The new siddur that wants to get teens thinking

The Koren NCSY Siddur —Tribe Edition, £24.99


 At JFS there has been a big change in the approach to prayer. For the last generation of JFS students there was no compulsory act of daily worship; those who wanted to daven could join the daily school minyan.

But this year, we have introduced regular weekly tefillah for all children in year 7. Each week, half the year group — 150 children at a time — come together to pray. 
Far from mandating worship for worship’s sake, we want every child who comes through our doors to develop Jewish literacy and skills. We believe passionately that the religion belongs to every Jewish person, irrespective of their individual level of observance.

A key consideration of this change was which siddur to choose. It was therefore more than fortuitous that at the same time as the start of our new programme, Tribe, the United Synagogue’s youth division, were launching the new Koren NCSY Tribe Edition of the siddur for teens. 

The siddur was created by Debbie Stone (a former senior Jewish studies teacher at JFS before moving to New York) and Daniel Rose (who taught Jewish studies at Immanuel College before making aliyah). Authored by experienced and internationally renowned educators, it is designed with modern teens in mind.

It has four different approaches to commentary, which are multidisciplinary and work for different learning styles. It is particularly good for visual learners with vibrant and colourful content. There are many open-ended questions, which allow personal reflection and interpretation without providing pre-determined answers; as well as stories designed to  get readers thinking about prayer in a way they may never have done before. 

The siddur is all about finding a suitable access point for each person. The colour coding for the commentary focuses on specific words and phrases which enables the reader to concentrate on a given section of text. The whole idea is to help learners find their own voice in davening. Not to tell them what to think, but to start to develop a relationship with prayer. 

Jamie Peston is director of operations at JFS

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive