Religion & Beliefs

Write Your Own Siddur

I really don’t like siddurim. They’re heavy, complicated, over-thought, out-of-touch, hardcover nightmares that stalk me in my dreams. I sit in my synagogue looking at this thing. Granted, it’s Reconstructionist, which is like the Socialist Manifesto of Judaism, but it’s … Read More

By / April 22, 2010

I really don’t like siddurim. They’re heavy, complicated, over-thought, out-of-touch, hardcover nightmares that stalk me in my dreams.

I sit in my synagogue looking at this thing. Granted, it’s Reconstructionist, which is like the Socialist Manifesto of Judaism, but it’s still boring and antiquated. There’s only so many ways you can Crunchy up Shema and Amidah before you look like a nut job.

But then I lucked out. While eating hamburgers with my friend Michael, he stunned me with this idea: write your own siddur.

So we did it Yeshiva style. I came over to his house where we sat and studied every movement’s siddur, including two Orthodox versions. And this is what we came up with…

The Pocket Siddur

-65 pages of traditional prayers, poeticaly (not literaly) translated to English

-Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdallah in English with Hebrew transliteration

-Additional brachot (blessings)

-Egalitarian, but not gender neutral. References to G-d as "Him" and "She", Adonai and Shechinah, are used instead

-LGBT friendly, by taking out references to "husband" or "wife" in prayers such as the Woman of Valor. A prayer called Happy Is The Man acts as a counter balance to Woman of Valor

Our non-profit PunkTorah (501c3 pending) is dedicated to independent Jewish spirituality. So we sell them as a fundraising tool through our friends at ModernTribe. Or you can download a copy on our website.

If you want to write your own siddur, here’s a few tips:

-Write with a friend. Learning should always been done with a group, because you never know what amazing things will come up.

-Don’t be afraid to say how you feel. We felt like the language that turns G-d into an "it" was sad. At the same time, we felt their was poetry in the feminine and masculine aspects of g-dliness.

-Share it with the world. Jews are often afraid to share their spirituality. Break down those bariers.