Friday, November 02, 2007

Great editorial on Reform movement's new prayer book

Great editorial in the Wall Street Journal on the Reform Movement’s new prayer book. The Journal writes:
But seeing prayer books as a means to satisfy, and thereby validate, this diversity begs the question of whether the function of prayer is to affirm the individual's personal religious outlook. Perhaps worshipers should be encouraged to wrestle with traditional texts, even problematic ones, rather than edit them out of existence…. It is, of course, important that prayer resonate with a person's core beliefs. But the cost of achieving such a resonance, in an era when the colors of belief come in near-infinite shades, is high.


  1. Bob Miller8:52 AM

    FYI, this was not an editorial of the Journal; it was an op-ed expressing one man's opinion.

    I would have been more impressed had he advocated the use of a real siddur text, in line with the overall logic of his argument. It appears that he'd be satisfied to keep the previous Reform prayer book instaed of the new Horn & Hardart version.

  2. Bob Miller9:00 AM

    By "the previous Reform prayer book", I meant the one he grew up with, as opposed to Gates of Prayer or Mishkan Tfilah.

    When he said "We justified the hours spent mastering the prayerbook..." toward the end of his article, he was not referring to a real suddur, but to "Reform Classic".

  3. Bob Miller11:39 AM

    If you'll indulge me once more, I'll try to pull my thoughts together better:

    The author is uncomfortable with the idea of each to his or her own siddur, but does not take that thought to its proper conclusion.

    He should really be uncomfortable with the very idea of a Reform prayer book.

    Their change in format from the relatively recent "Gates of Prayer" to the latest "Mishkan T'filah" reduces the number of options available to the user without taking the bold and necessary step of re-adopting the traditional Jewish siddur (any standard nusach). The goal should be nothing other than to reconnect Reform Jews with Judaism, not to leave them out in space doing their own collective thing.

  4. Bob, if I understand you correctly... I agree!

  5. Bob Miller5:07 PM

    If I understand myself...I agree, too!