In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Adventures in Hebrew Typesetting, Nehemia Gordon chats with Raphael Freeman, world-class typesetter and Founder of Renana Publishers in Modiin, Israel. Gordon and Freeman discuss the special challenges of Hebrew typesetting from the letterpress era to the digital age. With its consonants, vowels, dagesh, two sets of accent marks, and myriads of combinations, creating fonts for Hebrew is considered by Microsoft to be more complicated than for Chinese.
Freeman relates stories from some of his previous work at the Jerusalem Post, for the Encyclopedia Judaica, and for the Koren Bible. We also learn how his Orthodox Jewish beliefs led him to move from the UK to Israel—and eventually to form a company that creates digital books for the iPad—books that include video, audio, photo galleries, pop-up footnotes, study cards, hyperlinks, and more. It seems adventures in typesetting have only begun.
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Raphaël Freeman was born in London and made Aliyah to Israel in 1993. With a degree in Computer Science and Printing & Photographic Technology, he became Vice President of Production and Technology for Israel's largest English daily newspaper The Jerusalem Post. Later, Freeman led a team to re-typeset the historic Koren Bible, the standard Hebrew Tanakh used throughout the Jewish world and issued to Israeli soldiers during their swearing-in ceremony. Today, Freeman is the Owner and Senior Typesetter at Renana Typesetting in Modiin, Israel, offering a full array of services from editing, proofreading, typesetting, jacket design to commercial printing and distribution in bookstores around the world. He also specializes in creation of e-books for iOS and Mac.