSheva? Why did some Jews oppose the construction of the Second Temple? How can we trust the transmission of Torah if our scholars engaged in such fierce disagreements? These and many other questions are answered in this unique volume.

Last modified 2011-10-28; added box option

The Hebrew pop-up keyboard on the YI site search box was always hard-coded and kind of obtrusive, so I wanted to make a jQuery plugin to add a keyboard to any input type="text" or textarea. To make it more flexible, I factored it into a general-purpose popup widget and the keyboard itself.

Download the code.

Continue reading ‘New UI widgets: textpopup and hebrewKeyboard’ »
To make the eruv map, someone had to enter all the individual points of the eruv boundary. That someone was Mickey Ariel (thanks!). To make it possible, I wrote a simple web application that contains a Google map and placs a marker at every mouse click. Each marker has a number, and the list of each marker's latitude and longitude is inserted at the end of the page. The markers can be dragged to new locations, and the boundary is drawn between the markers. Clicking a marker brings up a small callout window where notes can be added, the marker can be deleted and it can be renumbered (to move a marker between markers 4 and 5, change its number to 4.5. When you hit Update, the list will be renumbered appropriately. The tool can be used anytime you need the latitude/longitude for any route. Enjoy!
For those who liked the YI Hebrew keyboard, I wrote a similar keyboard that I use to turn Hebrew into HTML entities (for the website), and, at my kids' request, uses Morfix dictionary and Google Israel to translate or search for Hebrew terms. Enjoy!