Recently in announcements Category

The Book Jackets of Ismar David

I had the good fortune to meet Ismar David a couple of years before he passed away and thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the design of his signature "David" typeface from him. Now, the wonderful Misha Beletsky has put together a short monograph on his book jackets. It includes a short essay on the history of book jackets, and a short bio of Ismar David that puts his exquisite calligraphic work in context. The sum total is a lovely diversion and a welcome addition to my bookshelf (although I anticipate sharing it widely, so it may not be on the bookshelf when I go looking for it).

book cover graphic

At $19.95, the book is quite modestly priced. It is available from RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press and other fine vendors.

Authoring HTML: Handling Right-to-left Scripts

Copied from Robin Cover's XML Daily Newslink for 10-Sep-2009:

Authoring HTML: Handling Right-to-left Scripts
Richard Ishida (ed), W3C Technical Report

W3C announced the publication of a Working Group Note on "Authoring HTML: Handling Right-to-left Scripts." The document was produced by members of the Internationalization Core Working Group, part of the W3C Internationalization Activity.

The document provides advice for the use of HTML markup and CSS style sheets to create pages for languages that use right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Thaana, Urdu, etc. It explains how to create content in right-to-left scripts that builds on but goes beyond the Unicode bidirectional algorithm, as well as how to prepare
content for localization into right-to-left scripts.

The specification is intended for all content authors working with HTML and CSS who are working with text in a language that uses a right-to-left script, or whose content will be localized to a language that uses a right-to-left script. The term 'author' is used in the sense of a person that creates content either directly or via a script or program that generates HTML documents.

It provides guidance for developers of HTML that enables support for international deployment. Enabling international deployment is the responsibility of all content authors, not just localization groups or vendors, and is relevant from the very start of development. Ignoring the advice in this document, or relegating it to a later phase in the development process, will only add unnecessary costs and resource issues at a later date. It is assumed that readers of this document are proficient in developing HTML and XHTML pages..."

Metal Hebrew type sought

I have an e-mail from Harold Jacubowitz:

My name is Harold Jacubowitz and as a ceramic artist I'm looking for Hebrew metal types that I could use to impress into clay.

Could you help me find some ?

I'm not going to put his e-mail address online for the spambots to glom onto, but if you know of sources for Harold, post them here (that would be fantastic, because then everyone with the same question would get an answer), or e-mail me and I'll pass it on.

Updated Passover Haggadah Toolkit


Back in the '80s, the weeks before Passover consisted of reading dozens of haggadahs, talking with friends, and gradually cutting and pasting a text that felt right as that year's haggadah. When I first started playing with Acrobat, there were still no standards for Hebrew, but I figured that I could go better than ASCII by encoding the Hebrew as it was then done, and putting it into a form where anyone could download, print, cut and paste.

But, of course, no one wants to do that any more. And no one should have to: we have lots of tools for editing Hebrew, and Unicode fonts. So, this year, a bit late, as usual, I have redone that minimal Haggadah Toolkit and input the Hebrew using Unicode so that it =should= be possible to cut and paste into whatever tool works for you. Of course, by now, everyone has finished the Haggadah and just needs to print them up for the seder Saturday night, but just in case, the new version is now available. And better, it will still be there next year, maybe with a bit more Hebrew, as I have time.

Passover Haggadah Toolkit, v 0.2

Dr. Berlin retires

I seem to have been too busy setting Hebrew to keep up this blog in recent months. Among the transitions I need to note, I have had to remove the link to Dr. Berlin's amazing font archive. As Roger Reid let me know back in January, he has retired. According to a posting on LiveJournal, the font archive was closed on 1/31/05 after nine years of service. The good Dr. does have a personal website at, but he has not continued his font activities there.

Ta'amei Mikra from Jerusalem Typesetting


sample hebrew w/taamei mikraI have corresponded frequently with Raphael Freeman of Jerusalem Typesetting about using InDesign with Hebrew. He has recently announced the ability to set trup (Ta'amei Mikrah—the symbols that are used to know how to chant/sing from Torah, Haftorah, etc.). He has been working with a local type foundry, FontBit to get a version of their Livorno font with the required characters, and then uses a script with InDesign to set things just right. Here is a sample from the Purim Megillah. Visit the Jerusalem Typesetting website, for a free e-mail newsletter and more info.

aaron lanskyCo-Sponsored by the KlezmerShack and Boston Workmen's Circle

Aaron Lansky: Outwitting History

This website is very pleased that our alter ego, the Klezmershack is co-sponsoring a reading by Aaron Lansky, founder and president of the National Yiddish Book Center, one of our favorite places (Aaron being one of our favorite people as well). As readers of these pages know, the NYBC is not only a great place, but most recently they went way out of their way to help me prepare materials for a lecture on Yiddish typography. The reading is part of the Boston Jewish Book Fair (Nov 7 - Dec 10) and is presented by the Miriam Goldman Author's Fund.

Thursday, Nov 18
$5 JCC Members / $8 General Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center
333 Nahanton St.
Newton, MA

For ticket reservations and info: 617 965-5226

Hebrew Typography at KlezKanada

Just a short note to say that there was no internet connection at KlezKanada, so I put up nothing while I was there. As I get caught up on post-vacation stuff, I will be putting up the slides from that Hebrew Typography, although I didn't write out the lecture and I'm not sure how I will integrate the two. We'll see.

I had a good time with the workshops talking with people about using Hebrew and English together. Some folks needed to know how to add Hebrew resources to their current computers. Everyone already had either Word, or a working Hebrew/English word processor, so I didn't do my AbiWord training. A lot of people are doing interesting projects, so I look forward to seeing how things proceed. I gave out the handouts that I put online here just before leaving, and they seemed well-received. Further comments always welcome.

Other than projects here at home, the upcoming weblog project will be notes on a mahzor (High Holiday prayerbook). Unfortunately, since the High Holidays are upon us, that will now have to wait until after the holidays, and we'll see how the new synagogue mahzor corrected minor issues I had last year (quite likely) or introduced new ones (less likely).

New Hebrew Type Blog sponsor

FontWorld logoBack about 15 years ago, the genesis of this weblog was the E-HUG electronic mail newsletter. Originally sent out from my account on the WELL, E-HUG was offered a home at Dartmouth and about 20 issues were sent out around 1990. One of my favorite vendors at the time was FontWorld, run by Mark Seldowitz, who marketed the fonts created by his brother, Israel, who had studied in Israel, the country, with the creator of Hadassah, Henry Friedländer.

FontWorld still sells fonts for just about every world alphabet (including both Hebrew and Arabic fonts). They are also the US source for the Middle Eastern versions of Adobe software (e.g., that version of InDesign that knows from Hebrew and vowels). It is with great pleasure that I announce that they have agreed to sponsor these pages. Their sponsorship gives me an excuse to renew an old friendship, and helps me draw attention to their good work.

Many thanks.

Ari Davidow, Hebrew Typographer, Extraordinaire


For over a decade, while I lived in Oakland, CA during the 1980s and 1990s, my answering machine informed all and sundry that they had reached "Ari Davidow, Hebrew Typographer, Extraordinaire." It was a title of which I was immensely pround.

Eventually I got fed up with tools that never let me set economical Hebrew with the finesse and skill that I could apply to English. I was also busy programming and working on web tools, so I took a Sabbatical.

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