A new prayerbook for Conservative Judaism

Print More
Cover of the new Conservative movement Siddur Lev Shalem. Photo courtesy of Rabbinical Assembly

Cover of the new Conservative movement Siddur Lev Shalem. Photo courtesy of Rabbinical Assembly

Revelations-Series-Banner-770x150(RNS) The rabbinical arm of Conservative Judaism has published a new prayerbook, notable for language embracing women, gays and people who can’t read Hebrew. “Siddur Lev Shalem” is expected to eventually predominate in Conservative synagogues across North America.

Five years in the making, the prayerbook “has been expressly designed to meet people where they are, whether at synagogue or at home, religiously or spiritually,” said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis.

Conservative Judaism, which represents the second-largest group of Jews affiliated with a synagogue in the U.S., — about 18 percent of American Jews — stands between Reform and Orthodox Judaism, which adheres to a more literal interpretation of Jewish law.

The new prayerbook draws from more than 500 different sources, including ancient blessings that date back to the first millennium and traditions from contemporary Jewish cultures around the world. It provides translations of Hebrew, as well as transliterations, which indicate how Hebrew words should be pronounced. It promotes gender-neutral language, and offers wording for gay couples marking important events in their lives.

The Conservative movement does not require its member congregations to use its new prayerbook. The one now most common in Conservative synagogues, Siddur Sim Shalom, will likely remain in use in some congregations. The new 666-page prayerbook sells for $49, but $29.50 for individuals, synagogues and retailers associated with the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the congregational arm of the Conservative movement.

Cover of the new Conservative movement Siddur Lev Shalem. Photo courtesy of Rabbinical Assembly

Cover of the new Conservative movement Siddur Lev Shalem. Photo courtesy of Rabbinical Assembly

(Lauren Markoe is a national reporter for RNS)

  • Pingback: A new prayerbook for Conservative Judaism | Christian News Agency()

  • Pingback: A new prayerbook for Conservative Judaism - IKTHUS.NETIKTHUS.NET()

  • Do we really think that God just goes along with whatever we decide to do? Do we think that we can manipulate Him? That somehow what He has commanded changes because we decide to change? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God does NOT change. This ‘666’ page book is just another example of man trying to bring the politically correct agenda into religious services. Not a good idea. We need to turn away from these kind of developments and not just go with the flow because we don’t want to make waves. Yeshua didn’t go along with the flow He let us know that all was NOT well with the religious mindset during His time here. Teachings of men should not be followed. We need to follow Him. He gave us His Holy Scriptures. He gave us His Son who suffered and died to atone for our sins. We need to receive Him as Savior and Messiah, and turn away from sin. Then we will know His peace and blessing in our lives. Shalom

  • Susan

    “He gave us His Son who suffered and died to atone for our sins. We need to receive Him as Savior and Messiah, and turn away from sin. Then we will know His peace and blessing in our lives. ”

    Well, no God did not. The “New Testament” is a polemic to prove the moral superiority of Christianity over Judaism. It is sad and unfortunate that you used this post to to proselytize.

  • Dan

    “The rabbinical arm of Conservative Judaism has published a new prayerbook, notable for language embracing women, gays and people who can’t read Hebrew.”

    This article would have been vastly more valuable if it included examples and showed specifically how the new text differs from older texts.

  • Garson Abuita

    Dan, here’s the promo site for Siddur Lev Shalem from the RA. It gives some PDFs of the new content. As for differences with the older siddurim, like the 1980s Sim Shalom and 1940s Silverman, there’s some discussion about those but if you want images, you can do an image search and you’ll find some examples.

    http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/resources-ideas/lev-shalem-series/siddur-lev-shalem