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Meet Open Siddur contributor

Beverly Socher-LernerBeverly Socher-Lerner

Beverly Socher-Lerner is the Assistant Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Beth Sholom. She has a soft spot for chocolate chip cookies and beautiful mountains. When she is not at Temple Beth Sholom, she loves to pick vegetables at her CSA, enjoy and protect nature, craft, and especially bake. She is one of the organizers of Minyan Tikvah, an egalitarian, full liturgy community in Center City Philadelphia.

Fully Egalitarian Ketubah from Naomi & Beverly Socher-Lerner’s Wedding

Summer Selections

  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • פרק שירה | Perek Shirah (Chapter of Song), a hymn of creation

    פרק שירה | Perek Shirah (Chapter of Song), a hymn of creation

    Talmudic and midrashic sources contain hymns of the creation usually based on homiletic expansions of metaphorical descriptions and personifications of the created world in the Bible. The explicitly homiletic background of some of the hymns in Perek Shira indicates a possible connection between the other hymns and Tannaitic and Amoraic homiletics, and suggests a hymnal index to well-known, but mostly unpreserved, homiletics. The origin of this work, the period of its composition and its significance may be deduced from literary parallels. A Tannaitic source in the tractate Hagiga of the Jerusalem (Hag. 2:1,77a—b) and Babylonian Talmud (Hag. 14b), in hymns of nature associated with apocalyptic visions and with the teaching of ma’aseh merkaba serves as a key to Perek Shira’s close spiritual relationship with this literature. Parallels to it can be found in apocalyptic literature, in mystic layers in Talmudic literature, in Jewish mystical prayers surviving in fourth-century Greek Christian composition, in Heikhalot literature, and in Merkaba mysticism. The affinity of Perek Shira with Heikhalot literature, which abounds in hymns, can be noted in the explicitly mystic introduction to the seven crowings of the cock — the only non-hymnal text in the collection — and the striking resemblance between the …Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • The Last Tisha b’Av: A Tale of New Temples by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman

    The Last Tisha b’Av: A Tale of New Temples by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman

    Long ago there came a Ḥassid, visiting from Vitebsk to see his Rebbe. Struggling up hills, over cobblestones, through narrow alleyways, the Ḥassid came panting, shaking, to the door of a pale and quiet synagogue. So pale, so quiet was this shul that the pastel paintings on the wall and ceiling stood out as though they were in vivid primary colors. As the Ḥassid came into the shul, he saw his Rebbe high on a make-shift ladder, painting a picture on the ceiling above the bimah. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • A Prayer in a Time of Planetary Danger by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    A Prayer in a Time of Planetary Danger by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    A midrashic translation/ interpretation of the second paragraph of the Sh’ma. . . .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. . . ☞
  • קינות לתשעה באב | Alelai Li: Woe is me! by Elazar ben Killir, circa 7th century CE (translated by Rachel Salston)

    “Alelai Li” is a kinah recited on the morning of Tisha bAv. It was written by HaKalir around the 7th century. According to the Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot, it is number 17 of 50. The title is the refrain of the poem and is an onomatopoeic whimper (try saying it aloud, focusing on the alliteration). It is difficult to translate the opening word “im” which means “if” or “should”. This is an allusion to Job 10:15, “If I have done evil, then woe unto me.” I have decided to translate the kinah not in the conditional tense (which would render “If these horrible things happened, then woe is me!”) but as a lament upon memory; however, the former would be a more accurate (if not more awkward in English) translation. Adding to the awkwardness of the poem’s language is the feminine conditional verb that each line has after the word “im”. I have maintained this strange verb tense and placement in my translation by using the English progressive tense. The kinah ends with a collection in lines in a different meter suggesting that the Holy One (and the paytan himself) is angered that the Jewish people announce their sufferings but …Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Life Sentence by Eprhyme

    'Life Sentence' is a poetic exploration of solitary authorship — interpreting the old-world literary tradition and archetypes for the 'ADD' generation. This is a boundary and genre-crossing work that exists at the intersection of Radical Jewish, Indy and Hip-Hop culture. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • קינות לתשעה באב | v’Ahimah Miyamim Yamimah: I Will Wail for All Time (translated by Hillary and Daniel Chorny)

    קינות לתשעה באב | v’Ahimah Miyamim Yamimah: I Will Wail for All Time (translated by Hillary and Daniel Chorny)

    "V’ahimah Miyamim Yamimah" is a kinah that recounts the tragic tale of the children of Rabbi Yishmael as told in the Babylonian Talmud (Gittin 58a). The handsome brother and fair sister were separated and sold into slavery during the conquest of Jerusalem. Their respective masters, not knowing the two were siblings, paired them with the intent of creating beautiful offspring. In their shared cell, the two wept all night until morning, when they recognized one another. They cried on each other’s necks until their souls departed from their bodies. The narrator of our story laments their terrible fate, ending each verse with a haunting refrain: “And so I will wail for all time.” . . .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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • קינות לתשעה באב | Az Bahalokh Yirmiyahu: Then As Jeremiah Went, by Elazar ben Killir circa 7th century CE (translated by Gabriel Seed)

    קינות לתשעה באב | Az Bahalokh Yirmiyahu: Then As Jeremiah Went, by Elazar ben Killir circa 7th century CE (translated by Gabriel Seed)

    Az Bahalokh Yirmiyahu is a kinah, “based on Eikhah Rabati Petikhta 24, in which Jeremiah says to God: "I am like a father who prepared to take his only son to be married, and the son tragically died under the wedding canopy. Do you not feel any pain for me or for my son?" God responds: "Go and rouse Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses from their graves, for they know how to cry…” (Daniel Goldschmidt, Seder Kinot le-Tisha b'Av, Jerusalem, 1972, 98). . . .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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞

Miscellaneous Liturgy & Related Work in the Open Siddur Archive

  • תשעה באב | Prayer for Tisha B’Av by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

    תשעה באב | Prayer for Tisha B’Av by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

    During the time before there was a State of Israel, those ideals in our hearts which we tried to practice and which we wanted others to practice, seemed not achievable where we were because, we felt we had no influence over our world where we were. And so, the longing for our homeland was tied into the longing for our dreams and our vision. Now that the state of Israel is with us, our dreams and our visions still remain distant from our lives and therefore when we say the Tisha B'av prayers we need to remind ourselves of the distance between that which we would have in this world and that which we do have. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Memorial Prayer for Abraham Lincoln by Isaac Goldstein the Levite (1865)

    Memorial Prayer for Abraham Lincoln by Isaac Goldstein the Levite (1865)

    Exalted are you Lincoln. Who is like you! You were highly respected among Kings and Princes. All that you accomplished you did with a humble spirit. You are singular and cannot be compared to anyone else. Who among the great are like Lincoln? Who can be praised like you? . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • A Prayer in a Time of Planetary Danger by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    A Prayer in a Time of Planetary Danger by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

    A midrashic translation/ interpretation of the second paragraph of the Sh’ma. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • אשת חיל | Eyshet Ḥayil (Proverbs 31:10-31) For an Accomplished Woman, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

    אשת חיל | Eyshet Ḥayil (Proverbs 31:10-31) For an Accomplished Woman, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

    Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi's interpretive translation of Proverbs 31:10-31, popularly read before the first festive meal for shabbat on Friday night. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • שבע ברכות | The Seven Blessings over a Wedding (translated by Aharon Varady)

    שבע ברכות | The Seven Blessings over a Wedding (translated by Aharon Varady)

    A translation of the Seven Blessings shared just in time for Shavuot, and in honor of several of my friend's weddings. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • A Prayer for Justice, Blessing, and Praise on Shabbat Shoftim by Virginia Spatz

    A Prayer for Justice, Blessing, and Praise on Shabbat Shoftim by Virginia Spatz

    "Does joy come in the morning, where weeping has not tarried for the night? Can we dance together, if we have not yet joined in lament?" This prayer is a kavanah for the morning blessings, using language and images from the prayer "Mah Tovu" [how lovely are your tents] commonly recited in the early morning blessings. Offered with special intention for the healing of Congress Heights, Capitol View, and other neighborhoods in Washington, DC, rocked by persistent violence. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • תפילת בת המצווה | Prayer for a Bat Mitzvah after she finishes reading from the Torah

    תפילת בת המצווה | Prayer for a Bat Mitzvah after she finishes reading from the Torah

    הִנְנִי עוֹמֶדֶת בְּמָקוֹם זֶה הַיּוֹם כְּדֵי לְהָעִיד וְלוֹמַר בְּקוֹל צָלוּל וּבָרוּר שֶׁאֲנִי בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל. עָלִיתִי לַתּוֹרָה כְּדֵי לְהִתְחַבֵּר לְדוֹרוֹת שֶׁל בָּנוֹת וּבָנִים, אִמָּהוֹת וְאָבוֹת, סַבְתוֹת וְסָבִים, אֲשֶׁר קָרְאוּ בְּסֵפֶר זֶה, פֵּרְשׁוּ אֶת מִלּוֹתָיו וְרָאוּ בּוֹ עַמּוּד אֵשׁ הַמֵּאִיר אֶת דַּרְכָּם מֵהֶעָבָר אַל הַהֹוֶה וּמֵהַהֹוֶה לְעָתִיד. קְרִיאָתִי בְּסֵפֶר מְחַזֶּקֶת אֶת הַקֶּשֶׁר בֵּינִי לְבֵין מִשְׁפַּחְתִּי, בֵּינִי לְבֵין חֲבֵרִי וַחֲבֵרוֹתַי, בֵּינִי לְבֵין עַמִּי וְאַרְצִי. מְקַבֶּלֶת אֲנִי בְּאַהֲבָה אֶת הִשְׁתַּיְכוּתִי לְמָסֹרֶת שֶׁל תּוֹרָה עַתִּיקַת יוֹמִין בָּהּ יֵשׁ לַהֲגוֹת יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה. אֲנִי תְּקַוֶּה שֶׁאוּכַל לַהֲפֹךְ בָּהּ וְלַהֲפֹךְ בָּהּ, לְהַתְווֹת לְעַצְמִי דַּרְכֵי חַיִּים בְּאֶמְצָעוּתָהּ, לְחַפֵּשׂ בָּהּ נְתִיבוֹת לְחָכְמָה וּלְאַהֲבָה וּלְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהּ לְטוֹבַת הַכְּלָל. מִי יִתֵּן וּשְׂפָתָהּ שֶׁל הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁמְּחַבֶּרֶת בֵּין עָבַר לֶעָתִיד, וְאוֹתִיּוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁחֲרוּתוֹת בְּדִמְיוֹנִי פְּנִימָה וּבְפִי הַחוּצָה, תְּשַׁמֵּשְׁנָה אוֹתִי בְּשָׁכְבִי וּבְקוּמִי, בְּבֵיתִי וּבְלֶכְתִי, בִּצְעִירוּתִי וּבְזִקְנָתִי. כִּי דְּרָכֶיהָ דְּרָכַי נֹעַם וּנְתִיבוֹתֶיהָ שָׁלוֹם. אמן. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • ברצלב | The Tikkun Haklali according to Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav

    ברצלב | The Tikkun Haklali according to Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav

    Before our hands can fix, we need to care. Before we can care, we need our eyes open. But how can we remind ourselves to see, and sustain our sensitivity and capability for compassion? We can shy from the pain that comes with empathy, and we can shy from the pain that comes with taking responsibility for the suffering we cause. But there are consequences to shying away, to disaffection and callous disassociation. If there is any hope, it is as Rebbe Naḥman explained so succinctly: "If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix." In 1806, Rebbe Naḥman of Bratslav taught that the recitation of ten psalms could act as a powerful Tikkun (remedy) in a process of t'shuva leading to an awareness of the divine presence that permeates and enlivens this world but is alas, hidden though an accretion of transgressive thoughts and actions. Five years later, Rebbe Naḥman revealed the specific ten psalms of this Tikkun to two of his closest disciples, Rabbi Aharon of Bratslav and Rabbi Naftali of Nemirov. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Humanist Birkon by Tzemaḥ Yoreh

    Many of our best times are spent eating. Jewish liturgy, however, is very stingy on blessings before eating (focusing much of its energy on blessings after eating). The blessings before food are generic, and except for very specific foods and drinks (such as wine, bread, and matzah), all foods lump into three or four categories (fruit, vegetables, grains, and everything else). As a foodie, I’d like to celebrate each and every distinct taste through the prism of Jewish experience, and thus have tried to compose as many short poems as possible in their honor. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Activist Prayer for a Trauma Center on Chicago’s South Side by R’ Aryeh Bernstein

    Activist Prayer for a Trauma Center on Chicago’s South Side by R’ Aryeh Bernstein

    A disproportionate amount of the alarming gun violence in Chicago takes place on the South Side, yet the South Side lacks even a single level one adult trauma center. Consequently, gunshot victims sometimes minutes from death must be transported miles away to Downtown or North Side hospitals. In 2010, after Damien Turner, an 18-year-old resident of the South Side Woodlawn neighborhood, died waiting for an ambulance to drive him ten miles to a downtown hospital instead of two blocks to the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC), a grassroots collaboration of community organizations, faith leaders, and University of Chicago student groups began organizing the Trauma Center Coalition, dedicated to reopening a Level 1 adult trauma center at UCMC, the most well-resourced hospital on the South Side. So far, the university has refused. As part of the coalition’s ongoing campaign, last week [April 23, 2015], dozens of activists gathered on the university’s historic Midway field, for a vigil of prayer and song from different faith traditions. At dusk, participants lit candles to spell out “Trauma Center Now”, right across from the home of U. Chicago President Robert Zimmer, and then camped out for the night. As a representative of coalition partner …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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • Prayer for the Interment of Shemot in a Geniza by Morah Yehudis Fishman

    Prayer for the Interment of Shemot in a Geniza by Morah Yehudis Fishman

    My bones whisper that your pages and your inks will return to the trees and the plants from where they once came. They say that someday they will even come back to life with words never yet heard. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞

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

"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: 2015-7-26 15:02


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