Documents and Typesetting

With all my interest in fonts and typesetting and all, I find I have a lot of cool ways I'd like to say things... but not necessarily much to say. Still, every now and then I get seized with the desire to make some sort of printed document and see if I can arrange it as I'd like, and so on, and for lack of anyplace better I think I'll put them here.

As often as not, these will not be original works. That is, the text may not be original, though the arrangement is.

Comparing Pentateuch

Hey, it also counts as a masterwork of typesetting. Mostly because it was all done with clever TEX programming. That includes all the verse-numbering, alignment of the texts, vowel-marks, everything. Sorry, no free downloads, except the preview.


A bencher (“bentsher” is probably the most appropriate English transcription of the Yiddish, but this is how I see it spelled all over) is a small book containing (at minimum) the Grace After Meals, and often other songs, prayers, etc. Usually kept handy around the table, with songs and such that are appropriate for Sabbath and holiday meals and so on. They are frequently given out at happy occasions (left on the tables for the guests at a wedding or bar-mitzvah celebration, etc), usually imprinted with the name and the event and the date. They come in all shapes and sizes, and I started fooling around with the possibility of designing my own. I could put in the songs that I like and which most benchers lack, put in my own translations, etc. An excellent way to play with typesetting without actually having to provide much original content.

Tri-fold “Bencher”

I'm still playing around with that project, but this is a by-product of the effort. Print the two pages on two sides of a single sheet of paper, and then fold in thirds along the lines. The page that says it's the front cover is indeed the front cover (and also the last page). Since the book reads right-to-left, the fold on which the front cover opens needs to be on the right side. If you work it right (use the page-numbers to help you), the English pages will be just opposite their matching Hebrew pages. I know it looks weird, but it works. English translation is my own. It's set in John Hudson's excellent SBL Hebrew font and in Galliard, and in my own Itonai font for the Divine Name on the English side. I decided not to bother trying to translate it. I had to crunch the fonts really small so it fit, but it's still surprisingly readable.

Folded Booklet

This one contains only the “weekday” benching. None of the additions for regular days, nor even the “introduction” for larger groups. But it's cool. Print it out, trim along the black lines, and cut along the black part of the central line, and crease along the grey lines. Then you sort of... fold... kinda... and you make a little booklet. Ah, here, I found a picture, an animated GIF over on this page.

Full Bencher Book (under development)

No, not ready yet, nor do I have a timeline, but I am collecting songs and writing translations for them, and someday I hope to be able to organize them properly and make a decent and rather large and complete bencher out of them, perhaps made available through I wonder, though: many of the songs I'm using were written hundreds of years ago; I don't need to worry about Dunash ben Labrat coming after me for copyright violations, since he's been dead over a thousand years. But a few others are of more recent provenance. Dunash won't give me trouble, but the estate of Naomi Shemer might. Have to see how that pans out.