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Prayers, liturgy, and related work

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Meet Open Siddur contributor

Avi DolginAvi Dolgin

Avi Dolgin is a Vancouver native and active member of Congregation Or Shalom.

A Ten-Step, Four-Worlds, One-Earth Tashlikh

Summer Selections

  • קינות | Eli Tsiyon v’Ar’eha (Mourn Zion and her cities) translated by Joel Goldstein

    קינות | Eli Tsiyon v’Ar’eha (Mourn Zion and her cities) translated by Joel Goldstein

    Mourn Zion and her cities, like a woman in her birth pains, And like a maiden wrapped in sack-cloth for the husband of her youth Mourn the palace that was abandoned in the sheep’s negligence of its flock, and for the coming of the revulsion of God within the Temple’s rooms. For the exile of the servants of God, who sing her songs, and for their blood that was spilled like the waters of her rivers. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • על הניסים | Al Hanissim thanksgiving addition for all Secular/National Days of Gratitude by Aharon Varady

    על הניסים | Al Hanissim thanksgiving addition for all Secular/National Days of Gratitude by Aharon Varady

    Opportunities to express gratitude on secular, nationalist days of thanksgiving demand acknowledgement of an almost unfathomably deep history of trauma -- not only the suffering and striving of my immigrant ancestors, but the sacrifice of all those who endured suffering dealt by their struggle to survive, and often failure to survive, the oppressions dealt by colonization, conquest, hegemony, natural disaster. Only the Earth (from which we, earthlings were born, Bnei Adam from Adamah) has witnessed the constancy of the violent deprivations we inflict upon each other. The privilege I've inherited from these sacrifices has come at a cost, and it must be honestly acknowledged, especially on secular/national days of thanksgiving, independence, and freedom. I insert this prayer after Al Hanissim in the Amidah and in the Birkat Hamazon on national days of independence and thanksgiving. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • ברכת האילנות | The Blessing of Flowering Fruit Trees in the Spring Season

    ברכת האילנות | The Blessing of Flowering Fruit Trees in the Spring Season

    When the spring (Aviv) season arrives, a blessing is traditionally said when one is in view of at least two flowering fruit trees. In the northern hemisphere, it can be said anytime through the end of the month of Nissan (though it can still be said in Iyar). For those who live in the southern hemisphere, the blessing can be said during the month of Tishrei. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • A Prayer for Compassion by Trisha Arlin

    A Prayer for Compassion by Trisha Arlin

    We pray for those of us Who are so angry That we have lost compassion for the suffering Of anyone who is not a member of our group. And we pray for those of us Who cannot see the suffering Behind the loss of that compassion. We pray for the strength To resist the urge to inhumanity That we feel in times of fear and mourning. We pray for the courage To resist the calls to inhumanity That others may make upon us in times of crisis. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Prayer for the Earth, Air, Water, Fire of our Planet in Memory of Barry Commoner by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    Prayer for the Earth, Air, Water, Fire of our Planet in Memory of Barry Commoner by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    May the words we are with Your help sharing today, Speak deeply –- with Your help -- to our nation and the world. Help us all to know that the sharing of our breath with all of life Is the very proof, the very truth, that we are One. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • הרחמן | Haraḥaman, Prayer to the merciful One for the Shmita Year, R”H seder additions, and other liturgical tweaks by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

    הרחמן | Haraḥaman, Prayer to the merciful One for the Shmita Year, R”H seder additions, and other liturgical tweaks by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

    This Haraḥaman (prayer to the merciful or compassionate One) for the Shmitah or sabbatical year can be added to Birkat Hamazon (blessing after meals) during the whole Shmitah year, in order to remember and open our hearts to the sanctity of the land. Say it right before the Harachaman for Shabbat, since Shmitah is the grand shabbat, and right after the paragraph beginning with Bamarom (a/k/a, Mimarom). . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • שלום | Peas on Earth (from the Teva educators Fall 2010)

    SAVE/PRINT/EMAIL THIS PAGE → (PDF) Peas on Earth (everybody now) Peas on Earth — you’ve got to Grab a fork and lettuce work For Peas on Earth Come animals and pea-ple, each and every one Let’s start a revolution, powered by the sun Bees and worms and unicorns, every human bean We’ll sow the seeds . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • תשעה באב | Megillat Eikhah (Lamentations) for Tisha B’Av by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

    תשעה באב | Megillat Eikhah (Lamentations) for Tisha B’Av by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

    The idea that tragedy and disaster are punishment for our sins is alien to most most modern Jews. The author(s) of Eikhah believed that what happened to Zion was divine punishment. (This is one reason why it is hard to connect the Holocaust with what we mourn on Tish’a B’av.) Besides the obvious consolation of believing that the tragedy had meaning, the reader might also consider that for the ancients, the two choices were to believe that the destruction was punishment, or that God simply had no interest in them. It is easy to imagine why people would choose the image of a punishing God over the complete absence of God – though the latter possibility is suggested in the very last line of the text, before we go back to repeat the more comforting line “Turn us...” . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • ט״ו באב | Tu b’Av: sources for study and celebration on the 15th of Av

    ט״ו באב | Tu b’Av: sources for study and celebration on the 15th of Av

    Since the Jewish calendar is not affixed to the sun, but corrected by a leap year to its seasons, Tu B'Av does not normally fall on the summer solstice. And yet, the relationship between Tu B'Av and the zenith of the summer is alluded to in Rav Menashya's statement regarding Tu B'Av, "From this day onwards, he who increases [his knowledge through study as the nights grow longer] will have his life prolonged." . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • A Prayer for the Earth by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

    A Prayer for the Earth by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

    God of all spirit, all directions, all winds You have placed in our hands power unlike any since the world began to overturn the orders of creation. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • The Rainbow Haftarah by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

    The Rainbow Haftarah by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

    I call you to make from fire not an all-consuming blaze But the light in which all beings see each other fully. All different, All bearing One Spark. I call you to light a flame to see more clearly That the earth and all who live as part of it Are not for burning: A flame to see The rainbow in the many-colored faces of all life. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Kavvanah for Honest Journal Reflections

    Kavvanah for Honest Journal Reflections

    May my thoughts seek truth and integrity, the humility that is commensurate with my ignorance, the compassion that arises from the depths of awareness, as depths speak to depths... . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Prayer for the State of Israel by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

    Prayer for the State of Israel by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

    Sovereign of the Universe, accept in lovingkindness and with favor our prayers for the State of Israel, her government and all who dwell within her boundries and under her authority. Reopen our eyes and our hearts to the wonder of Israel and strengthen our faith in Your power to work redemption in every human soul. Grant us also the fortitude to keep ever before us those ideals to which Israel dedicated herself in her Declaration of Independence, so that we may be true partners with the people of Israel in working toward her as yet not fully fulfilled vision. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • ט״ו באב | The Fruit of Tu B’Av: explanation and ritual for the 15th of Av by R’ Jill Hammer

    ט״ו באב | The Fruit of Tu B’Av: explanation and ritual for the 15th of Av by R’ Jill Hammer

    Tu B’Av, the fifteenth of the month of Av, comes in July or August, at a time when the air is sweltering, the sun is ever-present, and the green plant life is wilting. In Israel, Av is a month of extreme heat when nothing grows. It comes just six days after the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av, the holiday of mourning, when the Temple is destroyed, when the Shekhinah grieves like a widow who has lost her mate. The first of Tammuz, when we recognize our exile and mortality, lingers in the heat of the air. Yet Tu B’Av is a holiday of dancing and choosing lovers, a holiday of life. It is a turning around of time. It is the moment when the fallen fruit breaks open to reveal the new seed. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • תשעה באב | Eikha for the Earth: Sorrow, Hope, and Action from the Shalom Center

    תשעה באב | Eikha for the Earth: Sorrow, Hope, and Action from the Shalom Center

    Tisha b’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av, has historically been a day to mourn the Destruction of the First and Second Temples, centers of Israelite practice before the rise of Rabbinic Judaism (First Temple 975 BCE – 586 BCE; Second Temple 515 BCE – 70 CE) and the exiles that followed those destructions. Over the course of Jewish history this day of mourning and fasting has also come to commemorate many other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history. This year we are beginning a new tradition. We are suggesting that in addition to, or instead of (depending on the norms of your community and personal practice) the traditional observance of Tisha b’Av, the time has come to use this powerful day to mourn the ongoing destruction of the “temple” that is our Earth, a tragedy for all peoples, creatures and living things, but one that is not complete and thus, with sufficient will and action, is in part, reversible. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞

Miscellaneous Liturgy & Related Work in the Open Siddur Archive

  • קדיש | A Kaddish by Rabbi Daniel Brenner

    קדיש | A Kaddish by Rabbi Daniel Brenner

    Make the God-name big. Big and holy. Do it in this world, This creation sprung from consciousness, And bring some order to this. Do it fast, soon, in our lives, in the days ahead, in the life of the people we call home. Everybody join with me: May the name be blessed forever and ever! . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • HAVDALLAH: Prayers for the Holy Separations

    Three short havdallah divrei tefillah that culminate in a havdallah prayer/blessing. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • An Illustrated Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur with Drawings by Daniel Nebenzahl

    An Illustrated Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur with Drawings by Daniel Nebenzahl

    There are many illustrated siddurim for children. This Illustrated Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur is an illustrated siddur (in Hebrew) for grownups. The purpose of this siddur is to inspire us during prayer, to help us create and maintain Kavana. I chose to create this siddur for Kabbalat Shabbat, since usually at Kabbalat Shabbat we are more relaxed and open. The siddur has all that is needed (Nusaḥ Sefarad) for the Friday night prayers (Minḥah, Kabbalat Shabbat, and Arvit). The drawings accompany Kabbalat Shabbat. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • אחרי הסערה | After the Storm: A Prayer to Choose Life

    אחרי הסערה | After the Storm: A Prayer to Choose Life

    The prayers for hurricane victims that have been circulated through the Open Siddur Project and elsewhere on the social web are poignant and heartfelt, but they don't reach the higher standard of speaking the truth that we need to hear. What about our responsibility for climate disruption and for the harm caused by this storm? And what about the Deuteronomic promise that God brings us recompense for our actions davka through the weather? Here's an attempt at a different kind of prayer. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • תנ״ך | The Jewish English TaNaKh: A collaborative translation project based on the World English Bible

    תנ״ך | The Jewish English TaNaKh: A collaborative translation project based on the World English Bible

    This week on the holiday of Simḥat Torah, the Jewish people will begin to read the Torah anew, starting with Parashat Bereshit. The JET is a new English translation of Parashat Bereshit that is meant to be readable (and enjoyable to read), useful to people who want to study the parashah, and faithful to the Hebrew text of the Torah. JET stands for the “Jewish English Torah” (or for the “Jewish English Tanakh” if we want to be very ambitious). I would like to invite others to contribute further Open Content translations for parts of the Torah or Tanakh to the Open Siddur Project, whether by following my method or in any other style. In time, together we could create a rich resource full of translations of all parts of the Tanakh in a variety of useful forms. That would be a wonderful thing to start on Simḥat Torah. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • A Kavanah for Waking Up by Andrew Shaw

    A Kavanah for Waking Up by Andrew Shaw

    An original liturgical poem inspired by the Modah|Modeh Ani prayer. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Musical Liturgy and Traditions of Colonial American Jews

    Musical Liturgy and Traditions of Colonial American Jews

    Early American Jewry's liturgies and rituals were conducted in a western Sephardi tradition which had developed in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in Amsterdam. Although most of the members of the first American Jewish communities were of Spanish and Portuguese origins, their worship evolved in the style of the Dutch Sepharadim. These oral transmissions led to adaptations and variations but Sephardi ḥazzanim (cantors) succeeded in passing their repertoire down to succeeding generations. These tunes are still identified with the American Sephardi tradition. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Feminist Influences on Jewish Liturgy: The Case of Israeli Reform Prayer (2009)

    In Israel, the Reform movement, which is called the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), dates back to the 1950s, but a serious concern for women’s role in liturgy is a relatively recent development, namely since the last decade of the 20st century. This paper examines the modes of liturgical change with regard to the role and presentation of women in Jewish ritual and worship within Israel: what they do to regain their voice[s] through worship and how they are depicted in contemporary liturgies. Today, gender-related issues are among the most heated issues faced by contemporary liberal, non-Orthodox Jews; discussions on the subject dominate the religious and academic spheres as well as the socio-cultural arena. This paper is based upon the assumption that the Israeli case is a distinct one compared to the North American treatment of gender in the liturgy, because Hebrew is not only the liturgical language, but also the vernacular for Israeli Jews. This makes it much harder to change liturgy, as it is perceived as holy matter. Another unique aspect of the Israeli liberal liturgy is the fact that it operates in a rather conservative religious environment: both Orthodox and secular Jews in Israel are less …Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire (trans. Rabbi Simeon Singer, 1890)

    The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire (trans. Rabbi Simeon Singer, 1890)

    Before the Koren-Sacks Siddur (2009), there was the Authorised Daily Prayer Book first published in 1890 and used by Jews throughout the British Empire, while there was a British Empire. It was originally published under the authorization of Great Britain's first Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler with a Hebrew liturgy based on Isaac Seligman Baer's Seder Avodat Yisroel (1868). The translation by Rabbi Simeon Singer (1846-1906) was the most extensive English translation of the Siddur ever published, and for this reason most editions are simply referred colloquially as The Singer Siddur. The Standard Prayer Book, published by Bloch in 1915, was an American reprint of The Authorized Daily Prayer Book. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • פסח | The Ritual of the Seder and the Agada of the English Jews Before the Expulsion.

    Jacob b. Jehuda of London, the author of that valuable contribution to the literary side of Anglo-Jewish history, the Talmudical compendium Etz Chaim, so providentially rescued and preserved for us, never dreamt, when he noted down, in the year 1287, the Ritual and Agada of the Seder Nights according to English usage, that he was fixing a permanent picture of what was doomed to destruction, and was recording not a mere portion of the liturgy, but a page of Jewish history. Faithfully copying his great prototype, Maimonides, the English Chazan also embodied in his work the texts of the Recitations on the Seder Nights in the form customary among his countrymen, and appended the correlated rites according to Minhag England. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • A Prayer for Travel by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

    A Prayer for Travel by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

    Yehi Ratzon Milfanecha - May it be Your will, Eternal One, God of our ancestors, that we journey toward peace, that our footsteps be guided towards peace, and that we reach our desired destinations for life, gladness, and peace. May we be protected from every obstacle along the way, and from all manner of challenge the world endures. May there be blessing in the works of our hands, and may we be granted peace, kindness, and mercy in the eyes of all who see us. May our prayer be heard, for You are the One who hears and holds all prayer. Baruch Atah Adonai, Shomei'ah Tefilah. Blessed are You, Eternal One, who hears prayer. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Maḥzor Aram Tsoba (1560)

    Maḥzor Aram Tsoba (1560), transcribed by David Betesh for the Sephardic Pizmonim Project. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • שמע | Sh’ma: An Interpretation for the 21st Century by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    שמע | Sh’ma: An Interpretation for the 21st Century by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    Sh'sh'sh'ma Yisra'el — Listen, You Godwrestlers! Pause from your wrestling and hush'sh'sh To hear — YHWH/ Yahh Hear in the stillness the still silent voice, The silent breathing that intertwines life; YHWH/ Yahh elohenu Breath of life is our God, What unites all the varied forces creating all worlds into one-ness, Each breath unique, And all unified; YHWH / Yahh echad! Yahh is One. Listen, You Godwrestlers! No one people alone owns this Unify-force; YHWH / Yahh is One. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞

Research, Essays, and Articles on the Open Siddur and Open Source Judaism

  • Copyright and Commercial Use: the Problem with Creative Commons’ Non-Commercial Use Licenses

    Copyright and Commercial Use: the Problem with Creative Commons’ Non-Commercial Use Licenses

    This post continues the series of advocacy posts directed at Jewish content creators and aggregators. Other parts of the series discussed the global communal benefit of free primary data resources and issues of copyright license compatibility and the connection between copyright licensing and remixability. While my previous post briefly mentioned the non-free Creative Commons licenses, this post details why you should choose a free culture license. In particular, it urges you to avoid the licenses with the non-commercial-use only (NC) terms. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Spiritual Alienation and the Siddur (Aharon Varady, 2009)

    Spiritual Alienation and the Siddur (Aharon Varady, 2009)

    Giving an individual a choice of how verses that are tripping them up are translated, or even how the ineffable name, YHVH, and other divine names in Hebrew are represented in a siddur, can make a difference in their experience of t'fillah (prayer) for someone engaging in individual or communal prayer. Giving someone a place to share their personally authored t’fillot, meditation or commentary, or else collaborate on a translation of a medieval piyut (liturgical poem) can connect Jews to each other in a meaningful way where before they were isolated in their passion and earnest devotion. Providing historical data revealing the siddur as an aggregate of thousands of years of creatively inspired texts can help a Jew understand that their creativity and contribution is also important in this enduring conversation. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞

"Impressió librorum". Engraving by Phillipus Galle of a drawing by Johannes Stradanus (Theodor Galle, Nova Reperta, Antwerp?, between 1590 and 1612?, No. 4. Madrid. ER/1605 National Library). This image has been significantly modified by Aharon Varady (license: CC-BY-SA).

“Impressió librorum”. Engraving by Phillipus Galle of a drawing by Johannes Stradanus (Theodor Galle, Nova Reperta, Antwerp?, between 1590 and 1612?, No. 4. Madrid. ER/1605 National Library). This image has been significantly modified by Aharon Varady (license: CC-BY-SA).

Imagine a printing press and book arts studio shared by everyone in the world looking to design and craft their own siddur.

The Open Siddur Project is building it, online, on the web: a collaborative digital-to-print publishing application where you can make your own siddur, share your work, and adopt, adapt, and redistribute work shared by others — work intended for creative reuse and inclusion in new siddurim and related works of Jewish spiritual practice.

Imagine an open studio built around privacy, collaboration, and a public database and digital library of Jewish liturgy in a format that can easily show historical variations and changes across Jewish traditions, manuscripts, and facsimile editions.

Imagine a collection of text and recordings, freely licensed for creative reuse in every language Jews pray in or have ever prayed. Reimagine your siddur, custom tailored to your practice, replete with your insights and those selected from your friends, family, and the complete corpus of Jewish tradition, and a record of your family’s and community’s minhagim and nusaḥ.

You can help us realize this vision…. ☞ Continue reading

Last updated: 2015-5-7 5:11


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