The Shlomo Fonts


Preface

The Shlomo fonts family supports Hebrew Cantillation Marks for Hebrew Biblical texts. The Shlomo fonts family can be divided into 2 different groups/types:

  • The Shlomo, Shlomo Light Bold & Shlomo Bold fonts.
    These fonts have improved distinguishing capability & readability of similar Hebrew letters, which is especially needed for those with vision impairments. The Hebrew letters of the Shlomo Bold font are similar to those of Bold Times New Roman.
  • The Shlomo Stam & the shlomo semiStam fonts. 
    The Hebrew letters of the Shlomo Stam font are similar to those handwritten letters in the Tora.

 

To access more & specific information, use the Contents sections below, or navigate using the navigation bars of each section.
 
To download click here

 

Table of Contents:



1. Introduction to fonts with Hebrew Cantillation Marks

1.1 The Purpose of Hebrew Cantillation Marks

 
The Hebrew Cantillation Marks (Hebrew: Ta`amim or Te`amey ha-mikra) have a very specialized use. They are found only in Hebrew texts of the Hebrew Bible. Each word of these texts has, essentially, one or two Cantillation Marks.The Cantillation Marks are used as a guide for chanting that word. They also provide information of the syntactical structure of the sentences of a text, including their pauses & intonations. The Cantillation Marks are set below or above the letters of the words, in addition to the accent & vowels marks of these letters.

See for example (from Psalms 1:1):

For more information see "Cantillation", Wikipedia.


 

1.2 Availability of Fonts with Hebrew Cantillation Marks

A Cantillation Mark for a letter, in an Hebrew Biblical text, has to be placed inside the area designated for this letter. It can be placed below or above the letter – in the middle of the area, in the left or the right sides of this area. The placement has to be done, in addition to or without a vowel mark in the same letter. There are even rare cases where there are 2 Cantillation Marks in addition to a vowel mark in the same letter, as in the following (from Psalms 99:9):

Because of their specialized use & their complexity, there are not too many fonts with Hebrew Cantillation Marks.Some fonts are expensive and some are freeware.
Of the expensive ones there are those tailor-made fonts with traditional rounded Cantillation Marks of Masterfont (see examples here).
Freeware fonts are: Ezra SIL, Ezra SIL SR, Cardo, SBL Hebrew & the Shlomo fonts.
The Ezra and the Cardo fonts were fashioned after the square letters of the BHS (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia).
The Ezra SIL font has straight Cantillation Marks. The Ezra SIL SR font has traditional rounded Cantillation Marks.
The latest version of the Cardo font – Cardo 99 - has straight Cantillation Marks. One of former versions of Cardo – Cardo 65 - had rounded Cantillation Marks.
The SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) Hebrew font has traditional rounded Cantillation Marks.
 
The Shlomo fonts (Shlomo, Shlomo Light Bold & Shlomo Bold) are glyph-modified Ezra SIL SR fonts. As derivatives, they have all the features of the Ezra SIL SR font
The Shlomo Bold font is similar to the Bold Times New Roman font.
Examples of these fonts are shown in the following (from Exodus 20:4):
 

The Shlomo fonts improve the ability to distinguish between the similar Hebrew letters ג/נ ד/ר , as seen in the following:
 


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2. Overview of the Shlomo Fonts

2.1 Introduction to the Shlomo Fonts

The Shlomo fonts (Shlomo, Shlomo Light Bold & Shlomo Bold) are 3 glyph-modified Ezra SIL SR fonts, version 2.51.
 
The Shlomo Stam and the Shlomo semiStam fonts are glyph modified Shlomo Bold font.
For more information on the Shlomo Stam & the Shlomo semiStam fonts see par. 2.2.1.
 
The Ezra SIL font was fashioned after the square letters of BHS (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia). Font designers look, mostly, at the harmony & the aesthetics of the glyphs they shape. But, usually, they ignore (so, at least, it seems) a significant factor: The distinguishing capability - the ability to distinguish between similar glyphs.
In the Hebrew Aleph-Beth there are pairs of similar glyphs as, for example, for the following pairs of letters: The most problematic pairs of the Ezra SIL SR font, with poor distinguishing capability, are the pairs: ד / ר  נ / ג  . See, for example, these pairs in Example No. 1. It causes difficulties in reading, especially for persons with vision impairments.
SIL_Fonts/SIL.org. recommended to use the Ezra SIL SR font with at least 16 points. The Ezra SIL font was modified, first of all, in view of the problematic pairs.
According to permission MIT/X11 of SIL.org/OFL, the name of a modified Ezra SIL SR font can`t include the name “Ezra” nor the name “SIL”.
 
The modified fonts were named “Shlomo”. Naming the Shlomo fonts, it was notified in the fonts` fields, that the original designers were NRSI/SIL and that the fonts are not for commercial use.
 
Technical and functional issues of the Shlomo fonts, are given in paragraph 2.2.

Comparison examples, between words and letters with the Ezra SIL SR and the Shlomo fonts are given in paragraph 2.3

As the Shlomo fonts are derivatives of the Ezra SIL SR font, they are under SIL`s OFL (Open Font License) conditions. The text of the OFL is shown in the Download page.
Comments and questions email me: Shlomo Orbach,  rsorbach@012.net.il
 
The Shlomo font has essentially, only 3 modified glyphs of the Ezra SIL SR font: The glyphs of the letters ג , ד and the hump of the letter מ . The glyphs of all the Hebrew Aleph-Beth letters (including the inversenun), were modified in the Shlomo Light Bold (Shlomo LB) & the Shlomo Bold fonts.
 
The glyphs of the Hebrew Aleph-Beth letters of the Shlomo Bold font are different from those of the Shlomo Light Bold font. The accent & vowels` signs of the Shlomo Bold font somewhat enlarged; and some Cantillation Marks were also modified.
 
The holam & holamleft were also somewhat elevated, to differentiate them from the shindot & sindot, as can be seen in the following words:
 
 
 
The Hebrew glyphs of the Shlomo Bold font are similar to those of the Bold Times New Roman font.
 
The ligature Aleph-Lamed was not modified in the Shlomo fonts as, in these days, it is rarely being printed in Hebrew Bibles.
The Ezra SIL SR font is an Open Type format font, designed to work with Office 2003 and later. Although they are Open Type format fonts, the Ezra SIL SR / Shlomo fonts have a .ttf file name extension – so the fonts will be recognized also by Windows XP and later. In order to preserve the Open Type and the Cantillation marks features, each of a modified glyph was confined exactly within the same area and position as the original glyph (with the same baseline, same right side bearings and same CapHeight & with the same number of contours). A Word text with the Ezra SIL SR font & with Cantillation Marks , can be interchanged with any of the Shlomo fonts – without changing the area of the text - simply by marking the text and changing its font. Cantillation Marks can also be inserted into a Word text with the Shlomo fonts.
The Ezra SIL SR / Shlomo fonts are Regular fonts, and have no special Bold fonts (as, e.g., the Times New Roman font has). Marking as Bold, the letters of these fonts will be somewhat thickened & some colour will be added. But, it also distorts & somewhat blurrs the outlines of the letters. If someone wants to add Bold marking, for letters without accent or vowels` signs, it is recommended to use letters with at least 18 points. For letters with accent & vowels` signs and Cantillation Marks, it is recommended to use letters with at least 36 points. See Examples 3-5 in paragraph 2.3.
 
The Hebrew letters of the Shlomo Stam font, are similar to those handwritten letters in the Tora.
Several letters of the Shlomo Stam font have tags above their heads. Several letters have stings above or below their heads. The Shlomo Stam font is therefore, essentially, not intended to be used with Cantillation Marks or vowels signs - as the tags and stings may obscure them. They are intended to be used, in what is called Tikoon Korim.

The shlomo semiStam font has similar glyphs like those of the Shlomo Stam font. But the tags were removed, the stings were shortened and some glyphs were modified - so cantillation marks can be used. To review all those remarks see the followings (from Exodus 20:4):
 
 
The Shlomo fonts family includes also the inverted nun (Hebrew punctuation Nun Hafukha). See for example the following (from Psalms 107:23): 
 
 
In the next par. - 2.3 - two examples of Tikoon korim are given.
 
  
Comparison examples, between words and letters are given in various tables, in the following example pages:
 
  • In example page No. 1 – words and letters with the Ezra SIL SR, the Shlomo & the Shlomo Light Bold fonts (and without Bold marking) are compared.
    The table in this page has, for each font, 3 parts.
    The first part shows some examples of the problematic pairs.
    In the second part, some biblical sentences are given - with smaller Hebrew letters for numbering these sentences.
    The third part includes, for glyph comparison, a group of words with all the Hebrew Aleph-Beth letters.
     
  • In example page No. 2 – words with the Shlomo Light Bold & the Shlomo Bold fonts (and without Bold marking) are compared.
    In the first part, some biblical sentences are given - with smaller Hebrew letters for numbering these sentences.
    The second part in this page includes, for comparison, a group of words with all the Hebrew Aleph-Beth letters and all the Cantillation Marks.
     
  • In example pages No. 3-5, the Bold marking effects are examined:
    In example page No. 3, various texts with Cantillation Marks are shown for comparison, for the Shlomo Bold font – with and without Bold marking.
    In example page No. 4, various texts with Cantillation Marks are shown for comparison, for the Ezra SIL SR font – with and without Bold marking.
    In example page No. 5, a 36 points text with Cantillation Marks is shown with Bold marking, of the Shlomo Bold font.
     
  • Example No. 6 shows the comparison between the Shlomo Bold, Bold Times New Roman and Ezra SIL SR.
  • Example No. 7 shows Tikoon Korim with the Shlomo Bold & the Shlomo Stam.
  • Example No. 8 shows Tikoon Korim with the Shlomo semiStam & the Shlomo Stam