The Open Siddur Project is a volunteer-driven collaboration between folk passionate about Jewish spiritual practice. Some are interested in the Siddur as a technology for preserving and disseminating an evolving history of Jewish ritual, practice, and sacred poetry. Others are energized by the design challenge of crafting Siddurim that function effectively for nurturing spiritual, emotional and creative intelligence. All of us see the potential that creative engagement holds for empowering students and teachers to take ownership of those ingredients comprising their shared cultural inheritance.
The Open Siddur is a non-prescriptive, non-denominational project whose only intent is to help revitalize Judaism by ensuring its collective spiritual resources — the creative content intended for communal use — remain free for creative reuse. The Open Siddur Project invites participation without prejudice towards ethnic heritage, skin color, nationality, belief or non-belief, sex, gender, sexuality or any other consideration. All we ask for is an intellectually honest commitment to the principles and sensibilities preserved in our mission statement.
Azriel is a retail worker with a wife and daughter.
Yehoyada Amir is a Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at Hebrew Union College – Jerusalem. His attention is drawn to religious, humanistic approaches to Jewish existence in light of modernity, the memory of the Shoa, and the unique responsibility of Israeli Jews. For ten years (1999-2009) Rabbi Amir served as the director of HUC's Israel Rabbinic Program. Rabbi Amir is an active member of Maram, the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and served in various periods as a board member of the council. He has a leading role in contemporary theological-religious, social and ethical discourse in Israel's Reform Movement as well as in neighboring circles.
As JTS’s director of community engagement, Rabbi Julia Andelman oversees adult learning programs across North America, digital learning, continuing rabbinic education, millennial engagement, and Prozdor. Since joining JTS in 2013, she has initiated livestreaming of JTS’s public lectures, created a video studio for digital learning programs, developed high-level curricula for congregations and other settings, and increased continuing rabbinic education tenfold.
Julia previously served as the rabbi of Congregation Shaare Zedek in Manhattan, the director of adult education and programming at Park Avenue Synagogue, and the director of the iEngage Project at the Hartman Institute of North America. She was ordained by JTS in 2006.
Trisha Arlin is a writer/performer of kavannot and piyyutim and a rabbinic student at the Academy of Jewish Religion (AJR). She was the Liturgist In Residence at the 2014 NHC Summer Institute. Trisha received a BA in Theater from Antioch College in 1975 and a MFA in Film (Screenwriting) in 1997 from Columbia University School of the Arts. In 1997, Trisha joined Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of our Lives, a progressive unaffiliated congregation in Brooklyn NY. Trisha teaches classes on Writing Personal Prayers and regularly shares her work during services. Trisha completed the Davennen Leadership Training Institute (DLTI) in 2011 and was an Arts Fellow at the Drisha Institute 2009-2010. Trisha Arlin blogs at triganza.blogspot.com.
Arik Ascherman is an American-born Israeli Reform rabbi, and co-founder and Director of Special Projects for Rabbis for Human Rights, an Israeli organization for which he previously served as Executive Director. As a human rights and political activist, he has spearheaded protests to defend Palestinians against Israeli settler violence. He appears in the 2010 documentary Israel vs Israel. In 2009 he was co-recipient (with Alice Shalvi) of the Leibowitz Prize, presented by the Yesh Din human rights organization for public activism. In 2011 he was co-recipient (with Rabbi Ehud Bandel, a co-founder of Rabbis for Human Rights) of the Gandhi Peace Award," for their nonviolent methods of resolving human rights abuses in Israel and the Occupied Territories."
Yoni Ashar is a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Colorado-Bolder. His research interests include biological and statistical approaches to understanding well-being and interventions enhancing well-being.
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat (a/k/a Velveteen Rabbi) is a writer and poet serving Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, among them Through (2009), a self-published collection of poems chronicling the experience of miscarriage and healing, and chaplainbook (laupe house press, 2006), a collection of poems arising out of hospital chaplaincy work. Her first book-length collection of poems, 70 Faces: Torah poems, was published by Phoenicia Publishing in early 2011. My second, Waiting to Unfold, was published by Phoenicia in 2013.
Rabbi Samuel Barth is Senior Lecturer of Liturgy and Worship at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He was ordained at Leo Baeck College in London, following undergraduate studies in Mathematical Physics and Philosophy at the University of Sussex and the Open University (UK). He is completing doctoral work at New York Theological Seminary, exploring the use of Psalms in the interfaith context. Recently, Rabbi Barth served as a congregational rabbi in Austin, Texas, and Gloucester, Massachusetts. In the past, he served as dean and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic seminary in Riverdale, New York, where he was instrumental in establishing the cantorial program and a second campus in Los Angeles.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Stephen Belsky is a graduate of the Yeshiva of Flatbush, the State University of New York at Binghamton, and the Educators Program of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He received semikha at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and while studying there held internships at Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut, and the International Rabbinic Fellowship. Before starting semikha, Stephen taught at the Schechter high school in Teaneck, New Jersey, and after ordination, he returned to education, teaching Jewish Studies in the middle and high school divisions of Yeshivat Akiva in Southfield, Michigan. In addition to classroom teaching, Stephen has taught and lectured both in his local community and in synagogues across the eastern United States.
Alan Scott Belsky is a graduate of Yeshiva of Flatbush, an Everett Fellow at the NHC Summer Institute (2007), an alumnus of Moishe House Silver Spring, MD, and a past fellow of Yeshivat Hadar (2011).
Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, [b] 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, and Sovereign of the Vatican City. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio worked briefly as a chemical technician and nightclub bouncer before beginning seminary studies. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969 and from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina's provincial superior of the Society of Jesus. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was created a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European pope since the Syrian Gregory III in 741. (via wikipedia)
Jessica Berlin is a Jewish farmer.
Rabbi Phyllis O. Berman has, since the early 1980s, been a leading Jewish-renewal liturgist, prayer leader, story-writer, and story-teller. From 1994 to 2005, Berman was Director of the Summer Program of the Elat Chayyim Center for Healing and Renewal. She is the co-author of Tales of Tikkun: New Jewish Stories to Heal the Wounded World (1996); A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven: The Jewish Life-Spiral as a Spiritual Journey (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002); The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Peace and Hope for Jews, Christians, and Muslims (2006), and Freedom Journeys: Tales of Exodus & Wilderness across Millennia (2013).
Tim Daniel Bernard is Director of Digital Learning and Engagement at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously, he was the Community Manager at Seeking Alpha and Grants and Communications Manager at PELIE, having taught Humash and Rabbinics at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn for two years. He was also Kollel Fellow for a year at Yeshivat Hadar. Tim was ordained at JTS in 2009, where he also graduated from the Graduate School with an MA in Talmud & Rabbinics. He grew up in London and earned an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Bristol, which he followed with a year of learning at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. While in Britain, he was involved for many years in the annual Limmud Conference, as both participant and organizer. Tim is an active member of Kehilat Hadar, where he gives regular divrei Torah (many of which can be found on this site), and co-chaired the Shavuot Retreat in 2011. He is married to Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg, with whom he enjoys traveling, hiking and visiting modern art galleries.
Aryeh Bernstein is a fifth generation Chicago native, an editor of Jewschool.com, the coordinator of the Back to Basics Beginners Judaism Program at Mishkan Chicago, and an educational consultant for Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. While living in Jerusalem, he helped translate the Koren-Steinsaltz English Talmud edition. He has studied at Columbia, JTS, YU, YCT, and Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, and taught at Yeshivat Hadar, Drisha, Yeshivat Talpiot, the Hartman High School, Camp Ramah in WI, and elsewhere. He has led High Holiday services at Kehilat Hadar for 11 years. And he released a hip-hop album, called A Roomful of Ottomans.
Joshua Boettiger serves as the rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Bennington, Vermont. He chairs the local interfaith council, serves on the Board of Vermont Interfaith Power and Light, and is the director for the Vermont Jewish Justice Initiative, through the Jewish Council of Public Affairs. He teaches Jewish meditation in the region, and has also recently taught at Williams College and Southern Vermont College. Rabbi Boettiger received his ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 2006 and attended Bard College as an undergraduate. He continues to work as a timber-framer and builder of ritual structures. He is married to Rabbi Vanessa Grajwer Boettiger.
Reuven Brauner is a writer in Ra’anana, Israel. He has published numerous e-books of Jewish texts which are available for download at Tzvee Zahavy's website, halakhah.com.
Rabbi Daniel S. Brenner is chief of Education and Program at Moving Traditions, a Jewish non-profit organization which runs educational program for teenagers. From 2007-2011, Brenner was the founding executive director of Birthright Israel NEXT. He directed graduate-level training programs at Auburn Theological Seminary and at CLAL- the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, both in New York City. In 2009, he was named by Newsweek Magazine as one of the fifty most influential rabbis in America.
Bradley Burston (Hebrew: בראדלי בורסטון) is an American-born Israeli journalist. Burston is a columnist for Haaretz and senior editor of Haaretz.com. He writes a blog called "A Special Place in Hell".
Rabbi Simcha Daniel Burstyn is a rabbi, gardener, permaculturalist, teacher, singer, spiritual director, peace activist. He has been a member of Kibbutz Lotan for 22 years, the only kibbutz that is also an ecovillage. In the Kibbutz’s Center for Creative Ecology, Rabbi Simcha teaches courses in Peace and Social Justice and Jewish Approaches to the Environment.
Daniel G. Cedarbaum is the Executive Director and President of The Mordecai M. Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood. Dan became the Director of Movement Growth Initiatives and Special Projects of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF) in September 2008, having previously served for almost 20 years as a member of JRF’s Board of Directors. He was also the JRF’s Acting Director of Individual Giving and staffed the JRF’s Chicago-area office. Dan worked professionally for the JRF through November 2010, when he left to start the Kaplan Center, together with Mel Scult, Eric Caplan and Jack Wolofsky. From 2002-2006, Dan was the President of the JRF, and a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. In addition, Dan has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and as a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees of the United Jewish Communities. Dan has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Synagogues, which is perhaps the leading national Jewish organization working in the area of interfaith dialogue and programming.
Sarah Shamirah Chandler is the CCO (Chief Compassion Officer) and team leader at the Jewish Initiative for Animals (JIFA) where she works to support Jewish institutions to establish meaningful food policies rooted in Jewish ethics and animal welfare. Sarah holds a M.A. in Jewish Education and a M.A. in Hebrew Bible from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Jewish Communal Leadership from Columbia University. She recently served as the Director of Earth Based Spiritual Practice for Hazon’s Adamah Farm and teaches, writes and consults on a national level on issues related to Judaism, the environment, mindfulness, food values, and farming.
Rabbi Yehonatan Chipman is a Jerusalem-based translator and scholar of Jewish texts who has for years been writing a weekly commentary on the Torah portion published on his blog, Hitzei Yehonatan. He is a contributor to the book, Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections (2013). In 2000, Rabbi Chipman gave smiḥa to Rabbi Evelyn Goodman-Thau, the first female rabbi of Austria.
Rabbi Cantor Hillary Chorny completed her cantorial investiture, rabbinical ordination, and a Masterʼs degree in Sacred Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary before joining the staff of Temple Beth Am in August, 2014. Raised in San Diego, CA, she grew up with a deep attachment to the Conservative Jewish community. In 2008, Hillary graduated American University in Washington, D.C. with a B.A. in Jewish studies and a minor in vocal jazz performance. After working as a Judaics instructor and music director in various Jewish communities and camps, Hillary pursued her dream of becoming a cantor. In time, she was inspired by her teachers and family to also pursue the rabbinate. She and her husband, Rabbi Daniel Chorny, met in Israel, and continue to enjoy learning together.
Daniel Chorny is a rabbi and Jewish educator at Louis B. Silver Religious School in Pasadena, California. In 2014, he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Emmy Cohen studies Religion at American University and is interested in women's roles in religion.
Emmy grapples with defining the word "holy."
Danny graduated from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he began to connect with peers confused about their true direction and disconnected from the inner compass of their emotional and spiritual lives. He realized a calling in meeting people in their place of searching, struggling, and reckoning, helping them find their way to a life of radiance, soulfulness, emotional balance, and relational intimacy. In the years hence, he made it his life's work to walk that path and know it well, finding his own way from depression to a life of heartful presence and well-being, and leading to an exploration of a wide range of fields and intensive meditation and spiritual practice. In addition, Danny pursued study of Torah and wisdom in a variety of yeshivot and institutions in Israel, the U.S., India, Nepal, and Mexico, as well as through the modem worlds of psychology/psychotherapy and transformative change work, and grounded in daily practice of meditation, prayer, and regular intensive retreat. The founding director of Or HaLev Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation, Danny now devotes himself to teaching, a role he is delighted and privileged to fulfill. He is profoundly grateful to live a life colored by deep listening, heartfulness, cunosity, humor, and love of people. He teaches meditation, NVC, and works one-on-one with people seeking healing and transformation.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor is the rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, California. He is a Trustee of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), sits on the Executive Committee and the Social Justice Commission of the Rabbinical Assembly, and is a member of the Chancellor's Rabbinic Leadership Team at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Rabbi Creditor is also chair of The Masorti Center, a co-founder and facilitator of ShefaNetwork: The Conservative/Masorti Movement Dreaming from Within, co-founder of KeshetRabbis: The Alliance of Gay-Friendly Conservative/Masorti Rabbis, and the immediate past International co-chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall.
Lieba B. Ruth is the nom du rituèle of Lauren W. Deutsch. Her FaceBook page, “Jewish and Solar Holiday Graphics”, has other new approaches to traditions for our time. A former stringer for JTA, she blogs at Trads in Contempo Life. She is an advocate of no less/more than 10 people in any minyan so there can be more minyanim, less building funds.
Uri DeYoung lives in Samaria, Israel.
Rabbi Ehrman is a former Rebbe at Yeshivat HaKotel and Netiv Aryeh and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Iyun Hanefesh in Yerushalayim. He has authored numerous sefarim including Shiras Yitzchak, Simchas Shmuel, Simchas Hanefesh and also scores of articles in English and Hebrew. He has served as scholar in residence for various congregations throughout the New York area. To invite Rabbi Ehrman to speak in your shul or to learn with him over Skype, he invites you to contact him directly at ally [dot] ehrman [at] gmail [dot] com.
Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum is the founder of ZION: An Eretz Israeli Congregation in Jerusalem; and Vice President of the Masorti Rabbinical Assembly. Her work spans and links tradition and innovation, working toward Jewish spiritual and ethical renaissance. She devotes much of her energy to the renewal of community life in Israel and the struggle for human rights. Rabbi Elad-Appelbaum served as rabbi of Congregation Magen Avraham in the Negev; as a congregational rabbi in the New York suburbs alongside Rabbi Gordon Tucker; and as Assistant Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem. In 2010 she was named by the Forward as one of the five most influential female religious leaders in Israel for her work promoting pluralism and Jewish religious freedom.
Effron Esseiva is part of a renewal ḥavurah on the West Coast of Canada on Bowen Island called Shirat HaYam and is also a member of Or Shalom in Vancouver.
Lisa Exler is Director of the Curriculum Project, a joint initiative of Mechon Hadar and Beit Rabban Day School where she is the Director of Jewish Studies. In this dual role, Lisa directs the effort to sharpen goals and set national standards for Jewish education in classical texts while also advancing Beit Rabban’s strong Jewish Studies program. Previously Lisa worked as an experiential educator at American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and as a classroom teacher at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan. Lisa has a B.A. and an M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. She is a graduate of Midreshet Lindenbaum and an alumna of the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. Lisa lives in Washington Heights, NY, with her husband, Elie, and children, Maytal, Amalya and Yaniv.
Rabbi Sam Feinsmith teaches Judaic Studies and coordinates Jewish Life at Chicagoland Jewish High School, IL. Since his recent arrival to Evanston, he has been a regular teacher at the Center for Jewish Mindfulness, where he weaves in the depths of Chassidic and Kabbalistic wisdom. He holds degrees from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and Jewish Theological Seminary. Passionate about prayer and contemplative Jewish practice, he has consulted for a number of innovative prayer and minyan-related projects, and has conducted Jewish meditation workshops and retreats for teens and adults. As a tikkun olam ambassador, he served as a Kol Tzedek Fellow and volunteered in Asia and Central America for American Jewish World Service.
Shir Yaakov is an aba, singer, composer, designer, producer and teacher. Whether as Romemu's Musical Director, an officiant at weddings and lifecycle events, or as one-half of the world-hop duo Darshan; in synagogues, yeshivas, and intentional communities around the world; and in Jewish, multi-faith, and non-affiliated spiritual contexts, Shir Yaakov weaves a tapestry of Kabbalistic wisdom, contemporary songwriting, and deep personal spirituality. He has recorded and released four albums of original music. As a spiritual leader, he has led services and ritual in a wide variety of contexts, from Hasidic yeshivas to multifaith, LGBTQ, and earth-based spiritual groups.
Since 2004, Shamu Sadeh has been the program director of the Adamah Fellowship and educational farm. Drawn to the integration of soul and soil, Shamu works for the creation of a fruitful ecological landscape while building confidence, mindfulness and community among Adamah Fellows. Before co-founding Adamah, Shamu was a professor of environmental studies, writer, Jewish educator and wilderness guide. He directed the Teva Learning Center in its early years and completed a doctorate in Educational Leadership. In 2010, the “Forward” named Shamu one of the “Forward 50” who made significant contributions to Jewish life in America. Shamu has the yichus – ancestral connections – for Adamah from his great-grandparents and father, Jewish farmers and gardeners who practiced the mystical arts of composting and soil conservation.
Dr. David Fiensy is a scholar of early Christian history and Dean of the Graduate School at Kentucky Christian University. He is the Program Coordinator for Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, Christian Leadership, and Religion.
Refoyl Finkl (a/k/a Raphael Finkel) is an activist for the preservation of the Yiddish language, promoting its use and providing fonts, various texts, and tools for writing Yiddish in personal computers. At the University of Kentucky, Dr. Finkel teaches computer science. He earned his PhD in computer science at Stanford University under the supervision of Vinton Cerf.
Elli Fischer is a writer, translator, editor, and rabbi. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, he studied at yeshivot and universities, earning a BA in computer science, an MS in Education, and rabbinical ordination from Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. Since making Aliyah to Modiin in 2006, Elli’s keen understanding of Jewish culture has helped him build an excellent reputation as a translator and writer.
I have been teaching Torah and Chassidic writings for over forty years to students of all ages and backgrounds, both on the East Coast and the Midwest. I have been a director of several Jewish organizations in Santa Fe and Colorado. My articles and poetry on a wide variety of Jewish topics have been printed in many publications, and also are available online.
Born in 1954 in Brooklyn, Gabbai Seth Fishman grew up in a secular Jewish home though always felt spiritual. He was shaped by the social and political forces of the late 1960s and 70s. He received a B.A. from Yale in Music in 1976 and an MBA from Wharton School of Business in 1986. In 1989, he met Reb Zalman and began working for him as a gabbai the following year. Married with two daughters, he is active in the Jewish Ritual life of Bucks County, Pennsylvania where he davvens, studies and teaches Ḥasidus.
Rabbi Shoshana Meira Schachter was ordained by Hebrew College Rabbinical School in 2014, and as of July 2015 will be the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Brookline. Integrating her background in environmental studies with her calling to the rabbinate, she is passionate about bringing hope, resilience, and Jewish tradition to bear on the global crisis of climate change. Rabbi Shoshana is also a singer-songwriter who released her first album, Guesthouse in 2013. In addition to more traditional rabbinic experience, she has served as a medical clown with the Hearts & Noses Hospital Clown Troupe, and with the world renowned Israeli Dream Doctors. She is a graduate of Oberlin College, the Jewish Organizing Initiative & Network, the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, and Hebrew College Rabbinical School.
Shelley Frier List is a communications professional in the Baltimore area.
A long-time Jewish environmentalist, Dr. Barak Gale worked with rabbinic institutions on environmental resolutions and with COEJL. Today he lives with his partner Joe in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, runs a small B&B, and continues to practice a little optometry at a low income clinic in the basement of a local Baptist Church. He currently serves as Board President of Washington Wilderness Coalition, and on the Steering Committee of WA Interfaith Power & Light.
Born in 1967 in Omaha, Nebraska, Gabrielle Girau Pieck lives with her husband and two young sons in Basel, Switzerland, working as a freelance theologian in the fields of Liberal Judaism and Interfaith Dialogue while teaching mathematics and English. She studied Yiddish literature from a feminist perspective at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York and holds a Masters degree in Jewish Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Joel Goldstein is a Jewish educator at Chicagoland Jewish High School where he teaches classes on Jewish law, Talmud, Jewish texts, Halakha and Musar practices, as well as Hebrew. He studied at the Conservative Yeshiva Kollel and at Yeshivat Hadar. There, he served as Gabbai for coordinating leyning and davening. He received a BA in Physics from the University of California - Berkeley and an MA is Physics from the University of Washington. He has worked as a test and integration engineer and a systems and software engineer.
Shmueli Gonzales is a Mexican-American punk and ḥasid. He shares his transcriptions of Jewish liturgy here at the Open Siddur and his divrei torah via his blog, Hardcore Mesorah.
Avrum Goodblatt, a senior technology and management consultant, was the co-founder in 1989 of what is now the oldest Jewishly oriented service accessible through the Internet, Shamash (formerly, the New York-Israel Project of Nysernet). He was also project manager for Sadarit, the first PC Hebrew desktop publishing program.
Nehemia Gordon holds a Masters Degree in Biblical Studies and a Bachelors Degree in Archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He translated texts contained in The Dead Sea Scrolls Reader, was an assistant on the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project coordinated by Emanuel Tov, and worked as a researcher on the Hebrew University Bible Project under the auspices of Shemaryahu Talmon. Gordon has lived in Jerusalem since 1993, is the author of a series of popular books on the history of ancient Judaism and Christianity, and hosts the Hebrew Voices podcast.
Rabbi Esteban Gottfried is a Director, Playwright and actor and is the leader of Beit Tefilah Israeli (The Israeli House of Prayer) in Tel Aviv, which he founded with Rani Jaeger, and other friends.
Yakov Green is a long-time participant in the pluralistic Beit Midrash Elul in Jerusalem. He lives with his wife Rinat in Ramat Shilo.
Sarah Groner is an Israel Program Associate with J Street with experience in resource development and community social work. Sarah has a breadth of knowledge in the Israeli nonprofit community and an international perspective in resource development. Sarah has worked and volunteered for various Israeli nonprofit organizations, including Tebeka, HIAS, Ofek Liyladenu, Maagalei Tzedek and Mesila. Originally from the United States, Sarah moved to Israel in 2005 and has since completed her Bachelors degree in Social Work at Bar Ilan University.
Judy Gumbo is the author of Yippie Girl, a memoir in progress about love and conflict among the Youth International Party and other romantic revolutionaries of the late 1960s. With her late husband Stew Albert, Judy co-authored The Sixties Papers: Documents of a Rebellious Decade (1984). In her later life, Judy was an award winning fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. She now lives in Berkeley, California with her husband, David Dobkin
Leon Gunther has been on the Physics Department faculty at Tufts University since 1965. He got his PhD in Physics from MIT in 1964 and has published over 100 articles, the vast majority being in the field of Condensed Matter Theory. Having begun studies of the violin at the age of seven, he has played in numerous Community Symphony Orchestras, most notably the Newton Symphony, where he was the principal second violinist for ten years, from 1974-1984. In 1994, he founded the community chorus of Temple Emunah in Lexington, MA, known as the Mak'haylah. Programs include music of a wide range of genres - folk, liturgical, and classical. His compositions and arrangements include Hebrew renditions of three movements of the Brahms Requiem.
Chajm ist Autor und Bewohner des Ruhrgebiets, Herausgeber von talmud.de und Organisator des Minchah-Schiurs im Ruhrgebiet. Einige seiner Artikel gibt es nicht nur im Internet, sondern beispielsweise auch in der »Jüdischen Allgemeinen«. Über die Kontakt-Seite kann man Chajm eine Nachricht senden.
Rabbi Josh Gutoff, Ed.D., is the Assistant Professor of Jewish Education at Gratz College in Philadelphia. Following his ordination and his five years as a pulpit rabbi, Dr. Gutoff was the executive director of Hillel at the University of Minnesota, a Jewish chaplain and philosophy instructor at C.W. Post College, the rabbinic educator at the Solomon Schechter High School of New York and a lead instructor for the 92nd Street Y’s Derekh Torah program for adults exploring Judaism. He is also the author of a number of widely read articles on Jewish thought. Professor Gutoff holds a B.A. in literature from Yale College and an M.A. from The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), where he also received his rabbinic ordination.
Amit Gvaryahu is a faculty member of Yeshivat Hadar, the Drisha Insitute and Yeshivat Talpiot in Jerusalem. He is an alum of Yeshivat Hadar, Yeshivat Har Etzion and the Hebrew University, from which he graduated with a degree in Talmud and Classics. He is also Graduate student at the Hebrew University, where he taught Talmud for three years. He is married to Yedidah Koren.
Bonna Devora Haberman (1960-2015) is the author of Israeli Feminism Liberating Judaism: Blood and Ink and ReReading Israel: The Spirit of the Matter, National Jewish Book Award finalist. Dr. Haberman has taught at Harvard, Brandeis and Hebrew universities. In Jerusalem, she initiated Women of the Wall, a 25 year strong movement for women's full participation and leadership of public religious practice. Dr. Haberman earned her doctorate in Ethics and Education at the University of London. Having grown up in Canada, studied in the USA, Israel, and England, her work in and out of the academy fuses critical interpretation of texts and culture with passion for social betterment. She has published widely and taught at the Hebrew University, at the Harvard University Divinity School and at Brandeis University where she founded and directed the “Mistabra Institute for Jewish Textual Activism” – addressing difficult texts and social problems using performance arts. With Mistabra, she created and performed two full-length theater pieces, Inner Fire—about Jewish peoplehood, Israel, and territory, and Unmasking Esther. She studied with Augusto Boal, the Brazilian founder of Theater of the Oppressed. Dr. Haberman passed away in June 2015.
חיים היימס-עזרא (Dr. Chaim Hames-Ezra) is the Chair of the History Department, Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the author of I (do not) Believe: Israel and Judaism – Past, Present, Future (in Hebrew, Ktav 2011).
Jill Hammer is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion. Jill is the author of two books: “Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women” (JPS, 01) and “The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons” (JPS, 06). She is the co-founder of the Kohenet Institute, a program in Jewish women's spiritual leadership. An essayist, poet, midrashist and ritualist, her work has been in publications including Zeek Magazine, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, The Torah: A Women's Commentary, The Forward, The Jewish Spectator, and Lilith as well as on-line on many websites. Several of her divrei torah can be heard on soundcloud, thanks to the Romemu congregation.
Rabbi Nava Hefetz is the Director of Education for Rabbis for Human Rights, Israel. In her role, she works with Israeli communities to expose them to the reality of the Occupation, examining its repercussions from a Jewish-universal standpoint. Nava also coordinates an Israeli-Palestinian women's group that meets in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Shai Held is Co-Founder, Dean and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar. Before that, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakha at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel. A renowned lecturer and educator, Shai is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. He has taught for institutions such as Drisha, Me'ah, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and the Rabbinic Training Institute, and currently serves on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage program. Shai has a PhD in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought and in the history of Zionism. His book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence was published by Indiana University Press in the fall of 2013
Rabbi Marvin (Moshe Chaim) Hier (born 1939 in New York City) is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, its Museum of Tolerance and of Moriah, the Center's film division.
Born in 1971, Rabbi Benyamin Holtzman is a graduate of Yeshivat Har Etzion, and received semicha from the Israel Rabbinate. He has served as Rabbi of Kibbutz Ma’ale Gilboa since 2001.
Ya'qub Ibn Yusuf is the proprietor of Olam Qatan bookstore in South Jerusalem. A really wonderful story of his personal journey can be found on youtube, here.
Mark X. Jacobs was the Founding Executive Director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL, from 1994 to 2003). Under his leadership, COEJL grew from a short-term project of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment into a permanent coalition of 29 national Jewish agencies with affiliated institutions across North America. Mark X. Jacobs currently serves as a Senior Mediator and Program Manager at the Meridian Institute, where he designs and facilitates collaborative processes that help diverse parties identify critical issues, build relationships and trust, construct innovative solutions, and implement durable decisions. Mark is currently focused on multistakeholder efforts to address challenges at the intersection of agriculture, environment, and public policy.
Rabbi Abby Jacobson serves the community of Emmanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish teaches medieval Jewish philosophy and history at Oranim Teacher’s College, and in the Overseas School at the University of Haifa. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Haifa (2006), and previously studied at Yeshiva University (where he received his rabbinic ordination and master’s degrees in Bible and Jewish Education). For many years he also taught immigrant soldiers in the Nativ program of the IDF education corps, and adult Israeli Jewish education for the Hebrew University’s Melton School. He lives in Karmiel, Israel with his wife and children, where he is involved in building modern Orthodox communities that are meant to be open and welcoming to the entire public. Rabbi Kadish is the author of Kavvana: Directing the Heart in Jewish Prayer and The Book of Abraham: Rabbi Shimon ben Zemah Duran and the School of Rabbenu Nissim Gerondi.
David Zvi Kalman is a doctoral student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania; previously, he attended the University of Toronto and McGill University. Along with his wife, Yael, he also serves as the Hadar Campus Scholar for Penn, where he works to embody and engender the values of Mechon Hadar. He has been involved in several media projects, including Adashot and AtoneNet. He lives in Philadelphia.
Benj Kamm is a Boston-area systems analyst. His projects in the Jewish world have included working for Encounter in Jerusalem, and co-chairing and teaching at the National Havurah Committee Summer Institute, Jews in the Woods, the Kavod Jewish Social Justice house, and Hillel at Brown University. Benj plays guitar and banjo and enjoys learning piyyutim (Jewish liturgical poetry) from across Jewish history and ethnic traditions.
Chaya Kaplan-Lester is a Jerusalem-based spiritual teacher & guide, psychotherapist, and performance artist. She offers private therapy & spiritual counseling in person or via phone and Skype as well as leads spiritual journeys in Israel. As co-director of the Shalev Center for Jewish Personal Growth, Chaya trains and facilitates ongoing women's groups and teaches regular classes in the Jerusalem area and on her annual tours world-wide.
Shalom! My name is Emily Aviva Kapor-Mater. I am a radical transfeminist rabbi and activist. I am an autistic and Deaf transgender woman. My rabbinic work focuses on creating innovative yet traditional Jewish law, liturgy, and ritual, in order to celebrate and affirm trans identities and experiences. I also work for acceptance and accessibility for people with visible and invisible disabilities. My first book, Ein Self: Early Meditations, has recently been published by Vatichtov Press. I studied classics and history of religion at Reed College and the University of British Columbia. My other projects include playing chamber music, advocating for alternative education, and smashing systems of institutional oppression. Interested in booking me for a book reading or speaking or teaching engagement? Contact me!
Having been active in congregations of 3 different Chassidic dynasties (ChaBa”D over the course of a lifetime, Twersky, and Bostoner Rebbe), Rabbi R. Karpov, Ph.D. has for 30+ years been making available traditional liturgical sources’ deep spiritual core, and since the early 1990s translating ceremonial texts of 16th-century Lurianic Kabbalists of Tzfat (Safed), including: Tikkun Leil Shavuoth (ABQ rollout 2013/5773), Tikkun Leil Hoshannah Rabbah, 7 Adar, Leil Sh’vii Shel Pesach (Mishmar—anniversary of crossing the Sea of Reeds); and Tikkun Chatzoth. Ordained by 3 Orthodox-ordained rabbis, Rabbi Karpov maintained a Shomereth Mitzvoth path while serving Conservative pulpits for 7+ years, beginning in 1989 as 1 of the first 10 woman rabbis to serve a solo United Synagogue pulpit. Having in the mid-1980s expanded the Navajo/Jewish dialogue that Dr. Avrum Organick pioneered, she continued to serve the Window Rock centered expanse between Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and the Farmington/Durango area that she helped open up with a 1997 Pesach Seder receiving front-page Durango newspaper coverage. After serving as Traditional Egalitarian synagogue rabbi, founded and served the Window Rock area based Jewish Center(s) of Indian Country, identifying and drawing together ~60+ Jewish family units for Pesach Seders, High Holidays (mechitzah down in front), Purim and Jewish/Native dialogue, while teaching at Navajo Community College/Diné College. Available to run ceremonies.
Abe Katz is the director of the Burei HaTefila Institute.
The Beurei Hatefila Institute was established in order to encourage the study of the words of the Siddur as a Jewish text in Jewish schools. To assist educators developing courses on Tefila, the Institute publishes a weekly e-mail newsletter in which it traces the sources for the words and structure of the prayers within the Siddur. These and other resources can be downloaded on PDF from the Burei HaTefila Institute website.
Mr. Katz is also available to teach courses on Tefila at your synagogue or Jewish Community Center and as a scholar-in-residence. He is available to meet with school administrators to assist them in establishing a course in Beurei Hatefila at their schools and to train teachers on using Hebrew-English word processing and Judaic libraries on CD-ROM.
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is co-founder, rosh yeshiva and executive director of Mechon Hadar and on the Talmud faculty at Yeshivat Hadar. A graduate of Harvard College, he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also completed an MA and is pursuing a doctorate in liturgy. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Elie is a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and in 2009 Newsweek named him one of the top 50 rabbis in America. He was selected as an inaugural AVI CHAI Fellow, and is the author of Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights, 2010).
Emily K, a/k/a “The Darwinian Artist,” is a consultant-artist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She works with hardworking and talented but often cash-strapped filmmakers on commission: painting, animating, designing, and illustrating.
Dr. Samuel Klausner is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He has continued his lines of research in the Sociology of Religion and in Methodology-Philosophy of Science, applying sociological thought to the clarification of classic documents. Currently, his long range project is a comparison of Hebrew and Muslim dietary systems as a window to their theological presuppositions. He is completing a methodological critique of wissenschaft Bible scholar’s work on interpreting a verse in the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.
Rabbi Raquel S. (Riqi) Kosovske is the rabbi of Beit Ahavah ~ The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Rabbi Miles Krassen, PhD., is a teacher, author, scholar in the fields of comparative mysticism and the World’s Wisdom Traditions, and musician. He completed his doctorate in Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and received rabbinic ordination from the P’nai Or Fellowship. Currently located in Albuquerque, NM, he serves as Rabbi of Planetary Judaism, an organization for disseminating progressive mystical Jewish teachings based on the spiritual insights of early Hasidism and Kabbalah. He devotes himself to mystical studies and practice, and the teaching and training of teachers and practitioners of a new paradigm for inner development and self-transformation within the Jewish tradition. In addition to his academic career, Reb Miles has been teaching inner Judaism for many years to private students and at summer retreats including Elat Chayyim, the Aleph Kallah, and Ruach Haaretz. His classes and workshops are based on a deep love for traditional sources, familiarity with many non-Jewish wisdom traditions, and respect for the latest findings of contemporary scholarship and science.
Gabriel Kretzmer Seed is a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and is a co-founder of zemirotdatabase.org.
Cantor Hinda Labovitz is the cantor/educator of Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, MD. She graduated with a masters degree in Judaic studies and cantorial ordination Hebrew College in Newton, MA in June of 2014. She has served as a part-time shlichat tsibbur at Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA, the ritual director of Temple Emanu-El in Providence from 2009-2012, and and as the assistant to the conductor for the Zamir Chorale of Boston, with whom she was a proud alto from 2006-2014. Hinda maintains http://tekhines.wordpress.com/, where she publishes new and translated editions of tekhines texts.
Joy Ladin is the author of seven books of poetry, including just-published Impersonation, Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration, Forward Fives award winner Coming to Life. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her work has appeared in many periodicals, including Lambda Literary, American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Southern Review, Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and North American Review, and has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship. She holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University, and serves on the Board of Keshet, an organization to full inclusion of LGBT Jews in the Jewish world.
Miri Landau is a student in Karmiel, Israel.
Rabbi Gilah Langner serves as a rabbi, educator, and chaplain in Washington, DC. She is a co-editor of the literary journal for Jewish liturgy and poetry, Kerem. She teaches at The George Washington University and is a coordinator of the Washington Jewish Healing Network.
Mona Lantz Levi, formerly of Bucharest, Romania, lives in Rishon LeZion, Israel.
Amichai Lau-Lavie is the founding director of Storahtelling, Inc. and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul. An Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, and performer, he was hailed by Time Out New York as “Super Star of David,” an “iconoclastic mystic,” and as “one of the most interesting thinkers in the Jewish world” by the New York Jewish Week. He is currently a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Amichai was a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Israel (2008-2009) and is a consultant to the Reboot Network, a member of the URJ Faculty Team, and a fellow of the new Clergy Leadership Institute. He is the proud Abba of Alice, Ezra, and Charlotte-Hallel.
Vancouver-born Rabbi Hillel Lavery-Yisraëli joined Beth Jacob in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in August 2015 after having served as chief rabbi of Gothenburg, Sweden for three years. Before that, he was the rabbi of a large Masorti/Conservative congregation in Netanya, and a teacher of Talmud and other Judaic fields at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He has authored numerous articles, some of which can be seen here and here. Click here to watch his lecture, "Gender, Sexuality and Identity in the Jewish Tradition". More of his instructional videos can be found on youtube here and here.
Dr. Eve Levavi Feinstein holds a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. She is the author of Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible (Oxford University Press, 2014) as well as a variety of academic and popular articles. Dr. Feinstein serves as editorial consultant for TheTorah.com, a program devoted to integrating academic biblical scholarship and Jewish learning, and technical writer for the Open Siddur Project, an open source project developing a digital archive of Jewish liturgical texts. Dr. Feinstein is also the founder of Nisaba Editing where she edits a variety of works for individuals and publishers.
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo is the founder and Dean of the David Cardozo Academy, Machon Aron and Betsy Spijer, in Jerusalem. He is the author of many books on Jewish Law and Philosophy and lectures in more than fifty Institutions of Jewish and secular learning around the world. He pens a weekly “Thoughts to Ponder” which is sent electronically. To receive: please sign up at cardozoacademy.org.
Rabbi Dalia Marx (PhD) is an Associate professor of liturgy and midrash at the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College-JIR, and teaches in various academic institutions in Israel and Europe. Marx, tenth generation in Jerusalem, earned her doctorate at the Hebrew University and her rabbinic ordination at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem and Cincinnati. She is involved in various research projects and is active in promoting liberal Judaism in Israel. Marx writes for academic and popular journals and publications. She is the author of When I Sleep and when I Wake: On Prayers between Dusk and Dawn (Yediot Sfarim 2010, in Hebrew), A Feminist Commentary of the Babylonian Talmud (Mohr Siebeck, 2013, in English) and the co-editor of a few books. Marx lives in Jerusalem with her husband Rabbi Roly Zylbersztein (PhD) and their three children.
When not working with Kids4Peace, Noa Mazor studies as a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College.
My name is Ibtisam. I am Palestinian, living in northern Israel. My primary focus is on improving relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and I also work to improve the status of women in both Arab and Jewish society. Even though Arabs and Israelis live very close to one another, most have no social connection whatsoever. Most of my work is in the Palestinian community in Israel, especially amongst women whose position in Arab society is still repressed. I try to help them build up their confidence, and then I introduce them to groups of people of the three major faiths - Islam, Christianity and Judaism. For many years I have been counseling Arab and Jewish women regarding the status of women in society. As a religious Muslim woman, I work with religious Jewish, Druze, and Christian women on promoting peace by learning about each other's religions and cultures. I am on the board of Middleway, an NGO for the promotion of compassion and non-violence, and I helped found the Women's Interfaith Encounter, a program of the Interfaith Encounter Association.
Andrew Meit is a scholar of the imagination, scholar on Martin Buber, a type designer and software tester, and a Jewish artist who is disabled. Andrew is legally blind, legally deaf, and has several learning problems stemming from contracting congenital rubella. Through out his life Andrew has striven to turn his disabilities into well made art that inspires and celebrates beauty and truth. Although mainly self-taught in calligraphy, drawing and design, Andrew formally studied at the Cleveland Art Institute. With the font editor Fontographer, he created the well known font GoodCity Modern (a version of the typeface used in Gutenberg’s bible) and Final Roman, a template font for type designers. Recently, after decades of work, Andrew produced a digital recreation of the first page of Genesis from the Gutenberg Bible. Currently he is working on a new translation of Ich und Du and a font based on Buber's handwriting. In 1984, Andrew earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies with minors in Mathematics and Philosophy from Stetson University. Originally from Lousiville, Kentucky, he currently lives in Plantation, Florida.
Shimon Menachem, a/k/a "Shimonides" is a writer and educator living in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Aurora Mendelsohn is a biostatistician who lives in Toronto. Her work can be read in the Forward and at her blog, "Rainbow Tallit Baby".
Dr. Dan Mendelsohn Aviv has been engaged in Jewish learning as an educator, lecturer, professor, published scholar and author for almost twenty years. His book End of the Jews: Radical Breaks, Remakes and What Comes Next came out in 2012. Having spent three years creating an alternative model for informal education, he recently returned to his greatest passion-classroom instruction at Bialik Hebrew Day School in Toronto, Canada. He is also an itinerant blogger (at The Next Jew), inchoate podcaster and MacBook zealot. Most of all, he is proud of his darling Noa and three children.
Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler is the spiritual leader of Temple Sinai of Sharon, Massachusetts. He also has a regular blog on the Huffington Post and is the author of several books and articles. Rabbi Meszler has lectured widely and been heard in many venues, including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio. He has also been an instructor at the Kehillah Schechter Academy and previously served at Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, DC. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1999.
Sarah M. is a third year medical student in Israel studying how to be a doctor, a friend, and an engaged citizen.
Netanel Miles-Yépez is an artist, religion scholar, and spiritual teacher.
Born into a Mexican-American family, in his late teens, Miles-Yépez discovered his family's hidden Jewish roots and began to explore Judaism and other religions seriously. After studying history of religions and comparative religion at Michigan State University, he moved to Boulder, Colorado to study with the innovative Hasidic master and leader in ecumenical dialogue, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. In addition to Schachter-Shalomi, he also studied with various Sufi masters and teachers of Buddhism, and counts Father Thomas Keating, Trappist monk and founder of the Centering Prayer movement, as an important influence. In 2004, he and Schachter-Shalomi co-founded the Sufi-Hasidic, Inayati-Maimuni Order, fusing the Sufi and Hasidic principles of spirituality and practice espoused by Rabbi Avraham Maimuni in 13th-century Egypt with the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov and Hazrat Inayat Khan. Currently, he teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.
As a writer on religious subjects, he is known for his critically acclaimed commentaries on Hasidic spirituality (written with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi), A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters (2009) and A Hidden Light: Stories and Teachings of Early HaBaD and Bratzlav Hasidism (2011). He is also the editor several ecumenical works, including The Common Heart: An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue (2006) and Meditations for InterSpiritual Practice (2011).
As an artist, Miles-Yépez is mostly known for his vibrant paintings, influenced by traditional religious imagery and his Mexican-American heritage. His work in general represents a lifelong fascination with religious iconography, myth and symbol, image and archetype, cultural impressions and his own ancestry. Most of his work is concerned with the acculturation and use of traditional symbols and iconic forms in a new multi-cultural paradigm.
Rabbi Jessica Minnen is the founding director of Seven Wells and the assistant director of the Jewish Journey Project. She is an alumna of Washington University in St. Louis, the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Paideia: The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, Baltimore Hebrew University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Jessica sits on the Board of Directors of the American Jewish Society for Service and is a visiting rabbi at Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland.
Rabbi Nina Mizrahi is the director of the Pritzker Center for Jewish Education of the JCC of Chicago. Raised as a free-range child, Rabbi Nina Mizrahi’s deep spiritual center is rooted in the woods of upstate New York. After studying Biology and Environmental Chemistry in college, she worked in a research lab. Later ordained at HUC-JIR, her approach to Jewish life draws from all expressions of Judaism and is influenced by science, nature and neo-chasidism. Rabbi Nina honors all learning styles and inspires learners to think in new ways. Identified as a community rabbi, she seeks to bring together believer, atheist and agnostic, humanist, deist and seeker, to discover a shared tradition of ethical and spiritual values.
Lada Moskalets is a historian, graduate student at Jagiellonian University (Kraków, Poland), and coordinator of the “Jewish Studies” program at Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv, Ukraine). Her academic interests include the social history of Eastern European Jewry, and Yiddish.
Ben Murane works for the New Israel Fund, the leading organization promoting social justice and equality for all Israelis. Ben’s focus has been developing emerging Jewish communities around Israel, prayer, and social justice. Previously, he worked for New Voices, Hazon, and Breaking the Silence. He has held local and national lay leadership positions for J Street, Kol Zimrah, and the National Havurah Committee. He is also a co-publisher of Jewschool.com.
Rabbi Dr. Haviva Ner-David is the Director of Shmaya: A Ritual and Educational Mikveh, and the founding director of Reut: The Center for Modern Jewish Marriage. She has also written Chanah’s Voice: A Rabbi Wrestles with Gender, Commandment, and the Women’s Rituals of Baking, Bathing, and Brightening (2013, Ben Yehudah Press). In 2006, Rabi Ner-David was was given semicha by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Strikovsky of Tel-Aviv. In 2000 she wrote a book documenting her journey and aspirations as a female rabbi entitled, Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey Toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination. She lives on Kibbutz Ḥannaton in northern Israel with her husband and seven children.
Shlomit Nulman is a special education teacher in Israel. As an educator, she helps to mediate texts and ideas with her students and in general to help all people who want to learn.
Nina Paley is an American cartoonist, animator and free culture activist.
Eden "Eprhyme" Pearlstein is a Brooklyn-based Hip Hop Artist, Author and All Around Good Guy. Active in both the Jewish and Secular arts/music world, he collaborates closely with creative organizations such as Shemspeed, The Iyyun Center and K Records. He is 1/2 of Darshan- the musical midrash project that combines the soaring Songwriting of Shir Yaakov and Eprhyme's deep and probing raps.
Michael Plotke is an IT professional in the NYC area.
Josh Polak is the proprietor of Guitars of Pikesville; a small family operated shop in Pikesville, Maryland. He has been teaching guitar in the Pikesville area for many years while performing with his daughter Esther whose whistle playing can be heard on the Guitars of Pikesville's Youtube channel.
Marcia Prager is a rabbi, artist, liturgist and therapist, living and working in the West Mt. Airy community of Philadelphia. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia where she received Rabbinic ordination and a Master of Hebrew Letters degree in 1989, and a D.Min honoris causa in 2014. In 1990, she also received the personal smicha (rabbinic ordination) of her mentor and teacher, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, with whom she continued to work closely for over twenty years. In 2010, Rabbi Marcia was selected by the Jewish Daily Forward as one of the Top Fifty Female Rabbis.
Rabbi Jonah Rank is a musician, writer and educator. Thon currently serves Shaar Shalom in Halifax, Nova Scotia as the community's Maskil ("Teacher of Tradition"). Thon most recently taught Jewish Studies at the Middle School of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan. Prior to becoming a rabbi, Rank co-founded and served as Creative Co-Director of Jewish Eyes On The Arts; worked as the Secretary of Mahzor Lev Shalem (Rabbinical Assembly: 2010) and Siddur Lev Shalem (RA: 2015). A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, thons music has earned Rabbi Rank a place among The Forward's Soundtrack of Our Spirit. Jonah Rank was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2015, from where thon holds a M.A. in Jewish Thought; and a B.A. in Jewish Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary (2010), earned jointly with thons B.A. in Music from Columbia University. Jonah married thons life-partner Raysh Weiss in August 2013.
Laurie Rappeport lives in Safed, Israel. She teaches about Israel and Judaism online to day school and afternoon school students in North America and is involved in Safed tourism. She has studied Safed's history as a refuge for Jews and kabbalists who fled the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions and this has fueled her interest in the history of the first Jews in Colonial United States.
Eyal Raviv teaches in Texas with Teach for America .
"I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing – a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – in integral function of the universe." -- R. Buckminster Fuller, I Seem to Be a Verb (1970)
Rabbi Yaakov Reef is the Program Manager at Hazon’s Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. He has over a decade of experience as an activist for the environment and for LGBTQ social causes. He loves contra dancing, reading science fiction novels, and is an avid backpacker.
Sara Reguer is professor of Judaic studies. She has been chair of the department since 1985. In addition to teaching at Brooklyn College, she taught at Yeshiva University, Hofstra University and the University of Naples, Italy.
to bring an ounce of medicine,
the perfect dosage
to awaken the healing potential within me and you
Amanda Rush is an IT professional specializing on making Internet tools and services accessible to the blind and visually-impaired, and to all users with or without disabilities.
Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi serves the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion as the National Director of Recruitment and Admissions and President's Scholar and heads the Office of Community Engagement.
Rabbi Ofer Sabath-Beit Halachmi directs AspaklariA (paths for renewing Jewish creativity) and edits the El Halev compendium of original prayers and blessings for lifecycle events.
Rachel Salston, Soferet STaM is a current third year student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. This year, her program brings her to study at the Conservative Yeshiva. Rachel is an alumna of Brandeis University, Yeshivat Hadar, and Drisha. She has offered her services as a gabbai'it and leyning/davening coordinator for several independent egalitarian minyanim. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys sewing and quiliting, baking, and scribing.
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld isthe Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the international membership association of Conservative/Masorti rabbis. Rabbi Schonfeld started her career as a congregational rabbi at the historic Society for the Advancement of Judaism on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Prior to being named Executive Vice President, she was Director of Rabbinic Development at the RA, spearheading projects in areas such as public policy, conversion, continuing rabbinic education, professional conduct, mentorship and women’s’ advancement. Rabbi Schonfeld serves on President Obama’s White House Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Newsweek named her one of the 50 most influential Rabbis in America in 2011, 2012 and 2013. She was named by Jewish Women International as a “Woman to Watch” in 2011 and has also been named in the Forward 50. Rabbi Schonfeld is often called upon to represent the Jewish community in national and international settings and is known for her incisive application of Jewish thinking to world events.
Benyamim (Benny) Tsedaka is one of the elders of his people. As an historian, he has published over 100 books and over 2000 articles in Hebrew and English on Israelite Samaritan life, collated by the Internal University Computer in Israel under ‘Samaritans’. Benyamim Tsedaka is Head of the Israelite Samaritan Information Centre. Benny is the author of the ‘Samaritans’ entries in Encyclopedia Judaica; Encyclopedia of Zionism (in English); The Hebrew Encyclopedia, Jerusalem; and Encyclopedia Britannica for Youth (in Hebrew). Benny’s Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah was published in May 2013. For the first time ever, English translations of the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Masoretic (Jewish) text are laid out in parallel columns with important differences noted.
Dr. Enrico Segre is a physics researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and a volunteer transcriber with Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders. He is the author of dpanalyzer, a postprocessing tool used by Project Gutenberg.
Rabbi Sam Seicol was ordained as a Reform rabbi in 1978 and is a volunteer at the Vilna Shul in Boston. There he offers classes and programs on a wide range of topics such as Understanding Judaism, Aging and Spirituality, Music and Humor as Pathways to Spiritual Well-being, and History and Development of American Jewish Humor. Most recently he served as MIT’s Hillel Community Education & Engagement Director. He previously worked with congregations as an interim rabbi in Hyannis, Pittsfield, and Tampa. Before that Rabbi Seicol was the Chaplain/Director of Religious Services at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged in Boston from 1994 through 2003, and has worked in the field of Geriatric Chaplaincy since 1982.
Rabbi David Seidenberg, the founder of NeoHasid.org, teaches text and music, Jewish thought and spirituality, in their own right and in relation to ecology and the environment. David is the author of the acclaimed book Kabbalah and Ecology: God's Image in the More-Than-Human World (Cambridge U. Press, 2015). To read selections and find out about ordering the book, go to kabbalahandecology.com. David has smikhah (ordination) from the Jewish Theological Seminary and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and he has taught at over 100 synagogues, communities, retreats and conferences across North America (and a few in Europe and Israel), and is published widely on ecology and Judaism. David's teaching empowers learners to become creators of Judaism through deep study and communion with texts and tradition. Areas of specialty include Kabbalah and Chasidut, Talmud, davenning, evolution and cosmology, sustainability, Maimonides, Buber, and more.
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.
Andrew Shaw is a Jewish spiritual seeker and creative liturgist.
The former director of the Teva Learning Center, Nili Simhai is a leader of the Jewish environmental education movement. She has trained and counseled hundreds of educators in the pedagogy of Jewish environmental education and has put environmental sensibilities and programs squarely in the middle of Jewish educational programming and outreach. In 2009 she was the recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. In addition, she is proud of her role in the creation of Teva’s Shomrei Ḥayyot, Yitziah, and “Bringing It Back to Our Schools” programs, as well as her contribution to the development of several Teva curricula.
Passionate about all of Creation, Nili’s background includes study and work in ecological concerns ranging from wildlife conservation, wetland remediation, and entomology (Ohio State University) to ornithology (International Birdwatching Center in Eilat, Smithsonian Institute) and natural history (Natural History Museum of Cleveland). She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with her husband Yosh and her little boy, Tal.
Natan Slifkin (Hebrew: נתן סליפקין; born 25 June 1975 in Manchester, England), popularly known as the "Zoo Rabbi," is the director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh, Israel. He teaches about Torah perspectives on the animal kingdom at zoos, synagogues and seminaries throughout Israel and the United States; for more details and a taste of the experience, see www.zootorah.com. If you would like to subscribe to a series of Zoo Torah essays, send an email to email@example.com. Rabbi Slifkin’s other published works include Seasons of Life: The Reflection of the Jewish Year in the Natural World; The Science of Torah: The Reflection of Torah in the Lam of Science, the Creation of the Universe, and the Development of Life; and Mysterious Creatures: Intriguing Torah Enigmas of Natural and Unnatural History, all published by Targum Press and available at Jewish bookstores or online at www.targum.com. His most recent publication is The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, available for order at his website.
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.
Naomi Socher-Lerner is a librarian and knowledge-seeker. She is a volunteer reader for the Public Domain LibriVox Recordings project and serves on the working group for Heymish Philly. She lives in Philadelphia with her spouse Beverly and enjoys slacklining, quilting, ancient philosophy, woodworking, making music, and reading.
Virginia Avniel Spatz is a writer, education advocate, and inter-denominational/interfaith activist in Washington, DC. Spatz participated in Hartford Seminary's "Building Abrahamic Partnerships" program and served for two years as program director for Clergy Beyond Borders. She participates in worship and education across the Jewish community -- including Temple Micah (Reform), Fabrangen havurah (independent), and Kesher Israel's Women's Tefillah and Study (orthodox) -- and directed the non-denominational Jewish Study Center for four years. Her Jewish thought appears on her own blog and on sites such as RJ (Reform Judaism) and Women of the Wall. Jewish print publications include pieces in Living Text: The Journal of The Institute for Contemporary Midrash and All the Women Followed Her: A Collection of Writings on Miriam the Prophet and the Women of Exodus.
Daniel Sperber (Hebrew: דניאל שפרבר) is a British-born Israeli academic and rabbi. He is a professor of Talmud at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and an expert in classical philology, history of Jewish customs, Jewish art history, Jewish education and Talmudic studies. Sperber is the author of Minhagei Yisrael: Origins and History on the character and evolution of Jewish customs. He has written extensively on many issues regarding how Jewish law can and has evolved. This includes a call for a greater inclusion of women in certain ritual services, including ordination. In 1992, Sperber won the Israel Prize, for Jewish studies. (via wikipedia)
Pesach Dahvid Stadlin is an individuated soul in a flesh colored spacesuit, clinging to a wet mutant life-pulsating mud heap, hurling through time and space, getting hip to what’s going on. When he is not directing spirits at Eden Village Camp, he is a rabbinical student at the Diaspora Yeshiva Toras Yisroel, just outside the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem.
Eli is an avid fan of the often-libeled bird, the pigeon. This may have been the natural result of being born and raised in Queens. A graduate of SUNY Stony Brook, he has studied at Pardes in Israel, and is a former board member of the Wandering Jews of Astoria.
Rabbi Dr. Oren Z. Steinitz is the spiritual leader of Congregation Kol Ami in Elmira, NY. He was ordained in 2014 at the Mesifta Adas Wolkowisk Rabbinical Academy, and is a member of OHALAH Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal. The same year he completed his doctorate at the University of Calgary‘s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (Religious Studies, Communications and Israel Studies), researching the attitude towards the “Other” in Jewish and Islamic legal websites. Rabbi Oren holds BA and MA degrees from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev (Israel). His fields of expertise include the history of Jewish-Muslim relations; modern Jewish fundamentalism; Jewish and Islamic Law; and the religious online world.
Before assuming his current position, Rabbi Oren served for five years as the University of Calgary’s Jewish Chaplain, taught at Mount Royal University in Calgary, and worked for the Masorti Movement in Israel.
Dr. Devora Steinmetz serves on the leadership team for special programs at Drisha Institute in the United States and Israel. She has taught Talmud and Rabbinics at Drisha, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshivat Hadar, and Havruta: a Beit Midrash at Hebrew University. Dr. Steinmetz is the founder of Beit Rabban, a Jewish day school profiled in Daniel Pekarsky’s Vision at Work: The Theory and Practice of Beit Rabban. She is the author of scholarly articles on Talmud, Midrash, and Bible as well as of two books: From Father to Son: Kinship, Conflict, and Continuity in Genesis and Punishment and Freedom: The Rabbinic Construction of Criminal Law. Dr. Steinmetz consults for the Mandel Foundation, focusing on leadership development for rabbinical students and young rabbis, and works at Gould Farm, a therapeutic community for individuals struggling with mental illness.
In June 2006 Alan Jay Sufrin released his first solo EP, Folky American Pop, and has since been making music and honing his craft as a singer/songwriter/producer. His latest project, a duo with acclaimed singer-songwriter Miriam Brosseau known as “Stereo Sinai,” is lending renewed relevance to ancient Jewish texts by taking original Hebrew, Yiddish, and Aramaic verses and mixing them with synthesized pop arrangements they call “Biblegum Pop.” Learn more about Stereo Sinai at stereosinai.com.
Baruch (B.J.) Thaler received his B.R.S. from United Lubavitch Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim (Morristown); Smichah (Rabbinical Ordination) from Central Yeshivah Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch (770); B.A. (Eng. Lit./Creative Writing) & M.F.A. (Film) from Columbia University. Baruch grew up Chabad in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, speaking Yiddish. Later, he worked for the Folkbeine Yiddish Theater and the New Yiddish Repertory, translating and acting in stage classics. He also worked on Yiddish translation for the Milken American Jewish Music Archives and others, and was a writer-editor for the Yiddish “Algemeiner Journal” and film-editor for "The Forward." His Hebrew translation projects include “The New American Haggadah,” the works of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, and of other Hasidic-Kabbalistic masters. Film credits include: “Projecting Freedom,” “Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish,” “Punk Jews”; he also filmed Yiddish legends Mine Bern and Mike Burstyn. He currently spends a good part of the year organic farming. Still a Shliach (outreach “rabbi”) in heart - Baruch coordinates a troubadouring tribe of kindred spirits, called “Home of HoWL” (Holy Wow Love), who are creating new exciting ways to reexperience the traditions and rituals of yore, bridging heimish hasidism with homie hipsterdom. When the spirit is right, Baruch comes up with a niggun or two -- especially if it will help enhance davvening with kavvanah...
Ira Tick is a Jewish educator.
Rabbi Torczyner is the Rosh Beit Midrash of Yeshivat Or Chaim and Ulpanat Orot in Toronto. Since 1995, his website, WebShas, has provided a topic-driven index to the Talmud. Another website, HaMakor, offers bibliographies on a range of Torah topics. More than 500 recordings of Rabbi Torczyner’s shiurim delivered in Toronto are featured on yutorah.com. He holds rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Elchanan Theological Seminary. Rabbi Torczyner maintains a popular blog, The Rebbetzin’s Husband, and lives in Thornhill with his wife, Caren, and their four children.
Rabbi Ethan Tucker is co-founder and rosh yeshiva at Mechon Hadar and chair in Jewish Law. Ethan was a faculty member at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, where he taught Talmud and Halakhah in the Scholars' Circle. Ethan was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a PhD in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Harvard College. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, he was a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and a winner of the first Grinspoon Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellowship. He was named one of America’s Top 50 Rabbis by Newsweek in 2011 and 2012.
Shaul Vardi is a translator in Jerusalem.
Alan Wagman is an assistant public defender in Albuquerque.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow is the director of The Shalom Center. In 2013, Rabbi Waskow received T’ruah’s first Lifetime Achievement Award as a “Human Rights Hero.” His chapter, “Jewish Environmental Ethics: Adam and Adamah,” appears in Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality (Dorff & Crane, eds.; Oxford Univ. Press, 2013). Rabbi Waskow is the author of 22 books including Godwrestling, Seasons of Our Joy (JPS, 2012), and Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex, and the Rest of Life. With Sister Joan Chittister and Murshid Saadi Shakur Chisht he co-authored The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and with with Rabbi Phyllis Berman wrote Freedom Journeys: Exodus & Wilderness Across Millennia (Jewish Lts, 2011). He edited Torah of the Earth (two volumes, eco-Jewish thought from earliest Torah to our own generation). These pioneering books on eco-Judaism are available at discount from “Shouk Shalom,” The Shalom center's online bookstore.
Gabriel Wasserman is a doctoral student at Yeshiva University studying medieval Jewish history.
Levi Weiman-Kelman is the founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Haneshama, a Reform community in Jerusalem devoted to prayer, study and social action. He is a founding member of Rabbis for Human Rights and teaches at the Hebrew Union College.
Josh Weinberg is, director of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College's Israel Program. In 2003, he made aliyah to Israel. He serves as a reserve officer in the spokesperson’s unit of the Israel Defense Force and is currently enrolled in the Israeli rabbinical program at Hebrew Union College. Weinberg has been an active educator and guide for the Reform movement in Israel, with experience in both the informal and formal education sectors in Israel. He has taught and lectured widely about Israel and Jewish identity throughout Israel, the United States and Europe.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in international relations, Hebrew literature and political science from the University of Wisconsin and received a Master of Arts from the Melton Center of Jewish Education at Hebrew University. He was born and raised in Chicago. Weinberg loves politics, the environment and the outdoors, Jewish texts, and everything having to do with Israel. He is married to Mara Sheftel Getz; they are the proud parents of Noa.
Dr. Susan Weingarten is an archaeologist and historian who was formerly in the research team of the Sir Isaac Wolfson Chair for Jewish Studies, Tel Aviv University, Israel. After publishing The Saint’s Saints: Hagiography and Geography in Jerome (2005), she decided to move from ascetic Christianity to Jewish food.
Dr. Raysh Weiss holds a PhD in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature from the University of Minnesota. In 2006-2007, she was a Fulbright Ethnomusicology Scholar in Germany, researching the post-war European Klezmer Renaissance; an excerpt from her MA thesis will appear in the forthcoming Germanic Studies anthology entitled "Three-Way Street: Germans, Jews, and the Transnational" (University of Michigan Press). During her years as a graduate student in the Twin Cities, she founded and led the Uptown Havurah and now is honored to serve as a Member-at-Large on the National Havurah Committee's Board of Trustees. Raysh is currently a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she met her fiancé, fellow rabbinical student and musician extraordinaire Jonah Rank.
Avraham Haim Yosef (Avi) haCohen Weiss (Hebrew: אברהם חיים יוסף הכהן ווייס; born June 24, 1944) is an American Modern Orthodox ordained rabbi, author, teacher, lecturer, and activist. He is the Founding Rabbi and served as Senior Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (known as “the Bayit”) in New York. Since his retirement in 2015, he has served as the Rabbi-in-Residence. Rabbi Weiss is also the founding president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a rabbinical seminary for men that he refers to as "Open Orthodox", a term he coined to describe an offshoot of Modern Orthodoxy, and founder of Yeshivat Maharat for women; co-founder of the International Rabbinical Fellowship, an Open Orthodox rabbinical association founded as a liberal alternative to the Modern Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America, and founder of the grassroots organization, Coalition for Jewish Concerns, AMCHA. In 2007, Rabbi Weiss was named by Newsweek magazine as one of the fifty most influential rabbis in America, describing him as “Orthodox’s leading activist and leader of the Modern Orthodox community.” He is the author of two books, Women at Prayer: A Halakhic Analysis of Women’s Prayer Groups, and Principles of Spiritual Activism.
Rabbi Rallis Wiesenthal works to preserve Orthodox German Jewish customs. He received Semicha from Jews' College (The London School of Jewish Studies) in London, England in 1994. A graduate of Yeshivat Beis HaMidrash LaTorah (Hebrew Theological College), and the Oscar Z. Fasman Yeshiva High School in Skokie, Illinois. He lives in West Rogers Park with his wife and their four sons.
David Wolkin is the Director of Communications at AVODAH, as well as an educator, facilitator, writer, and storyteller. He has worked in the Jewish world in a diverse range of settings since 2002, most recently as Executive Director of Limmud NY. Outside of his Jewish work, he occasionally moonlights as a comics journalist, David lives in Maryland with his very patient wife, Keeli, their cats RoboCop and Phineas, and way too many comic books.
Erica Schultz Yakovetz is a graphic designer and visual artist specializing in Jewish texts, as well as a vocalist and performer. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University. After almost 25 years in Boston (where she led Friday night services for many years at Temple Beth Shalom of Cambridge) and NYC, she moved back to her native Northwest Indiana in April 2014. She now leads the Friday night service at Congregation Beth Israel in Munster, IN.
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz (born 1981) is an Open Orthodox rabbi and author. In March 2012 and March 2013, Newsweek/The Daily Beast listed Yanklowitz as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America and The Forward named Yanklowitz one of the 50 most influential Jews of 2016. Yanklowitz was ordained as a rabbi at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and he received a second rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the chief rabbi of Efrat, and a third rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo of Jerusalem. He earned a master's degree at Harvard University in Leadership and Psychology, and a second master's degree in Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University. Yanklowitz earned his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from the Department of Human Development at Teachers College, Columbia University and has taught at UCLA Law School and Barnard College. Yanklowitz founded Uri L'Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice movement, and the Shamayim V'Aretz Institute, a spiritual activist center for animal protection.
Adam Zagoria-Moffet is currently a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary, after having graduated from Hamline University (St. Paul, MN) in 2011. Concurrently, he is pursuing an MA at JTS in Jewish Thought, concentrating on Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah. His interests are in Sephardi halakha and culture, human rights, ethics, and mysticism. He is married, has a two-year old son and two cats, and enjoys cycling, go, and jazz in his free time.
Gatojudeu is a Yemeni Jewish artist in Brazil.
Contributors of Blessed Memory
Arnaud Aron (March 11, 1807, in Sulz unterm Walde, Alsace – April 3, 1890), the Grand Rabbi of Strasbourg, began his Talmudic studies at an early age at Hagenau and continued them at Frankfort-on-the-Main. In 1830 he became rabbi of the small community of Hegenheim in Upper Alsace; and of Strasbourg in 1833. As he was under thirty, the age prescribed by law, he required a special dispensation to qualify for the office. In Strasbourg, Aron acquired the reputation of an eloquent and inspiring preacher and a zealous communal worker. He assisted in founding the School of Arts and Trades and took active interest in other useful institutions. In 1855 he convened an assembly of the rabbis of the department of the Lower Rhine for the consideration of religious questions. Aron was the author of the catechism used for confirmation as prescribed by the Consistory of Lower Alsace. In 1866 the French government acknowledged his services by appointing him a Knight of the Legion of Honor. In 1870, while Strasbourg was besieged, it was he, together with the archbishop, who raised the white flag on the cathedral. Subsequently he was decorated by the German emperor.
Mashiah Asgari, resident of Herat, was a young singer and scribe in 19th or early 20th century Afghanistan.
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Ha-Levi Ashlag (1885–1954, Hebrew: רַבִּי יְהוּדָה לֵיבּ הַלֵּוִי אַשְׁלַג), also known as the Baal Ha-Sulam (Hebrew: בַּעַל הַסּוּלָם, "Author of the Ladder") in reference to his magnum opus, was an rabbi and kabbalist born in Łódź, Congress Poland, Russian Empire, to a family of scholars connected to the Ḥasidic courts of Porisov and Belz. Rabbi Ashlag lived in erets Yisrael from 1922 until his death in 1954 (except for two years in England). In addition to his Sulam commentary on the Zohar, his other primary work, Talmud Eser Sefirot is regarded as the central textbook for students of Kabbalah. Ashlag systematically interpreted the wisdom of Kabbalah and promoted its wide dissemination. In line with his directives, many contemporary adherents of Ashlag’s teachings strive to spread Kabbalah to the masses. (adapted from his articlewikipedia)
Sometimes the best we can do in attributing a historical work is to indicate the period and place it was written, the first prayer book it may have been printed in, or the archival collection in which the manuscript was found. We invite the public to help to attribute all works to their original composers. If you know something not mentioned in the commentary offered, please comment!
Seligman (Isaac) Baer was a masoretic scholar, and an editor of the Hebrew Bible and of Jewish liturgy. He was born in Mosbach, the northern district of Biebrich, Sept. 18, 1825 and died at Biebrich-on-the-Rhine, March, 1897. He belonged to the school of Wolf Heidenheim, and had in his possession some of Heidenheim's original manuscripts and personal copies of his published works with handwritten marginal notes. Baer's monumental edition of the Jewish prayerbook according to the Ashkenazic rite, Seder Avodat Yisrael (Rödelheim, 1868), accompanied by a critical commentary, became the authoritative model for numerous editions published subsequently in the 20th century. His editions of the Jewish liturgy also include Kinnot for the fast of the ninth of Av. He never occupied an academic position, but was content with the office of Hebrew teacher to the Jewish community of Biebrich. In recognition of his services to the Commission for the History of the Jews in Germany, the honorary degree of doctor of philosophy was conferred upon him by the University of Leipzig.
Founded in 1789 by Spanish and Portuguese Jews as Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome (Hebrew: Holy Congregation, House of Peace,) it is one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. (via wikipedia)
Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, alt. Loewe, Löwe, or Levai, (c. 1520 – 17 September 1609) widely known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, or simply The MaHaRaL, the Hebrew acronym of "Moreinu Ha-Rav Loew," ("Our Teacher, Rabbi Loew") was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who, for most of his life, served as a leading rabbi in the cities of Mikulov in Moravia and Prague in Bohemia. Within the world of Torah and Talmudic scholarship, he is known for his works on Jewish philosophy and Jewish mysticism and his work Gur Aryeh al HaTorah, a supercommentary on Rashi's Torah commentary. The Maharal is the subject of a nineteenth-century legend that he created a golem, an artificial anthropoid fashioned from clay, to defend the Jewish community of Prague against their persecutors. (via wikipedia)
Manoel Dias Soeiro (1604 – November 20, 1657), better known by his Hebrew name Menasseh (ben Yosef) ben Israel (מנשה בן ישראל), was a Portuguese rabbi, kabbalist, writer, diplomat, printer and publisher, founder of the first Hebrew printing press (named Emeth Meerets Titsma'h) in Amsterdam in 1626. (via his article on wikipedia)
Eleazar ben Killir, also known as Eleazar Kalir, Eleazar Qalir or El'azar HaKalir (c. 570 – c. 640) was a Hebrew poet whose classical liturgical verses, known as piyut, have continued to be sung through the centuries during significant religious services, including those on Tisha b'Av and on the sabbath after a wedding. He was one of Judaism's earliest and most prolific of the paytanim, Hebrew liturgical poets. He wrote piyutim for all the main Jewish festivals, for special Sabbaths, for weekdays of festive character, and for the fasts. Many of his hymns have found their way into festive prayers of the Ashkenazi Jews' nusaḥ. (via wikipedia).
Mosheh ben Maimon (משה בן מימון), called Moses Maimonides (/maɪˈmɒnɪdiːz/ my-mon-i-deez) and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn (Arabic: موسى بن ميمون), or RaMBaM (רמב"ם – Hebrew acronym for "Rabbeinu Mosheh Ben Maimon" – English translation: "Our Rabbi/Teacher Moses Son [of] Maimon"), was a preeminent medieval Spanish, Sephardic Jewish philosopher, astronomer and one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. He was born in Córdoba (present-day Spain), Almoravid Empire on Passover Eve, 1138, and died in Egypt on December 12, 1204.
Although his writings on Jewish law and ethics were met with acclaim and gratitude from most Jews, even as far off as Iraq and Yemen, and he rose to be the revered head of the Jewish community in Egypt, there were also vociferous critics of some of his writings, particularly in Spain. Nevertheless, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history, his copious work comprising a cornerstone of Jewish scholarship. His fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah still carries significant canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law. In the Yeshiva world he is called sometimes "haNesher haGadol" (the great eagle) in recognition of his outstanding status as a bona fide exponent of the Oral Torah.
(from "Maimonides" on wikipedia)
Rabbi Isaac ben Moses Magriso of Turkey was the foremost compiler and contributor to the Me'am Loez (the important Ladino anthology of Torah commentary and related midrash aggadah in Ladino) after it's initial author, Rabbi Yaakov Cuti, died in 1732.
Amram Gaon (Hebrew: עמרם גאון, or Amram bar Sheshna, Hebrew: עמרם בר רב ששנא, or sometimes: Amram ben Sheshna or Amram b. Sheshna; died 875) was a famous Gaon or head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura in the 9th century. He was the author of many Responsa, but his chief work was liturgical. He was the first to arrange a complete liturgy for the synagogue. His Prayer-Book (Siddur Rab Amram or Seder Rav Amram), which took the form of a long responsum to the Jews of Spain, is still extant and was an important influence on most of the current rites in use among the Jews. He was a pupil of Natronai II, Gaon of Sura, and was exceptionally honored with the title of Gaon within the lifetime of his teacher. Upon Natronai's death, about 857, the full title and dignities of the gaonate were conferred upon Amram, and he held them until his death. It is characteristic of Amram's method to avoid extreme rigor; thus he decides that a slave who has embraced Judaism, but desires to postpone the necessary circumcision until he feels strong enough for it, is not to be hurried (ib. iv. 6, 11). He placed himself almost in opposition to the Talmud, when he protested that there is no sense in fasting on account of bad dreams, since the true nature of dreams cannot be known. (via wikipedia)
Hai ben Sherira (or Hai b. Sherira (Gaon), Hebrew: האי בר שרירא; better known as Hai Gaon, Hebrew: האיי גאון, b. 939, d. March 28, 1038), was a medieval Jewish theologian, rabbi and scholar who served as Gaon of the Talmudic academy of Pumbedita during the early 11th century. He received his Talmudic education from his father, Sherira ben Hanina, and in early life acted as his assistant in teaching. In his forty-fourth year he became associated with his father as "ab bet din," and with him delivered many joint decisions.
Jacob ben Judah Hazzan was a 13th-century Jewish legal codifier based in London, England. His grandfather was one Jacob he-Aruk (possibly Jacob le Long). In 1287 Jacob wrote Etz Chaim a ritual code in two parts, containing 646 sections respectively, dealing with the whole sphere of Halakah, and following in large measure Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah, though Jacob utilized also the Halakot Gedolot, the Siddur of Amram Gaon, and the works of Moses of Coucy, Alfasi and the tosafists. He quotes, furthermore, Isaac ben Abraham, Moses of London and Berechiah de Nicole (Lincoln). Some verses by him are also extant.
Meïr Leibush ben Yehiel Michel Wisser (March 7, 1809 – September 18, 1879), better known by the acronym Malbim (Hebrew: מלבי"ם), was a rabbi, master of Hebrew grammar, and Bible commentator.
Hayim Nahman Bialik (Hebrew: חיים נחמן ביאליק; January 9, 1873 – July 4, 1934), was a Jewish poet who wrote primarily in Hebrew but also in Yiddish. Bialik was one of the pioneers of modern Hebrew poetry. (via wikipedia)
Paltiel Philip Birnbaum (1904–1988) was an American religious author and translator, best known for his translation and annotation of the prayerbook Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem ([Complete] Daily Prayer Book), first published in 1949, and widely used in Orthodox and Conservative synagogues until the late 1980s. Birnbaum was born in Kielce, Poland and emigrated to the United States in 1923. He attended Howard College and received his Ph.D. from Dropsie College. He served for several years as the principal of a Jewish day school in Wilmington, Delaware, and directed Jewish schools in Birmingham, Alabama, and Camden, New Jersey. He was a regular columnist and book reviewer for the Hebrew-language weekly, Hadoar. He also served on the board of directors of the Histadrut Ivrit b'America, an American association for the promotion of Hebrew language and culture.
Born in Virbalis, Lithuania (then considered part of Russian-ruled Poland), Yehoash was the pen name for Solomon Blumgarten, also known as Solomon Bloomgarden (1872-1927), a Yiddish-language poet, scholar and Bible translator. He emigrated to the United States in 1890 and settled in New York. For a decade he was a businessman, but wrote full-time starting in 1900 when he entered a sanitarium for tuberculosis. Yehoash "is generally recognized by those familiar with this literature [Yiddish], as its greatest living poet and one of its most skillful raconteurs", according to a New York Times book review in 1923. His output included verse, translations, poetry, short stories, essays and fables in Yiddish and some articles in English. His poetry was translated into Russian, Dutch, Polish, Finnish, German, Spanish, English and Hebrew. He was responsible for translating many works of world literature into Yiddish, including Longfellow's Hiawatha and a very popular translation of the Bible. His version was hailed as a contribution of national significance and perhaps the greatest masterpiece in the Yiddish language. His two volume edition became a standard work for Yiddish speaking homes throughout the world.
אברהם היימאן חרלאפ, Abraham Hyman (Ḥayyim) Charlap (1862-1916) was a Jewish writer, scholar, educator, and translator active in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Near the end of his life, he arranged new siddurim, the Sidur Tifʼeret Yehudah (1912) and Siddur Sfath Emeth Hechodosh (1916), collaborated on a scholarly dictionary with Alexander Harkavy (1911, 1914), translated the Tanakh into Yiddish with Simon Avseyewitz Neuhausen and Meir Letteris (1912), and created educational resources for younger students with Jakob Phillips (1911). After he died, his name was remembered for a blessing in haggadot, siddurim, and other works published posthumously by the Hebrew Publishing Company.
Jonas Ennery (Jan. 2, 1801, Nancy - May 19, 1863, Brussels) was a French deputy. He was for twenty-six years attached to the Jewish school of Strasbourg, of which he became the head. In collaboration with Hirth, he compiled a Dictionnaire Général de Géographie Universelle (4 vols., Strasburg, 1839–41), for which Cuvier wrote a preface. Soon afterward he published Le Sentier d'Israël, ou Bible des Jeunes Israélites (Paris, Metz, and Strasburg, 1843). At the request of the Société des Bons Livres he took part in the editorship of Prières d'un Cœur Israélite, which appeared in 1848. In 1849, despite anti-Jewish rioting in Alsace, Ennery was elected representative for the department of the Lower Rhine, and sat among the members of the "Mountain." He devoted his attention principally to scholastic questions. After the coup d'état he held to his socialist republican views and resisted the new order of things. For this, in 1852 he was exiled from France for life. He retired to Brussels, where he lived as a teacher until his death. Ennery's brother, Marchand Ennery, was the chief rabbi of Paris.
Louis Finkelstein (June 14, 1895 in Cincinnati, Ohio – 29 November 1991) was a Talmud scholar, an expert in Jewish law, and a leader of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) and Conservative Judaism. His major scholarly pursuits were works on the Pharisees (the second temple era sect from which rabbinic Judaism developed) and on the Sifra, the oldest rabbinic commentary on the book of Leviticus. Finkelstein authored a number of books, including Tradition in the Making, Beliefs and Practices of Judaism, Pre-Maccabean Documents in the Passover Haggadah, Introduction to the Treatises Abot and Abot of Rabbi Nathan (1950, in Hebrew with English summary), Abot of Rabbi Nathan, (a three volume series on The Pharisees), and Akiba: Scholar, Saint and Martyr. He also edited a four volume series entitled The Jews: Their History, Culture and Religion in 1949.
Avraham ben Shmuel Firkovich (1786–1874) was born in Lutsk, Volhynia, then lived in Lithuania, and finally settled in Çufut Qale, Crimea. A famous Karaite writer, archeologist, and collector of ancient manuscripts, Firkovich's chief work was his Abne Zikkaron, containing the texts of inscriptions discovered by him (Wilna, 1872) which is preceded by a lengthy account of his travels to Daghestan.
Rabbi Jacob Freund (1827-1877) taught religion at the Jewish community’s religious school in Breslau. In addition to songs, Freund wrote numerous poems and was a member of the Breslau Association of Poets (Verein Breslauer Dichter-schule). Despite his humble economic status, Freund was a prominent member of Breslau’s Jewish community, well known as a prolific writer of religious literature, including a reform-oriented prayer book for girls and women, which saw many editions. Occasionally, Jacob Freund even mixed his artistic and religious talents, as in his farce Hawaii oder die Redlining ohne Wirth: Fosse mit Gesang in fiinf Akten. (Marline Otte)
Shem Tov Gaguine (5 September 1884, Jerusalem – 30 July 1953, Manchester) was a British Sephardic Rabbi and scion of a famous Moroccan Rabbinical dynasty which emigrated to Palestine from Spain at the time of the Inquisition. He was the great-grandson of R' Ḥaim Gaguin, the first Ḥakham Bashi of the Holy Land during the Ottoman Empire, and the son and nephew respectively of Rabbis Isaac and Abraham Gaguin. He was the great-great grandson of the famous scholar and kabbalist, Sar Shalom Sharabi.
He studied at the "Doresh Zion" College, Jerusalem and was a pupil of R. Jacob Alfiya. At an early age, he contributed articles to the Palestinian Hebrew Press ("Hahhabbezeleth" et al.) on aspects of Jewish traditional observances, as well as on biblical and philological matters. He was awarded rabbinical diplomas by numerous authorities, including R. Ḥaim Berlin and Chief Rabbis Jacob Meir, C.B.E. and Avraham Kook, C.B.E. of Palestine. In 1911, Rabbi Gaguine was appointed to serve in the office of dayyanut in Cairo. In 1919, he was invited to serve In Manchester, being appointed Av Beit Din 1n 1920. In 1927 he was appointed Rosh Yeshivah of Judith Montefiore College in Ramsgate. His major contribution to Jewish scholarship was Keter Shem Tov, an encyclopaedic treatise which examines and compares the rites, ceremonies and liturgy of the eastern and western Sephardim and Ashkenazim, paying particular attention to the customs of Spanish and Portuguese Jews. (via Wikipedia)
Rabbi Louis Ginzberg (Hebrew: לוי גינצבורג, Levy Gintzburg) was a Talmudist and leading figure in the Conservative Movement of Judaism of the twentieth century. He was born on November 28, 1873, in Kaunas, Vilna Governorate (then called Kovno). Ginzberg was born into a religious family whose piety and erudition was well known. The family traced its lineage back to the revered talmudist, halachist, and kabbalist Gaon of Vilna. Ginzberg emulated the Vilna Gaon’s intermingling of ‘academic knowledge’ in Torah studies under the label ‘historical Judaism’. In his book Students, Scholars and Saints, Ginzberg quotes the Vilna Gaon instructing, “Do not regard the views of the Shulchan Aruch as binding if you think that they are not in agreement with those of the Talmud.” Ginzberg first arrived in America in 1899, unsure where he belonged or what he should pursue. Almost immediately, he accepted a position at Hebrew Union College and subsequently wrote articles for the Jewish Encyclopedia. In 1903, he began teaching at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in New York City, where he taught until his death. He died on November 11, 1953, in New York City. (via his article in wikipedia).
Nelson Glueck (4 June 1900 – 12 February 1971) was an American rabbi, academic and archaeologist. He served as president of Hebrew Union College from 1947 until his death, and his pioneering work in biblical archaeology resulted in the discovery of 1,500 ancient sites. In the 1950s, Glueck discovered remains of the advanced Nabataean civilization in Jordan. Using irrigation, the Nabataeans were able to grow crops and develop a densely populated civilization in the Negev desert, despite receiving under 6 inches (15 cm) of rainfall a year. Glueck worked with Israeli leaders to build an irrigation system modeled on that of the Nabataeans. He was the author of several books on archaeology, religion, and the intersection of the two. They include Explorations in Eastern Palestine (4 vol., 1934–51), The Other Side of the Jordan (1940), The River Jordan (1946), Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev (1959), Deities and Dolphins (1965), and Hesed in the Bible (1968). (from wikipedia)
Rabbi Hyman Elias Goldin, LL.B. (March 15, 1881, near Vilna – 1972) was a Lithanian-American Orthodox Rabbi, attorney and Judaic scholar. A prolific author of English Jewish literature, he wrote over fifty works.
Isaac Goldstein (19th century) was an American Jewish novelist. Very little is known concerning him aside that he lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and in New York before returning to central Europe. In 1866, he published Jesus of Nazareth: An Authentic Ancient Tale (Yeshu ha-notsri), one of the first modern Jewish interpretations of Jesus. He is also known as the author of a short Hebrew poem (1865) celebrating the memory of Abraham Lincoln, which he signed Isaac Goldstein the Levite. For more, see Kabakoff, Jacob. "Isaac Goldstein - pioneer Hebrew merchant - author" in Hebrew Studies 17 (1976) p.118-125.
Robert Gordis (1908 – 1992) was an American leading Conservative rabbi. He founded the first Conservative Jewish day school, served as President of the Rabbinical Assembly and the Synagogue Council of America, and was a professor at Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1940 to 1992.
He wrote one of the first pamphlets explaining Conservative ideology in 1946, and in 1988 he chaired the Commission on the Philosophy of Conservative Judaism which produced the official statement of Conservative ideology "Emet Ve-Emunah". Gordis was the founding editor in 1951 of the quarterly journal Judaism.
Shlomo Goren (Hebrew: שלמה גורן) (February 3, 1917 – October 29, 1994), was an Orthodox Religious Zionist rabbi in Israel, a Talmudic scholar and foremost authority on Jewish law. He founded and served as the first head of the Military Rabbinate of the Israel Defense Forces and subsequently as the third Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1973 to 1983, after which he established a yeshiva in Jerusalem, which he headed until his death. He served in the Israel Defense Forces during three wars, wrote several award-winning books on Jewish law, and was appointed Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv in 1968. (via wikipedia)
Alfred Gottschalk (March 7, 1930 – September 12, 2009) was a German-born American Rabbi who was a leader in the Reform Judaism movement, serving as head of the movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) for 30 years, as president from 1971 to 1996, and then as chancellor until 2000. In that role, Rabbi Gottschalk oversaw the ordination of the first women to be ordained as rabbis in the United States and Israel, and admitted gay and lesbian students to the school's seminary. During his tenure as president, he oversaw the development of new HUC campuses in Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York City, three of the school's four campuses. In perpetuating and expanding the modernizing tradition of the Reform movement, Gottschalk performed the June 1972 ordination of Rabbi Sally Priesand, the first woman to be ordained in the United States. In 1975, Rabbi Gottschalk oversaw the designation of American Reform Judaism's first female hazzan (cantor), Barbara Herman. In July 1992, he oversaw the "historic and symbolic" ordination of Israel's first woman rabbi, Naamah Kelman.
Amos Ḥakham (Hebrew: עמוס חכם) (1921 – August 2, 2012) was the first winner of the International Bible Contest, later a prominent Bible scholar and editor of the Da'at Miqra Bible commentary. (via wikipedia)
Rabbi Isaiah Horovitz (Hebrew: ישעיה הלוי הורוויץ), (c. 1565 – March 24, 1630), also known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh (the holy Shelah) after the title of his best-known work, the Shnei Luḥot HaBrit. He was a prominent Levite rabbi and mystic. Isaiah Horovitz was born in Prague around 1565. His first teacher was his father, Avraham ben Shabtai Sheftel Horowitz, a notable scholar and author, and a disciple of Moses Isserles (Rema). Horowitz studied under Meir Lublin and Joshua Falk. He married Chaya, daughter of Abraham Moul, of Vienna, and was a wealthy and active philanthropist, supporting Torah study, especially in Jerusalem. In 1590, in Lublin, he participated in a meeting of the Council of Four Countries, and his signature is on a decree that condemns the purchase of rabbinic positions. In 1602, he was appointed head of Beis Din in Austria, and in 1606 was appointed Rabbi of Frankfurt am Main. In 1614, after serving as rabbi in prominent cities in Europe, he left Frankfurt—following the Fettmilch uprising—and assumed the prestigious position of chief rabbi of Prague. In 1621, after the death of his wife, he moved to Palestine, was appointed rabbi of the Ashkenazic community in Jerusalem, and married Chava, daughter of R. Eleazer. In 1625, he was kidnapped and imprisoned, together with 15 other Jewish rabbis and scholars, by the Pasha (Ibn Faruh) and held for ransom. After 1626, Horowitz moved to Safed, erstwhile home of Kabbalah, and later died in Tiberias on March 24, 1630 (Nissan 11, 5390 on the Hebrew calendar). In his many Kabbalistic, homiletic and halachic works, he stressed the joy in every action, and how one should convert the evil inclination into good, two concepts that influenced Jewish thought through to the eighteenth-century, and greatly influenced the development of the Ḥassidic movement. (via Wikipedia)
Rabbi Yitzḥok (Isaac) Hutner (Hebrew: יצחק הוטנר; 1906–1980) was an American Orthodox rabbi and rosh yeshiva. From 1951 to 1982, he published what is considered to be his magnum opus, and which he named Pachad Yitzchok, ("Fear [of] Isaac", meaning the God whom Isaac [had] feared). He called his outlook Hilchot Deot Vechovot Halevavot, ("Laws [of] 'Ideas' and 'Duties [of the] Heart'") and wrote in a poetic modern-style Hebrew reminiscent of his original mentor Rav Kook's style, even though almost all of Hutner's original lectures were delivered in Yiddish. The core of his synthesis of different schools of Jewish thought was rooted in his deep studies of the teachings of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1525–1609) a scholar and mystic known as the Maharal of Prague. Various pillars of Hutner's thought system were likely the works of the Vilna Gaon, Rabbi Elijah, (1720–1797) and of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707–1746). He would only allude in the most general ways to other great mystics, in Hebrew mekubalim, such as the Baal Shem Tov (founder of Hasidism), the great mystic known as the Ari who lived in the late Middle Ages, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, the Baal HaTanya Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izbitz and many other great Hasidic masters as well as to the great works of Kabbalah such as the Zohar. (via wikipedia)
David Kaufmann (June 7, 1852–July 6, 1899) (Hebrew: דוד קויפמן) was a Jewish-Austrian scholar born at Kojetín, Moravia (now in the Czech Republic). From 1861 to 1867 he attended the gymnasium at Kroměříž, Moravia, where he studied the Bible and Talmud with Jacob Brüll, rabbi of Kojetín, and with the latter's son Nehemiah. He was also an active member of the Meḳiẓe Nirdamim, a society for the publication of old Hebrew manuscripts. Kaufmann was the possessor of a large library, which contained many valuable manuscripts, incunabula, and first editions, and of which the Marco Mortara library, acquired by Kaufmann, formed the nucleus.
Israel Meir Lask (1905-1974) was a journalist and English translator of modern Hebrew stories and poetry.
Isaac Leeser (December 12, 1806 – February 1, 1868) was an American, Ashkenazi Jewish lay minister of religion, author, translator, editor, and publisher; pioneer of the Jewish pulpit in the United States, and founder of the Jewish press of America. He produced the first Jewish translation of the Bible into English, as well as editions of the liturgy. He is considered one of the most important American Jewish personalities of nineteenth century America.
Jacob Judah Leaõ, or Leon, (Templo) was born 1603 in Buarcos, Portugal, and died in 1675 in Holland. He was a Dutch ḥakham, teacher, rabbi, translator of the Psalms, draughtsman, and expert on heraldry, of Spanish-Portuguese descent. He became famous for his models of the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon, which received Royal Patronage and approval and which were widely exhibited for many years in Europe and Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Isaac (ben Solomon) Luria Ashkenazi (1534 – July 25, 1572) (Hebrew: יִצְחָק בן שלמה לוּרְיָא אשכנזי Yitzhak Ben Sh'lomo Lurya Ashkenazi), commonly known as "Ha'ARI" (meaning "The Lion"), "Ha'ARI Hakadosh" [the holy ARI] or "ARIZaL" [the ARI, Of Blessed Memory (Zikhrono Livrakha)], was a foremost rabbi and Jewish mystic in the community of Safed in the Galilee region of Ottoman Syria. He is considered the father of contemporary Kabbalah, his teachings being referred to as Lurianic Kabbalah. The works of his disciples compiled his oral teachings into writing and spread his fame which led to his veneration and the acceptance of his authority. Every custom of the Ari was scrutinized, and many were accepted, even against previous practice. Luria died at Safed on July 25, 1572 (5 Av 5332). He was buried in the Old Cemetery of Safed (from wikipedia)
Edgar Magnin (July 1, 1890 – July 17, 1984) was rabbi and spiritual leader of Wilshire Boulevard Temple (previously Congregation B’nai B’rith), the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, California. Magnin served at the temple for 69 years and was considered one of the most prominent Jewish leaders in the United States, sometimes called the "Rabbi to the Stars" because of his close connections to the Hollywood film industry.
Rabbi Moritz Mayer, born 1821 in Dürckheim-on-the-Haardt, Germany, fled to the United States and to New York as a political refugee of the 1848 revolution. In 1856, after a five year stint as a rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina, he returned in poor health to New York where he contributed frequently to the Jewish press, and translated various German works into English: Rabbi Samuel Adler's catechism, Abraham Geiger's lectures on Jewish history, and Ludwig Philipson's pamphlet, Haben die Juden Jesum Gekreuzigt? (the Crucifixion from the Jewish Point of View), et al. In 1866, he published an english translation of Fanny Neuda's Stunden Der Andacht. The following year, Moritz Mayer passed away. He was 45 years old.
Dafna Meir, z"l, mother of 6, was a nurse who treated patients at the Neurosurgery department at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, Israel.
Yosef Chaim (1 September 1835 – 30 August 1909) (Iraqi Hebrew: Yoseph Ḥayyim; Hebrew: יוסף חיים מבגדאד) was a leading Iraqi ḥakham (Sephardi Rabbi), authority on halakha (Jewish law), and Master Kabbalist. He is best known as author of the work on Halakha Ben Ish Ḥai (בן איש חי) ("Son of Man (who) Lives"), a collection of the laws of everyday life interspersed with mystical insights and customs, addressed to the masses and arranged by the weekly Torah portion.
Rabbi Uri Miller (1906 - 1972) joined Beth Israel synagogue in New Orleans in 1935, a post he would hold through the early 1940s. He was president of the Hebrew Theological College Alumni from 1936 to 1938, and of its successor the Rabbinical Council of America from 1946 to 1948. He was the rabbi of Beth Jacob in Baltimore from 1945 to 1972. From 1963-1965 he served as president of the Synagogue Council of America.
Joesph ben Solomon of Carcassonne was a French liturgical poet of the eleventh century. He wrote a Ḥanukkah yotser beginning "Odeka ki anafta," which is mentioned by Rashi in his commentary on Ezekiel 21:18. Joseph took the material for this yotser from various haggadot, working it over in a payyeṭanic style. It is composed of verses of three lines each, arranged in alphabetical order.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady (Hebrew: שניאור זלמן מליאדי) (September 4, 1745 – December 15, 1812 O.S. / 18 Elul 5505 - 24 Tevet 5573), was the founder and first Rebbe of the Ḥassidic movement known as ḤaBaD, then based in Liadi, within Imperial Russia. He was the author of many works, and is best known for Shulḥan Arukh HaRav, the Tanya, and his Siddur Torah Or.
Yitsḥok Leybush Peretz (יצחק־לייבוש פרץ) (May 18, 1852 – 3 April 1915), or I. L. Peretz, was a Yiddish language author and playwright from Poland. Peretz rejected cultural universalism, seeing the world as composed of different nations, each with its own character. Liptzin comments that "Every people is seen by him as a chosen people..."; he saw his role as a Jewish writer to express "Jewish ideals...grounded in Jewish tradition and Jewish history." Unlike many other Maskilim, he greatly respected the Hasidic Jews for their mode of being in the world; at the same time, he understood that there was a need to make allowances for human frailty. His short stories such as "If Not Higher", "The Treasure", and "Beside the Dying" emphasize the importance of sincere piety rather than empty religiosity. (via his article in wikipedia
Jakob Josef Petuchowski (1925, Berlin – 1991, Cincinnati) was an American research professor of Jewish Theology and Liturgy and professor of Judeo-Christian Studies at the Jewish Institute of Religion at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio. Petuchowski was brought up as an Orthodox Jew in Berlin and left Germany in May 1939 for Scotland on the Kindertransport. His father, Samuel Meir Sigmund Petuchowski, died in 1928 and his mother was murdered in the Holocaust. Aged just 16, and having had only a year's instruction in English before leaving Berlin, he became a rabbinical student at the Glasgow Rabbinical College. While studying for a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Psychology, which he received from the University of London in 1947, he continued Jewish studies privately, receiving tuition from Rabbis Leo Baeck and Arthur Löwenstamm among others. In 1948 he became a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati. He received a master's degree in 1952 and a PhD in 1956. He served as part-time rabbi in Welch, West Virginia between 1949 and 1955 and was full-time rabbi in Washington, Pennsylvania from 1955 to 1956. He returned to teach at Hebrew Union College in 1956. During the academic year 1963-64 he was rabbi and founding director of Judaic Studies at the college's newly established branch in Jerusalem. His works include Ever Since Sinai (1961), Prayerbook Reform in Europe (1968), Understanding Jewish Prayer (1972), Theology and Poetry (1978), Es lehrten unsere Meister (1979) and When Jews and Christians Meet (1986).
Seril Rappaport was the daughter of R' Yaakov (Yankev) Segal, known as the Maggid of Dubno (1741-1804). She married R' Mordecai Katz Rappoport, rebbe at Oleksiniec in southern Poland in the late 1700s. Often referred to as Rebbetzin Seril, she was most likely the firzogerin in her husband's synagogue, leading the women in prayer. She also wrote original prayers, highlighting specific lines from the siddur (the order of prayers used in the synagogue) as well as biblical verses, and using them as inspirations for new meditations and appeals to God. Her best-known prayers were "Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon," containing an appeal to God in Aramaic and in Yiddish, and "Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Blowing of the Shofar." (from The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E.to 1900 C.E. ed. Emily Taitz, Sondra Henry, Cheryl Tallan, Philadelphia: JPS, 2003, p.216)
Hester Leverson Rothschild (1820 or 1821-1880) was an Anglo-Jewish author. She was an editor and intimate of the Danish-Jewish writer, Meïr Aron Goldschmidt. Her husband, a diamond merchant, was Lewis Meyer (Benjamin) Rothschild of Denmark.
Hyman Judah Schachtel (1907–1990) was Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel of Houston from 1943 to 1975. From 1975-1990 he served as Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel of Houston. He also served the Houston Jewish community as "rabbi-at-large" for the remainder of his life. On January 20, 1965, Rabbi Schachtel delivered the inaugural prayer for President Lyndon B. Johnson in Washington, D.C.. (via wikipedia)
Rabbi Dr. Zalman Meshullam Schachter-Shalomi, affectionately known as "Reb Zalman", (28 August 1924 – 3 July 2014) was one of the founders of the Jewish Renewal movement. Born in Żółkiew, Poland (now Ukraine) and raised in Vienna, he was interned in detention camps under the Vichy Regime but managed to flee the Nazi advance, emigrating to the United States in 1941. He was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in 1947 within the ḤaBaD Hasidic movement while under the leadership of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, and served ḤaBaD communities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He subsequently earned an M.A. in psychology of religion at Boston University, and a doctorate from the Hebrew Union College. He was initially sent out to speak on college campuses by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but in the early 1960s, after experimenting with "the sacramental value of lysergic acid", the main ingredient in LSD, leadership within ḤaBaD circles cut ties with him. He continued teaching the Torah of Ḥassidut until the end of his life to creative, free and open-minded Jewish thinkers with humility and kindness and established warm ecumenical ties as well. In September 2009, he became the first contributor of a siddur to the Open Siddur Project database of Jewish liturgy and related work. Reb Zalman supported the Open Siddur Project telling its founder, "this is what I've been looking forward to!" and sharing among many additional works of liturgy, an interview he had with Havurah magazine in the early to mid-1980s detailing his vision of "Database Davenen." The Open Siddur Project is proud to be realizing one of Reb Zalman's long held dreams.
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (10 November 1759 – 9 May 1805) was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. Schiller grew up in a very religious family and spent much of his youth studying the Bible. In 1789, he was appointed professor of History and Philosophy in Jena. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism.
Fanny Neuda (1819-1894) was a Jewish German-speaking writer best known for her popular collection of prayers, Stunden Der Andacht. She was born in Lomnice to the family of Rabbi Yehudah Schmiedl (1776-1855). After marrying Abraham Neuda (1812-1854), the couple moved to Loštice to Moravia, where her husband held the position of rabbi. They had three sons: Moritz (1842), Julius (1845) and Gotthold (1846). After her husband's death in 1854 she stayed for some time in Brno and later settled in Vienna . She died at the age of 75 years in the spa town of Merano (present-day Italy).
Gershom Mendes Seixas (1745–1816) led the Sepharadi Congregation Shearith Israel in New York from 1768 to 1776 and again from 1784 to 1816. Although not an ordained Rabbi, he served as Ḥazzan and was among the first Jewish communal leaders who was born and educated in the United States. He was also the first American Jewish synagogue leader to give a d'var torah (sermon) in English. Seixas was an ardent patriot during the American Revolution. He moved the congregation to Philadelphia's Congregation Mikveh Israel and was the Ḥazzan there for the duration of the war. In 1783, he successfully sought revisions in a constitutional clause newly adopted by the Pennsylvania State Legislature, which required a religious examination for seekers of public office. Seixas was one of the fourteen recognized ministers in New York in 1789 who participated in George Washington's first inauguration at Federal Hall in New York City. He delivered the first Thanksgiving address in an American synagogue following the adoption of the United States Constitution. (via his article in wikipedia)
Seymour Siegel (September 12, 1927 - February 24, 1988), often referred to as "an architect of Conservative Jewish theology," was an American Conservative rabbi, a Professor of Ethics and Theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS), the 1983-1984 Executive Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council," and an advisor to three American Presidents, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. Siegel was associated with JTS for 41 years, first as a student and later as an instructor, holding the Ralph Simon Professor of Ethics and Theology chair, succeeding his friend and mentor, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in that position. He was an outspoken champion of political conservatism, delivering a prayer at the 1973 second term inauguration of President Richard Nixon, but just as strong a champion of religious causes sometimes associated with liberalism, such as the ordination of female rabbis. In his obituary, New York Times religion writer, Ari L. Goldman, wrote that the writings of Seymour Siegel "helped open the door for the ordination of female rabbis" in the Conservative movement.
Born Abraham Silver in Naumiestis, in the Suwałki Governorate of Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania), Abba Hillel Silver (January 28, 1893 – November 28, 1963) was an American Rabbi and Zionist leader. He was a key figure in the mobilization of American support for the founding of the State of Israel. In 1917, at age twenty-four, he became rabbi of The Temple in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the nation's largest and best-known Reform congregations, where he served for forty-six years. Abba Hillel Silver was an early champion of rights for labor, for worker's compensation and civil liberties, though his highest priorities were to advance respect for and support of Zionism. Silver was a keynote speaker in the Allied Jewish Campaign to raise funds jointly for Zionist projects in Palestine and for European Jewry. Silver was one of the chief Zionist spokesmen appearing before the United Nations in the Palestine hearings of 2 October 1947. (from Wikipedia)
Rabbi Morris Silverman (1894–1972) was a Conservative rabbi as well as an editor and writer of Jewish prayer books. In 1939, he edited the High Holiday Prayer Book, popularly known as the "Silverman Machzor" which became the official prayer book for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for the United Synagogue of America of the Conservative Movement for over half a century.Likewise, his manuscript for a siddur became the basis of the Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book (Seder Tefilot Yisrael), the official prayer book for the Conservative movement. Silverman served as rabbi for The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Simeon Singer (1846–1906) was an English rabbi, preacher, lecturer and public worker. He is best known for his English translation of the Siddur, the Authorized Daily Prayer Book, informally known as the "Singer's Siddur". Singer's most famous work was his new edition and English translation of the Authorized Daily Prayer Book (published in 1890). The Siddur was expanded in 1917 under Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz. In 1915 the Bloch Publishing Company published an American version, The Standard Prayer Book, which was widely used until the introduction of Philip Birnbaum's Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem in 1949.
Born in Russia, Rabbi Samuel Thurman came to America as a child and grew up in Boston. There he attended Boston Latin Grammar School and then Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude. From there he enrolled in Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati to prepare for the rabbinate. After serving in Lexington, Kentucky (ca.1908), Kalamazoo, Michigan (ca.1908-1912, and Trenton, New Jersey (ca.1912-1914, he came to United Hebrew in St. Louis, Missouri in 1914, where he served the congregation until he died in 1963 at the age of eighty. An exceptionally dynamic orator, he spoke frequently before other congregations, including many Christian churches. Thurman was instrumental in bringing together rabbis of fellow Jewish congregations through his role in the creation of the St. Louis Rabbinical Association. A Thirty-Third Degree Mason, he was a longtime fiend of Harry S. Truman. Thurman was singularly honored when he was invited to deliver the invocation at President Truman's inauguration in January 1949, the first rabbi in American history to participate in a presidential inauguration.
Little is known of (Rabbi? Cantor?) Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen aside from the prayer that he composed for the Sepharadi congregation in New York, Shearith Israel, in 1784.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator. Longfellow wrote predominantly lyric poems, known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and also had success overseas. Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, which was then a part of Massachusetts. He studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a former headquarters of George Washington. His first wife Mary Potter died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife Frances Appleton died in 1861 after sustaining burns when her dress caught fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He was the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy. He died in 1882.
The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, published by the United States Government Printing Office and issued when Congress is in session. Indexes are issued approximately every two weeks. At the end of a session of Congress, the daily editions are compiled in bound volumes constituting the permanent edition. Statutory authorization for the Congressional Record is found in Chapter 9 of Title 44 of the United States Code. (wikipedia)
Elijah’s Journey, a Jewish response to the issues of suicide awareness and prevention, was founded by Efrem Epstein in 2009 to create a Jewish Voice within the greater national suicide awareness effort. You can donate to Elijah’s Journey. If you or anyone you know is in need of help, call 911, or 1-800 273 8255.
JewishBoston.com is a website for Jews in Boston where you can find an immediate connection to all the amazing Jewish things that are happening in Boston right now. Discover links to cultural events (music, dance, film, lectures, cooking classes), Jewish education (courses, lectures, trips), organizations (synagogues, community centers, professional networking) and lots more.
Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) created the world of JewishBoston.com so that, finally, there is an easy-to-find, vibrant online place to connect Jews, especially young Jews, with one another and the community at large. No more endless searching for ways to experience Jewish life. JewishBoston.com is a natural extension of CJP and was born out of the realization that a new way of thinking was needed to bring the community together.
The Masorti Movement in Israel creates opportunities for all Jews to live Jewish lives in Israel unhindered, and on their own terms. It is a religious movement based on values of inclusion combined with traditional practice and Halakha (Jewish Law).
Sephardic Pizmonim Project is devoted to the preservation and dissemination of all Sephardic Middle Eastern pizmonim (songs), cantorial and liturgical traditions.
Founded 2002, T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, (formerly Rabbis for Human Rights - North America) is a multi-denominational rabbinical organization dedicated to giving voice to the tradition of human rights in Judaism.
The Jewish English Torah (JET) is a project to translate the TaNaKh. The project uses the World English Bible (WEB) as the base while making appropriate corrections where the WEB presents non-Jewish readings of scripture.
The Jewish Vegetarian Society in Jerusalem runs Zangvil, the Ginger Vegetarian Community Center on 8 Balfour Street. The Society was founded in Jerusalem in 1991 by the late Philip L. Pick, as a counterpart to the Jewish Vegetarian Society in London. Ever since, it worked to promote animal welfare and plant based diets.
Open Siddur Project Staff
Founding director of the Open Siddur Project, Aharon Varady is a community planner (M.C.P.) and Jewish educator (M.A. J.Ed.) working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of Torah study. His work on the adoption of Open Source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Atlantic Magazine, Tablet, and Haaretz. Aharon Varady studied environmental planning and planning history at DAAP/University of Cincinnati, and the intersection of theurgy, experiential education, and ecology at the Davidson School of Education/JTSA. Here at opensiddur.org, he serves as hierophant, welcoming new users, adding new posts, and keeping the site up-to-date. If you find any mistakes in his translations or transcriptions, please let him know. Shgiyot mi yavin, Ministarot Nakeni שְׁגִיאוֹת מִי־יָבִין; מִנִּסְתָּרוֹת נַקֵּנִי "Who can know all one's flaws? From hidden errors, correct me" (Psalms 19:13).
As an open source and free software project, the Open Siddur would not be possible at all were it not for the in-kind contributions of its volunteer developers, transcribers, translators, commentators, artists, designers, and promoters.
We look forward to acknowledging you. Please join our community and contribute to the Open Siddur by transcribing or translating texts, researching, providing art and comments, sharing ideas, or if you have technical skills, helping us build the Open Siddur web application. If you would like to support the Open Siddur Project financially, tax free donations can be made via a donation page sponsored by Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, a 501(3)c non-profit providing the Open Siddur with fiscal sponsorship.
Aharon Varady, who first outlined the project in 2002, directs the Open Siddur and administers, curates, and provides light-touch editing for all the content on opensiddur.org. Efraim Feinstein is the lead developer of the effort to create what we hope will be an open source application for folk to craft their own siddur from a database of carefully tagged liturgy and liturgy-related work.
We would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their early help in publicly launching the project.
Daniel Sieradski, for pulling me into his vision for Jew-it-Yourself in 2006, and continuing to support Open Source Judaism after all of these years.
Azriel Fasten, for connecting Efraim and Aharon in late 2008.
J.T. Waldman (Tagged TaNaKh, Jewish Publication Society Special Projects), for working within the Jewish Publication Society to advocate for this vision in 2009, and help fund my summer at PresenTense.
Ariel Beery and Aharon Horwitz (PresenTense Institute), for helping us to better understand ourselves in 2009.
Bob Goldfarb (Center for Jewish Culture & Creativity), for agreeing to the Center for Jewish Culture & Creativity to act as our fiscal sponsored 501(3)c non-profit in accepting tax-deductible donations on our behalf.
Mechon Hadar, for financially supporting the Open Siddur as a community project of Aharon Varady in 2009-2010. (A special thanks to Rabbi Jason Rubenstein and Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, for supporting our vision of an Open Content licensed database of divrei torah, sourcesheets, translations, and recordings at Mechon Hadar.)
Harry Aizenstadt and Lisa Rubins (family of Rabbi Jacob Freedman, z”l) for sharing the late Rabbi’s surviving papers in 2009-10.
Yoram Gnat and Maxim Iorsh of the Culmus Project, for their fonts, and also for customizing and fixing several fonts including Rashi and Frank Curled Lamed.
The developers of eXist-db, a native XML database.
The developers of Saxonica, the Saxon processor for XSLT, XQuery, and XML Schema, including the only XSLT 3.0 conformant toolset.
The developers of Text Encoding Initiative, for their XML schema in support of the digital humanities.
The developers of WordPress, the open-source CMS engine driving opensiddur.org
Licensing & Standards Framework
The Open Source Initiative, Open Knowledge Foundation, and Free Culture Foundation for maintaining the definitions of open-source, open, and free (as in freedom).
The Creative Commons for their three free-culture compatible Open Content licenses (CC0, CC BY, and CC BY-SA).
The Free Software Foundation, for their persistence.
The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and the Open Document Fellowship for setting standards.
The Wikimedia Foundation and its constellation of Open Content licensed sites (Wikisource, Wiktionary, etc.), for setting a good example.
In the summer of 2009, the Open Siddur was one of sixteen innovative projects chosen for participation in the PresenTense Institute 2009 Summer Workshop for Jewish social entrepreneurship in Jerusalem. Modest travel grants to attend the workshop were provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Jewish Publication Society. Aharon Varady was selected as the Rena and Josh Kopelman Chair of Online Community Organizing, an honor presented by the Kopelman Foundation, and the Open Siddur is grateful for their sponsorship of his work at PresenTense. We also deeply appreciate the participation and interest of the PresenTense staff in the public launch of Open Siddur: Ariel Beery, Aharon Horwitz, Brachie Sprung, Shai Davis, and Brian Blumenthal. Their skill building advice, ideas, and ability to connect us with helpful collaborators was extremely useful and made for a productive summer. We would also like to thank the advice and support provided at that time by J.T. Waldman and Avi Warshavsky (Director of Israel’s Center for Educational Technology Department of Humanities).