Monday, July 9, 2012

Status Update


Since many of my readers contribute to my work in a variety of ways, I decided to share a status update regarding the various projects that I am working on.

1. PhD - My dissertation proposal was accepted - the topic is "Rabbinic Encounters with Zoology in the Nineteenth Century." (The most common response to that is, "Were there any?" And the answer is yes, there were a lot!) This will be taking up a lot of my time in the next year or two.

2. The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom - Baruch Hashem, I have been making great progress with this. I've nearly finished writing the first volume, on chayos (a sample chapter, on leopards, can be downloaded at the link above). However, publishing this work (which, for various reasons, I am doing privately) will be a great challenge, due to the scale of the project - masses of proof-reading, full-color photos, a very complicated layout, and I don't even want to think about the indexes. If there are any Adobe InDesign professionals reading this who would be willing to contribute some advice, please write to me! I also need to raise a lot of funds for the publication of this work; I have a charitable foundation for this purpose, and if you are interested in helping, please be in touch.

3. The Jewish Museum of Natural History - Due to my heavy workload on the previous two projects, I am not yet able to devote much time to this. However, the nucleus of the museum is assembled in my basement, and I already offer private presentations to groups. Next year, I will be starting a series of weekly lectures, each focusing on a different exhibit.

4. Sacred Monsters - Hebrew edition. The translation was finished a while ago; it still needs some more editing. Unfortunately I don't have the time/ funds to pursue its publication right now. If somebody who genuinely understands the Israeli publishing world wants to take on this project, please be in touch.

5. Future planned publications - I plan to eventually publish a book on Rationalist Judaism, which will include most of the monographs that I e-published here, as well as other material. I also have a book on rabbinic confrontations with revolutions in astronomy that is basically finished, but I simply have no time to edit it and deal with getting it published at the moment.

6. Website - Some volunteers have been working on a redesigned version of my ZooTorah.com website, and hopefully it will be launched soon. If anyone is a skilled web graphics artist and wants to help, please be in touch.

That's where things are at. My thanks again to all those who support my work in various ways!

11 comments:

  1. A suggestion for your zootorah.com webpage: do NOT have a video (with sound) automatically start. It is annoying to start hearing sounds each time one goes to the webpage. (Not that your speaking is annoying, but think about it - each time a person goes to the page, he hears the same thing over again! not nice.)

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  2. Rabbi,I fully support you in your forthcoming book encyclopedia of animals and i plan on buying all volumes when they get published,and may i wish you go m'chayil l'choyil, however your intended book on Rationalist judaism to me seems not very responsible.
    For a mere 30 year old to publish ideas which touch the very core issues of our beliefs, concepts which even the Rishonim have grappled, i feel needs someone who has devoted decades to the subject.
    Please Rabbi, i am a great follower of yours in your works on zoology, but as a BT i have been back to my mentors with some of your posts on rationality, and they showed me from the very texts that you quote how you have misunderstood certain concepts.
    Perhaps you want to give this issue careful thought before feeding the masses ideas, which those whom have learned more than you deem it as misunderstood.

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  3. For a mere 30 year old to publish ideas which touch the very core issues of our beliefs, concepts which even the Rishonim have grappled, i feel needs someone who has devoted decades to the subject

    Goodness, where on earth did you get the idea that I am 30 years old? I passed that milestone quite a few years ago. If you're uncomfortable reading writings on this subject by someone who doesn't have a long white beard, then by all means don't. However, others prefer to evaluate material on its own merits.

    but as a BT i have been back to my mentors with some of your posts on rationality, and they showed me from the very texts that you quote how you have misunderstood certain concepts.

    Here's a suggestion. Write to me with one such example, and let's see if I really have misunderstood things. Alternately, discuss it with some rabbonim who are not Charedi (I'm guessing that your mentors are Charedi), and see what they say.

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  4. In which University and department are you doing your PHD, and who is your mentor?

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  5. Bar Ilan, Jewish History, David Malkiel.

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  6. I would just like to say that I am most looking forward to your monograph on the reaction of the Rabbinic world to the Copernican Revolution. Any idea when it might be ready?

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  7. I just wanted to wish you good luck on all of your projects - seems like quite a workload!

    As a fellow biology enthusiast (microbiology graduate student) I plan on purchasing your encyclopedia, and am eagerly awaiting the first volume's release. In terms of generating funding for this project, have you considered starting a Kickstarter? (http://www.kickstarter.com/). I certainly would pledge.

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  8. Y. Ben David,

    Have you seen Eliezer Brodt's article in Hakira?

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  9. You have a museum in your basement? I was just in RBS for Shabbas and would have loved to see it!

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  10. Once you get your Ph.D. you should write a book on math. It's like science!

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  11. Is there any connection between your planned book and the upcoming book by Jeremy Brown (guest poster on this blog)?

    New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish Reception of Copernican Thought (Oxford University Press)

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