The experimental siddur, Prayers & Readings Selected and Arranged by Rabbi Solomon Goldman can be found appended to Harry Coopersmith’s songbook, Songs of My People (1938). The work, I believe, is an excellent reflection of the creative spirit of the nascent Reconstructionist movement. Goldman’s prayerbook is both traditional and expansive, seeking to bring into its pages both familiar liturgy along with additional works from all over Jewish literary history. The work represents what Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan would call a “Binder Siddur” — the siddur as a container of inspired works for collective reading and reflection in the synagogue. Perhaps even for personal use. With its good number of authors and translators expressing different voices appealing to Goldman, Prayers & Readings is also a kind of proto-Open Siddur. However, unlike the Open Siddur, Goldman only provides acknowledgement of the various authors and translators in his preface, and we are left uncertain as to which works should actually be attributed to each contributor. If you can tell which of the listed authors and translators contributed what, please leave a comment or contact us.
This work is in the Public Domain due to the lack of a copyright renewal by the copyright holder listed in the copyright notice (a condition required for works published in the United States between January 1st 1924 and January 1st 1964).
This work was scanned by Aharon Varady for the Open Siddur Project from a volume held in the collection of the HUC Klau Library, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Thank you!) This work is cross-posted to the Internet Archive, as a repository for our transcription efforts.
Scanning this work (making digital images of each page) is the first step in a more comprehensive project of transcribing each prayer and associating it with its translation. You are invited to participate in this collaborative transcription effort!
My friend and colleague Mr. Harry Coopersmith asked me to select some prayers and readings to accompany his Songster. I hesitated for a long time to comply with his request. A Reader for the Synagogue should be prepared by our most inspired Hebrew writers. Some day Eretz Yisrael will give us the old Siddur revised and enlarged. But Mr. Coopersmith was insistent and I yielded.
I selected my material from the following sources:
The traditional liturgy
Miriam Del Banco
[Hayim Nahman] Bialik
[Lord George Gordon] Byron
Isabella R. Hess
The Book of Samuel
[Percy Bysshe] Shelley
The Song of Songs
The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
The Testament of Gad
The Testament of Zebulun
The Wisdom of Solomon
I availed myself of translations by Mr. Maurice Samuel, Mr. L.V. Snowman, and Mr. Harry H. Fein. Several of the translations from the modern Hebrew were done by Mr. Ben Aronin and myself. I have also translated one of the selections from [Heinrich] Heine, and one from [Ernest] Renan. Of the selection from Professor Einstein, I preferred the translation in Doctor Lewisohn’s “Rebirth,” to the one which appeared in “Cosmic Religion.”
Following medieval precedent I took considerable liberty in the arrangement of Biblical verses. I have, for example, not hesitated to add a verse from Isaiah to a chapter from the Psalms. Technical and financial reasons made it necessary to exclude many a passage which has brought me personally solace and inspiration. But Mr. Coopersmith and I regard this book an experiment.
The selections are arranged under the following headings:
The Sabbath and Festivals
The Sorrow-Laden Heart
The Troubled Spirit
The Faithful Soul
The Arrogant Tyrant
In the End of Days
A Complete Service for Sabbath and Festivals will be found on pages 57a to 235a. I have nowhere designated special passages for responsive reading, but almost all of the selections can be utilized for the purpose.
I am under great obligation to Miss Esther R. Greenburg and Mrs. A. E. Kanter for the pains they took in preparing the manuscript for publication. Without the help of my friend, Professor Samuel I. Feigen of the University of Chicago, this book could not now make its appearance.
“תפלות ושירים | Prayers & Readings, selected and arranged by Rabbi Solomon Goldman (1938)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal license.
Works of related interest:
תפלות ישראל לשבת ושלוש רגלים (אשכנז) | Tefilot Yisrael l’Shabbat v’Shalosh Regalim — Prayers of Israel vol.2: For the Sabbath and the Festivals, arranged and edited by Rabbi Jacob Bosniak
סדר תפלות ישראל (אשכנז) | Seder Tefilot Yisrael: Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book, compiled by the Rabbinical Assembly & United Synagogue of America (1946)
סדור לשבת (אשכנז) | Sabbath Prayer Book, arranged for Conservative Congregations by Rabbi Barnett A. Elzas (1919)
סדר עבודה ערבית לשבת ולשלוש רגלים (אשכנז) | Seder Avodah Tefilat Arvit l’Shabbat u’l’Shalosh Regalim, arranged, translated, and transliterated by Rabbi Max D. Klein (1954)
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