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The Mi Yodeya community has produced four publications thus far:

  • A Pesach haggadah supplement (2013) - 46 pages, 27 questions
    • Expanded and revised (2016) - 48 pages, 38 questions (yes, we've tightened up our formatting since the first edition)
  • A Purim book (2014) - 28 pages, 15 questions
  • A Chanukah book (2014) - 20 pages, 18 questions
  • A Days of Awe book (2015) - 48 pages, 32 questions

What else should we do? Two ideas have been suggested in the past, a Sukkot book and updating the haggadah supplement. Many other projects are possible.

A Mi Yodeya publication works best as a distributed project with many participants -- identifying suitable content, editing questions and answers on-site where they can be improved, editing them for use in an external book, proofreading, organizing the effort, writing an introduction, compiling credits, publicizing the finished product, and more. So we should identify a projects that people are interested in working on.

This post can serve as a master list of project ideas, from which people can choose when proposing a new project. If an idea gets used, we can mark it .

So, what looks interesting? One answer per suggestion, please.

17 Answers 17

14

: Days of Awe - Mi Yodeya?

I suggest a High Holidays book, perhaps billed as a "machzor companion," featuring:

  • Q&As related to particular parts of the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur machzors.

  • Q&As related to Halacha and How-tos of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

  • Q&As related to ideas about Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in general, and possibly Teshuva in general.

Why High Holidays:

  • We have plenty of time between now and then.

  • Along with Pesach and Chanuka, they are the most-observed of Jewish holidays.

  • They are the holidays on which the most Jews spend the most time in synagogues. A machzor companion could be distributed physically very effectively in synagogues, and could be useful for synagogue-attendees as reading material that supplements and enhances their synagogue experience.

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    I wonder if there's a cost-effective and effective way to print out lots of them and get them in the hands of people willing to put them out at their synagogues, or perhaps a way to get such an effort underwritten by SE. – Isaac Moses Jun 24 '15 at 21:09
  • The idea is interesting. I'm a bit curious as to how this would differ from a number of guides out there, already. E.g., The "High Holiday Survival Kit" (I think the author is Alter) does address many of these topics. – DanF Jun 30 '15 at 18:46
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    @DanF What we have to offer is our wealth of topical Q&A, expressed in a diversity of voices of genuine curiosity and knowledge. Nearly everything we have on Mi Yodeya and therefore in our publications can be found somewhere else in a different format, but not collected and curated as we have it, and not in the eclectic and (I think) compelling Q&A voices we have. – Isaac Moses Jun 30 '15 at 19:01
  • Agreed! I understand that you are the "Head O.P." of this forum? – DanF Jun 30 '15 at 19:08
  • @DanF No. I founded mi.yodeya 1.0, the forum/community that this one evolved out of, and I served as mod pro tem between that evolution and Mi Yodeya's launch out of beta. I have no official status now, other than that of a user with 25K+ rep. I certainly was the first OP of this forum, as I posted a few posts before I opened it to anyone else. – Isaac Moses Jun 30 '15 at 19:12
  • I like the idea of a High Holydays companion book, although some commentary on the liturgy (I haven't seen any questions about the yotzerot or kerovot) would also be nice. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jul 1 '15 at 16:44
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt So post some! – Isaac Moses Jul 1 '15 at 16:58
  • @IsaacMoses, I can't think of many. I'll post what I've got. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jul 1 '15 at 16:58
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  • Followup: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/3587/472 – Monica Cellio Jul 1 '15 at 17:51
  • Is Selichot included? – Double AA Jul 10 '15 at 1:23
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    @DoubleAA IMO, might as well. It's not like we'll do a separate Selichot book someday, and it's certainly seasonal (and possibly directly relevant on YK). – Isaac Moses Jul 10 '15 at 1:33
  • Including Selichot makes sense to me too. I'll let @IsaacMoses decide which submissions post they should go on; perhaps the "themes" one would work as the main theme is teshuva, or make a fifth question, or whatever you prefer. – Monica Cellio Jul 10 '15 at 3:49
  • I wonder if completed posts should be deleted from here so as not to crowd out the active suggestions? – Double AA Dec 2 '15 at 6:09
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Parsha Q&A, in five volumes. (Not necessarily contiguous; we might do one, then do something else, then come back and do another, and so on.)

This answer proposes writing new material (and divrei torah?) about the parsha. My suggestion is, instead, parsha-based Q&A drawn from our questions and answers.

This idea calls for some SEDE-assisted (or search-assisted) analysis that I have not yet done: how is our distribution of "good" (however we measure that) material over the 54 parshiyot? And would we want to start with Sefer B'reishit, which probably has more questions than the others (and so is a bigger project), or would it be better to start with another?

The five books could then be compiled into a single volume for print publication.

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    data.stackexchange.com/judaism/query/380694 but note that that tag list may be outdated (i.e. some of those tag names I'm searching on may not be current names/synonyms) – msh210 Oct 26 '15 at 19:09
  • @msh210 thanks! Might want to further restrict to questions that have at least one (positive-score) answer. – Monica Cellio Oct 27 '15 at 0:18
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    Okay, updated it to require a positive-score answer also. And the tags are now the correct ones. – msh210 Oct 27 '15 at 3:09
7

I suggest creating a publication on Bein Hametzarim-Three Weeks-Nine Days.

The publication should include the halachos, minhagim and hashkafos of this time period.

I think it will benefit and enhance the Three Weeks for a lot of people.

7

So far, all the suggestions seem to focus on holidays. I'm unsure if you're limiting the ideas to this category.

If not, I'd like to see a general "shul guide". My shul published, recently, a small booklet that explains the shul setup (physical structure such as what the Aron, Bimah, menorot and other furnishings are for), and general procedure / decorum (such as no cell phones on Shabbat / Yom Tov; what the siddur and Chumash are and when / why they are used.)

For many Jews, the shul may be an unfamiliar and intimidating place. A small simple guide, I think, may be useful for them.

7

I help run an 11th grade minyan and I sorely need a selection of Q's and A' related to practical aspects of tefilla (though I actually also need stuff on the spiritual side, but I think it would be tougher to find material for it). I have helped assemble a mini library of "readings" for students, but something cohesive and organized would be a boon.

If a "guide to tefilla" was assembled, taking questions that address aspects of davening (especially for weekdays) in the order of davening. I know that I could make it available to a large group and it would do much good. I could probably sift through all the tefilla questions myself and compose something like this, but as long as you are soliciting suggestions, I figure I will post what I need these days.

  • Consider our hagada supplement. (Somehow, "supplement" sounds to me like it comes after the hagada, like an appendix. Actually, it's to be read alongside the hagada. Perhaps "accompaniment" would be a better word.) Are you thinking of a sidur supplement like the hagada supplement? – msh210 Oct 26 '15 at 18:48
  • @msh210 -- like that, I guess. SOmething like that (though maybe a little less "conversational" like a hagaddah and more ordered like a siddur). – rosends Oct 26 '15 at 19:09
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    Bear in mind that, as in Hagada - Mi Yodeya?, we probably wouldn't be able to comprehensively cover every specified section (e.g. every beracha of the Amida), due to the whims of the question-asking public. That said, if you put up a framework for collecting and organizing questions, along the lines of those in question-catalog, people could fill it in over time, and that could eventually provide a ready base for a publication. – Isaac Moses Oct 27 '15 at 17:02
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    The best thing you can do to support this project IMO is post any question you get from your students that you wish you had a book for. That way we populate the site with good material for this kind of project (and you might learn something!). – Double AA Oct 27 '15 at 22:10
  • @DoubleAA also: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1433/… – Isaac Moses Oct 28 '15 at 3:54
  • I second Isaac's suggestion. We started a Sukkot question collection even though we're not ready to do a Sukkot book yet, so people can add to it as they notice/remember things. A similar post to collect t'filah questions, organized by section, is something we could build up over time. It would also show where we have gaps. – Monica Cellio Dec 3 '15 at 15:33
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    @Danno this proposal has some non-trivial support from the community and is also not time-bound like our holiday publications are, so even if it's not the next one we do, I think starting to assess our content and collect candidate questions would be time well spent. How would you feel about organizing that? (You can look at the post for the Sukkot book for one model of how to do this. That project, too, is pending, but this can be done over time.) – Monica Cellio Feb 25 '16 at 22:40
  • Maybe this could be part of the shul guide suggestion. – Scimonster Jun 26 '16 at 21:53
5

Another idea for Sukkot, which could be a stand-alone project or part of a larger Sukkot book: Ushpizin pages.

Similar to our eight-sheet (16-page) Chanuka booklet, we could make a seven-sheet Ushpizin booklet. Each sheet would contain one or two Q&A about one of the Ushpizin. We have plenty of material to choose from in the tags , , , and , and I'm sure that we could find a couple of good Q&A about Aharon Hakohein.

Users could be encouraged to print out the pages, and then use one each night of Sukkot to prompt conversation at dinner that honors that night's Ushpiz.

We could round out the package by adding front matter that includes Q&A about Ushpizin in general and basic, standard Ushpizin texts.

  • At 2*7 = 14 posts, this would be much shorter than prior Publications (DoA had ~32 posts) – Double AA Dec 2 '15 at 6:07
  • @DoubleAA, it would be comparable in size to C-MY. Or it could be part of a larger work. – Isaac Moses Dec 2 '15 at 6:34
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    Maybe expand this to a broader "personalities" book, about many of the most prominent figures in Jewish history? – Ypnypn Dec 28 '15 at 21:36
  • @Ypnypn Cool idea. One of the benefits would be that it'd be a way to include female role-models in a way that'd be less controversial than adopting the feminist "ushpizot" concept, per se. I recommend that you write it up as a separate answer. – Isaac Moses Dec 28 '15 at 21:40
5

I suggest a Sukkot book, featuring:

  • How-tos, since Sukkot observance includes many practical considerations, and because we've covered many of them usefully.

  • Halacha questions related to all aspects of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret.

  • Agada questions related to things like the meaning of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret and their observances, understanding the Torah readings thereof, etc.

4

: “Hagada - Mi Yodeya?” Second Edition - Expanded and Improved!

I think it would be great to update and extend Hagada - Mi Yodeya? to the point that it has sufficient quantity and quality that we could try to get it published with Hagada text as a complete Hagada book.

Ways we can update and extend it:

  • Add more Q&A that didn't make it into the original publication or that was posted since then. Try to achieve complete coverage of Seder-sections and more complete coverage of individual Magid-subsections.

  • Improve on the quality of the original publication, taking into account its feedback page, dejargonifying as much as possible, and adding a glossary as well as footnotes and/or bibliography.

  • Include an appendix that shows the best answers from the .

  • In another answer, the appendix suggested here is suggested as a stand-alone volume. – Isaac Moses Feb 25 '16 at 19:45
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    @scimonster I don't think this is completed. It could totally be continued in a future year. I don't know that we're up to the point where "we could try to get it published with Hagada text as a complete Hagada book." – Double AA Jun 27 '16 at 0:09
  • @DoubleAA indeed "ואפילו כולנו חכמים, כולנו נבונים ..." – Isaac Moses Jun 27 '16 at 1:01
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How about a compilation of the best answers from all the "*** Mi Yodea?" Series?

  • +1 I actually think that would be very interesting – Daniel Feb 25 '16 at 14:22
  • In another answer, this is suggested as an appendix to a full-fledged Hagada. – Isaac Moses Feb 25 '16 at 19:44
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    I have thought about this as nice fodder for a desk calendar. – Isaac Moses Feb 25 '16 at 19:45
  • as we're at 338 and counting, the hagada part would proboly be an appendix to the mi yodeah part, I do think the desk calender is a good idea, but we'd have to get to 354 at least. – SamuelManuel Feb 25 '16 at 20:46
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    Many answers to the m-y series are interesting only as answers to their questions. For example, that there happen to be 1102 aliyos in certain years according to some customs is interesting only as an answer to "who knows 1102?" (though a more general statement of how many aliyos there are in all years according to some customs would be of interest even absent that question). Likewise many other m-y series answers, I think. I'm not saying this compilation idea is a bad one -- only that our choice of "best answers" for it would have to be careful and with an eye to general interest. – msh210 Feb 25 '16 at 22:05
  • @msh210 It would have to be in an appropriate format of answering the "X Mi Yodeya" question. – Scimonster Feb 29 '16 at 19:42
  • This year Isaac is tweeting answers from this series, one per night of the Omer, which means he's doing the work of identifying interesting candidates for at least the first 49. (Some of which might have been drawn from last year's haggadah update; I haven't compared the tweets to that list.) – Monica Cellio May 8 '17 at 21:24
  • @MonicaCellio, I've been considering the entries on that list (which go from 14 to 30) but also looking to see if there are other answers that appeal to me for this context. – Isaac Moses May 8 '17 at 23:53
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The other aspects of the holiday of Pesach (Chol haMoed, last day(s), Bedikat Chametz, Tefillat Tal, fast of the firstborn, etc.) that aren't just the Seder.

Pesach is a rich holiday to ask about beyond just the first night(s).

This probably makes sense to do as an appendix to the Haggadah, and not as its own book.

  • It could be done first as a stand-alone booklet, and then later incorporated along with existing and additional hagada content into a bound Hagada. – Isaac Moses May 11 '17 at 17:09
1

For Shavu'ot, it would be nice to make something that lends itself to individual/partner study.

One way to do this, which would be more labor-intensive than our editing jobs to date, would be:

  1. Find some Q&As that have answers that suggest lists of sources that a reader could study in order to determine them independently.

  2. Publish the question, followed by a source list, followed by copies of as many of the sources as practical.

  3. Publish the answers in a separate section, in the back.

  4. Encourage readers to read the question and then study the sources and try to answer it themselves before reading the answer.

A possible organizing theme for this or any other Shavu'ot publication could be the Six Orders of the Talmud, since Shavu'ot celebrates the reception of the Oral Torah.

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    A query to help locate potential good posts for this would be one that finds posts with the most links and/or numbers, both of which are often an indication of sources (and the former, an indication of easily accessible sources). – Double AA Dec 2 '15 at 6:38
1

We could do a book-length project covering all of the weekly Parshiyot.

Done well enough, this could be brought to publishers for publication as an actual book.

A natural time to release such a project would be Simchat Torah.

(Feel free to edit this post, fleshing out more details.)

(See also this very similar idea.)

0

I've been surmising a compilation of assorted questions from this site, and publishing it, myself, perhaps. Of course, if I had the time to do it, I would be a bit biased and pick mainly my own questions and answers. (I can't help being a little egotistic ;-)

But in terms of a publication what about something like "Best of Mi Yodeya" or some similar title. You could decide what's "best" based on various criteria such as most votes; most viewed; most answers, etc. You can also decide on a few categories (based on tags or something similar) and pick, say, the top 5 or 10 questions (whatever number) in each category.

0

I observe that Rabbinic Judaism takes a lot of cracks from folks who don't understand it. I think MY is in a unique position to generate a publication that examines some of the accusations leveled against tradition/oral law.
It could address: - seeming contradictions to written Torah
- seeming contradictions between Rabbinic writers
- the accusation of legalism
- ways that other "non-rabbinic" traditions have drawn on Rabbinic tradition as part of their heritage.
-general principles that Rabbis use or have used in applying oral law.
-What does "bound by oral law" mean?
- Is oral law placed above written law?

MY is well aware of the kinds of questions that are asked in regard to these as well as the attitudes that accompany them. Since this is a public forum, you have access to ample material to use as examples and solutions.

Just an idea.

-1

I think we should make a publication for people entering back into Judaism. Like a Ba'al Teshuvah guidebook. Because i think a lot of our userbase stumble in from there, and as we as a website gain popularity on google search results, we might continue to become a destination for people searching. And i think there isn't really many down to earth resources for people returning to Judaism. They can walk into a Chabadhouse, but then there's a question of whether they are really learning Judaism or something else. There are random snippets of information online, but many of those answers are too burdensome for people to grow into. So having a publication with relevant questions and answers will probably be immensely helpful to a growing pupolation

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    I think publishing a paper copy specifically for people who come to MY online is counterproductive. – msh210 Nov 26 '15 at 22:11
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A parsha / haftarah compilation.

The beginning can give an overview of the Torah reading and haftarah service perhaps with a brief history of how public Torah reading came about and the origin of the parsha system.

The main content would provide a brief synopsis (not an aliyah-by-aliyah description) of the content of each weekly parsha and its haftarah.

This would be useful for beginners esp. just to get a gist of what is about to be read in shul. Perhaps, including a small "D'var Torah" (say 1 or 2 short paragraphs) carrying a practical or important message from each parsha would brighten up things, as well.

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    I see the value of such a volume, but I don't know if this community is particularly well-equipped to produce it. Our publications to date have traded on our wealth of existing Q&A content, while this proposal seems to be for exclusively new content. On the other hand, it could be awesome to put out a parsha reader with Q&A related to each parsha of the Torah, perhaps to be released one Simchat Torah. That's something that, done well enough, could potentially even be a full-length book. – Isaac Moses Jun 30 '15 at 18:59
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    "while this proposal seems to be for exclusively new content" - I'm not sure if I agree on that, completely. Each week you tag a sidebar section for questions on the weekly parsha. There's LOADS of great stuff that we could glean from that. – DanF Jun 30 '15 at 19:11
  • Yes, we've got lots of parsha content. We don't generally have overviews of synopses of the content of the Torah readings. That would be new content. – Isaac Moses Jun 30 '15 at 19:13
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    @IsaacMoses, Dan, I'd been thinking, when posting this question, that we might someday produce parsha Q&A publications, probably in five volumes released over time. I was definitely thinking of this as drawing from our existing Q&A, not writing new, non-Q&A content. (In the end I didn't propose it just because I don't want to do that next, but I'd like to do it later.) – Monica Cellio Jun 30 '15 at 22:27
-4

I have no idea if this is in the plans but something that would be really, really helpful to new Shabbos observers would be an alphabetical index of random things that could be melachos, with comments about the Shabbos/Y"T permissibility of each one. Maybe a rov needs to write this instead of us; still, the lack of such a thing is a huge obstacle for beginners who are trying to keep Shabbos. Speaking of what we could do that's practical.

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    This is a good idea IMO, but it doesn't seem like something that can be comprehensively compiled from our site. Also, it exists already, in the form of such books as Sh'miras Shabas K'hilchasah, Rabbi S.B. Cohen's books, and The 39 Melachos. – msh210 Nov 26 '15 at 22:10
  • @msh210 Got it. Just wondered because a lot of things we have done/were planning to do seemed not quite tied to the site, like the Haggadah. – anon Dec 4 '15 at 0:00

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