Roundup of new prayer books


SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (JTA) — New High Holidays prayer books, or machzors, weren’t the only developments in Jewish liturgy over the last year. The following is a roundup of other new prayer books and related projects in that time.

The Koren Talpiot Siddur: A Hebrew Prayerbook with English Instuctions. Koren’s new version of its classic Hebrew-only prayer book has English instructions, for use in Israel and in the Diaspora. Unlike its popular 2009 release, which has a full English translation, this version has no commentary, only instructions.

The Open Siddur Project: Run by volunteers with a budget of zero and a daunting mission, The Open Siddur Project was started in 2000 by Aharon Varady. Its goal is to create an exhaustive digital archive of Jewish liturgical texts that will be free to any user who chooses to access, contribute to or edit any element of their database.

“Our siddur builder is a tech demo and barely functional,” Varady said in an e-mail to JTA. “Most of the cool stuff we’ve introduced has been on the backend (read: aimed at programmers for now),” he said.

OneShul Community Siddur: OneShul, an online synagogue run out of Marietta and Decatur, Ga., holds services online. Its minimalist siddur, presented almost entirely in English, is available online. Service-goers can follow along in a PDF of the new siddur on their computers as they watch the service unfold.

Vaani T’fillati: Masorti, Israel’s Conservative movement, came out a year ago with a new siddur called "Vaani T’fillati." Published in partnership with Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot, the siddur has become a best-seller in Israel billed as a contemporary, universally Jewish prayer book.

Expanded ArtScroll Siddur: Late in last year’s Jewish calendar, ArtScroll published a new edition of its wildly successful prayer book. The bulk of the expansion consists of highly specific prayers that will be unfamiliar to most Jews, such as a long selection of prayers to be said at specific holy sites in Israel.

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