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(RNS) Two years after its long-awaited debut in North America, Reform Judaism’s new prayer book is heading south — with some cultural differences.
For Progressive Jews in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and South Africa, the World Union edition of Mishkan T’filah has incorporated national anthems, local poetry, adjusted seasonal references and traditional rituals requested by the congregations.
More than two dozen Southern Hemisphere synagogues will begin using the prayer book next year, said officials from CCAR Press, the publishing arm of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform movement’s clergy organization.
Mishkan T’filah took three decades to develop, with input from hundreds of congregations, before its 2007 release. In contrast to its predecessor, published in 1975, the book includes gender-neutral language for God, phonetic Hebrew transliterations, references to Jewish matriarchs, and both traditional and contemporary interpretations of prayers.
“We are thrilled to be able to work with our friends in the Southern Hemisphere to create a siddur (prayer book) for them that meets their desires and needs,” said Rabbi Hara Parson, CCAR Press publisher and director.
By Nicole Neroulias
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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