This article gives a pretty detailed review of the new Rabinical Council of America Siddur, which is something I hope to add to my bookshelf if it ever becomes available in an accessible format.

I have the Artscroll weekday Siddur on my phone as an app, and while I love how the app displays additions smartly, I find the translation to be too slavishly literal to the Hebrew, (it goes so far as to follow Hebrew grammar in translation, which results in unreadable English), even despite the terms on which the Artscroll siddurim are translated: specifically that Hebrew is a holy language and that since Hebrew is not understood by a lot of people they should be able to pray in another language with the translation reflecting as much of the Hebrew syntax as possible.

Another problem I’ve found, (and I’m not sure if this is a VoiceOver problem or a problem with the app itself), is that if your operating system language is in English, even if you have Hebrew braille tables installed, the app will not display Hebrew text properly, which means that I have to keep the app in English and scroll past the mangled Hebrew text where it appears.

I haven’t tried switching my VoiceOver language to Hebrew yet to see if it corrects the problem.

But to get back to the RCA siddur, I’d like to read the commentary and essays that come as part of the package.

There was talk during the early years of the siddur’s preparation of an online resource which contained the commentary and essays, but as far as I know it’s never come to fruition. I’ll echo this author in stating that it would be a areally good idea.

The first complete Siddur (prayerbook) I ever used was the 1949 edition of Hasiddur Hashalem, translated by Philip Birnbaum and published by the Hebrew Publishing Company.

I still love that prayerbook, despite its stilted English.

Since the Hebrew Publishing Company basically hasn’t existed since 2016, all of their works have entered the public domain through a combination of a lot of the works being published before 1975 and several more of the works having reached 75 years since the death of their authors, which automatically puts them in the public domain.

One of the things I always wondered about is why Birnbaum spends a significant portion of the introduction to HaSiddur HaShalem essentially trashing the work of every translator who came before him.

Why would you spend something like 5 or 10 dense pages basically subtweeting every other translator?

Since all these works have entered the public domain, now I know why.

Apparently this is a thing they all did up to a certain point. There are limits, (for example, everybody’s wives and kids are off limits, and nobody’s Jewish status is questioned), but other than that, everything’s fair game, personal or professional.

It is, (or was) apparently a long-standing tradition which seems to have been set aside for the most part after the Holocaust and then is completely gone by the 70’s.

And it apparently started around the first time the prayerbook was translated and edited in America.

Brittish translations, on the other hand, are on the surface more polite, however the insults are basically “bless your heart” to the Americans and a lot more backhanded to their fellows in Britain, specifically England.

The Scottish make the Americans look like they’re having milk and cookies together.

All of this is fascinating to me.

I would like to wish everyone who is celebrating a joyous and happy Purim. For those of you who aren’t celebrating, and don’t know what Purim is, it’s the Jewish holiday commemorating the salvation of the Jews in Persia from the annihilation planned for them by Haman, the advisor to King Ahasuerus, all of which is recounted in the biblical book of Esther. The day is marked by festive meals among family and friends, gift-giving, (customarily gifts of sweets), drinking, jokes and satire, and costumes. I’m not dressing up or anything this year, but I did get some hamantashen (three-cornered pastries with filling, usually fruit) and some rugelach (crescent-shaped pastries wrapped around a filling). The hamantashen are raspberry, which is not my favorite flavor, but these are surprisingly good. The rugelach are cinnamon and sugar. These were both made locally so they are very fresh and thus as moist as they should be. Very tasty.

As someone who prays regularly, I’d just like to put this out there. Prayer is not a substitute for action, when you are capable of acting. To attempt to substitute prayer for action when you are capable of acting, especially on behalf of someone in need or someone who is coping with overwhelming loss, is a slap in the face, and we would all be better served if you kept your thoughts and prayers to yourself.

Logs on after Shabbat. Oh look! Nazis! Looks at my social medias. Oh look! People in my timeline/newsfeed defending the nazis, because free speech! Time to visit the bank of fucks and purge more accounts, because as a Jew I will not tolerate this shit, and as a white person I will not stand by silently while this shit is defended, no matter what the reason, and I will not stand by while other white people look the other way and shrug their shoulders, wring their hands, and/or say there’s nothing that can be done about this. Now is not the time to be neutral, and it is not the time for nuance. If you are silent, you are complicit. If you’ve ever opened your mouth to condemn Black Lives Matter, or condemn Muslims when one of them rams a vehicle into a crowd, don’t you dare keep it shut now. This is not, (as our president says), about violence on the part of “many sides”. It’s about white supremacists coming out in force, and committing an act of domestic terrorism. You’re only as awesome as the things you tolerate, and if there are assholes in your community, it’s your fault. If you can’t muster up the courage to do anything more than role your eyes and wring your hands, or offer up thoughts and prayers, then whether it’s friends or family, we need to re-evaluate our relationship, because I am fucking done.