בסיעתא דשמיא

Liturgy and related work

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Meet Open Siddur contributor

Gabriel WassermanGabriel Wasserman

Gabriel Wasserman is a doctoral student at Yeshiva University studying medieval Jewish history.

Recently shared

An imaginary representation of the Temple "Templum Salomois" in the midst of walled-in Jerusalem. From: Schedel, Hartmann. Liber chronicarum. Nuernberg. Anton Koberger, 1493. Fol.XVII. The illustrations and the maps are cut in wood by Michael Wolgemut (1434-1519). (credit: National Library of Israel, Public Domain)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.

"Caïn" by Henri Vidal, Tuileries Garden, Paris, 1896. Cain is depicted after killing his brother hiding his face in his hand. (photo credit: Alex E. Proimos, license: CC BY)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.

"跳跃的藏原羚" (Tibetan Gazelle Leaping). A Tibetan gazelle gallops at dawn in Ngari Prefecture, Tibet. (credit: 程斌 (Bain Cheng), People's Republic of China Government Nature Photographer, PD?).חג הכנסה לברית | Ḥag hakhnassah labrit – On Entering the Covenant by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

In the weeks leading up to the birth of our first child in 1997, my partner and I spent a lot of time thinking about the brit. Whether it was a boy or a girl we knew that we would have a celebration. If it was a boy we would have a brit, yet we were not happy with the ceremony as it stood. If it was a girl we needed a ceremony which was equally powerful and yet didn’t draw blood. In response to these two concerns I wrote a liturgy for what I called a chag hachnassah labrit/celebration of entering the covenant which could be easily adapted to boys and girls, and I wrote a piyyut (a liturgical poem) for a milah/a circumcision.

"Blessing the Children" paper collage by Joanna Harader (license: CC BY-SA)בר מצווה | Parents’ brakhah for a Bar Mitzvah by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

I wrote this brachah on the occasion of my son Oryah’s bar mitzvah. The Aramaic/Hebrew and the translation are mine. My partner and I recited the blessing after my son was called up to the Torah. The brachah replaces the ברוך שפטרנו which is recited in some communities. This blessing (which is basically self-explanatory) expresses gratitude for Divine favor leading to this moment and a prayer for Heavenly guidance for my son’s continued path. Though the translation is gender neutral in relation to God, the Hebrew/Aramaic is gendered masculine. This is my practice with regards to my children. I bless my daughter with feminine God language and my son with masculine God language. The blessing can be grammatically adapted for a bat mitzvah.

"Neural signaling in the human brain" by the National Institute on Aging (Public Domain)אשר יצר | Asher Yatzar prayer for recognizing the Divine Image in all our bodies by Emily Aviva Kapor

Asher Yatzar (the “bathroom blessing”, traditionally said every morning and after every time one goes to relieve oneself) has always rung hollow to me, at best, and at worst has been a prayer not celebrating beauty but highlighting pain. The original version praises bodies whose nekavim nekavim ḥalulim ḥalulim (“all manner of ducts and tubes”) are properly opened and closed—yes, in a digestive/excretory sense, but it is quite easy to read a reproductive sense into it as well. What do you do if the “ducts and tubes” in your body are not properly opened and closed, what if one is open that should be closed, or vice versa?

Welcome to the Open Siddur Project

"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 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 and nusaḥ.

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

Last updated: 2014-11-7 18:45
 

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