Post­ed by Libi Adler

Every once in a while we get books in our office that don’t fall into the usu­al mold.

By Rab­bi Sir Jonathan Sacks

Today I was look­ing through our stacks and found this par­tic­u­lar book: The Koren Sacks Sid­dur. It is, in fact, a prayer book. The newest ver­sion pub­lished by Koren Pub­lish­ers and the Ortho­dox Union by Rab­bi Jonathan Sacks. Its beau­ti­ful detailed cov­er design and easy to turn pages are only the tip of the ice­berg with this book.

The main idea of this Sid­dur (prayer­book) is to bridge the gap between com­mu­ni­ties in dif­fer­ent parts of the world. Accord­ing to the intro­duc­tion, the Koren Sid­dur is designed for those liv­ing in the Dias­po­ra and liv­ing in Israel. It has the feel of an Israeli Sid­dur but with the expla­na­tion and trans­la­tion for the out­sider. The beau­ty of the dis­tin­guished font, and the way the text is laid out real­ly makes the read­er think about what they are say­ing, and not pray out of pure habit, there­by glo­ri­fy­ing the words and high­light­ing their importance.

We have all been to oth­er com­mu­ni­ties with dif­fer­ent cus­toms and songs and been con­fused as to what was being said and what would be com­ing up next. This Sid­dur makes a con­scious effort to assist Jews from the Dias­po­ra vis­it­ing the Holy Land. There are indi­ca­tions through­out of changes made to prayer in Israeli syn­a­gogues and a com­pre­hen­sive Halakhic Guide for the Vis­i­tor to Israel.”

Some­thing that stood out to me in look­ing through this Sid­dur was the fact that the Hebrew text is on the left-hand side and the Eng­lish on the right. To me, it seemed to make per­fect sense. Who hasn’t read any book and found that one side of the book was hard­er to read than the oth­er. See­ing as how this prayer­book was meant to be read in Israel, it only makes sense that the Hebrew would always be on the side that was eas­i­est to access. The pub­lish­ers acknowl­edge this change from the norm of bilin­gual Sid­durs: This arrange­ment pre­serves the dis­tinc­tive fan­ning out” effect of the Koren text and the beau­ty of the Koren lay­out.” It seems to me that this is a help­ful change to the stan­dard prayer­books used up until now.

Sacks adds a Guide to the Jew­ish Year, Psalms list for Spe­cial Occa­sions, and Dai­ly Prayer laws to help the read­er out with any ques­tions they may have. All around, this seems like a good Sid­dur to invest in and use on a dai­ly basis.