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At the end of Chanuka this year1, the Israeli Ministry of Education kicked off an exciting new project: "929 – Studying the Bible Together". The idea is very simple: each day, all different kinds of Jews study one chapter of Tanach together. It has some of the great features of Daf Yomi, such as getting many people on the same page in learning and getting people to tackle the entire body of work, and it adds an extra measure of accessibility, since Tanach is even more basic to Jewish identity and easier to get into than Talmud is.

The project has a beautiful, elegant website that features, each day, the day's chapter in text and audio, along with numerous supplementary materials in all different media. The chapter advances five times per week, Sunday through Thursday, with Friday and Shabbat reserved for catch-up and review. Today, the project is up to Bereishit 9. The goal is to complete the 929 chapters of Tanach thus in the Summer of 2018, to go with the celebration of the 70th birthday of the State of Israel.

I feel like this is something Mi Yodeya can and should take part in, somehow. If thousands and thousands of Jews from all over are learning a chapter of Tanach together, we should be able to contribute to and benefit from the united, distributed learning with our crowd-based Q&A and repository of content.

The core of the project is in Israel and currently, exclusively in Hebrew, which presents both a challenge and an opportunity to this community, whose language of discourse is English. The challenge is interfacing with a project that is principally presented in another language. The opportunity is to make a meaningful contribution to English-speakers who want to take part in the project.

So, should we participate? If so, how?


1. Coincident with and announced at the 2014 International Bible Contest for Adults, in which our friend Alexander Heppenheimer took second place.

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We could use the @mi_yodeya Twitter account to send out a tweet each day with a Q&A related to the day's chapter, possibly along with a link to the chapter text in Hebrew and English on Sefaria or another repository. I piloted this idea today by sending out these two tweets. With less fluff, the same could be done in one.

Note that I made first use of the hashtag #929Project in these tweets, which seemed appropriate to me, and is consistent with the project's Facebook page's name. However, I later saw that 929 encourages people on Facebook (which @mi_yodeya gets mirrored on) to post content and tag it with @929 and hashtags #p929 and #ch001 (substitute the number of the relevant chapter). So, maybe it would be best to fall in line with this convention on Twitter, too. I'm not sure how @929 helps, since that's not the name of a Facebook or Twitter account controlled by the project.

A tweet that includes all of the following:

  • @929Project
  • #p929
  • #ch001
  • Text link
  • Mi Yodeya Q&A link

leaves 70 characters in which to name the book (as the chapter number's already in the hashtag) and summarize the Q&A, which is not a lot, but it's probably doable.

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    If pressed for space I would possibly drop 929Project and the chapter tag. The main tag, link, and enough text to entice people to click the link are the most important parts IMO. – Monica Cellio Dec 31 '14 at 18:51
  • We don't have questions from every chapter. Who is in charge of remedying that before the project gets up to that chapter? – Double AA Jan 1 '15 at 2:57
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    If there's nothing to tweet, either at all or of sufficient quality, then we just don't tweet that day. People who want to be especially helpful might look ahead with an eye toward asking questions, but there will almost certainly be stretches of Nach where we'll miss some days. – Monica Cellio Jan 1 '15 at 2:59
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    @DoubleAA, I agree with Monica. In addition, if we do one of Scimonster's weekly ideas, and feature, e.g., the coming chapters each Friday (possibly along with the just-finished chapters), then it could spur new Q&A that could be available for daily tweeting in the ensuing week. – Isaac Moses Jan 1 '15 at 3:02
  • The chapter number is not in the #ch tag - that counts up to 929, not to 50, etc. That is, it works for Bereshit, but nothing after – Charles Koppelman Jan 5 '15 at 17:03
  • @CharlesKoppelman, that makes some sense. How do you know it's true? Where does one look up a numbered list of all of the chapters of Tanach? – Isaac Moses Jan 5 '15 at 17:26
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Weekly challenges. Need i say more?

Well, i guess i will say more.

Each week, we should have a topic challenge, encouraging people to ask questions based on the 5 perakim learned that week.

Having the challenge should encourage people to get with the program, and even if they don't, reading about it here is better than nothing, right?

This will, of course, be quite a long series. This can be good and bad. Good, because we won't have to worry about coming up with challenges for a while. Bad, because we might get bored of the challenges.

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We really can't compete with (for translation) all the info on 929.org.il. They have obviously been planning this for a long time.

But perhaps we can do something. We could get our own SE blog, and each week, post some content related to the upcoming perakim. These should include:

  • Links to the text with translation
  • Select Q&A, if applicable
  • A short summary of each perek
  • A link back to the stuff on the Hebrew website

This would be work -- a bunch of it. Are we willing to do it?


To address comments: It seems like SE isn't doing new blogs (h/t @Monica). Isaac suggested using meta posts. I'd like to expand on that idea.

There are two ways it could be done.

  1. Each week a new meta question is posted, according to the template above. It would go under a specific tag for that, and would be for the week. Feedback can be left as comments and answers (like on regular blog posts).
  2. We just use one question, permanently featured (there is precedent on SE). Each week, a new answer is posted and accepted. Feedback can be left in comments.

We could also use an external blog, but that isn't tied into MY the way meta posts are.

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    Using a blog to promote our content related to this sounds great. Unfortunately, SE has put a moratorium on new blogs, so we won't get their help with it. I don't know if an off-site, roll-our-own blog is practical, but maybe? Especially if we tweet links to each week's new post? – Monica Cellio Dec 31 '14 at 16:30
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    @MonicaCellio, we could do something similar to blogging with meta posts and a dedicated tag, which would automatically have its own RSS feed. There might even be a way to syndicate the RSS feed and repackage its content automatically on a dedicated blog site. – Isaac Moses Dec 31 '14 at 16:34
  • @IsaacMoses Is it time to revive lo.yodeya? – MTL Dec 31 '14 at 16:35
  • @IsaacMoses oh, good idea! (Shokhet, I think Stack Exchange now controls yodeya.com, and thus lo.yodeya.com.) – Monica Cellio Dec 31 '14 at 16:36
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    @MonicaCellio, I still own yodeya.blogspot.com, though, the host of what lo.yodeya.com used to point to, FWIW. – Isaac Moses Dec 31 '14 at 16:38
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    Technique 2 would also provide an RSS feed (the "question feed"), but would result in an unmanageable pile of content over time. The SE interface is not designed to handle very large numbers of answers to a question gracefully. – Isaac Moses Dec 31 '14 at 17:20

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