The rush of publishers into the e-book market became a tidal wave when Microsoft announced last week it was investing close to $300 million in e-textbooks.
The Jewish world, not surprisingly, is joining in.
Rethink Partners Publishing has introduced Sinai Live Books, an imprint of the company that acts as a modern mecca for Jewish literature. Based online and working with an established group of Jewish authors and leaders, Sinai Live assembles and publishes writings that offer insight into Jewish wisdom for the everyday.
The works can be delivered, downloaded, or even watched with video e-books—brief filmed commentaries that offer concise but profound discussions with authors like Rabbi Benjamin Blech or Rabbetzin Esther Jungreis.
For Mark Pearlman, founder of Rethink Partners Publishing, it’s easy access to tough topics that makes Sinai Live different.
“People have shorter attention spans. Our society is focused on the moment, and we have to be able to deliver Jewish wisdom in that framework.” Pearlman said in a recent email correspondence, “Sinai Live books offer people a chance to sample the insights of great Jewish teachers with a commitment of just a few hours and a couple dollars. Our hope is to inspire them to explore further either the teachers or the topics.”
And if you’re not quite ready to splurge for the $2.99 to $6.99 Sinai Live e-books sell for, Sinai Live has just released a fifth, and free, publication in honor of Mother’s Day. More Precious Than Pearls: A Prayer for the Women of Valor in Our Lives features Eishet Chayil, an ancient poem celebrating women.
More Precious Than Pearls features commentary from a range of great thinkers and writers. You send it as a gift, or download it yourself—Sinai Live really just wants a chance to share. Pearlman said he plans to approach organizations and donors over the next few months to make his content available to as wide an audience as possible.
In a follow up phone interview, Pearlman spoke about his own Jewish journey that led him to found Sinai Live Books. Having once taken a step away from Judaism himself, he said he understands what it means to walk away from religion and what it takes to journey back.
“These are teachers who have personally inspired me,” Pearlman said.
The goal, said Pearlman, isn’t necessarily about being more Jewish; it’s about being more aware: exploring enlightenment in the comfort of your own, well—anyplace.
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