Hebrew Characters look different in different Programs

I am seeing some odd behavior with the Charis-SIL font across different programs. I want to understand what is going on before reporting a bug with either the font or the offending programs. I am running MacOS 10.14.6, Safari 13.1, Pages 10.1, and GIMP 2.10.14. I installed the Charis SIL font 5.000 on June 8.

Certain characters look different depending on which program I am using. Most of the differences are trivial, but the vav, nun sofit, and yod lack any horizontal portion. I enter Hebrew characters using the Hebrew-QWERTY keyboard. In Pages, they look correct. In GIMP, they look wrong. When I opened the Pages file on my iPad (iPadOS 14.6), they also look wrong. When I export as a PDF from Pages, it looks correct both on the Mac and iPad. Here is an example of vav:
vav compare

Most other characters display differently but are recognizable for what they are.

The webpage Loading... (fourth quiz question) displays 2 of the vavs incorrectly but one is correct. The same page displays vavs properly in FireFox and Chrome on my same computer.

Is there a step I missed in installing the font? Is this a known problem? Is there a workaround?

HI - Charis SIL does not support Hebrew, so the characters you’re seeing are not from Charis SIL and any difference would not be caused by installing it. If you have a block of text in Latin script that is formatted in Charis SIL, then type Hebrew characters in the middle of that paragraph, you’ll see whatever the operating system or app decides to use as a ‘fallback’ font - the font it uses when the selected font does not contain that character. Different apps may have different fallback fonts. What it looks like is that the apps are using different fonts. Hope that helps!

Victor, that helps tremendously. Is there a preferred cross-platform font that does support Hebrew characters that are “sans-serif” – i.e. simpler and easier to trace for handwriting?

There are many ‘simpler’ Hebrew fonts that are free and licensed with the SIL Open Font License, so can be used anywhere at no cost. I’m not a Hebrew expert so I can’t recommend specific ones. Here are some you could consider - though some may be good and some may be terrible:



Thanks for the font suggestions. I was looking for a font that many people likely already have so that my final document would be more portable (such as Times New Roman for Hebrew characters with serifs). I realized I could find which fonts render Hebrew using the Character Viewer on my Mac. There were 7 sans serif fonts to choose from. It was a close call between Tahoma and Lucida Grande. I went with the former, but preferred Lucida Grande for mem sofit and kaf sofit. For reference, the others were Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode, Microsoft Sans Serif, Corsiva Hebrew, and Raanana. The serif fonts were Times New Roman, Ezra SIL, Courier New, New Pentium MT, Accordance, and Cardo. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.