The text is ancient, the technology brand-new.
The recently launched TheIsraelBible.com adds gamification, Google maps, audio, video and interactive tools to a Hebrew and English presentation of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The new mobile-friendly website stems from a print version of The Israel Bible published over the past two years by Israel365 and completed in October 2015. Its 20 softcover volumes include the entire 24-book canon (Tanakh, in Hebrew) along with original commentary developed by a team of 10 Israeli educators and tour guides.
Users of TheIsraelBible.com can comment and contribute to conversations on the biblical text, and play games developed by Israeli company Captain Up to win points and advance from the level of Baby Moses to Shepherd, Scribe, Judge, Prophet and King.
Free daily or weekly personalized reading plans can be delivered via email. As part of its launch promotion, the site is offering a free eBook, “24 Inspirational Verses from the 24 Books of The Israel Bible,” for reading plan subscribers, who will have the ability to address questions to a panel of scholars.
“It’s our goal to find new ways to use modern technology to bring Israel and the Tanakh to life,” said Rabbi Tuly Weisz, publisher. “I hope that TheIsraelBible.com allows us to share Israel’s physical beauty and its great biblical significance with people all over the world in an exciting, modern way.”
An audio component allows readers to hear the Hebrew text. “While Jews take for granted the fact that the Torah is meant to be heard in Hebrew, for our non-Jewish readers it’s a real treat to be able to listen to the Bible in its original language,” Weisz said.
TheIsraelBible.com is based on an open-source model, so users can contribute videos, interactive maps and other available or original content relevant to a particular verse.
“Together we can crowdsource the single largest collection of easily accessible Israel-related biblical commentary on earth,” said Weisz.