In Gen. 1.1 the JPS translation goes against the English near consensus by translating בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א as “When God began to create…” rather than “In the beginning…”. I am having a difficult time understanding why this is so. The bet has a sewa underneath so I guess this could result in “beginning” being indefinite (“In a beginning…”) but I am not sure how the JPS reached “began to create”.

The LXX renders it Ἐν ἀρχῇ. All the English translations that I have consulted say “In the beginning…”. The French Louis Segond renders it Au commencement.

The only translation I have found that goes the direction of the JPS is the French TOB version which renders it Lorsque Dieu commenca la creation. That does not explain the justification. Does anyone have any suggestions to why “When God began to create” would work?