Hal­leli Naf­shi: A Week­day Sid­dur for Children

Rab­bi Amy Bar­dack; Rab­bi Beth Naditch
  • Review
By – November 16, 2012

In the pref­ace to Hal­leli Naf­shi, Rab­bis Bar­dack and Naditch express their hope that their sid­dur will help chil­dren find their way in tefillah.” They ful­fill their inten­tion in a num­ber of cre­ative ways. For one, they insert child-friend­ly trans­la­tion to prayers, focus­ing on the pri­ma­ry mes­sage of each prayer rather than on the com­plex, poet­ic, oft en hard-to-under­stand lan­guage of the tra­di­tion­al sid­dur. With the excep­tion of the prayer Avinu Malkeinu, they opt to reflect the image of God as anthro­po­mor­phic, in order to ensure that every child can envi­sion him- or her­self in the image of God with­out gen­der as a bar­ri­er. “(W)e are com­mit­ted to help­ing chil­dren envi­sion a God that is nei­ther male nor female,” they write. 

The hard­cov­er sid­dur is filled with art made by chil­dren in grades two and three at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, and the art is placed to match the tone and mean­ing of each prayer. The sid­dur has a com­pan­ion CD which is intend­ed to be a teach­ing tool so stu­dents can learn the melodies and tunes of the prayers while they are using the sid­dur.

The sid­dur is by no means com­pre­hen­sive and the Grace After Meals prayer is one exam­ple of a set of prayers that is incom­plete and fea­tures only some of the bless­ings tra­di­tion­al­ly includ­ed in Birkat HaMa­zon. Nev­er­the­less, this sid­dur is won­der­ful­ly col­or­ful, intense­ly child-friend­ly and a great dai­ly resource for chil­dren embark­ing on their jour­ney of tefillah. Hal­leli Naf­shi is an ide­al teach­ing tool for young chil­dren and a good resource to have in any Jew­ish home where chil­dren are engaged in Jew­ish learn­ing. Bar­dack and Naditch are to be com­mend­ed on assem­bling a sid­dur geared to chil­dren and mak­ing it easy to under­stand and a plea­sure to use. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 – 10

Lau­ren Kramer is a Van­cou­ver-based jour­nal­ist, wife, and moth­er with a life­long pas­sion for lit­er­a­ture. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she has won awards for her writ­ing and report­ed from many cor­ners of the world. Read more of her work at www​.lau​renkramer​.net.

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