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Artscroll Transliterated Linear Siddur: Sabbath and Festival

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Artscroll Transliterated Linear Siddur

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Artscroll Transliterated Linear Siddur Sabbath and Festival - Seif Edition
Nusach Ashkenaz
Based on The Complete Artscroll Siddur
with Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Nosson Scherman
Introductory Essays and Comments by Rabbi Benjamin Yudin
An Orthodox Union Centennial Publication
Mesorah Publications, New York: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-57819-150-5

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - July 22, 2009

While it is accepted that prayers may be said in any language, the ideal is that they should be said in the Holy Tongue - that is, in Hebrew. So, what are you to do if you want to pray in Hebrew, but do not know enough Hebrew to do so? Artscroll, in conjunction with the Orthodox Union have crafted an outstanding solution that will enable any English reader to say their prayers in Hebrew - and to follow along with a Hebrew language prayer service with ease.

They have done this by creating a prayer book that contains the Hebrew text of the prayers, along with an English translation, and a transliteration of the Hebrew text. What makes this siddur so unique is that the three key elements of this siddur - the Hebrew text, translation, and transliteration - are organized on a line-by-line or phrase-by-phrase format. What this means is that on any given page, along the right-hand side of the page you will find the text of the prayers, in vowelized Hebrew, immediately to the left, on the same page, is the transliteration of the Hebrew text, and right below, centered between the Hebrew text and the transliteration, is an English translation of that line. This enables you to not only recite the prayers in Hebrew, but also to easily follow along with the service and to understand what you are reading or saying, without having to hunt around on the facing page for the English translation, as is the case with many Hebrew-English prayer books.

Throughout, all instructions are provided in English. Brief, but informative commentaries, are also included throughout this unique prayer book. In addition, instructions are provided that will ensure that you are reading the Hebrew transliteration correctly. A collection of informative essays, in English, on the background of the payers, have also been included.

Artscroll Transliterated Linear Siddur: Sabbath and Festival is based upon the famed Artscroll Complete Siddur which includes the text for not only the Sabbath and Festival prayer services, but also for the weekday services. A companion volume: the Artscroll Transliterated Linear Siddur: Weekday is also available. This companion volume covers the weekday Prayer services. Published in conjunction with the Orthodox Union, the Artscroll Transliterated Linear Siddur: Sabbath and Festival is a boon for non-Hebrew speakers/readers visiting a synagogue associated with the Orthodox Union as they will find that they will have no difficulty following along with the service.

In addition to providing non-Hebrew readers with the ability to say their prayers in Hebrew and to follow along with an Orthodox Hebrew-language prayer service, this Siddur is also an excellent study aid for anyone studying Hebrew. Such students should keep in mind that this prayer book adheres to the Ashkenaz tradition, and the transliteration provided is based upon the European method of speaking Hebrew, not the modern-day, Sephardic-based Hebrew that is spoken in Israel. The difference between Ashkanazic and Sephardic Hebrew is more akin to the difference between a strong Southern-American English accent and that of Scottish-accented English. Both are understandable to both parties, but it takes a bit of practice getting use to the subtle differences between the two pronunciations!

Overall, I really like the Artscroll Transliterated Linear Siddur: Sabbath and Festival. The text adheres to the same high standards of excellence and accuracy that you would expect from all Artscroll texts. Most important, I found the organization of the text easy to follow, and extremely convenient to use. I really like that the English translation is right below both the Hebrew and transliterated text, allows you to easily identify any word or phrase that you might not be familiar with. In addition, the transliteration allows both those with no familiarity with Hebrew, as well as those who are just beginning to learn Hebrew to participate in prayer services and to say their prayers like someone fluent in Hebrew. Most important, being able to follow the prayer service in Hebrew will not only increase your understanding and appreciation of the prayer service, but it will also enhance your overall synagogue experience. In addition, there is simply ‘just something' about being able to pray in Hebrew that seems to automatically elevate your prayers, and fervor, to a higher level.

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