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Meet Open Siddur contributor

Margot SeigleMargot Seigle

Margot is a queer, white, Ashkenazi Jew born and raised in Elgin, IL, where her Great Grandpa arrived three generations ago, and where her parents met at the synagogue her Great Grandpa started. Growing up with more than enough, she believes that we would all – even the 1%! – be better off if everyone had enough, and fights to shift this paradigm. An organizer at heart, she does this through supporting the leadership development of individuals and building collective energy and shared decision-making structures around projects that shift power and resources to those at the frontlines of injustice. Margot sees learning about the impacts of privilege and oppression as well as building tools to support the healing of this impact as crucial to being an effective change maker. She seeks to bring her values, skills, and networks to the Jewish community to thinking about what healing looks like with the complex history as well as expanding our concept of and strengthening our obligation to community. In her free time, Margot enjoys crafting, singing, fiddling, cooking, meditating, biking, and bringing people together. Margot is currently the Ḥazon Transformative Experiences Fellow based out of Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.

פסח | Seder in the Streets ֔Passover Haggadah, compiled by Danielle Gershkoff, Rachel Lerman, Rachel Beck, and Margot Seigle (5774/2014)

Summer Selections

  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • תפילת טל | Prayer for Dew by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

    תפילת טל | Prayer for Dew by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

    Geshem and tal: rain and dew. We pray for each in its season, geshem all winter and tal as summer approaches...not everywhere, necessarily, but in the land of Israel where our prayers have their roots. In a desert climate, water is clearly a gift from God. It's easy for us to forget that, here with all of this rain and snow. But our liturgy reminds us. Through the winter months, during our daily amidah we've prayed "mashiv ha-ruach u-morid ha-gashem" -- You cause the winds to blow and the rains to fall! We only pray for rain during the rainy season, because it is frustrating both to us and to God when we pray for impossibilities. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • קינות לתשעה באב | Oy Meh Haya Lanu: Oy What Has Happened to Us, by Baruch ben Samuel d.1221 (translated by Rachel Salston)

    “Oy Meh Haya Lanu” is a kinah traditionally recited on the night of Tisha b'Av directly after the reading of Eikha. According to the Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot, it is number 1 of 50. The title is the refrain of the poem, a reflective lament. This kinah is based on the fifth and final chapter of Eikha, taking the opening phrase of each line of the megillah as the first line of each couplet and poetically expanding the description for the second. This translation is an attempt to convey the vulgarity and horror of the paytan’s depiction of the destroyed Jerusalem in vernacular English. The kinah ends just as the megillah ends, with the four verses of pleas for redemption. . . .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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞
  • 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. . . ☞

Miscellaneous Liturgy & Related Work in the Open Siddur Archive

  • 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. . . ☞
  • תפילה לתורם דם | The Blood Donor’s Prayer by Elli Fischer

    תפילה לתורם דם | The Blood Donor’s Prayer by Elli Fischer

    A prayer to be recited upon donating blood. In Israel, there are major blood drives around the times of Rosh Hashana and Pesaḥ, so the prayer borrows themes from both of those holidays. It emphasizes both the tzedaka aspect of blood donation and the ancient symbolic resonances of blood sacrifice. . . .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. . . ☞
  • חנוכה | Ḥanukah Sources in Rabbinic Midrash

    Our Rabbis taught: When Adam HaRishon (primitive Adam) saw the day getting gradually shorter, he said, ‘Woe is me, perhaps because I have sinned, the world around me is being darkened and returning to its state of chaos and confusion; this then is the kind of death to which I have been sentenced from Heaven!’ So he began keeping an eight days’ fast. But as he observed the winter solstice and noted the day getting increasingly longer, he said, ‘This is the world's course’, and he set forth to keep an eight days’ festivity. In the following year he appointed both as festivals. Now, he fixed them for the sake of Heaven, but the [unenlightened] appointed them for the sake of star worship. . . .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 Thanksgiving Day Prayer for the Residents of El-Arakib by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

    A Thanksgiving Day Prayer for the Residents of El-Arakib by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

    How is it that El-Arakib sits alone and desolate, like a widow a seventh time? "The Daughter of Zion has lost her glory." (Lamentations 1:6) For, while we had dreamed that our state would "Ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender," (Israeli Declaration of Independence) our prayers have not yet been fulfilled. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • להבין את התפלה | Rav Amram Gaon’s letter to Rav Yitzḥok b. Shimon of Sepharad, circa 9th century (Abe Katz, Burei HaTefila Institute)

    להבין את התפלה | Rav Amram Gaon’s letter to Rav Yitzḥok b. Shimon of Sepharad, circa 9th century (Abe Katz, Burei HaTefila Institute)

    The order of prayers and Brakhos for the entire year that you requested, that has been shown to us by Heaven, we deem appropriate to set forth and lay out in the manner in which the tradition was passed down to us, as compiled by the Rabbis during the period of the Mishna and of the Gemara. And so we learned: Rebbi Meir said: a person is obligated to recite 100 Brakhos each day. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • אלף באלול | The Council of All Beings on the New Years festival for Animals (ראש השנה לבהימות)

    אלף באלול | The Council of All Beings on the New Years festival for Animals (ראש השנה לבהימות)

    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. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Siddur Class: Sourcesheets from Amit Gvaryahu’s Shiur on Tefillah

    We are grateful to Amit Gvaryahu for sharing his sourcesheets for his Siddur class at Yeshivat Hadar's 90@190 Open Beit Midrash this past summer 5771/2011, and for sharing his translations with a CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported license. . . .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. . . ☞
  • Simḥat Bat by Yoni and Hannah Kapnik Ashar

    Simḥat Bat by Yoni and Hannah Kapnik Ashar

    This is a simḥat bat baby-naming and welcoming ceremony, based on similar ceremonies by Dr. Devora Steinmetz and Rabbi David Silber, Rabbi Elie Kaunfer and Lisa Exler, Drs. David and Joanna Arch-Andorsky, and others. . . .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. . . ☞
  • A Kavvanah for Crossroads: Triple Prayer for the Road by Yakov Green

    A Kavvanah for Crossroads: Triple Prayer for the Road by Yakov Green

    Yakov Green shares a short kavvanah (intention, meditation) which he wrote in Hebrew one morning at Beit Midrash Elul in Jerusalem. He later translated it into English. תפילת דרך משולשת | Triple Prayer for the Road . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞

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

  • A Case Study on the Open Siddur Project by Gabrielle Girau Pieck (University of Basel, 2014)

    A Case Study on the Open Siddur Project by Gabrielle Girau Pieck (University of Basel, 2014)

    The shift is not just about going electronic. It is about how the electronic form of the siddur is allowing for new theological functions. Like religious authority, where digital media can be used to either reinforce traditional forms or open up new landscapes for alternative visions of leadership, the Internet also offers both possibilities regarding the siddur, one of the most precious ritual objects in Judaism. The Open Siddur Project, as its name implies, is aiming to open up previous conceptions of the siddur by shaping and fine-tuning the possibilities of the Internet to make the siddur accessible and personalized for everyone. . . .Continue Reading. . . ☞
  • Efraim Feinstein presents the Open Siddur Project at NewCAJE, 2010

    Efraim Feinstein presents the Open Siddur Project at NewCAJE, 2010

    At the beginning of the talk, the audience expressed some discomfort with the idea of copying from one website to another, even if the original author is attributed. The main concern seemed to be that the author potentially loses control of his/her message if he/she has no idea of the remainder of the content of the website. On the other hand, one audience member who posts reviews on book review sites had an innate sense of the concept of mutual benefit: she posts reviews of the books she reads in part because she reads reviews posted by others. . . .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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