A Message From Rabbi Jonah about our Siddur
At our annual meeting on August 9, 2017, I was thrilled to be able to announce that, as part of our transition into our future home, the Religious Life Committee and I have begun the task of transitioning Shaare Zedek to a new siddur. After much thought and deliberation, we have recommended the Koren Sacks Siddur. It is a unique work containing the moving and beautiful commentary of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. This commentary brings new emotional, spiritual, religious, and historical context to our tefilot. The siddur uses the iconic Koren siddur font and features a clean design, showcasing the poetry of the prayers in addition to commentary and translation.
In addition to the layout, design, and commentary, this siddur includes sporadic instruction for the user. It lets you know when it is customary to stand, sit, and bow. It highlights moments of intense concentration, bringing insight and clarity to the what, why, and how of the tefilot.
As a community committed to halachic observance, traditional liturgy, and complete egalitarianism, Shaare Zedek is in a unique position and we have unique needs. As such, there is no siddur that fits our community 100%. This siddur is no different. It does contain some language and sentiment that do not fit with our practice. In those places, we will insert our own texts, building on the siddur and making it truly our own.
As we are in the initial phase of the siddur transition, we have placed ten new siddurim on the bookshelves for you to try. Please use one! Five of these siddurim are the full Koren Sacks Siddur, complete with instructions and English translation. We have also purchased five copies of the Koren Talpiot Shabbat Chumash, a small volume that contains all of the tefilot for Shabbat, in addition to the complete Hebrew chumash and all of the haftarot. If you have a strong command of Hebrew, this edition is for you!
Our vision of the bookshelf of the future Shaare Zedek is one that reflects our commitment to egalitarianism, diversity, and pluralism. Though we intend to lead our davening from the Koren, our shelf will have a variety of siddurim -- Silverman, Sim Shalom, Shilo, Lev Shalem -- so that as many as possible who come through our doors will be able to use their siddur of choice.
I am so excited to be able to usher in this next stage in the prayer life of our community.
If you are interested in trying out a Koren siddur but want some instruction, I will be arriving at shul early on the following Shabbatot to serve as a guide: September 2, 9, 16 at 9:00 a.m.
I will also lead a deeper discussion into the siddur following kiddush on September 16th.
Please give a new siddur a try, and come to any of these opportunities to learn more.
Rabbi Jonah Geffen