Yiddish Tanach for iPad

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If you do a search on the Apple iTunes App Store for “Bible“, you will see the (literally) hundreds of  Bible applications that are available. If you narrow your search to “Hebrew Bible” or “Jewish Bible“, you will still get dozens of results.

However, if last week you had searched for “Yiddish Bible“, you would not have seen a single Yiddish Bible application. Now, that is no longer the case – the Yiddish Bible app is  available on the app store and it works on iPhone/iPad/iPodTouch with iOS 3.0 or greater.

With the ability to toggle between Yiddish-only and Yiddish/English,  Yiddish/Transcription,  and  Yiddish/Hebrew  parallel formats and with a built-in Yiddish/English dictionary, it is also a very useful app for people who are either learning Yiddish or who are trying to improve their knowledge of Yiddish.

The Yiddish Bible app is designed for reading and studying the Yiddish Bible in either Yiddish or in a parallel format combining Yiddish and another language (at present, either English, Hebrew, or YIVO transcription). It is also useful as a tool for improving one’s knowledge of Yiddish. It is comprised of the following components:

Bible: The Yiddish Bible is accessible in several different versions (Yiddish, Yiddish/English, Yiddish/Hebrew, and Yiddish/YIVO-transcription) and it is easy to switch between versions by pressing a button while viewing the Bible text. All versions are resident on the device and no Internet access is required to view the texts.

The Yiddish text is based on the Yiddish translation done by Yehoash (Solomon Blumgarten) in the early part of the 20th century and has been updated to reflect current YIVO standards for Yiddish spelling and to correct some typographical errors.

The Hebrew text is based on the Leningrad Codex and the English text is based on the original Jewish Publication Society (JPS) translation of 1917. The YIVO transcription text was programmatically generated by Refoyl Finkel.

In additon to a “Book”-based reading approach, it is possible to also toggle to a “Parashah”-based approach.

Words: This is useful for learning more about specific Yiddish words and for discovering related words. There are four different ways to learn more about words:

  • Words: By selecting the first two letters of the Yiddish word, a listing will be displayed of all Yiddish words that begin with those two letters along with a brief English translation. The entire word dictionary is maintained on the device so no Internet access is required to display the Yiddish words and definitions.
  • X-Late: Displays the Google Translate web page (Internet access required) with “Detect Language” and “Yiddish” pre-selected as the source/target languages. Note: in order to enter Yiddish (or any) text correctly, the relevant keyboard needs to have been enabled in the iOS Settings application (under General/Keyboard/International Keyboards).
  • Dict: Displays an HTML page (Internet access required) with links to PDF scans of all of the pages of “Harkavy’s Yiddish/English, English/Yiddish Dictionary” (1910 edition). This dictionary uses a somewhat Germanized orthography and is apparently more directed to Yiddish speakers rather than English speakers. The PDF pages are not resident on the device due to their size (120MB) but the dictionary is included as part of this app due to it’s historical significance and also because it is useful when reading classical Yiddish literature.
  • Search: This search facility searches the on-device dictionary (not the Harkavy dictionary) for an English or Yiddish word/words or word fragment (you will need to enable the Hebrew keyboard in the iOS Settings app in order to enter a Yiddish word). Wildcards can also be used in the search – use ‘_’ to match any single character and use ‘%’ to match any number of characters. For example, ‘wa%r’ would return definitions that include either the word ‘water’ or the word ‘wander’ (as well as others).

Topics: There are links to key topics (over 200 people/places/things) in the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. One can access topics by:

  • Bible book: for example, one can select all topics for the book of Exodus.
  • “Meta” Topics: topics that deal with concepts that relate to the Yiddish Bible in general (e.g. – the Yiddish language).
  • All Topics: one can also toggle from a “Book”-based list of topics to an alphabetical list of all available topics.

Maps: There are maps of almost every location (over 1,000 locations) mentioned in the Yiddish Bible (the lattitude/longitude locations are based on data from the OpenBible.info site; however, the application does not access that site). It is possible to display multiple different locations on a map and to clear previously selected locations from a map. By selecting a location on the map and touching the “callout detail disclosure” symbol (the “right arrow”), one can see a listing of all verses in the Yiddish Bible that mention that location. One can access Maps by:

  • Bible book: for example, one can select maps for locations that are mentioned in the book of Exodus.
  • All Maps: one can also toggle from a “Book”-based list of locations to an alphabetical list of all available locations.



AppYiddishBible by Bill Clementson

Compatible: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Category: Reference
Updated:  January 21, 2012
Publisher: Bill Clementson © 2012 Clementson Consulting
Price: $8.99 (buy app)

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