1. Project title
Progressive Illustrated Siddur
The first Progressive Siddur for Jewish Reform communities in Poland
2. Project summary
Publication of the first Hebrew-Polish-English Progressive Siddur for Kabbalat Shabbat
3. Project description
The Hebrew inscription over the door of this Polish synagogue pictured on the cover page is a verse from Psalms, which says: I was happy when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord”. [Ps. 122]. But now the entrance is barred and it is dangerous to enter because masonry and bricks can fall from the collapsing roof…
[From Beit Krakow Siddur]
When we established our community of Beit Krakow over five years ago, one of the first things we needed to do was to produce an elementary Siddur, which would allow us to hold even the most basic service in Hebrew and Polish. Though there are several Siddurim available in Poland, all of them have been published by the Orthodox community and therefore were not suitable for the needs of a young community learning the progressive approach.
For the cover of the Siddur we chose this almost paradoxical image from the “Traces of Memory” exhibition (of the Galicia Jewish Museum) to emphasize our mission in Poland of rebuilding the shattered Jewish identity and opening the doors to Jewish culture even though it may sometimes seem impossible.
The Siddur we managed to produce thus far has been a collective effort of Beit Kraków members and has helped us grow as a community. It also taught us communal responsibility of rebuilding Jewish life in Poland, sometimes from scratch. We believe that by making these first steps we now know what creating a Siddur entails, what is and what is not within our reach and with this knowledge
could successfully complete the project. We have among our ranks professional illustrators and designers, experienced in book publishing, as well as Hebrew and English speakers. We are aware that other emerging communities in Poland face the same challenges as we did at the beginning, having to lead the services based on old xero copies or the orthodox liturgy. Therefore we see the project of making the first Hebrew-Polish Progressive Siddur as an endeavour that could benefit more than just one community.
Our ambition is to create a Siddur illustrated with various images produced by our own artists and derived from various Jewish books published in pre-war Poland. We believe that such personal and visually attractive design would make an important statement to the viability and growing strength of the Jewish community in Poland as well as to our memory and spiritual connection to our roots here in Poland.
After 5 years we are close to publishing our progressive Siddur, which will be a true testimony to the creative vibrant nature of the Jewish community in Krakow and in Poland.