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 a social network focused on publishing 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
We’re not there yet. (Progress towards version 1.0 is tracked on our development roadmap
. We’re currently working on version 0.7.1
of our Open Siddur server architecture. We do need help designing an interface to access the texts on this server).).
In the meantime, take a look at the prayers, translations, exercises, art, and recordings that folk are already sharing with free/libre
licenses that permit their creative reuse. That means that you can use these works right now in the creation of new siddurim (alas, offline) while we continue developing the Open Siddur web application. There’s a list of free/libre and open source software and fonts that can help you do that right now.
Please start a conversation with us
, join this project by sharing your own work
, introduce yourself on our technical
discussion lists, and begin to imagine
the siddur and spiritual practice you’ve always wanted. . . . → Read More: Welcome to the Open Siddur Project
This Friday (13th December) is Asarah B’Tevet (10th of Tevet), one of the minor fast days in the Jewish calendar. Mechon Hadar’s Rabbi Ethan Tucker provides an overview of the various halakhic issues that are raised by a fasting on a Friday due to the upcoming Shabbat – how do we balance the tragedy of the fall of Jerusalem in 6th century BCE, which our fasting commemorates, with the joy of Shabbat? . . . → Read More: עשרה בטבת | The Tenth of Tevet on a Friday, Can one fast half a day? by Rabbi Ethan Tucker (Mechon Hadar, Center for Jewish Law and Values)
The Megillat Antiochus was composed in Palestinian Aramaic sometime between the 2nd and 5th century CE, likely in the 2nd Century when the memory of the Bar Kochba revolt still simmered.. The scroll appears in a number of variations. The Aramaic text below follows the critical edition prepared by Menaḥem Tzvi Kaddari, and preserves his verse numbering. The English translation by Rabbi Joseph Adler (1936) follows the Hebrew translation in the middle column, the source of which is a medieval manuscript reprinted by Tzvi Filipowsky in 1851. Adler and Kaddari’s verse ordering loosely follows one another indicating variations in manuscripts. Where Aramaic is missing from Kaddari’s text, the Aramaic version from Adler’s work is included in parentheses. Adler also included a Yiddish translation which we hope will be fully transcribed (along with vocalized Hebrew text, a Hungarian translation, and perhaps even a Matathi translation from South India) for Ḥanukah 5775 , G!d willing. . . . → Read More: מגילת אנתיוכס | Megillat Antiokhus (circa 2nd century C.E.)
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. . . . → Read More: Prayer for the Interment of Shemot in a Geniza by Morah Yehudis Fishman
May the next Thanksgivukkah be a time of health and abundance for all of you who will receive the world from our hands. May we together find away to make sure that there is health and wealth and beauty not just for our family, not just for the Jewish people and humanity, but for all living creatures who share this planet with us. May the One bless us with the power and wisdom to birth a society that shows love to the world around us, that lives with love towards all beings. . . . → Read More: Prayer for Thanksgivukah by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)
This version of the Aleinu recognizes that all nations play a role in God’s plan for humanity. . . . → Read More: עלינו | Aleinu, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)
Ours is to praise the Master of all; to recognize the greatness of the One who fashioned our beginning. Not as a nation-state, nor as a tribe; but by giving us a particular task, a particular fate: to bow, to bend, to acknowledge the Authority over all authority, the Blessed Holy One, who stretched out the expanse and gathered the substance, filling the farthest emptiness and humbling the heights. This alone is our God, the one true ruler. . . . → Read More: עלינו | Aleinu, freely translated by Joshua Gutoff
May that Great Name, that sacred energy, be shaped and make effective and be acknowledged and be given the right honor and be seen as beautiful and elevating and bring jubilation. Way beyond our input of worshipful song and praise, which we express in this world, As we confirm our agreement and hope by saying AMEN. . . . → Read More: קדיש שלם | Kaddish, freely translated by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
The following work was published by a Havurah publication in the late 1970s or early 1980s by Rab Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. In it, Rab Zalman presciently describes a digital database of liturgy and liturgy-related work that havurah groups across the world could use to bring together custom designed and crafted works for use in communal prayer. We are grateful to Reb Zalman for bringing this work to our attention. . . . → Read More: Database Davvenen by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (HAVURAH)
Forgiveness is woven into the pattern of existence. God of second chances, pathways of atonement. Help us awaken to Your listening presence, your understanding. Fill our hearts with Divine compassion! . . . → Read More: מעריב ערבים | Who Brings the Evenings
We are sharing these tables for Taamei haMikra (cantillation for Torah reading) because we weren’t able to find these available in Unicode Hebrew text anywhere else on the Internet. We would very much like to also share the traditional tables of Taamei haMikra for the Nusaḥ Roma (Italy), Nusaḥ Teman (Yemen), and others along with excellent free-culture licensed recordings of these tables being chanted. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of free-culture licensed audio and video of the taamei hamikra being chanted. Please help us by sharing your audio or video with a Creative Commons Attribution license. . . . → Read More: טעמי המקרא | Cantillation Tables for Torah Readings
I wrote this kavvanah a few years ago. At that time I lived in Ithaca, NY. I was a substitute teacher in the Ithaca Central School District. There was a community event at Fall Creek Elementary school, and the way families, faculty, students, and people from the area came together inspired the poem. . . . → Read More: סתיו הנחל יסודי | Fall Creek Elementary
Miqra `al pi ha-Mesorah is a new experimental edition of the Tanakh in digital online format, now available as a carefully corrected draft of the entire Tanakh. Two features make this edition of the Tanakh unique: Full editorial documentation and a free content license. Full editorial documentation: Various editions of the Torah or Tanakh in Hebrew may seem identical to the untrained eye, but the truth is that each and every edition—from Koren to Breuer and from Artscroll to JPS—makes numerous important editorial decisions. In most editions these decisions are not transparent, and the student of Torah therefore relies upon the good judgment of the editor. But in Miqra `al pi ha-Mesorah the entire editorial process and the reasoning behind it are fully described in all of their details: Every stylistic alteration and every textual decision made regarding every letter, niqqud, and ta`am in the entire Tanakh is documented. . . . → Read More: מקרא על פי המסורה | Miqra `al pi ha-Mesorah: A New Experimental Edition of the Tanakh Online
For all the times that I’ve judged you, and you shut down.
For the times when I’ve cast eyes of displeasure on your creative and luminous works,
For the times when I secretly whisper nasty things about you, that I would never say out loud,
For the times when I’ve asphyxiated you, and you felt cut off from your sacred life force… . . . → Read More: Sliḥot Prayers to the Inner Child within us
The preacher who lost his way
The librarian who empties the shelves
The cook without a spoon
The child masking as a king
The king masking as a child.
The mapmaker studies them all
Furrowing his brow tightly
Crafting lines delicately.
Everything . . . → Read More: The Mapmaker
Please Lord, Sovereign of Compassion, God, Arbiter of the spirits of all flesh, Parent of Orphans and Judge of widows: God, from the source of Your holiness! May my prayer and the Torah of life that I have learned come before you on account of the soul . . . → Read More: Gebet Statt Kaddisch | Memorial Prayer For When There is No Minyan (trans. Jonah Rank)
May He who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, bless [names of veterans present, and] all those who have fought in the military on behalf of our country, the United States of America, in every time and era, in every place. Bless all of our soldiers that they should be successful, for good, in all of their endeavors; strengthen them and invigorate them. May it be Your will, YHVH our God and God of our ancestors, that our land should be a blessing to all the inhabitants of the world. Immerse us in friendship and freedom, and foster among us true peace, that we might bring about the words written by the hand of Your prophet: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” And let us say: Amen. . . . → Read More: Prayer for United States Military War Veterans
Domesticated animals (beheimot) are halakhically distinguished from ḥayot, wild animals in having been bred to rely upon human beings for their welfare. As the livelihood and continued existence of wild animals increasingly depends on the energy, food, and land use decisions of human beings, the responsibility for their care is coming into the purview of our religious responsibilities as Jews under the mitzvah of tsa’ar baalei ḥayyim — mindfullness of the suffering of all living creatures in our decisions and behavior. Rosh Hashanah LeBeheimot is the festival where we are reminded of this important mitzvah at the onset of the month in which we imagine ourselves to be the flock of a god upon whose welfare we rely. The Council of All Beings is an activity that can help us understand and reflect upon the needs of the flock of creatures that already rely upon us for their welfare. . . . → Read More: אלף באלול | The Council of All Beings on the New Years festival for Animals (ראש השנה לבהימות)
This completely egalitarian ketubah uses nedarim, vows before God which bear the full weight of Jewish law, as the central act of marriage, and uses the rings as symbols of those vows. It also details the steps which would be necessary to dissolve those nedarim, an important and integral part of the ketubah. The Hebrew is written in the feminine plural and should be adjusted if the text is used for different gender combinations. . . . → Read More: Fully Egalitarian Ketubah from Naomi & Beverly Socher-Lerner’s Wedding
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. . . . → Read More: Prayer for Tisha B’Av by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman)
I am a humanist. I am a feminist. I am an environmentalist. I am a libertarian. I am a pacifist. I believe in democracy. I am an agnostic. Traditional Jewish prayer is not any of these “ists” or “ics”; it reflects the worldview of the rabbis 1500 years ago, who may have been quite sagacious but did not share many of my values. The minor and major edits, deletions, and additions to which liberal Jews of this day and age have treated their prayers have inserted some of these sentiments, but for the most part the macro structure of prayers has been preserved, making it difficult for people to engage with the prayer in a straightforward way. The composers of liberal prayer books understand this, and thus we find the phenomenon of alternative or additional English readings and/or very creative translations that bear little relationship to the original prayer. There is another way forward, though. We can compose new prayers and poetry in the original Hebrew that reflect our values and revitalize our canon. This is the way I chose. . . . → Read More: Humanist Prayers by Tzemaḥ Yoreh
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. . . . → Read More: An Illustrated Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur with Drawings by Daniel Nebenzahl
Wax drips from the braided candle.
Cinnamon tingles the nose
to keep us from fainting
as the extra soul departs.
Stop now. Notice this hinge
and what’s next. . . . → Read More: הבדלה | Distinctions (Havdalah) for the end of Shabbat
Help me to silence
my mind’s aggravation alarm,
to quiet the voice which says
the to-do list matters,
to temporarily eschew
continuous partial attention. . . . → Read More: Saturday Afternoon Request
…if we could discard differences: human,
animal, fire, stone, seed, snow
even that cry of togetherness
would not be enough to thank You. . . . → Read More: נשמת קול חי | Nishmat Kol Ḥai: The Breath of All Life (for Shabbat morning)
Have you read in the Talmud of old,
In the Legends the Rabbins have told
Of the limitless realms of the air,–
Have you read it,–the marvellous story
Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Glory,
Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer? . . . → Read More: סנדלפון | Sandalphon by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1858)
Merciful God, a great and powerful windstorm has passed, and it has torn apart the buildings and shattered the rocks before You. You told Elijah, the prophet, that You were not in the windstorm. Please, then, be in the still, small voices of the children crying out to be found. Be in the voices of the rescuers calling out for survivors. Be in the cries of those who are lost and of those who have lost. . . . → Read More: A Prayer for Oklahoma
If one has a dream which makes him sad he should go and have it interpreted in the presence of three. He should have it interpreted! Has not Rav Ḥisda said: A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read? — Say rather then, he should have a good turn given to it in the presence of three. . . . → Read More: Ritual for Judging Bad Dreams for Good
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… . . . → Read More: Teḥinnah for Honest Journal Reflections
After the popular reception among German speaking Jewry of Fanny Neuda’s Stunden Der Andacht (1855), additional sifrei teḥinnot, collections of prayers composed in the vernacular for women, were published in German. One of them, Hanna. Gebet- und Andachtsbuch für israelitische Frauen und Mädchen, published in 1867, was compiled with teḥinnot composed by the leading luminaries of Liberal Judaism in Breslau, Silesia: Jacob Freund (1827-1877), Rabbi Abraham Geiger (1810-1874), and Rabbi Moritz Güdemann (1835-1918), Manuel Joël (1826-1890), and Moritz Abraham Levy (1817-1872). The title of the collection is a direct reference to the biblical figure, Ḥanna whose petitionary prayer for a child was answered with the birth of her son, the prophet Shmuel. . . . → Read More: Hanna. Gebet- und Andachtsbuch für israelitische Frauen und Mädchen. (Jacob Freund et al, 1867)