23 abril 2008

Sidur Netivot Emunah: hermoso y comprometido

De los distintos siddurim que conozco y que he utilizado, creo que, sin lugar a dudas, es el más hermoso, con el que el rezo resulta más fluido, el que hace brotar las palabras del corazón. Lo utilizo a diario para las bendiciones matutinas, para Shajarit, para Minjá y para Arvit. Sólo lo sustituyo por Tehilat HaShem para la plegaria antes de dormir por la noche.

Es claro que no existe el Sidur perfecto, que cada momento, cada persona requiere la diferencia. Seguro que podemos pensar en mejoras, cambios, omisiones que nos llevaría a crear el nuestro. Y aunque de alguna manera la propia estructura de "Netivot Emunah" hace posible recrear nuestro propio Sidur, hay, sin embargo, un par de cosas que hecho de menos. Pero no es necesario entrar en ello.

Las trágicas circunstancias en las que Rabbi Chaim Stern concluye este sidur, nos ayundan a comprender mejor la profundidad y el alcance del mismo. Es un llamado intenso y poético a la acción ética, al compromiso con el Tikun Olam.

Rabbi Stern did not live to see the publication of his new prayer book. Instead, in a heroic struggle against time, he devoted the end of his life to putting the final touches on Netivot Emunah: Paths of Faith, completing his work less than a month before his death.

The result is a prayer book that is unequaled in the long history of Reform liturgy. There is clarity of thought and clarity of style. Page after page reveals the touch of the master liturgist who was rightly called a “sweet singer of Israel.” The brief devotional thoughts accompanying each of the major prayers enable us to turn our hearts heavenward even as we repeat well-known phrases for the hundredth time.

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This is the long-awaited new prayer book for Jewish Sabbath and religious weekday services, which has just been completed by Chaim Stern, famed author of "Gates of Prayer" and "Gates of Repentence". These books have been used for the past 30 years in most of the 800+ Reform Jewish Congregations throughout North America.

This historic, gender-sensitive prayer book includes the most comprehensive transliteration of any prayerbook in the reform movement, and a special and timely section devoted to prayers and meditations for "Troubled Times."

In the words of the author: "I consider "Paths of Faith" my masterwork, the prayer book I always wanted to create. It is the summation of a lifetime devoted to creating liturgy. It developed out of the wisdom that comes with advanced years, and the complicated circumstances of our world. I hope the prayer book’s poetry and spirituality illumines our worship in a time of uncertainty."

"Paths of Faith" reflects the traditions of classical liturgy and of Liberal-Reform Judaism, yet it contains many innovations:

· For each Sabbath there is a choice of introductory materials. The core of the service is fixed, from the Bar’chu to the end of the Tefilah. All passages are masterful new translations, with new accompanying passages likely to be sung by the congregation.

· Each service begins with a Kavannah ("prayer before prayer"), in the margin. These additions are taken from traditional texts, and the worshiper is encouraged to link prayer and meditation with the ethical behavior that ought to flow from the act of worship.

· Along side each of the classical prayers is a brief explanation of its content/significance, establishing the prayer’s place in the structure of the liturgy.

· Thematic cross-references connect to other passages in the book, enhancing appreciation of the text and inviting readers to learn about its interconnections. This offers an interactive, highly personal approach to prayer.

· The Shema includes an optional passage culled from Deuteronomy, that restores the flavor of the traditional text. And in the Tefilah, the Gevurot restores "mechayei hameitim," and adds a passage about the seasons that goes beyond traditional seasonal inserts.

· Special innovations include: a selection of readings for "Troubled Times"; Prayers for Healing; a Betrothal Prayer; a special selection of newly-translated Psalms, and blessings and rituals for individuals and communities, at home and in the synagogue.

· Holidays: A complete liturgy is offered for Yom Tov, with special readings. A special Tefilah has inserts for Shabbat Shuvah, Chol HaMoeid Yom Tov, Rosh Chodesh, and Chanukah.

Chaim Stern, who has been described by the Central Conference of American Rabbis as "the poet laureate of the Reform movement," is also is the most prolific liturgist of Reform Judaism, and one of the most prolific of liturgists of any religion in history. His prayer books and his writings and translations are appreciated by readers world-wide.

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