Aharon Varady always dreamed of putting together his own prayer book. Realizing that many people – including himself – often see prayer as a dull and robotic exercise in the fulfillment of a religious duty, he thought for years about ways to enable people to create their own prayer book, or siddur, in order to make the most of their experience.
A fellow at this year’s PresenTense Institute, Varady earlier this month finally embarked on a daring project, creating a tool for “individuals and groups to build the siddur they’ve always wanted,” as his Web site explains.
Varady’s Open Siddur project aspires to funnel all different regional traditions, translations, commentaries and instructional notes that Jews from the four corners of the world have produced through the ages into one Web application. The site will provide the core liturgy and enable users to freely add content, comparable to cooking Web sites where food aficionados exchange and comment on each other’s recipes.