Jewish Worship

Jewish Worship

Jewish Worship

Jewish Worship


No other product of the Jewish heritage reaches as deeply in the heart and mind of the Jewish people and no other religious work reflects as full the spiritual history of the Jewish people as the Siddur. No wonders the worship of the synagogue has intrigued both laymen and scholars. This book should be of interest to both Jew and Gentile. For a concise yet authentic summary of pharisaic Judaism nothing equals the Siddur, the core of which composed by the rabbis of the Talmud. It is also hoped that this book will prove useful as a text for advanced students in the synagogue and for college students.


It is doubtful whether any product of the Jewish heritage has succeeded in reflecting as succinctly and as accurately the basic commitments of rabbinic Judaism as does the worship of the synagogue. No wonder the Siddur has intrigued both laymen and scholars. Rabbis have sensed this interest and have introduced expositions on selected liturgic items into the synagogue worship. Publishers, too, have seen fit to include enlightening information about the more important prayers in their recently published prayer books. They have also published a number of books on the Jewish liturgy. Unfortunately, these publications have not always dealt with the liturgy as a living, growing organism. It is the writer's hope that this book will meet the obvious need for a comprehensive yet nontechnical work on the history and content of Jewish worship.

The Jewish liturgy was not born in a vacuum, nor did it thrive in a spiritual wilderness. Like all liturgies it has developed in response to religious needs and has grown in the framework of religious living. It has impinged on community institutions and national aspirations; it was molded by theological commitments and artistic expressions. Hence a book on Jewish liturgy must reckon with the whole gamut of Jewish life. The writer therefore did not resist the temptation to venture into some of the bypaths of Jewish life and history. But he always made sure to return to the main highway.

This book was written primarily for the intelligent Jewish layman who has some acquaintance with the synagogue worship but has had no formal training in the specialized field of the liturgy. He is often puzzled and even confused by the seemingly unordered and often incomprehensible prayers of the tradition. The writer hopes that the book will prove enlightening to the layman and will help to make the synagogue worship more meaningful and perhaps even more relevant.

It is also hoped that the book will be of interest to non-Jews . . .

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