What Congregational Leaders Say about Siddur Eit Ratzon

Thank you for creating this Siddur. I watch the people who come in and who before sat in silence. Now, their eyes are focused on the book and song is coming forth from their lips

Rabbi Ted Feldman, Bnai Israel Jewish Center, Petaluma CA

The Siddur really makes a huge difference in making a traditional service accessible, intelligible, and non-chauvinist.

Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Shirat HaNefesh, Silver Spring MD.

Siddur Eit Ratzon has been an incredible addition to our synagogue life. Since our Keruv Committee made the gift of several copies of the Siddur for our main Sanctuary, we have seen an increase in participation in and understanding of the Shabbat morning prayer service. We are now delighted that our Keruv Committee is expanding their gift with the purchase of enough copies of Siddur Eit Ratzon to place one in each row of the main Sanctuary as a companion to our regular siddur Sim Shalom.

They have developed a page chart which matches the pages in both books so everyone can follow along in the service, regardless of which book they use. The reflections provided by the Siddur Eit Ratzon are inspiring, the guideposts enlightening, and the transliteration is invaluable in helping those who do not yet read Hebrew nevertheless be participants in the service rather than confused spectators. Thank you, Joseph Rosenstein, for this wonderful contribution to our synagogue and to the Jewish world.

Rabbi Michelle Robinson, Associate Rabbi, Temple Emanuel, Newton, Massachusetts

Our Reconstructionist congregation, the Chapel Hill Kehillah, recently deliberated on the selection of a siddur for our Shabbat morning services. The strongest input we received was that for people without the ability to follow, read, and sing from the Hebrew text, an easily used transliteration is essential to feeling welcome and connected at services. Easy navigation, a pleasing English translation, and adequate supplemental readings and explanations were also considered valuable. And, of course, the English translations had to be egalitarian.

Of the siddurim we considered, we settled on Siddur Eit Ratzon because it was the only siddur with a line-by-line transliteration, and also because of its strong and extremely engaging translations and supplemental commentary. We feel this commentary will be of great educational value both to our members, and to occasional visitors such as those attending bar and bat mitzvah celebrations.

Another useful feature of this siddur is that it offers both the traditional and the Reconstructionist version of key words and verses in certain prayers, allowing worshipers to privately choose a different version than is being sung aloud if they desire. This honors the right of members to their own beliefs. A drawback is that in a few places where alternatives are offered, none of the alternatives match the particular reconstructed wording we have become used to from our previous siddur; we hope that current preparations for a second printing will enable us to purchase copies of a version of Siddur Eit Ratzon that is more consistent our practice.

Phil Lorang, Ritual Committee Chair, Chapel Hill Kehillah, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Highland Park Minyan uses Siddur Eit Ratzon because it's "ours"— ours not only because it was written by our beloved Joe Rosenstein, but also because it reflects who we are — egalitarian, inclusive, progressive, engaged Jews who love to daven in a way that's traditional, meaningful and joyful.

The Minyan uses Siddur Eit Ratzon for its Shabbat and holiday prayer services, as well as for periodic study sessions. Two words that occur to me to describe our Minyan’s view of Siddur Eit Ratzon are lovingly respectful. I experience the siddur as having grown from a deep love and respect for prayer and our tradition, as well as loving respect for our individual sensibilities, similarities and differences. As for me, I especially love the translations and commentaries, many of which speak directly to my heart and mind.

The translations of Birchot haShachar are a particular favorite of mine. With only a few extra words, the siddur highlights the depth and richness that underlie each of the morning blessings. Siddur Eit Ratzon has become an integral part of our chavurah, as well as the siddur that I use for my personal davening.

Judith Richman, Co-Chair, Highland Park Minyan, Highland Park, New Jersey

We began using Siddur Eit Ratzon in our Learner's Minyan at B'nai Israel. Participants were so enamored with the Siddur that they decided they were not just "learner's" anymore and the minyan has grown into a vibrant monthly Chavurah Shabbat Minyan. When the Chavurah Minyan is not meeting, Siddur Eit Ratzon is available in the sanctuary bookcases for study, for use of transliterations or for just enjoyment. Congregants enjoy the commentary, translations, clear directions and creative options that are incorporated within Siddur Eit Ratzon. It is a welcome enrichment to Shabbat at our congregation.

David Kaiman, Rabbi, Congregation B’nai Israel, Gainesville, Florida

Chavurat Lamdeinu is an inclusive Jewish community that delights in prayer and study. We have been using Siddur Eit Ratzon for about a year [since 2004] and have been very happy with it. Since our members are wildly diverse in terms of involvement in and exposure to Jewish prayer and teaching, we needed a prayerbook that would satisfy our different spiritual and intellectual needs. Siddur Eit Ratzon succeeds brilliantly.

We chose it because it offered a traditional service with plenty of important extras. The transliteration keeps everyone on the same page and does not exclude the non-Hebrew reading individual. It is very user-friendly and rich in its offerings. The kavvanot provide additional chomer l'drush when some one needs a break from the liturgy, as do the suggestions for meditation. The theology espoused is meaningful and does not shy away from the problems created by the traditional liturgy.

Everyone in our group likes its willingness to accommodate our different needs and beliefs; the use or non-use of the Matriarchs,"geulah" or "goel," for example. We appreciate the love and thoughtfulness that are evident on every page and the cheerful, yellow binding as well.

Rabbi Ruth Gais, Chavurat Lamdeinu, Madison, New Jersey

A generous family donated one copy of Siddur Eit Ratzon in honor of each bar and bat mitzvah student this past year [2005]. The transliteration in this Siddur makes it possible for non- Hebrew-reading guests at b'nai mitzvot to have an easier time following the Shabbat service. The non-Hebrew-reading adult members have also enjoyed using the Siddur on a weekly basis along with Siddur Sim Shalom. It has helped them to learn parts of the service more easily, and they have enjoyed the commentary and translation. Overall, Siddur Eit Ratzon has enhanced their participation in services.

Robert Factor, Beth Israel Center, Madison Wisconsin

The four column layout is remarkably easy to access and makes it very easy to follow during the service. The kavanot, meditations and explanations really enhance the prayer experience and can be used privately at home for study. The new translations are wonderful. They give new meaning and understanding to traditional prayers and make them very relevant for the 21st century.

Hazzan Eva Robbins, Congregation N'vay Shalom, Los Angeles, California

Siddur Eit Ratzon is a masterwork in three ways: 1) helpful, sleek transliteration, 2) graceful, lovely translation and 3) illuminating meditations on the liturgy. And as Kohelet says: "This three-fold cord is not easily broken"! Whether learning the liturgy for the first time, or seeking greater meaning in prayers known since childhood, any Jew's prayer experience will be enhanced by Joe Rosenstein's work.

Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanovsky, Ansche Chesed, New York, New York