Rabbi Elyse D. Frishman [Reprinted from CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly, Fall 2004]
When did the winter of our discontent begin with Gates of Prayer? Why do we need a new prayer book? Is it just a matter of seeking newness?
The work of the new siddur began truly with a survey, not of theology and clergy, but of laity. In 1994, Rabbi Peter Knobel and Dan Schechter received a grant from the Lilly Foundation to survey worshippers in Reform congregations throughout the United States to determine what they sought from a new prayer book. What were the results? Strongly articulated were the desires for transliteration, meaningful God language, expanded God language, relevant and compelling English prayer, faithful translation, and a response to the feminist critique. Based on this project, a proposal was set before the CCAR Board, describing a prayer book with four different services, à la Gates of Prayer. The time to select an editor arrived, and a critical awareness emerged. It would be important for the editor(s) to focus less on personal style and instead be able to respond to the diversity of the Movement's expectations. Those expectations? Anecdotally: A prayer book that would help us re-engage our Jews in meaningful worship. How? Offering a balance of creativity and beauty, theology and purpose.
by Rabbi Elliot L. Stevens [Reprinted from the Summer 2006 issue of Reform Judaism]
How appropriate to introduce and welcome our new siddur, Mishkan T'filah, through a meaningful ritual designed to set aside such an auspicious occasion! Here are dedication ceremonies created by Reform clergy for use in their own congregations. They have kindly shared their creations with us so that we may, in turn, share them with you. We wish you joy, creativity and inspiration as you plan your own ceremony of welcome and dedication.