Jewish Prayer Books Buying Guide
One of the most powerful and meaningful ways to connect with the Divine and to carry on Jewish tradition is through prayer, known in Hebrew as tefillah. Over the centuries, rabbinic authorities have compiled Jewish prayers into the codified versions we know today - many of them based on Biblical texts or ancient Jewish poetry.
Naturally, some of the most renowned Orthodox Jewish prayer book publishers are in Israel, and our store carries dozens of tefillah volumes from the Holy Land for every occasion. Whether you're comfortable praying in Hebrew only or prefer a translated Hebrew-English edition, we have options in both, as well as various editions with different types of commentaries and Ashkenazi as well as Sephardi versions.
Learn more below about different types of Jewish prayer books, as well as some of our favorite recommended editions.
A siddur is a traditional prayer book with all the daily prayers, whether for regular weekdays or shabbat or both. Our siddurim come from acclaimed Israeli publisher Koren and make for the perfect companion to your private prayers as well as synagogue services, featuring easy-to-follow instructions, insightful commentary from renowned rabbis and Jewish thinkers, and a clear and stylish formatting. We have options in Hebrew and Hebrew-English, with many of the editions available in both Ashkenazi and Sephardi versions, and even a special volume for those who follow the Moroccan tradition.
A mahzor is a special prayer book for a specific holiday that requires additional prayers, such as Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur. These often feature more than just the standard prayer services, but also additional readings and commentary, a guide to holiday-specific laws, and the relevant tractate of the Mishna (Oral Law). Our mahzorim are likewise the works of the famous Koren Publishers Jerusalem, with full-size as well as easy-to-carry compact versions and both Ashkenazi and Sephardi editions.
❤︎ We love the Koren Sacks Rosh Hashana mahzorim with versions following both Ashkenaz and Sepharad prayer rites, and featuring insightful commentary and prose by the famous Rabbi Jonathan Sacks zt"l, former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
Tehillim volumes are compilations of the Biblical Psalms, traditionally believed to have been composed by King David and beloved for their poetic lyricism and deep expressions of faith. It is customary to recite these as a form of prayer, and many over the centuries have found comfort, inspiration, and a special Divine connection through their sacred words.
❤︎ We love the Koren Tehillim with a beautifully illustrated floral cover and insightful English translation, and the Koren Steinsaltz Tehillim with commentary and explanations by renowned scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz zt"l.
Birkonim (also known in Yiddish as benchers) are booklets that feature Birkat HaMazon, the Grace After Meals prayer traditionally said after a full meal, with variations for weekdays, shabbat, and holidays. They often also include traditional shabbat songs, the kiddush sanctification prayers for shabbat and holidays, and the havdalah prayer ritual for the end of shabbat. Many people keep sets of them to pass out to guests at meals, and they often come in compact versions that are easy to carry with you or conveniently store in your dining room.
❤︎ We love the Koren Shir Zion Birkon set with beautiful color photographs of the Land of Israel by renowned Israeli photographer Yehoshua Halevi, and the Koren Birkon Mesorat Harav with commentary of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt"l and convenient English translations.
Our store also carries prayer book editions made specially for children, with engaging illustrations and explanations and a focus on the most important and age-appropriate prayers. These siddurim are an excellent way to pass on your Jewish tradition and instill prayer habits in your young loved ones, and they can be meaningful gifts for special occasions like birthdays, Hanukkah, or the start of a new school year.
❤︎ We love the Illustrated Koren Children's Siddur, perfect for introducing children aged 3 to 6 to the most important Jewish prayers, and the Koren Youth Siddur in Hebrew/English with explanations and commentary to engage older elementary and middle school students.
Special women's prayer books are a tradition going all the way back to the Middle Ages, and are still favored by some women today. They feature distinct, women's-only prayers composed to reflect the needs of girls and women from birth to Bat Mitzvah, wedding to pregnancy, and parenthood to mourning. A women's prayer book is a meaningful companion for all the milestones and lifecycle events in a woman's life, as well as everyday occasions to connect with the Divine in a unique way.
❤︎ We love the beautifully designed In Her Voice: An Illuminated Book of Prayers for Jewish Women, featuring gorgeous illuminated manuscripts by contemporary Israeli artist Enya Tamar Keshet and both traditional and modern prayers along with English translations.