Koren Publishers Jerusalem
|Headquarters location||Jerusalem, Israel|
|Distribution||North America, UK, South Africa, Australia|
|Imprints||Maggid Books, The Toby Press (see below)|
Koren Publishers Jerusalem is an Israeli publisher of Jewish religious texts. It was established in 1961 by Eliyahu Koren, with the aim of publishing the first Hebrew Bible designed, edited, printed, and bound by Jews in nearly 500 years. It produced The Koren Bible in 1962, The Koren Siddur in 1981, and the Koren Sacks Siddur in 2009, in addition to numerous editions of these books and other religious texts in Hebrew, English, and other languages.
Koren Publishers Jerusalem was founded in 1961 by Eliyahu Koren, who sought to publish the first Hebrew Bible designed, edited, printed, and bound by Jews in nearly 500 years. The first printed Hebrew Bibles from Italy (1488) were printed by Jews, but after Daniel Bomberg’s 1517 Venice printing, all editions up to the 20th century had non-Jewish publishers or printers, and errors had found their way into the text.
The text, vocalization, and cantillation for The Koren Bible were based on an early 19th-century Bible edition of German-Jewish grammarian and masoretic scholar Wolf Heidenheim. Koren created a new font, Koren Bible Type, for the project, developed a graphic layout that allowed for the unity of the Hebrew type, and corrected numerous errors of earlier editions. The Torah, the first part of The Koren Bible, was published in 1962, during the Chanukah holiday. The entire Bible followed nearly two years later.
The Koren Bible quickly gained wide acceptance among many different Jewish communities. It is the edition accepted by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel for reading the Haftara (prophetic portions) in synagogues when the handwritten parchment scroll is not used, and, until the introduction of the Jerusalem Crown, was the Bible on which the President of Israel is sworn into office. Koren Publishers Jerusalem later introduced a Hebrew/English edition of the Bible with a translation by Biblical and literary scholar Professor Harold Fisch.
Koren Publishers Jerusalem went on to publish other Jewish religious texts, including a Passover Haggada, Five Megillot, and The Koren Siddur (Prayerbook), introduced in 1981, which featured a new font, Koren Book Type, to maximize legibility, and a new graphic layout to facilitate proper reading, reinforce the inner meaning of the text, and create an elegant overall appearance.
Koren Publishers Jerusalem continues to publish a wide variety of Jewish religious texts in Hebrew, English, and other languages.
Koren Sacks Siddur
In 2009, Koren published its first Hebrew/English prayerbook, The Koren Siddur. This prayer book is based on The Koren Siddur and with an English introduction, translation, and commentary by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth. It is the only Orthodox siddur that includes prayers for the state of Israel, its soldiers and national holidays, and a halakhic guide for visitors; prayers following childbirth and upon the birth of a daughter; and citations of modern authorities. Upon its release, the siddur was "widely celebrated among Modern Orthodox Jews". The Koren Sacks Siddur is published with the Orthodox Union.
Koren Talmud Bavli
In May 2012, Koren launched the Koren Talmud Bavli, a bilingual edition of the Talmud with translation and commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The layout features side-by-side English/Aramaic translation, maps, diagrams and explanatory notes based on Rabbi Steinsaltz's original Hebrew commentary on the Talmud. The project was hailed by Commentary Magazine as 'a landmark in making the text accessible to the millions of Jews whose native (and often only) tongue is English'. Subsequently, the Jewish Book Council named the Koren Talmud Bavli a 2012 National Jewish Book Award winner in the category of Modern Jewish Thought and Experience. Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Koren Talmud Bavli.
Divisions and imprints
Created in 2009, Maggid publishes books that offer contemporary approaches to traditional Jewish texts and themes. The imprint stands on three pillars: scholarship, loyalty to Jewish tradition, and popular appeal. In recent years, Maggid has published works by well-known Jewish thinkers such as former Chief Rabbi of the UK Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rabbi Berel Wein, Erica Brown and others.
In February 2013, Maggid Books "set an all-time record" at the Jerusalem International Book Fair as it launched the book, "Radical Responsibility: Celebrating the Thought of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks". More than 1,000 guests came to hear Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Dr. Binyamin Lau and Professor Moshe Halbertal address the topic of leadership.
Awards and honors
In December 2012, the Israel Postal Authority issued an official postage stamp honoring the 50th anniversary of the Koren Jerusalem Bible.
In addition, a number of publications under Koren Publishers Jerusalem have received honors from the Jewish Book Council, known as "the longest running awards program of its kind in the field of Jewish literature and is recognized as the most prestigious."
- (2012) National Jewish Book Award Winner – Koren Talmud Bavli, ISBN 978 965 301 5630
- (2011) National Jewish Book Award Finalist – Koren Sacks Rosh HaShana Mahzor, ISBN 978 965 301 3421
- (2010) National Jewish Book Award Winner – Mesorat HaRav Kinot (with the Orthodox Union), ISBN 978 965 301 2493
- (2009) National Jewish Book Award Winner – Covenant & Conversation, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, ISBN 978 159 264 0201
- (2004) National Jewish Book Award – The Blessing of a Broken Heart, Sherri Mandell, ISBN 978 159 264 1512
- "People of the Book" in Israel Bibliophile, Spring 1986.
- Friedman, Joshua J. “Prayer Type: How Eliyahu Koren used typography to encourage a new way to pray.”, Tablet, June 30, 2009.
- Finkelman, Yoel (October 2009). "A Prayer Book of One’s Own". First Things. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
- Ackerman, Matthew. “America’s Most Important Jewish Event?”, 'Commentary', June 26, 2012.
- . JewishBookCouncil.org. Retrieved on 2013-14-07.
- Maryles, Daisy (February 15, 2013). "JIBF Brings Crowds, Talk of Israel's Retail Discount Wars". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
- A New Dialogue With The Divine, May 26, 2009, Jewish Week, Jonathan Rosenblatt 
- "The Koren Bible Stamp Sheet". Israel Postal Authority. December 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- "JBC Awards". Jewish Book Council website. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- "Covenant and Conversation, A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible, Genesis: The Book of Beginnings". JBC. Retrieved November 5, 2013.