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I'm iy"H making some chiddushim I wrote into an attractive and user friendly booklet to give people in the Jewish community where I live a chance to learn in-depth Torah; especially for people who don't have the time, headspace, learning skills or previous exposure to do it themselves, despite the fact that many of these people easily have the innate intelligence to understand the concepts, should they be presented well.

Currently the booklet is in the form of English essays which give all the necessary topical background and try to tease out everything lucidly. But what else can help connect in-depth Torah to those who might find it hard to understand - so far thoughts have been to include a sidebar glossary on each page, and an accompanying booklet with the source texts (in Hebrew) for each piece. So I'm interested to know if anyone has thoughts on any other features or style aspects people could use to make in-depth Torah in publications more accessible and understandable to everyone on varying levels in Jewish learning

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The glossary bar or key words section will definitely make a difference, but I would also add something like a 'key concept' before you introduce a subject that is new.

You can also make the essays more digestible by splitting them into sections with sub-titles so the reader can understand each segment in isolation. The title serves to provide them with a clear idea of what each segment is about.

At the end of each section you might want to include a bullet point list of all the main points summarised so it gives the reader a sense of ownership over all the points learnt. I have seen this in several books. For example in Rabbi Noach Orlowek's book on chinuch - Raisng Roses Among the Thorns - at the end of each chapter he has 'Points to Remember'

Finally, stories go a long way in helping to relate a point. Aside from perhaps helping to break down the intensity of a point, it is sometimes a welcome distraction to re-attune a person's concentration on the subject matter. These stories can be tales from our gedolim or even practical modern day stories that carry a sense of relevance.

Wishing you much hatzlocho in this exciting endeavour!

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Use practical examples.

I.e. present a scenario at the beginning of the essay, and provide food for thought.

Then present the talmudic discussion, and then demonstrate how the reasoning presented addresses the issues present in the original discussion.

This approach has been very successful in kiruv in Israel, because it makes people appreciate the subtleties of the Torah.

A bit more complicated, but adds interest, is discussing how the case would be solved in secular law. Then compare the secular law to the Jewish law and explain the conceptual differences which lead to the difference in practical outcome.

To do that you would need to discuss the case with legal professionals, but that's cool because it attracts people when they feel that their input is needed.

You can also address real famous legal cases and show the Torah's perspective. Especially where you can make a win and show that the Torah's conclusion is more "fair" or moral than the secular conclusion (e.g. kophin al middas sedom etc.)

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  • See this blog bdld.info which does a good job with this approach.
    – simyou
    Nov 12 '20 at 11:50
  • thanks so much The Grapke and Simyou!!!
    – Reuvy
    Dec 2 '20 at 2:02

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