What's new in JL;DR's content and technology — the latest from the JL;DR team.

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Welcome to JL;DR!

by Matt Sienkiewicz
Jews write too much. JL;DR was launched to address this simple reality by collecting, collating, and summarizing the vast world of Jewish news and opinion in a single place. We’re excited to share this new tool with you and see what you make of it. But, first, a little too much writing.

The Hebrew alphabet begins with the letter aleph. The Hebrew Bible, however, begins with the letter beit, which so happens to be the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet. A normal person in a generous mood might call this a coincidence. For Jews, however and of course, it’s a whole thing. Though it seems to barely constitute a question, Jewish tradition offers several answers as to why the Bible’s first letter is the second letter. Our favorite focuses on the actual shape of the letter beit: ב. This explanation notes that the beit is “closed on all its sides but open in its front” (remember that Hebrew goes right to left). Why is this important? Because it reminds us to keep our eyes looking forward and to screen out that which we can’t make use of. It’s a distracting world out there, so the first lesson is to stay focused.

Ok, so maybe there’s an irony here. One letter in, and we got completely distracted with an obscure lesson about how you shouldn’t get distracted. Jews write too much, yes. But it’s still a good point. Whether it’s the metaphysical grandeur of the Torah or the endless scroll of a modern media feed, there is an infinity of things to consider, worry about, and get lost in. JL;DR is an attempt to help out a little bit by bringing you the information you need and want in an efficient, focused manner.

JL;DR does not intend to tell you what it is that you need or want, however. On a single, searchable page, JL;DR brings you perspectives from across the realm of Jewish publishing, stretching to the edges of the political, religious, and cultural perspectives that make up the Jewish world. If there’s something truly offensive, we’ll take it out. Short of that, however, we leave it to you to set your preferences and search criteria. We encourage everyone to consider new viewpoints and see where debates are taking place even when the participants are not directly interacting.

And we don’t want to make things too focused or too easy, either. Yes, once you have subscribed to the site you will have access to AI-generated summaries of every story in our archive. We hope that users will use these summaries to decide which articles are worth reading in their entirety. Journalists get paid when you access their full articles, so if they’re going to keep writing too much, we need to keep clicking through. We want you to use these summaries like that magic beit, helping you screen out the distractions and spend your time on what matters to you most.

And, please, let us know how it’s going. If you have questions, feedback, or ideas for new features, send us an email: hello@jldr.org. JL;DR will work only as a community project, with technology helping us get to where we want to go.