Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Children's Siddur to Buy or Not to Buy

So I have small children and my wife and I are trying to educate them to be connected to tefilla.  We started with the basic one used in our shul:
It has its advantages and disadvantages - one disadvantage being that it doesn't have "Ashrei" - one of the most popular parts of tefilla.  Another disadvantage is that the spine is very thin and won't survive intensive prayer nor play davening. Meanwhile the graphics are good and my kids love to use it (while it lasts).

Koren Publishers came out last year with a more developed version of a children's siddur.
Seems to me like similar graphics and approach to tefilla, but with some more structure and meat to the siddur.

Today I came across what I must think is the worst siddur that I have come across yet, and that is saying much considering the two dimensional nature of Artscroll publishing.

Apparently Dudu's Fisher's siddur comes with an CD (featured above - same cover on the siddur) and lots of spirit and excitement. I am in some very weird way embrassed by this siddur and its efforts to solely teach the peformance of the prayers without much mention of a self-reflective or mediatiive dimension.  Indded my frustration may stem from my more exclusive focus on teenagers and adult tefilla experiences, but oh how I loathe that this approach is exclusivley pushed as if prayer is a team sport!

Of relevance is Daniel Rose's query in today's Lookjed in which he is reseraching about children's siddurim:
I am doing some initial research into Jewish Day School Siddur use. I am interested in understanding what a school looks for in a siddur for grades 1-4 (ages 6-10). Which siddur do use in your school in these grades? In your school is the siddur primarily used for its text (to learn the tefillot) or do you (or do you think you would like to) use a school siddur as a teaching resource for teaching tefilla? What do you/would you teach from the siddur (Reading? Tefilla skills? Hilchot tefilla? Tefilla themes and ideas?) Does the siddur you use (or would you like it to) come as part of a curriculum with a teacher's resource packet/booklet?
Any feedback you could give is gratefully received (
I encourage you to share your expreinces of what your kids or students may be using to daven and hope that it will benefit other parents and teachers.  And if you are in the process of writing or publishing a new children's siddur, let us know!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Surprised no one has commented.

    In my experience, most synagogues and schools have siddurim that are too advanced for the children using them. I prefer either a siddur we wrote together, or a siddur that is a blueprint and not one where we feel bound to read every prayer every day. I've written several siddurim with colleagues, from a giant poster siddur for the Tot Shabbat service at a large conservative synagogue to K-2nd siddurim for the same synagogue, then with modifications for my current shul. Maybe because most of the children don't pray daily (at least not in Hebrew), I am of the opinion that less is more. Include the basics and add in other prayers as handouts.

    I was once at a shul where the kids' siddur was homemade and in 3 ring binders, which has the advantage of being flexible but the disadvantage of being far too large for small children in chairs (rather than at a table, as they might be in class).

    Finally, Torah Aura is our favorite textbook supplier these days, and if I were searching for a new children's siddur for my shul, I would look first to see what they publish.

    Any of this helpful?