Open Source Judaism

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A community generated logo for Open Source Judaism (credit: Dan "Moebius" Sieradski).

Open Source Judaism is a name given to initiatives within the Jewish community employing free-culture, open content, and open source licensing strategies for collaboratively creating and sharing works about or inspired by Judaism. Efforts in Open Source Judaism utilize licensing strategies by which new digital editions of historical or canonical Jewish sourcetexts in the Public Domain and contemporary products of Jewish culture under copyright may be adopted, adapted, and redistributed with credit and attribution accorded to the creators of these works. Often collaborative, these efforts are comparable to those of other open source religious initiatives inspired by the free culture movement to openly share and broadly disseminate seminal texts and techniques under the aegis of Copyright law.[1] Combined, these initiatives describe an open source movement in Judaism which values correct attribution of sources, creative sharing in an intellectual Commons, adaptable future-proof technologies, open technological standards, open access to primary and secondary sources and their translations, and individual freedom.

Early Development[edit]

Rabbinic Jewish discourse concerning proper stewardship of the Commons, collaboration, and sharing, as well as fair competition and printer rights, is well represented in halakhah and aggadah.[2] (See "sourcetexts" below for a list of sources often used in advocating for open source as a core value of Judaism.)

Within the Jewish community, the institution of the G'MaḤ provided a practical example for the sharing of books, tools, and services. The ideal of contributing to or forming one's own G'MaḤ was popularized by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (the Ḥofetz Ḥaim), who addressed many halakhic questions about the practice and lauded its spiritual benefits in his work, Ahavat Ḥesed (Loving Loving-kindness, 1888). Open Source Jewish projects extended the idea of a G'MaḤ to the sharing of digital text.

Prior to the coinage and adoption of the term "open source" in 1998, some Jewish software engineers developed programs of interest to Jews and students of Judaism with free software licenses. One example is Hebrew Calendar, first developed by Danny Sadinoff in 1994.[3] Such software provided a proof-of-concept for the utility of open source for innovating interesting and useful software for the Jewish and Hebrew speaking community.

Inside and outside the Jewish community, digital humanities projects often developed by scholars in academic institutions and theological seminaries, provided the basis for later open source initiatives. The Westminster Leningrad Codex, a digital transcription of the Leningrad Codex maintained by the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research at the Westminster Theological Seminary was based on the Michigan-Claremont-Westminster Electronic Text of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1983) and shared with a Public Domain dedication.[4]

Other projects collecting digital editions of biblical and rabbinic Jewish sourcetexts proliferated on the World Wide Web, but many of these provided unclear attribution information indicating the sources from which these editions had been transcribed or derived from. Some Torah database software explicitly forbid copying included texts that had already entered the Public Domain by using end-user license agreements or falsely indicated that these texts were Copyrighted works, "All Rights Reserved." Other open access projects provided their texts without indicating whether the work was in the Public Domain or the result of scholarly edits being shared with a free-culture license.


The term "Open Source Judaism" first appeared in Douglas Rushkoff's book Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism (2003). Rushkoff employed the term "open source" to describe a democratic organizational model for collaborating in a commonly held source: Torah (in the context of Jewish religion). Rushkoff conceived of Judaism as essentially an open source religion which he understood as, "the contention that religion is not a pre-existing truth but an ongoing project. It may be divinely inspired, but it is a creation of human beings working together. A collaboration."[5] For Rushkoff, Open Source offered the promise of enacting change through a new culture of collaboration and improved access to sources. "Anyone who wants to do Judaism should have access to Judaism. Judaism is not just something that you do, it's something you enact. You've got to learn the code in order to alter it."[6]

Rushkoff's vision of an Open Source Judaism was comparable to some other expressions of open source religion explicitly advocating for doctrinal reform or change in practice. As an expression of Open Source Judaism, in 2002 Rushkoff founded a movement called Reboot. "The object of the game, for me, was to recontextualize Judaism as an entirely Open Source proposition."[7] (Rushkoff subsequently left Reboot when he felt its funders had become more concerned with marketing and publicity of Judaism than its actual improvement and evolution.[8])

Open source advocacy by an open source Jewish project. "This decision tree helps copyright owners choose the right free/libre license for the type of cultural or technological work they wish to share: software, hardware, art, music, or scholarly work."[9]

Early confusion over the means by which "open source" projects collaborate, led some Jewish social entrepreneurs inspired by Rushkoff's idea to develop their work without indicating a license, publicly sharing code, or attributing content.[10] Others offered "Open Source" as a model to be emulated but expressed no understanding of the role open source licensing played in open source collaboration and no opinion as to what role said licenses might serve for an Open Source Judaism.[11] Many advocates of Open Source Judaism now work to clarify the meaning of "open" and "free," and to convince projects soliciting user-generated content to adopt free-culture licensing.[12]

Instead of rallying around open source as a means towards religious reform as Rushkoff suggested, other Open Source Jewish projects strive to present their work as non-denominational and non-prescriptive. They see free-culture and open source licensing as a practical means towards preserving culture, improving participation, and supporting educational objectives in an era of shifting media formats and copyright restrictions. In an interview with the Atlantic Magazine, the founder of the open source Open Siddur Project, Aharon Varady, explained,

"...I was interested in how free culture and open source licensing strategies could help improve access and participation in the creative content I inherited from my ancestors in just that age when it was all transitioning from an analog print format to a searchable digital one. To me it seemed both obvious and necessary to pursue the digitization of existing works in the public domain, and broaden the network of students, scholars, practitioners, and communities that were already adopting, adapting, and distributing their inspired creativity and scholarship -- but were only doing so in the highly restricted channel of copyrighted work....The essential problem is how to keep a collaborative project like Judaism culturally vital, in an age when the creative work of participants in the project -- prayers, translations, commentaries, songs, etc. -- are immediately restricted from creative reuse by "All Rights Reserved" copyright. The fact is that broad creative engagement in collaborative projects isn't only limited by technological forces: these can be and have been overcome. They are limited by legal forces that assume creatives have only a proprietary interest in their work."[13]

Open source offered a licensing strategy that could be employed for helping a community of users remix user-generated content such as translations of liturgy in the preparation of new prayerbooks, or for anyone to simply access Jewish content that could be redistributed with attribution and without fear of copyright infringement. The three non-conflicting "free" licenses by the free-culture advocacy group, Creative Commons (CC0, CC-BY, and CC-BY-SA), provided the basis of this strategy. By 2012, Dr. Dan Mendelsohn Aviv observed that,

Jewish users, too, have embraced this do-it-yourself and open source ethos. In coming together to open source a project, users not only produce an evolving and meaningful Jewish artifact, they also construct a Jewish community that often extends both temporally and physically beyond the scope of the original project. Riffing on [Eric S.] Raymond['s "The Cathedral and the Bazaar"], Jewish users are definitely creatures of the bazaar as they revisit, reconsider and, in some cases, rework many of the seminal texts in Jewish life: the Siddur, the Tanakh, the d’var torah (sermon), the Haggadah, and The Book of Legends. These “open source projects” not only invited involvement by users at their individual level of learning and desire for engagement, but created connections and forged bonds between individuals across time zones and denominations.[14]

Adoption of Open Source[edit]

In September 2002, Maxim Iorsh publicly released v.0.6 of Culmus, a package of Unicode Hebrew digital fonts licensed under the GPL, free software license.[15] These and other fonts shared with SIL-OFL and GPL+FE licenses, provided the basic means for displaying Hebrew text on and offline in documents shared with free or open content licenses and in software shared with non-conflicting open source licenses.

Hebrew Wikisource was created in 2004 (the first independent language-domain for that Wikimedia project). The immediate impetus for creating the project, and its primary focus ever since, has been to provide a free and openly licensed home for what is known in Israel as the "Traditional Jewish Bookshelf". While Hebrew Wikisource is open to all texts in Hebrew, and not just to Judaica, it has primarily focused on the latter for two main reasons:

  • The vast majority of public domain Hebrew texts are rabbinic ones. The more than 50,000 scanned volumes at are a vivid illustration of this quantitative imbalance.
  • The Ben Yehudah Project (the Hebrew equivalent of the Project Gutenberg), early on defined its scope as one encompassing Hebrew literature but not religious texts. This left Hebrew Wikisource as the main platform for editing, proofreading and formatting traditional Jewish texts under a free license in a collaborative environment.[16]

The digital library at Hebrew Wikisource consists not just of texts that have been typed and proofread, but also hundreds of texts that have been punctuated and formatted (as a means of making them accessible to modern readers), texts are linked in tens of thousands of places to sources and parallel literature (as a well of facilitating the conversation between generations that is a feature of the traditional bookshshelf), texts that have collaboratively produced commentaries (such as the Mishnah), and texts that have been corrected in new editions based on manuscripts and early versions.

The Open Siddur Project describes itself as "an open source digital humanities and collaborative publishing project making available the Public Domain and free-culture licensed creative content of Jewish spiritual practice."

In August 2002, Aharon Varady proposed the creation of an "Open Siddur Project," a digital humanities project for providing anyone compiling and printing their own Siddurim a design and print publishing interface to a digital archive of Jewish liturgy and related work ("historic and contemporary, familiar and obscure"), in the Public Domain or else copyright and shared with Open Content licenses.[17] After lingering as an online manifesto for six years, the idea was revived in December 2008 by Varady and Efraim Feinstein, and in the summer of 2009 publicly launched with the help of the PresenTense Institute, an incubator for social entrepreneurship.[18] All code for the project is publicly shared on GitHub with an LGPL and all content is shared with one of three non-conflicting free-culture licenses authored by the Creative Commons: the CC0 Public Domain dedication, the CC BY attribution license, and the CC BY-SA Attribution/ShareAlike license.[19] The Open Siddur Project also maintains a package of open source licensed Unicode Hebrew digital fonts collecting fonts from Culmus and other open source font foundries.[20]

In the summer of 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation changed the licenses under which submitted content was shared to non-conflicting free-culture licenses. Other projects adhering to the terms of the CC BY-SA license, were then able to exchange free-culture licensed content with Wikipedia and Wikisource. In 2013, Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish and a small team completed a carefully corrected draft of a new digital experimental edition of the Tanach at Hebrew Wikisource, Miqra `al pi ha-Mesorah, based on the Aleppo Codex and related manuscripts, and consulting the full range of masoretic scholarship.[21] Wikisource is currently the transcription environment for digitizing printed Public Domain content by the Open Siddur Project.

In 2010, Moshe Wagner began work on a cross-platform Torah database called Orayta. Source code is licensed GPL and copyrighted content is licensed CC-BY.[22]

In 2011, Russel Neiss and Charlie Schwartz were supported by the Jewish New Media Fund in building PocketTorah, a portable app for studying the chanting of the weekly Torah reading. All recordings used in the software were shared with CC BY-SA licenses and code was shared with an LGPL.[23]

In 2012, Joshua Foer and Brett Lockspeiser began work on developing a free-culture licensed digital library of canonical Jewish sources and a web application for generating "sourcesheets" (handouts with a sequence of primary sources for study and discussion) from this repository. The Sefaria Project is producing a free-culture licensed translation of the Mishnah and seeking English translations of many other seminal texts.

In the spring of 2014, David Zvi Kalman's SermonSlam initiative, a project of Open Quorum, began to share recordings of user-contributed sermons with Open Content licensing. In November 2014, Mechon Hadar, the umbrella institution of the Halakhic Egalitarian yeshiva, Yeshivat Hadar, revised its copyright policy and shared its searchable database of sourcesheets, divrei torah, and niggunim with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.

Relevant Sourcetexts[edit]

Advocates of Open Source Judaism find direct expression of open source values in Biblical and Rabbinic Jewish literature.

Free culture advocate and animator, Nina Paley, describes copying as "an act of love."[24] The dissemination of Torah through copying and remixing is endangered when its sources are commodified and controlled by private interests.

כָּל אַהֲבָה שֶׁהִיא תְלוּיָה בְדָבָר, בָּטֵל דָּבָר, בְּטֵלָה אַהֲבָה. וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ תְּלוּיָה בְדָבָר, אֵינָהּ בְּטֵלָה לְעוֹלָם. אֵיזוֹ הִיא אַהֲבָה הַתְּלוּיָה בְדָבָר, זוֹ אַהֲבַת אַמְנוֹן וְתָמָר. וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ תְּלוּיָה בְדָבָר, זוֹ אַהֲבַת דָּוִיד וִיהוֹנָתָן:‏
Whenever love depends upon something and it passes, then the love passes away too. But if love does not depend upon some ulterior interest then the love will never pass away. What is an example of the love which depended upon some material advantage? That of Amnon for Tamar. And what is an example of the love which did not depend upon some ulterior interest? That of David and Jonathan. (Mishna Avot 5:17)

The transmission of Torah requires open uninterrupted channels for dissemination. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach taught the following (as recollected by Moshe Pesach Geller):

I tell you something very very deep you know. Everybody says what does it mean to love? To love means it’s flowing, like a river. It’s just flowing, you know. The Maharal says something very deep. What happens if I learn and I don’t want to teach you? He says I do the most horrible thing. I take the infinite Torah and make it finite. Because it stops with me really. It flows into me and it stops. And if I keep on teaching it means it’s flowing through me. The question is what level am I on. What level am I learning. If I’m learning on the level of `it’s not haShem’s word’, it’s just words, finite words, then they stick with me. And if I’m really learning on a haShem level, on a Mount Sinai level, then it’s just flowing through me. Anyway. So it has to flow. A lot of people teach you Torah, they pour the water right over you and they say “you better grow”. Man, you know, just can’t grow like that. Has to be Torah Ḥessed. Has to be Torah of love. So if someone puts a little bit water over you, and you know mamash [really] feel it you know, so then haShem’s name becomes bigger.

Proper intention sustains virtuous cycles of giving per open source models. The collective project of building the mishkan (tabernacle) required contributions from a community of individually inspired artisans. Their collective giving was remixed into a communal good.

וְכָל־חֲכַם־לֵ֖ב בָּכֶ֑ם יָבֹ֣אוּ וְיַעֲשׂ֔וּ אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוָּ֖ה ה׳׃‏
And let every wise-hearted person among you come, and make all that haShem has commanded. (Exodus 35:10)
וַיָּבֹ֕אוּ כָּל־אִ֖ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־נְשָׂאֹ֣ו לִבֹּ֑ו וְכֹ֡ל אֲשֶׁר֩ נָדְבָ֨ה רוּחֹ֜ו אֹתֹ֗ו הֵ֠בִיאוּ אֶת־תְּרוּמַ֨ת ה׳ לִמְלֶ֨אכֶת אֹ֤הֶל מֹועֵד֙ וּלְכָל־עֲבֹ֣דָתֹ֔ו וּלְבִגְדֵ֖י הַקֹּֽדֶשׁ׃‏
And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and brought haShem's offering, for the work of the tent of meeting, and for all the service thereof, and for the holy garments. (Exodus 35:21)

Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847-1905) on Parshat Terumah describes the sustainable exchange of goods in an economy of learning where there is no loss and only gain.

במדרש תנחומא לקח טוב משל שני סוחרים לזה מטכסא ולזה פלפלין כו' החליפו מה שביד זה אינו ביד זה. ובתלמדי חכם זה שונה סדר זרעים וזה סדר מועד השנו זה לזה ביד כל אחד ב' סדרים כו'. הענין הוא כי יש לכל איש ישראל חלק מיוחד בתורה והתורה מחברת נפשות בני ישראל. כמו שנאמר תמימה משיבת נפש. ונעשין אחדות א' בכח התורה כמן שנאמר מורשה קהלת יעקב. ומקבלין זה מזה הדעת המיוחד לכל א'... וכמו כן בנדבת המשכן שהיה נעשה על יד נדבת כל איש ונתחברו על יד המשכן להיות אחד. ואז זכו להשראת השכינה. ‏
The Midrash Tanḥuma quotes:[25] “I have given you good lekaḥ (teaching)” (Proverbs 4:2). [Lekaḥ can also refer to something acquired by purchase.] It then offers a parable of two merchants, one who has silk and the other peppers. Once they exchange their goods, each is again deprived of that which the other has. But if there are two scholars, one who has mastered the [Mishnaic] order of Zeraim (Seeds) and the other who knows the [Mishnaic] order of Moed (Calendar of Festivals). Once they teach each other, each has both orders [of the Mishna]. The point is that each one of Israel has a particular portion within Torah, yet it is also Torah that joins all our souls together. That is why Torah is called “perfect, restoring the soul” (Psalms 19:8). We become one through the power of Torah; it is “an inheritance of the assembly of Yaakov” (Deuteronomy 33:4). We receive from one another the distinctive viewpoint that belongs to each of us. The same was true in the building of the tabernacle. Each one gave his own offering, but they were all joined together by the tabernacle, until they became one. Only then did they merit Shekhinah's presence.

The Commons of wilderness and Torah are associated with gifts as in a gift economy. A virtuous student is likened unto a gift when they cultivate a humble and giving nature.

אמר רב מתנה: מאי דכתיב (במדבר כא יח) [באר חפרוה שרים כרוה נדיבי העם במחקק במשענתם] וממדבר מתנה? - אם משים אדם עצמו כמדבר זה, שהכל דשין בו - תלמודו מתקיים בידו, ואם לאו - אין תלמודו מתקיים בידו.‏
Rav Mattenah expounded: What is the purport of the Scriptural text: “And from the wilderness to Mattanah” (Numbers 21:18)? If a man allows himself to be treated as a wilderness on which everybody treads, his study will be retained by him, otherwise it will not. (Talmud Bavli Eruvin 54a)
‏"וַיְדַבֵּר ה' אֶל מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי" -- אלא כל מי שאינו עושה עצמו כמדבר הפקר אינו יכול לקנות את החכמה והתורה לכך נאמר "בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי":‏
“haShem spoke to Moshe in the Sinai wilderness” (Numbers 1:1). This teaches us that anyone that is not making themselves into an ownerless wilderness (midbar hefker) cannot acquire Wisdom and Torah, and so it is called in the Sinai wilderness. (Bamidbar Rabbah 1:7)

The Greek intellectual concept of parrhesia (openness) appears in Midrashic literature as an essential element of Torah and a virtue of scholars of Torah. The concept of hefker, an ownerless good, is applied to the Torah itself in describing it as a Commons.

ויחנו במדבר - נתנה תורה דימוס פרהסיא במקום הפקר, שאלו נתנה בארץ ישראל, היו אומרים לאומות העולם: אין להם חלק בה, לפיכך נתנה דימוס פרהסיא, במקום הפקר, וכל הרוצה לקבל יבא ויקבל.‏
Torah was given over dimus parrhesia (freely and openly) in a makom hefker (an ownerless place). For had it been given in the Land of Israel, they would have had cause to say to the [other] nations, “you have no share in it.” Thus was it given freely and openly, in an ownerless place: “Let all who wish receive it, come and receive it!” (Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmael Tractate Baḥodesh, Chapter 1, on Shemot 19:2)
מפני מה לא ניתנה תורה בארץ ישראל? שלא ליתן פתחון פה לאומות העולם, לומר לפי שנתנה בארצו לפיכך לא קבלנו עלינו. דבר אחר: שלא להטיל מחלוקת בין השבטים, שלא יהא זה אומר בארצי נתנה תורה וזה אומר בארצי נתנה תורה, לפיכך נתנה במדבר, דימוס פרהסיא במקום הפקר.‏
Why was the Torah not given in the land of Israel? In order that the peoples of the world should not have the excuse for saying: `Because it was given in Israel's land, therefore we have not accepted it. Another reason: To avoid causing dissension among the tribes [of Israel]. Else one might have said: In my land the Torah was given. And the other might have said: In my land the Torah was given. Therefore, the Torah was given in the Midbar (wilderness), dimus parrhesia (freely and openly), in a place belonging to no one.
בשלושה דברים נמשלה תורה במדבר ובאש ובמים לומר לך מה אלו חנם לכל באי העולם אף דברי תורה חנם לכל באי העולם.‏
To three things the Torah is likened: to the Midbar (wilderness), to fire, and to water. This is to tell you that just as these three things are free to all who come into the world, so also are the words of the Torah free to all who come into the world. (Mekhilta de Rabbi Ishmael, Tractate Baḥodesh, Chapter 5, on Shemot 20:2)

The value of Parrhesia is balanced with the importance of correct attribution, a signature feature of open source and free-culture licensing is also highlighted. According to Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, the 48th of 48 virtues enumerated for excellent students is to correctly and attribute your learning:

אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי....גְּדוֹלָה תּוֹרָה יוֹתֵר מִן הַכְּהוּנָּה וּמִן הַמַּלְכוּת, שֶׁהַמַּלְכוּת נִקְנֵית בִּשְׁלֹשִׁים מַעֲלוֹת, וְהַכְּהֻנָּה בְּעֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע, וְהַתּוֹרָה נִקְנֵית בְּאַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמוֹנֶה דְבָרִים, וְאֵלוּ הֵן,....וְהָאוֹמֵר דָּבָר בְּשֵׁם אוֹמְרוֹ, הָא לָמַדְתָּ כָּל הָאוֹמֵר דָּבָר בְּשֵׁם אוֹמְרוֹ מֵבִיא גְאֻלָּה לָעוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַתֹּאמֶר אֶסְתֵּר לַמֶּלֶךְ בְּשֵׁם מָרְדְּכָי:‏‏
Said Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi....Torah is greater than the priesthood or sovereignty, for sovereignty is acquired with thirty virtues, the priesthood with twenty-four, and Torah is acquired with forty-eight qualities. These are....repeating a statement in the name of the one who said it. For we have learned that anyone who says a statement in the name of the one who said it brings redemption to the world, as it says, ‘And Esther said to the King in the name of Mordekhai.' (Esther 2:22)” (Mishna Avot 6:6, c.f., Midrash Tanḥuma on Bamidbar 4:17)

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hersh associates this teaching in Pirkei Avot with a warning against plagiarism:

[A student] is careful to absorb and repeat accurately what they have heard from others and will never pass off as their own what others have told them.

One who does not correctly attribute is akin to a thief.

אמר רבי חזקיה אמר רבי ירמיה בר אבא בשם רבי יוחנן, כל שאינו אומר דבר בשם אומרו, עליו הכתוב אומר, אל תגזול דל כי דל הוא. וצריך אדם כשהוא שומע דבר, לומר אותו בשם אומרו, אפילו משלישי, הלכה.‏
Rabbi Ḥizkiyah said in the name of Rabbi Yirmiah bar Abba [who] said in the name of Rabbi Yoḥanan: Anyone who does not attribute a teaching in the name of its originator, about him scripture says: “Do not rob the impoverished, because they are poor” (Proverbs 22:22). So when a person hears a teaching [and repeats it], he is required to attribute it, even if he heard it third-hand. (Midrash Tanḥuma on Bamidbar 4:17 ff, Part I (alt. Tanḥuma Bamidbar 22))

Free-culture and open source licensing does not do away with proprietary ownership of others. Rather, it declares the intention of an owner to share. Rabbinic teaching might describe this as a righteous act. The righteous are described as giving without demanding of others, while the wicked are proprietary, per the following formulation:

אַרְבַּע מִדּוֹת בָּאָדָם.‏
הָאוֹמֵר שֶׁלִּי שֶׁלִּי וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלָּךְ, זוֹ מִדָּה בֵינוֹנִית. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים, זוֹ מִדַּת סְדוֹם.‏
שֶׁלִּי שֶׁלָּךְ וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלִּי, עַם הָאָרֶץ.‏
שֶׁלִּי שֶׁלָּךְ וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלָּךְ, חָסִיד. ‏
שֶׁלִּי שֶׁלִּי וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלִּי, רָשָׁע: ‏
There are four types among people:
One who says, "What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours": this is the common type, though some say that this is the type of Sodom.
One who says, "What is mine is yours and what is yours is mine": this is an ignorant person.
One who says, "What is mine is yours and what is yours is thine own": this is a righteous person.
And one who says, "What is yours is mine, and what is mine is mine": this is a wicked person. (Mishna Avot 5:10, Pirkei Avot 5:13)

An example of a wicked act might be that of copyfraud, declaring Public Domain resources as copyright, or imposing end-user license agreements to control use of Public Domain material may be likened to moving boundary markers and thereby encroaching the Commons of Torah.

לֹ֤א תַסִּיג֙ גְּב֣וּל רֵֽעֲךָ֔ אֲשֶׁ֥ר גָּבְל֖וּ רִאשֹׁנִ֑ים בְּנַחֲלָֽתְךָ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּנְחַ֔ל בָּאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר֙ ה׳ אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לְךָ֖ לְרִשְׁתָּֽהּ׃‏
Do not move the boundary marker of your neighbors that your predecessors placed [in the land that] you inherit, that haShem your God gives you as an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 19:14)

Among other descriptions of the transgressions of Sodom, the Talmud explains by way of midrash on Job 24:2

גְּבֻלֹ֥ות יַשִּׂ֑יגוּ עֵ֥דֶר גָּ֝זְל֗וּ וַיִּרְעֽוּ׃‏
They remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed on them. (Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 109b)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ c.f. Open Source Yoga Unity
  2. ^ Neil Netanel and David Nimmer. "Is Copyright Property? — The Debate in Jewish Law". Theoretical Inquiries in Law 12 (217): 217–251. 
  3. ^ Sadinoff, Danny. "hebcal: A Perpetual Jewish Calendar". GitHub. hebcal. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Westminster Leningrad Codex". J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research. Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Rushkoff, Douglas (2004). Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism. USA: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 1400051398. 
  6. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Rachel (2003-06-11). "Is Judaism Becoming Irrelevant?". AlterNet. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Rushkoff, Douglas (2003-05-09). "Open Source Religion". G4 TV. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Digital Minds Blog: Media Resistance – An Interview with Douglas Rushkoff". 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  9. ^ Varady, Aharon. "A Decision Tree for Choosing Free-Libre Licenses for Cultural and Technological Work". the Open Siddur Project. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Although code was shared by private request, the currently defunct Open Source Haggadah(2005) never publicly shared its source code with an open source license. The inheritor of the domain,, follows this pattern and does not share its repository of content with a free-culture copyright license. See Sharing Policy. The project does share content with a CC-BY-NC-SA license, a "non-free" license. Content shared with the CC-BY-NC-SA cannot be legally remixed with content shared with free-culture licenses due to license compatibility issues.
  11. ^ Kullock, Joshua. "Creative Openings". American Joint Distribution Committee. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Varady, Aharon. "If You Love Torah, Set It Free (2013-10-14)". The Sova Project. The Sova Project. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Jacobs, Alan. "The Potential and Promise of Open-Source Judaism (2012-06-12)". The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Mendelsohn Aviv, Dan (2012). End of the Jews: Radical Breaks, Remakes, and What Comes Next. Toronto, Canada: Key Publishing, Inc. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-926780-07-8. 
  15. ^ Iorsh, Maxim. "Version 0.6 of Culmus fonts released (2002-09-10 17:44)". Culmus-announce. Culmus. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  16. ^ This description of Hebrew Wikisource, the impetus for its creation, its history and the current nature of its activity, are based upon a presentation at the 2013 EVA/Minerva Jerusalem International Conference on Digitisation of Culture in the session on "Open Access to the Jewish Canon"; a summary of the discussion is here.
  17. ^ Varady, Aharon. "The Open Siddur Project (2002-10-13)". Aharon Varady's Homepage. The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 2002-10-13. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Ahren, Raphael (2009-07-03). "Prayer Ala Carte". Ha'aretz. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  19. ^ "FAQ". the Open Siddur Project. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "פונטים קוד פתוח ביוניקוד | Free/Libre and Open Source Licensed Unicode Hebrew Fonts". the Open Siddur Project. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  21. ^ Kadish, Seth (Avi). "מקרא על פי המסורה | Miqra `al pi ha-Mesorah: A New Experimental Edition of the Tanakh Online (2013-08-25)". the Open Siddur Project. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  22. ^ Wagner, Moshe. "Orayta". Google Code. Orayta. 
  23. ^ "PocketTorah is Here". PocketTorah. Notabox Media Lab. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  24. ^ Paley, Nina. "♡ Copying is an act of love. Please copy and share.". Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  25. ^ See Midrash Tanḥuma on Parshat Terumah, Exodus 25:1ff., Part 1 (the very beginning of the chapter.) Compare this teaching with Midrash Tanhuma on Parshat Ha'azinu, Deuteronomy 32:1ff, Part III, concerning the ascent of Moshe and the struggle with the Angels to receive the Torah.

External links[edit]