Siddurim at the Western Wall

While at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, I was fascinated by the sight of these bookshelves and tables filled with what I believe are Jewish prayer books. So many shapes and sizes. Some look brand new. Others are well worn. I wanted to pick one up and page through it, but I felt super conscious of not doing anything touristy or offensive.

On the men’s side at David’s tomb, a room full of men were bowed over their prayer books. I assume these were also siddurim. Again, I tried not to offend and didn’t get all the pictures I wanted.

As I thought back to that moment, I wondered if I could buy a siddur, a Jewish prayer book. And sure enough, you can order one on Amazon. They have all sorts of sizes and shapes, new and used, many with parallel Hebrew and English pages for people like me.

I came across an interesting article on How to Choose a Siddur, or Jewish Prayer Book, and it’s not as simple as I thought. They have digital versions, and a variety of apps. There are versions that appeal to Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed traditions. There are versions that include commentary and devotions. There are gender-inclusive versions. There are some published specifically for the high holy days. There are very small print pocket versions, so I assume there’s large print, too. It’s not unlike trying to figure out what bible to buy in a store with a sea of different versions and publications!

I need to ask some of my Jewish friends. Did they get one as a gift at their Bar Mitzvah? Or have one handed down in the family? They would no doubt be surprised that I know just enough Hebrew to awkwardly find my way around a Siddur.

Watch for a future post after I get one and see what they are all about.