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נוסחות | A Historical Map of Jewish Liturgical Influence and Variation

Maps showing the relationship between the nusḥaot are quite helpful to us. The Open Siddur Project is seeking to digitize all the extant nusḥaot witnessed in siddurim and other manuscripts, in order to show the evolution of individual prayers and blessings. This will helpfully represent at least the textual diversity of Jewish spiritual expression in the many geographically dispersed Jewish communities over the past three thousand years. I also hope that representing this diversity in t’fillah will be an inspiration to individuals engaging in davvening as an intellectually engaged and creative discourse speaking across generations. The extent to which we’ll be able to realize this vision will be limited to how many source texts we’ll be able to identify, transcribe, and share with open standards and free culture licenses. Seeing that the design of the map appearing in Hoffman’s book left much to be desired, I redesigned it for clarity while adding some additional nusḥaot. I hope that the following map based on Joseph Heinemann’s work will help inspire fellow researchers to contribute to this project. . . .

Why all the software? by Efraim Feinstein

One question I’ve been asked a number of times about the Open Siddur Project is: why are you developing all that software? It’s a fair question. After all, the siddur is just text. There are other do-it-yourself siddur kits out there. They sell you (or, more accurately, license you) a text. You open the text in a word processor, make a few stylistic changes, and voila, you have your own custom siddur. The “advanced” ones may even hand you one copy of a “nusaḥ Ashkenaz” siddur, one copy of a “nusaḥ Sefard” siddur, and one copy of a “nusaḥ Edot Hamizrah” siddur, giving you some choices. All good, right? So, once again, why does the Open Siddur need so much software? . . .


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