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(RNS) An audio version of the modern edition of the Jewish Bible is being made available for free to the blind.
The Jewish Publication Society spent more than a year recording 60 hours of the JPS Tanakh, in a project coordinated with JBI International, formerly the Jewish Braille Institute.
Organizers recruited several Jewish celebrities to serve as narrators — including actor Theodore Bikel and actress Tovah Feldshuh, as well as prominent rabbis.
It is the first audio recording of the 1985 translation of the Tanakh, which is what most streams of Judaism currently use. There is already an audio recording of the more traditional 1917 version.
“JPS had wanted an audio version of its Bible for years, but we knew that producing it would be very expensive,” said Carol Hupping, JPS’s interim director. “We’re talking about 2,000 book pages, about 60 hours of listening time.”
The publishing house had gotten a bid from a commercial audio book producer, Hupping said, but it was too expensive. But they were able to use JBI’s audio recording studios. JBI agreed to record the Bible at a lower fee, in exchange for adding it to their library of recordings available to the blind and visually impaired.
JPS is offering free podcasts of the weekly Torah portion, and has made the full Bible available at online music stores like iTunes and Audible.
By Matthew E. Berger
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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