Writing Guide

Submission Standards

Transliterations and Translation Standards



Proper Names






Citation Standards

Classic Works

Non-Classic works

Internet Sources



Submission Standards

Articles submitted to Kol Hamevaser may be written on topics related or unrelated to the official topic of the issue. The most important thing is for you to write about something which you find interesting or important and to have that interest come through in your writing. Articles may be either of a scholarly, learned nature, analyzing sources and drawing conclusions from them, or of a reflective nature, expressing deep concerns or feelings on an issue in a well thought-out way. In either case, articles should contain original thought (and not simply be rehashed papers for classes) and cite sources in order to ensure that their arguments/points are well-founded and that they stay within traditional/Orthodox models of Jewish theology, broadly speaking.

All articles written for Kol Hamevaser are to be typed, double-spaced in Times New Roman font, with an underlined, centered title at the top and a by-line beneath the title (BY: Peloni Almoni). Articles should be between 1,500-3,000 words. A short, one-line bio (containing information about your major and status in college) should be appended at the end of the article. And, as with all formal writing, please refrain from using contractions – always expand the contractions fully (e.g., from “don’t” to “do not”).

Transliteration and Translation Standards (adapted from Torah u-Madda Journal’s Transliteration Guide)

Kol Hamevaser normally does not print in scripts other than English. This necessitates a transliteration scheme for Hebrew words. Most words written in Hebrew must adhere to the following transliteration guide. For exceptions, see below:


Alef  ’ (when consonantal and in the middle, not at the beginning or end of, a word, as in nevi’im; if the alef is unvocalized, it is not written, like in Be-Reshit)
Bet  b
Vet  v
Gimmel  g
Dalet  d
He  h (including at the end of a word, like in asah or shifhah, and in the middle of a word even when unvocalized, like in Pedahtsur)
Vav  v (when consonantal; when part of a vowel, see below)
Zayin  z
Het  h (like with he; in Yiddish, use “ch”)
Tet  t
Yod  y (when consonantal – including at the end of a word, like noy and goy; when part of a vowel, see below)
Kaf  k
Khaf  kh (in Yiddish, use “ch”)
Lamed  l
Mem  m
Nun  n
Samekh  s
Ayin  ’ (as with alef, only mark this in the middle of a word – not at the beginning or end)
Pe  p
Fe  f
Tsadi  ts (in Yiddish, use “tz”)
Kof  k
Reish  r
Shin  sh
Sin  s
Tav (with dagesh)  t
Tav (without dagesh)  t (in Yiddish, use “s”)

When a letter other than shin or tsadi has a dagesh hazak, double it in transliteration.


Kamats gadol  a (parah)
Patah/hataf patah  a (ammi)
Kamats katan/hataf kamats  o (hokhmah)
Tseireh male  ei (beit, yesodei)
Tseireh haser  e (shem, esh)
Segol/hataf segol  e (regel)
Hirik male/hirik haser  i (binah, simhah)
Shuruk  u (suru)
Kubbuts  u (kullam)
Holam male/holam haser  o (sod, poh)
Sheva na  e (berit)
Sheva nah  not transliterated (mashpil)

When you have an “eye” sound in Hebrew or Aramaic, transliterate it as “ai,” as in Mordekhai or Beraita. When such a sound appears in Yiddish, use “ay,” as in Yiddishkayt.

Proper Names

The above rules apply when transliterating Hebrew names into English as well. However, if an individual or organization has an already established English version of its name, use that one (e.g. Mordechai or Chabad). Similarly, if a name has a common English transliteration already, it need not follow the above guidelines (e.g. Hashem, Shimon, or Yisrael).

If you wish, you may also use the standard English version of a proper Hebrew name that appears in Tanakh or that refers to one of its books, e.g. Abraham or Deuteronomy. For our audience, it may be wise to use the Hebrew names, but both are equally acceptable. However, please be consistent in how you refer to these people/books – either refer to them exclusively with their Hebrew names or with the English translations of those names, but do not mix.

When referring to a rabbinic figure, do not use the definite article “the,” e.g. “The Rambam says…” Rather, refer to the person by the standard abbreviation of his name (or expand it fully), e.g. “Rambam says…” If you are referring to the author of a sefer by the name of that sefer, however, you should use the definite article, e.g. “The Hafets Hayyim” or “The Ketsot ha-Hoshen.”


Please refrain from transliterating God’s inerasable Names according to the above scheme. Make sure, instead, to change the Names somewhat so that the spelling does not reflect their exact pronunciation, e.g. Hashem, E-lohim, Kel, Shakkai, Tsevakot, etc. If you wish to translate Hashem’s Names into English, you may use words like “God” and “Lord.” Please do not hyphenate these words, but rather spell them fully, e.g. not “G-d” but rather “God.”


Insert a hyphen after each prefix. To aid the reader in recognizing the main word, the word after the prefix generally should be spelled with its original dagesh kal and sheva na, even if in Hebrew the dagesh drops out after that prefix and the sheva is generally regarded as a sheva merahef. Examples: ke-bakkarat, u-bikkashtem, ki-ketavam ve-ki-zemanam, le-ka-tehillah, be-di-avad, and mi-she-nikhnas. But: lefi zeh, lifneikhem, mippenei, and bishvil, since these are not words with pure prefixes.

After a prefix, do not double the letter to indicate dagesh hazak. Examples: in ha-Torah, ha-banim, va-tomeru the t, b, and t, respectively, are not doubled.

Words with a prefix of l-, vb-, m-, or k- and which start with a yod with a sheva na under it normally lose the sheva completely. However, in transliteration, keep it in. Examples: Mi-Yehudah and ve-li-Yerushalayim.

In words that are capitalized, generally keep the prefix lower case and the main word upper case. Examples: u-Mosheh and Hiddushei ha-Ramban.

Do capitalize a prefix to the first word in a book, journal, or article title, as well as at the beginning of a sentence or quote.


As a general rule, all non-English words should be italicized. However, those words which have become part of the English language need not be italicized, e.g. schmooze or schlep. In addition, foreign words in quotation marks need not be italicized.

When referring to the author of a sefer by the name of that sefer, do not italicize the name (see above). When referring to the sefer itself, however, italicize the sefer’s name (as you would when referring to an English book).

Proper names of people and organizations need not be italicized.

If one uses a particular foreign word in an article very often, one need not italicize it at all throughout the article. Similarly, certain Hebrew words and phrases are used so often that they need not be italicized. These include: Hashem, Torah, Torah u-Madda, Tanakh, Mishnah, Beraita, Talmud Bavli/Gemara, Talmud Yerushalmi, Halakhah, Hashkafah, halakhic (note: the word is halakhic, not halachik), hashkafic, Midrash, yeshivah, and mitsvah. However, if one of these words is paired up in semikhut with a word outside of this list, one should italicize the whole phrase, e.g. avodat Hashem or talmud Torah.


Remember who your main audience is when translating – the YU community. As such, many words which are used in daily speech do not need to be translated, e.g. tefillah, tsedakah, teshuvah, shul, davening, Musar, Halakhah, etc. However, if one uses a word with which one suspects a significant portion of the community will be unfamiliar or is quoting an entire pasuk or passage of Talmud, it is a good idea to translate those words/passages.

If one is translating a word, one may either mark its translation off in parentheses or use apposition. Examples: “The hagdarah (definition) is” or “The hagdarah, or definition, is.” If one is translating an entire phrase, one should use a hyphen in between the Hebrew and the English. Example: “Kol de-aveid Rahamana, le-tav aveid – Everything that God does, He does for the good.”

Make sure always to indicate the source for your translation. If you came up with your own translation, note something like “translation mine.” If the translation comes from an outside source, bring the full citation for the source (see below).


We know this guide is complicated and hard to follow. If you have any questions about transliterations and translations, though, please ask us and we will be glad to help you.

Citation Standards (largely adapted from The Torah u-Madda Journal’s Citation Guide)

Short references to Tanakh, Mishnah, Talmud (Bavli or Yerushalmi), and Midrash normally should appear in parentheses in the text of the article itself, unless you would like to note something interesting about that source in an endnote (please do not use footnotes). Also, use endnotes for any source that does not fall into the above four categories.

Classic Works

Use the following guide for your citations of classic works, whether in the body of the text or in endnotes:

Tanakh: Ex. 1:2, Exodus 1:2 (no italics), or Shemot 1:2

Mishnah: Kinnim 3:2

Talmud Bavli: Sanhedrin 74a

Talmud Yerushalmi: Yerushalmi Bikkurim 1:3. If a page citation is added, it should refer to the Venice edition of the Talmud Yerushalmi.

Tosefta: Tosefta Terumot 7:20

Midrashim: Gen. Rabbah 44:1 or Be-Reshit Rabbah 44:1

Zohar: Zohar, Emor 91b

Biblical commentaries: Rashi to Gen. 1:4. Use “ad loc.” when appropriate (no italics), e.g., “Gen. 1:4 and Rashi, ad loc.” If the commentator has more than one comment on the verse or passage, write: Rashi to Gen. 1:4, s.v. _____.

Talmudic commentaries: Tosafot to Avodah Zarah 17a, s.v. ve-al. Again, use ad loc. where appropriate.

Halakhic codes: Moses Maimonides (or Rambam), Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Avodah Zarah 11:16; (Tur) Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De’ah 179:1.

Commentaries to codes: Kesef Mishneh to Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Sanhedrin 6:5. If more than one comment is found in the location cited, write: Kesef Mishnah to Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Sanherin 6:5, s.v. _____. If comments are numbered, you may cite the number rather than the dibbur ha-mathil, like Mishnah Berurah 171:5 (meaning siman 171, se’if katan 5).

Responsa: Responsa Iggerot Mosheh, Hoshen Mishpat 2:174 (siman 174). When you need to cite a specific page, write: Iggerot Mosheh, Hoshen Mishpat 2:174, p. 127.

Citations to these works should refer simply to the book’s divisions, e.g. Moses Maimonides (or Rambam), Moreh Nevukhim 1:54. You do not have to make reference to the specific edition of the book you are using in such cases, unless you are citing a translation from that specific edition. Also, if you are relying on a text as it is printed only in certain editions, indicate the edition and page number.

Note that it is not necessary to indicate the author of a classic work but can be done for clarity. For some reason, the convention seems to be to always indicate Rambam when he is the author of a work, but this is unnecessary.

As usual, you may use the Latin “ibid.” in an endnote to indicate that you are citing the same source as you had cited immediately before.

Non-Classic Works

Use the following guide for your citations of non-classic works. These citations should come in endnotes, not in the body of the article:

Authored book: Aaron Levine, Economics and Jewish Law (Hoboken, NJ and New York, NY: KTAV Pub. House, 1987), 78. For translated works, it is preferable to include the translator’s name by writing “transl. by ____” after the title, separated by a comma.

Edited book (when cited as a whole; when an individual article is cited, see below): Shalom Carmy (ed.), Jewish Perspectives on the Experience of Suffering (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1999). If there is more than one editor: use (eds.) instead of (ed.).

Article in edited book: Moshe Halevi Spero, “Metapsychological Dimensions of Religious Suffering: Common Ground Between Halakhic Judaism and Psychoanalysis,” in Jewish Perspectives on the Experience of Suffering, ed. by Shalom Carmy (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1999), 213-276.

Here use “ed. by,” not “eds. by,” even if there is more than one editor. When you are citing an individual page in that article, write: Moshe Halevi Spero…(Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1999), 213-276, at p. 240.

Article in an Encyclopedia: Uwe Glessmer. “Targumim,” in Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. byLawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam (New York:OxfordUniversity Press, 2000): 915-918.

Article in a collection of essays by a single author: Gershom Scholem, “Toward An Understanding of the Messianic Idea in Judaism,” in Gershom Scholem, The Messianic Idea in Judaism And Other Essays on Jewish Spirituality (New York: Schocken Books, 1971), 1-36.

English article in a periodical: Jacob J. Schacter, “Facing the Truths of History,” The Torah u-Madda Journal 8 (1998-1999): 200-273.

When you are citing an individual page, write: “Jacob J. Schacter…(1998-1999): 200-273, at p. 250. Capitalize words in article titles even if the journal does not (as in the case of medical journals). If a journal publishes several issues per volume number but numbers all pages of the volume sequentially (e.g. issue 2 begins with page 146), it is not necessary to supply the issue number. If each issue within a volume starts from page 1, give the issue number after the volume number, separated by a comma. Example: Kol Hamevaser 2,3 (2008).

Hebrew articles: Same format as for English articles. Use either a transliterated title or a translated title followed by: (Hebrew).

Online editions: Same format as print editions, concluding with “available at: [website domain name].” Example: Yosef Tsamudi, “ha-Mivneh ve-ha-Retorikah shel Mashal Yotam” (Hebrew), Beit Mikra 98 (5744), available at: www.daat.ac.il.

Once you have already given the full citation for a book or an article in a note, you can subsequently refer to it simply by its author’s last name, followed by the page number. If you are quoting from several works by the same author within the same article, list the author’s last name, the title (or part of the title) of the work, and the page number. Example: Spero, “Metaphysical Dimensions,” 240.

Internet Sources

Use the following guide for your citations of internet sources. These citations should come in endnotes, not in the body of the article. The URL should include only the domain name (i.e. www.example.com).

Online news source : Haaretz Staff, “Palestinians Deny Reports of Deal with Israel to Freeze Statehood Bid,” Haaretz Online Edition, 17 November, 2011, available at: www.haaretz.com.

Online non-news source: David Silverberg, “SALT: Parashat Tetsaveh-Purim,” The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash, available at: www.vbm-torah.org.


Again, if you have any questions about any of the above, please ask. We are here to help.

Good Luck!