Welcome to the Free Siddur Project – פרויקט סדור חופשי! Here you will find resources for producing your own customized siddur. I began working on this project in the months leading up to my wedding. My Rabbi was in visiting on the way to another wedding she was performing. She stopped in to do one of the many pre-wedding counsels with my Fiancé and me. For the wedding she was performing a few days later, she had prepared (like she often does) a custom siddur for the guests of the wedding. Unfortunately in her rush to the airport, she misplaced a portion of her booklet. She and I went online to attempt to reconstruct the missing portions.
As I browsed around the net searching both in English and Hebrew I was unhappy to discover that their existed very few useful resources. What I wanted was one site where I could find the text of the תפילות (prayers), their translation and a transliteration of the Hebrew. I was chagrined to discover all sorts of sites for translations (almost entirely Christian), a few incomplete sites of the Hebrew, and virtually no sites of transliteration.
This got me thinking: wouldn’t it be great if such a place existed. It had been a number of years since I had played with writing in Hebrew with vowels and cantilation marks. The last time I attempted to do anything of the sort it required highly specialized software (Davka or Qtext or Dagesh) and even then wasn’t the simplest process. I was excited to learn the times have changed dramatically since then. Using Tavultsoft’s Keyman and the Ezra SIL Unicode font kit (both free) I was able to type phonetically in Microsoft Word 2003 with full vowels and cantilation marks. The text could even be exported to Adobe Acrobat PDF with no loss. What a change!
I feverishly began running through my favorite portion of the liturgy – Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv for Friday night. The Hebrew was fantastically easy to produce. As I went I attempted to hash out my own system of transliteration, but quickly discovered that despite my brief flirtation with linguistics, I was coming up short with creating a uniform transliteration. I did some looking around the net and discovered HebrewWorks’ Saffa – a program that automatically transliterates Hebrew text. Saffa allows for a 4 day trial period and so I used those four days to create the transliteration for the Friday Evening texts I’d already produced. Under the “Texts – טקסטים section you’ll find these texts. They’re nothing fancy – just the Hebrew and transliteration – but it’s a start. Before I invest more time in this project and before I invest in Saffa I want to get your feedback on the usefulness of the site and on ease of use of the transliteration. If the feedback is positive I’ll continue with the project.
One final note: you’ll notice that there is no translation here yet. Translation is a project I’d love to take on at some point (or find someone to work with that would like to work on that portion of the project) but I’m not there yet. Hopefully someday soon! In the meantime, enjoy the site!
Update: It has recently come to my attention that Tavultsoft’s KeyMan is no longer free. Fortunately, there is a keyboard map that doesn’t require KeyMan. Check out: