Talk:Jewish prayer

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Reform's practices[edit]

"Reform Judaism does not follow Jewish law as normative, so its leaders do not feel the need to justify their practice within the system of Jewish law."

I didn't write this sentence, but it is accurate and non-pejorative. Why are people suddenly deleting it? Jayjg 19:51, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I agree. I am uncertain of the reason for its removal. I have since rewritten this sentence as follows. RK
Rabbis within Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism count women within a minyan. However, since these movements do not follow Jewish law as normative, its leaders have stated that they do not feel the need to justify their practice within the system of Jewish law.

I agree with the article as it stands, but I do find the above pejorative. The implication is that either the goyish law of the land is more important for Reform Jews, or that Reform Jews see themselves as above any system of law. A nicer way to say it in my opinion would be that Reform believes in individual autonomy for interpretation of biblical and oral law. This is my personal experience as a member of a Reform congregation. Zargulon 21:08, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Is that the official Reform position? Jayjg (talk) 02:56, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

It is nowadays, although of course in the early German reformers might have thought the above statement quite reasonable. In my experience Reform Jews see Judaism as binding, rather than merely suggesting. For I as a (in my experience typical) reform Jew would not murder someone (hopefully) and my main reason would be my consciousness of the words in the Bible. Murder is against Jewish Law, forbidden by the Bible.

That is not to say that Reform does not have a completely different idea of Jewish Law to Orthodox.. that is one good reason not to use the phrase! For orthodox, Jewish law includes Rabbinic law, and also the Orthodox system of Beth Din, dispute resolution and punishment. So one orthodox could reasonably say to another that Jewish Law is not normative in reform. To me that suggests they think Reform Jews feel at liberty to murder.

By the way I come across your edits and talks quite a lot Jayjg and I think you are doing a good job. Zargulon 08:17, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

As I understood it, the classic Reform position was to differentiate between moral laws (which one was bound to keep), and ritual laws, which were not obligatory. Is that correct? Oh, and thanks for the compliment. Jayjg (talk) 15:50, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

That is my understanding of the position of 19th century German Reform, and it is a good approximation to the attitude of many of today's Reform congregations I think. But some interesting counterexamples have evolved: homosexuality/intermarriage, which is at least as much moral as ritual, is tolerated by many Reform congregations (although very far from encouraged) ; circumcision, which the original German Reform rejected as purely ritual, but nowadays Reform practices universally. Zargulon 18:10, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

According to the Reform Judaism article:

The classical approach of Reform Judaism was based on the views of Rabbi Samuel Holdheim (1806-1860), leader of Reform Judaism in Germany. He believed that Reform Judaism should be based solely upon monotheism. Almost everything connected with Jewish ritual law and custom was of the ancient past, and thus no longer appropriate for Jews to follow in the modern era. This approach was the dominant form of Reform Judaism from its creation until the 1940s. Since the 1940s the American Reform movement has slowly begun distancing itself from its previous stances. Many Reform Jews now go to Temples on Saturday, many have more Hebrew in their religious services, and many are incorporating more aspects laws and customs, in a selective fashion, into their lives. This is a disintegration of the original reform position in favor of more traditional Judaism.

Even those in the traditionalist wing of Reform Judaism still accept the primary principle of classical Reform: personal autonomy has precedence over Jewish tradition; halakha has no binding authority to Reform rabbis. The difference between the classical Reformers and the Reform traditionalists is that the traditionalists feel that the default position towards choosing to follow any particular practice should be one of acceptance, rather than rejection. While only representing a minority of the movement, this group has influenced the new Reform statement of principles, which states that "We are committed to the ongoing study of the whole array of mitzvot and to the fulfillment of those that address us as individuals and as a community."

Currently, then, some Reform rabbis promote following elements of halakha, and belief in many parts of classical Jewish theology, while others actively discourage adopting Orthodox practices or beliefs, because they feel that this is not in the tradition of the Reform movement. Both encouraging or discouraging practices stipulated by halakha are considered acceptable positions within Reform.
Jayjg (talk) 18:17, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

I feel that is basically accurate, and I am interested to hear that traditionalizing didn't occur in the American Reform movement until as late as the 1940's. The British reform movement (which I know better) has always been more traditional, and having a largely Sephardi base, it didn't draw as much on enlightenment philosophy or humanism. It wasn't ever really rejectionist in the same way.

The whole quote, though, seems to emphasise the attitudes of Rabbis in a way that is not quite in keeping with the spirit of Reform. In particular I find slightly odd the juxtaposition

personal autonomy has precedence over Jewish tradition; halakha has no binding authority to Reform rabbis

"Nu? What about non-Rabbis?" we would say. Zargulon 18:40, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, I guess the assumption here is that Rabbis are arbiters of permitted behaviour. Jayjg (talk) 19:05, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

I read into it that Rabbis are sole arbiters of permitted behaviour! Which is a non-existent viewpoint among Reform Jews! So I thought it sounded funny. Zargulon 20:09, 22 September 2005 (UTC)


The section on "quorum" can be reduced, with a distinctive link to Minyan. No need to repeat the exercise over here. JFW | T@lk 17:14, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

You're absolutely right, but I'm quite hesitant to do it, as I feel any attempt on my part to do so would be stirring up a hornet's nest. Would you be willing to give it a go, and perhaps achieve some compromise on the Minyan page as well? Jayjg 18:00, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"false distinction, is mentioned in Shulkhan Arukh"[edit]

Actually, I was talking about current practice, not halakha. The majority of Orthodox synaogogues do not have professional cantors. Sure, the large ones usually do, but they're a minority. However, more Reform and Conservative do, for a number of reasons having to do with size and proficiency of the members. Jayjg (talk) 23:35, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

How about the many cantors in the United Synagogue in the UK, Hans Bloemendal in the Amsterdam Orthodox Community, Naftali Herstik in Heichal Shlomo in J'lem? It is simply not true that cantors are specific for conservative and reform. If you want to make the distinction, the intro may not be the place. JFW | T@lk 07:05, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
The key word in this whole discussion is "large", not "orthodox". Chazan is a salaried position, generally, and a smaller shul/shil/esnoga/insertyournonhebrewwordforbeiþknéseþ generally can't afford a Chazan. Tomer TALK 09:01, July 29, 2005 (UTC)

Tomer is right. The distinction is not that professional cantors are only used in Reform and Conservative houses of worship, but rather that they are far more common, in them, as opposed to Orthodox synagogues. Reform and Conservative synagogues tend to be large so they can afford a professional cantor, and only a small percentage of their congregants have the skills to run a service. The situation is the opposite in Orthodoxy; the majority (or a large minority) of congregants can lead the service, and the thousands of small Orthodox shtiebels etc. that couldn't possibly afford a professional cantor vastly outnumber the several hundred large Orthodox synagogues which can afford to (and usually do) pay for them. Jayjg (talk) 14:53, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

I deleted the statement that the shachrit service includes a prayer for the Israel Defense Forces, because it is simply untrue.

I attend services every shabbat, usually in a Conservative minyan but also have attended Reform, Reconstructionist, and once Orthodox. I have siddurim for all those movements. I have never been in a congregation that recites any prayer for the IDF or even hints at it. The prayer for peace was not included, but I added it. We always recite it, and I see it recited in most if not all services I attend.

Some modern orthodox synagogues recite the IDF prayer. No doubt, some conservative and reform congregations might as well. It is highly unlikely that charedim would.

in israel itself, the Dati Leumi/Mizrachi say the prayer for the IDF and State of Israel after Torah reading on Shabbat, but I haven't heard it on weekdays. Epl18

The prayer for the IDF is said in most orthodox synagogues on shabbat together with a prayer for the state/royal family/president.... Ever since the Gaza pullout there have been more debates if a blessing to Israel's Government and army is in place but most comunities say it all the same.

Guide on etiquette for visitors[edit]

In the section on seating, I'd like to question the need for the following in this article:

"To avoid sitting in someone's "accustomed spot" (maqom qavua` מקום קבוע), depending on the congregation especially, it is best to call ahead and have someone, probably the gabbai, meet you beforehand."
I think this advice makes the prospect of visiting a Jewish service totally forbidding to non-Jews and non-orthodox Jews as well. I't's not the practice in orthodox shuls I am familiar with.. --agr 00:50, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Good point. I fixed it. 08:12, 23 November 2005 (UTC)
It's a ridiculous concept as far as my POV goes, but it's not entirely unfounded. The concept is recorded afaik as far back as talmudic times (altho possibly only as far back as shulchan `arukh). (no, I don't have citation on hand, nor do I care enough to go dig one up.) TomerTALK 08:01, 28 November 2005 (UTC)


"In Conservative and Reform synagogues the dress code is more lax, ranging from dress shirt and slacks to jeans and polo shirts." I don't know what Cons/Ref services you've been to, but most of the ones I have been to, the cong. dresses quite formally. There are exceptions to this, of course, at my own shul, in fact, but in general, Cons (at least) synagogues have so many B'nai Mitzvah, etc, that people are always dressed up. We may also want to note for tourists (since this section is basically a tour guide of a shul) that most synagogues in Israel are about as informal as we are making Cons/Ref shuls out to be.--Mattcarl 08:24, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

I think the article is incorrect and may be misleading by equating tzniut, which is a religious-law issue involving which body parts need to be covered, with how formal or elegant the covering should be as a matter of custom and etiquette. Except possibly for Haredi circles which often require special dress (e.g. black hat and suit), level of formality in dress has little to do with tzniut, and little to do with denomination either. Formality comes from the general culture. Generally speaking, Orthodox women should wear a hat (if married) and keep their shoulders/upper arms and most of their legs covered, while Conservativism permits women to expose somewhat more skin. Nothing to do with "dressing up" -- many formal evening gowns would be inconsistent with Orthodox tzniut and inappropriate in Orthodox circles, and many Orthodox synagogues (particularly in Israel) are quite informal. --Shirahadasha 21:24, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Many mamarried Orthodox women today do not wear a hat and depending on the comunity elbow length sleevs are not required (although sleevles is not accepted). Formal dress is expected only on Shabbat, especialy in Israel (where people in general are less formal).


Would this page be an appropriate place to mention etiquette guidelines for communal meals (such as those typically held after services)? Specifically, many conservative and most orthodox people wash their hands before eating and it is custom to not talk between the washing of the hands and saying Motzi. It gets very ackward when someone tries to start a conversation with someone who just came back from washing... --David.kaplan 23:10, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Hebrew naming conventions[edit]

Urgent: see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Hebrew) to add your opinions about this important matter. Thank you. IZAK 18:02, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Hebrew transliteration and translated prayers[edit]

Should I write the hebrew words (chazzan, musaf, etc.) in Hebrew? Can you read this-"עברית" Epl18 10:58, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Go for it. and yes, the Hebrew shows up just fine. Tomertalk 08:01, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

On prayers in translation: I have been going to the Sephardic synagogue in Lisbon, Portugal, for many years and have never heard a prayer in Portuguese!

Orthodoxy, egalitarianism, etc.[edit]

This is indicative of a problem that I've found in other articles as well. The introduction now reads:

According to Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law, Jewish men are required to pray three times daily and four times daily on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays (five times on Yom Kippur).

I think this is a bit problematic from all sides of the issue. From the Orthodox point of view, this is not a subjective and idiosynchratic Orthodox interpretation but a matter of unyielding halacha; from a Conservative point of view, the obligation to pray 3/4/5 times a day is not limited to Orthodoxy either, and the requirement is binding upon all men and optional for women.

I'll probably dive in and edit once I've reflected on this for a while, but I think we have to do our best to avoid partisan delineations in the articles where we can. It should be fairly undisputed that halacha requires that men daven the prescribed number of times a day. Then we can mention that the Conservative position is that women who choose to accept the requirement are also bound by it; and that the Reform movement views this like all other ritual mitzvot to be virtuous but not required. Or something along those lines. --Leifern 14:38, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Very well put - I agree. Good luck with the editing. Zargulon 14:51, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Please note, Reform does not view any Jewish law as binding, not just the laws regarding prayer. Reform simply does not consider halakha to be obligatory; it was created as a deliberately non-halakhic movement. Jayjg (talk) 17:25, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
But the character of Reform Judaism now is not a reflection of that at its inception, in this regard or in many others. I am making a compromise which, from your stated opinion so far, should be acceptable to you.. please let me know if this is not the case and why. Zargulon 17:56, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what difference your edit made; the Jewish law link just went back to halakha anyway. However, if you'd prefer to call it halakha, so be it. Jayjg (talk) 18:47, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Many Ashkenazi orthodox views state that women are obliged to pray twice every day - Shacharit and Mincha. The only reason Maariv (Aravit) is optional for them is that it originally was an optional prayer for everyone.

{{Torah portion}}[edit]

FYI: (1) The central focus of Jewish services on every Shabbat in synagogue as well as on Monday and Thursday mornings at Shacharit services is the Torah reading of that week's Parsha (Torah portion). (2) The template {{Torah portion}} is at the bottom of the Jewish services article's page, so essentially it's part of the "See also" section which is a legitimate way of connecting related and connected topics on an article. (3) If a reader finds the {{Torah portion}} to be "too intrusive" then any reader is free to click "Hide" on the top right section of the template's heading which shrinks it to an unobtrusive one liner. Finally, (4) the {{Torah portion}} is presently diligently updated weekly by User:Dauster early each Sunday so that any readers may learn more about the weekly Parsha. User:Dauster summarizes each week's Parsha and adds some interesting graphics which surely adds life and color to a page that may gain the attention of readers who don't know much about this subject and may want to learn more. Please refer all further comments and discussions to one centralized location at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Judaism#Template: Torah portion Thank you. IZAK 08:44, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Head covering[edit]

Perhaps my wording was off. Jewish men are charged to cover their head, as stated in the source I quoted. Shabazz - What is your source for all men, regardless of religion, to cover their head? DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 03:30, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

My source is every-day reality of Jewish-gentile relations. As a sign of respect, men of all faiths generally put on kippot when they enter a synagogue. It may not be written in the Shulchan Aruch, but that's the way it works. If you don't believe me, here are a few sites that say the same thing. [1][2][3][4][5] Also, look at photos of non-Jewish politicians when they speak at synagogues or attending services. Every one is wearing a kippah.
The problem seems to be a difference of opinion concerning who the intended reader of the article is. I think a Wikipedia article should be written for the average (i.e., non-Jewish) reader who wishes to learn about Jewish services. It would be helpful for such a reader to know, as the article said, "In most synagogues or temples, it is considered a sign of respect for all male attendees to wear a head covering, either a dress hat or a kippa (skull cap, plural kipot). Head covering practice applies to both Jews and non-Jews who attend a synagogue." It seems to me like your edit is aimed at a reader who is familiar with traditional Judaism. That's well and good, except that most readers will read the article and wonder about the gulf between what it says and their every-day experience. "As Jewish men are charged with covering their heads at all times, prayer time is no exception." Huh? I work with ten Jews, and none of them wear yarmules all day. "It is a common misconception that non-Jews are expected to cover their head, but this has no source." Huh? When I was invited to my friend's bar mitzvah I was told I had to wear a yarmulke. You mean I really didn't have to?
I'm sorry, but I just don't agree that Wikipedia articles about Judaism should be inward-directed and written for those who know and understand Jewish law and tradition. — Malik Shabazz (Talk | contribs) 04:37, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
These websites offer erroneous information. Websites should not be utilized as sources for religious rules, regulation and tradition when they fly in the face of the Shulchan Aruch or the Rambam's yad hachazakah. Secondly, Judaism should not be judged by Jews, especially those who . Far too many Jews are assimilated and do not properly comply with esatblished doctrine. Our previous conversations at Talk:Conservative Judaism debating the use of POV material of Conservative vs. Orthodox Judaism is substantially related to this issue as well. The accepted practice of followers of Conservative or Reform Judaism which have no basis other than website substantiation should not beat out longstanding tradition and practice established by the authoritative works of generations ago, which have defined Judaism prior to the creation of reformation in any shape or form and which still defines Judaism for those who wish to follow it according to its initial and proper guidlines, as outlined in the texts mentioned above. Why is Wikipedia an archive of religious information based on left-wing interpretation? DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 19:42, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't care to debate this issue, because I don't think we're going to see eye-to-eye. If you'd like, we can ask members of Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism for their opinions. I'm willing to abide by a consensus. (In the interest of full disclosure, let me tell you that I'm one of 181 members of the WikiProject, but I doubt my membership in the project will sway anybody's opinion.) — Malik Shabazz (Talk | contribs) 02:50, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Both the Halakhic point of view on the matter and the sources about some common practices should be included. The article should say "According to Halakha and Orthodox practice..." and also say "A common practice is..." or "Conservatives generally see it as a sign of respect that..." with the relevant citations. nadav (talk) 06:25, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Why is this article being written as a tour guidebook? This article should be no different than any other article. It is an informative, comprehensive review of the material related to the article name. For those who are visiting a dentist and want to read up about the dental dam, is it important that they know that dental dams can also be used for safe sex? Is that what they are going to the dentist for, or to have a filling placed? But it's still in the article, because that, apparently, is verifiable, relevant information that relates to dental dams, regardless of who is going to read it. Articles are not to be written as tour books. This is an encyclopedia, not "The visitors guide to XYZ." DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 12:44, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Third Opinion Request - Initiated

  • While the hard-line Jewish law should certainly be included, it's not clear to me why mention of other pracices should be excluded. Since the version Malik Shabazz supports has both and is sourced, I would have to favor it unless it can be explained to me why such information should be excluded. -Chunky Rice 17:25, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
My contention is not that conservative viewpoints be excluded, as they are surely the majority representation of Judaism in America. My contention is, rather, that articles seem to be written using Conservative Judaism as the basis for the forumation of the topics, and Orthodox practice, which subscribes to the codified Jewish law, is presented almost dismissively. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 19:55, 1 July 2007 (UTC)


A long time ago I added some very basic sources to this article. Unfortunately, much more is needed, e.g. the claim that concentration is required for certain parts of the prayers even a posteriori. Could someone have a go at this? I'll try as well. JFW | T@lk 12:36, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


This entire article, which describes the status quo of Jewish prayer - and not its history, should be rewritten to reflect scientific research on the one hand, and the diversity of Jewish practice, and not just Orhtodox practice, on the other. To that effect, I have tagged the page and will work on it piece by piece. Please do not edit the page until I am finished.-- (talk) 22:49, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

You're getting it the wrong way round. You are free to make changes, and other editors will judge the work on its merits. What is not acceptable is slamming a tag on the article and expecting all other editors to stand by and watch you change stuff.
I will remove the POV tag, and am waiting for you to make the changes that you think are necessary. POV tags, especially when placed by anonymous users, distract from the real needs of the article. JFW | T@lk 23:15, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree the article needs to cover non-Orthodox practice (with reliable sources please), and I also agree that research into this area needs to be represented. JFW | T@lk 23:17, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Where have you gone, JFW | T@lk 21:11, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


Why is this article entitled jewish services, but we have salah instead of Islamic services? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:43, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Ashkenazi or Sephardi spellings?[edit]

I have read this article and see that most of the spellings in this article are spelled in the Sephardic minhag. So my question is should we use the Sephardi or Ashkenazi minhag when spelling Hebrew words? Sephardic: Tallit Ashkenazi: Tallis and other words... XavierAJones (talk) 01:15, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Attire Section: Tefillin[edit]

I was looking for information about the Tefellin, and was surprised not to see it in the Attire section of this article. Does any other attire merit a mention? Thanks! Srain (talk) 20:51, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

I've added a paragraph on them to that section. Jayjg (talk) 02:36, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

File:IDF soldier put on tefillin.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Karaite Prayers[edit]

There is a need for a section of this article to address the liturgy of the Karaite Jews, which is similiar in content and structure to the Rabinnical liturgy, but contains so,e important differences. I myself have Karaite siddurim but I would prefer it if an expert on the subject were to deal with it. For,that matter, it might be nice to have some commentary on the liturgical practices of the more obscure branches of Judaism, such as the Bene Israel of India and the Beta Israel of Ethiopia.

For that matter, although the Samaritans are not Jews, they are ethnically related and follow the Torah, and their liturgical practices, contained in a book called the Defter, are also potentially worthy of mention. However, if that's a bridge too far, I would be content with just a section on Karaite prayer.

Wgw2024 (talk) 15:12, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

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