בסיעתא דשמיא

 

Prayers, liturgy, and related work

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Meet Open Siddur contributor

Aryeh CohenAryeh Cohen

Aryeh Cohen the author of the book Justice in the City: An Argument from the Sources of Rabbinic Judaism is a professor, a social justice activist, a rabbi and a lecturer. He teaches all things Rabbinic Literature (Mishnah, Talmud, midrash) and social justice at the Ziegler School for Rabbinic Studies of the American Jewish University. Prof. Cohen is a founder and member of the Shtibl Minyan, and a board member of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights,  and CLUE-LA.

Prayer for the State of Israel by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

Summer Selections

  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • Birkat Hamazon for Tisha b’Av, Tu b’Av, and Shabbat Naḥamu by Gabriel Wasserman

    SAVE/PRINT/EMAIL THIS PAGE → (PDF) ברכת המזון לסעודת ההבראה במוצאי תשעה באב ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם הזן את העולם כולו בטובו בחן בחסד וברחמים נַחֵם גּ֯וֹאֲלֵ֫נוּ אֶת־הָעִיר הָאֲבֵלָה נַעֲרָהּ מֵאֶפְרָהּ וּמֵרֹב טִלְטוּלָהּ רוֹמֲמֶ֫הָ מִבִּזְיוֹנָהּ וּמִשַּׁמָּתָהּ וּמִשִּׁפְלָהּ וְנַחֵם בָּ֯נֶ֫יךָ הַקָּמִים מֵרִצְפָּתָם וּבָאִים לְשֻׁלְחָנָם בְּעָמְדָם מֵאַשְׁפָּתָם לְהַפְסִיק תַּעֲנִיתָם בְּמַאֲכָלָם שֶׁפִּרְנַסְתָּם ברוך אתה יי הזן את . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • תהילים כט | Psalms 29, an interpretive translation by Avi Dolgin

    תהילים כט | Psalms 29, an interpretive translation by Avi Dolgin

    Avi Dolgin's translation of תהילים כט (Psalm 29) interweaves between the original Hebrew (הָב֣וּ לַֽ֭יהוָה בְּנֵ֣י אֵלִ֑ים | havu l’YHVH b’nei eilim) and an English language interpretation. The interpretation, while faithful to the original, leans heavily on environmental concerns, especially as seen from a North American West Coast perspective. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • קינות לתשעה באב | Eli Tsiyon v’Ar’eha (Mourn Zion and her cities) translated by Joel Goldstein

    קינות לתשעה באב | 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞

Miscellaneous Liturgy & Related Work in the Open Siddur Archive

  • 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. . . ☞
  • תחנון | Taḥanun, translated by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

    תחנון | Taḥanun, translated by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

    My God! my soul is Yours my body is Your servant, take pity on what You have created; my soul is Yours and my body is Yours, God help us for Your sake. We come to You because we want to honor Your reputation. Help us in our moral struggle for the sake of Your reputation; because You are kind and compassionate. Forgive us, for there is so much we need to be forgiven for. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • If I Let It: A Kavanah for Kabbalat Shabbat

    If I Let It: A Kavanah for Kabbalat Shabbat

    Shabbat happens, If I let it. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Tefillat yaḥid: a prayer for when praying by oneself by David Zvi Kalman

    God and God of my forefathers and foremothers, as I stand here in an innermost room and pray, so too should you in an innermost room heed my questions, my praises and my requests, both from the utterances of my mouth and the utterances of my heart. Even if I am silent, you will know that my tefilla is directed towards you, who is One and whose name is One, alone in all the worlds. My heart is awake and my voice knocks. Open for me, my Lord, my Perfect One, the gates of Tefilla. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • תנ״ך | Yehoyesh’s Yiddish Translation of the Tanakh

    תנ״ך | Yehoyesh’s Yiddish Translation of the Tanakh

    The Open Siddur Project is pleased to distribute a masterful Yiddish translation of the Tanakh by "Yehoyesh" (Yehoash) Shloyme Blumgarten (1870-1927) as published in Torah, Neviʼim, u-Khetuvim (New York: Yehoʼash Farlag Gezelshaft, 1941) that now resides in the Public Domain. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • The Mapmaker

    The Mapmaker

    Cold facts. Colder realities. 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. Charges Nothing And Changes Everything . . .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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • שבחי המשפחה לבת המצווה | A Prayer in Honor of a Bat Mitzvah from her Family by Dr. Chaim Hames-Ezra

    שבחי המשפחה לבת המצווה | A Prayer in Honor of a Bat Mitzvah from her Family by Dr. Chaim Hames-Ezra

    A prayer for a ritual of blessing of a bat mitzvah by her family. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • תנ״ך | The Holy Scriptures: A New Translation (JPS 1917)

    SAVE/PRINT/EMAIL THIS PAGE → (PDF)The 1985 JPS may be on the Amazon best seller list but it won’t be until 2080 before its contents enter the Public Domain. Thankfully an excellent English translation of the TaNaKh already exists that we can use, modify, and importantly, update: The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text: A . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • תחנון לימים קשים | Taḥanun [Plea for Mercy] on Hard Days by Noa Mazor (trans. by Jonah Rank)

    תחנון לימים קשים | Taḥanun [Plea for Mercy] on Hard Days by Noa Mazor (trans. by Jonah Rank)

    Lord, our God, bring us days of good, of mercy, of life and of peace. Give our leaders the capability to see the natural sanctity embedded in every person. Give us the ability to trust human beings fighting for their way, for their lives--for our lives. Lord, lay us down along Your path--a path for loving humanity as humanity, a path for welcoming peace between neighbors: between humanity and pain. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • שמע | Kabbalistic Commentary on the Shema from Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz’s Siddur Shaar haShamayim

    שמע | Kabbalistic Commentary on the Shema from Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz’s Siddur Shaar haShamayim

    Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (1565-1630), known as the Shlah from the name of his chief work (Shnei Luḥot HaBrit - The Two Tablets of the Covenant), was a rabbi in Central and Eastern Europe and later Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. This text is an excerpt from his kabbalistic prayer book, Siddur Shaar haShamayim (Gate of Heaven), which deals with the Shma prayer. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Humanist Kabbalat Shabbat by Tzemaḥ Yoreh

    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. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞

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

  • Jewish Content, Free Culture and “Content Compatibility” by Efraim Feinstein

    Jewish Content, Free Culture and “Content Compatibility” by Efraim Feinstein

    The free culture community has developed mechanisms to make sharing and collaborative development easier. The principles that define works of free culture are: the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works Note that these freedoms do not discriminate on the basis of endeavor, and all free culture works allow creation of derivative works and commercial use. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • “People of the (Open Source) Book” by Dan Mendelsohn Aviv (Key Publishing, 2012)

    “People of the (Open Source) Book” by Dan Mendelsohn Aviv (Key Publishing, 2012)

    All of the individuals mentioned in this chapter—designers, bloggers and innovators—are engaged in a transformative endeavour. The digitization of seminal Jewish texts with the ability to remix, share and annotate them has changed the way in which they are perceived as texts. In the eyes of the Next Jew, these documents are no longer static artifacts to be passively consumed. They are vibrant, dynamic entities that grow with each user’s engagement. This engagement is also continual, ever-evolving and, though personal, also connects the individual to the broader Jewish learning community. In other words, every text is accompanied by a threaded discussion and more Jews are taking part, be it through creating their own religious texts or adding their voice to the emerging “Spoken Torah” of the Jewish blogosphere. Though Jewish community was historically maintained by the work of elites, be they the priests, soferim, or rabbis, the Next Jew no longer relies on scholars sequestered in yeshivas to carry the weight of the tradition. All one needs today is commitment and a stable Wi-Fi connection. . . .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: 2015-7-26 15:02


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