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Oh There You Are, Perry

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Some of you may recall a siddur dilemma I had last December as I was preparing to attend the Hazon Food Conference.

As for a siddur, I just don’t know. Am I making a public statement by which siddur I use? The Mishkan is bulky. Plus, I don’t really use it for my personal davening. But I am a Reform rabbi and that is our Movement’s siddur. And I do, generally speaking, believe that there is a great deal of strength in having a Movement siddur. On the other hand (as my friend, Tevye, is fond of saying) I enjoy a more traditional prayerbook for my own praying. I was given a copy of Rinat Yisrael 16 years ago by a mentor and it is very dear to me.

I had firmly decided on Rinat Yisrael as my prayerbook of choice when I realized that it had gone missing. {{Poof}} Just like that. Into thin air. DadGiraffe was gracious enough to let me borrow his brand-new Koren siddur. And it was love at first sight.

Shortly thereafter, after returning the Koren to its rightful owner, I ordered my own copy. And, discovering how much I loved it, purchased a second, and more compact, copy. With one in my study and one at home, my personal prayer needs were covered.

And then…just as suddenly as it had vanished, the Rinat Yisrael reappeared. It seems that I had tucked it inside a handbag and forgotten to remove it when I swapped out the bag for a different one. Whatever compelled me to carry that bag two weeks ago, I cannot say. But this is what I know: Had it not gone missing, I would not have needed to borrow the Koren from DadGiraffe. Who knows when, and under what circumstances, the Koren and I would have become fast and furious friends. It was, I suppose, meant to be.

In an unusual turn of events, which happens to be a somewhat regular occurrence here in Frume Sarah’s World, the Koren went missing last week. As I was packing for my trip to the Mayyim Hayyim “Gathering the Waters” Conference, my little Koren was nowhere to be found. As if jealous of the attention being paid in the wake of Rinat‘s homecoming. And so, it was my Rinat Yisrael that accompanied me to Boston.

You wanna guess who showed up tonight???

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday, 13 October 2010 10:33 pm

    I use the Koren siddur too and the compact English version when I am travelling. I have written a post or two on this topic.

  2. Thursday, 14 October 2010 5:56 am

    The Koren and Rinat are both great options, and I do not think it makes you a traitor to your movement to want a different siddur for personal davening.
    Now, if you change what your shul uses, thats a different story 😉

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 14 October 2010 11:02 pm

      No, but it certainly does put me in a minority.

      Neither Rinat nor the Koren would be the right fit for my shul. The thought never even crossed my mind.

  3. Thursday, 14 October 2010 6:19 am

    What makes the Koren so great?

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 14 October 2010 11:04 pm

      The essays and the commentary. By Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks. Truly outstanding.

  4. Former Reform Jew permalink
    Thursday, 14 October 2010 6:40 am

    A Reform rabbi, praying from her Koren or Rinat Yisrael siddur…both of which conclude the second blessing in the shemoneh esreh, “mechayeh hametim”. (who revives the dead).

    Does the Reform siddur still say “m’chayeh hakol” (who revives everything?) ?

    The dead coming back to life in the messianic era is the last of Maimonides’ 13 principles of faith. I assume that the language change in Reform was meant to signal a rejection of that concept.

    I’ve known a few Reform rabbis who preferred to use more traditional siddurim in their private lives – but would not do so in their own congregations. Have you ever prayed from either of the above while on the job?

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 14 October 2010 11:12 pm

      The new Reform siddur, Mishkan Tefillah, includes m’chayei hameitim(who revives the dead) in parentheses for those who prefer the traditional text.

      The early Reformers, while rejecting the concept, were aware that it still resonated for some. The textual change to m’chayei hakol (revives, or gives life to, everything) is broad (and vague) enough to include the physical resurrection for those who held that belief.

      These two prayerbooks would not be the right ones for the majority of the folks who daven at our shul. While on the pulpit, I would never pray from one siddur while leading from another. That seems disingenuous.

  5. Camille permalink
    Thursday, 14 October 2010 7:19 pm

    Our Hebrew Study Group (you know who we are!) is purchasing copies of the Koren siddur. (No surprise that) I prefer a more traditional siddur as well.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 14 October 2010 11:13 pm

      Oh goodness, are you going to love the Koren. Looking forward to getting your thoughts on it.

  6. Thursday, 14 October 2010 9:28 pm

    we call those elves in our house.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 14 October 2010 11:14 pm

      Little imps.

  7. Wednesday, 20 October 2010 10:56 am

    I’ve heard good things about the Koren siddur – I’m going to have to check it out. I pray from Mishkan, but it is bulky. They do have a travelers edition now, but it’s a paperback and isn’t going to hold up to the usual abuse of traveling very well. It’s not exactly page-for-page the same as the larger one, either – and the differences are interesting.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Thursday, 21 October 2010 5:18 pm

      The single edition IS bulky. We use the two-volume and it is much more manageable. I didn’t realize that there’d be differences in the traveler version. But not intending to get it anyway.

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