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Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Milestone in Jewish Life

In Jewish life, prayer is daily, actually thrice daily. For those who follow Torah Law prayer isn't just when visiting a synagogue, following the instructions of the rabbi, listening and sometimes singing along with the cantor.  Prayer isn't a performance to be observed.  It's participatory.  The traditional text is set, written in a Siddur, prayerbook.

Like the Jewish Calender which combines, synthesizes the lunar and solar calendars, our prayer is preferably said with the community, but simultaneously individually.  To create a loyalty and familiarity with the prayers, it's best to have one's own siddur.

The custom in Israel, at least in the religious schools is to have a large moving ceremony to celebrate receiving a Siddur at the end of the First Grade.


This week I was in Ofra to attend the "Missibat Siddur" of the girls elementary school.  Most of the program was by the students themselves who were extremely excited to have their own siddur and to join the older students at prayers every morning.

The audience was full of parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and other family members.

I guess it's a combination of my own personality and the fact that I'm not only an immigrant, but I'm not from a religious family, but I sometimes observe these things as if I'm doing a sociological study.  I didn't fully comprehend the significance of it when I was a young mother and my children got their siddurim.  Maybe that's because I was thrown off-balance when I was thrust with some fabric and told to embroider a cover for the siddur.  I just wasn't properly psyched up for it.   Thank G-d, a generation later, I can just enjoy these things and fully appreciate the importance and religious significance.


Mrs. S. said...

Mazal tov! May you continue to have much nachat from your entire family!

"I was thrust with some fabric and told to embroider a cover for the siddur."
Baruch Hashem, I only had to decorate our eldest's siddur cover. Since then, the schools have realized that most parents don't have time and/or talent for such things. Instead, the teachers collect money from the parents for pre-made covers...

Batya said...

Thanks, amen! I think that my kids are still traumatized by the horrid job I did.

Anonymous said...

all childrens events are beautiful here.
i only wish they would teach the kids to read earlier. hebrew is such an easy language to learn, and american kids can read 2 languages by pesach of grade 1...

Batya said...

a, Yes, properly taught most kids can read Hebrew and another language at a younger age, but the new teaching methods aren't as good. When my kids were in school, the siddur was given around Chanukah and the chumash (Bible) this time of the year, Shavuot.

Keli Ata said...

I'll never forget the day I got my very own siddur in 2005. UPS delivered it on a Friday afternoon and I ripped the package open. Then proceeded to walk around my apartment clutching it my chest and kissing it.

I asked around but nobody could tell me if there's a bracha for a new siddur so...kissing it was my bracha.

I assume covers are only required for children.

Batya said...

Keli, the cover keeps it clean and neat, and the kids will be taking it to school for many years.