An Introduction to The Open Siddur Project


Sunday, December 8
12 – 12:50 PM @ National Museum of American Jewish History

The Open Siddur Project is now 10 years old — but what is it, why is it, and who is it? Hear the founder of the Open Siddur Project, Aharon N. Varady, in conversation with Naomi Socher-Lerner, a librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia and a volunteer contributor to the project — discussing the practice of making one’s own prayer book from resources brought together by a worldwide network of scholars, students, artists, and crafters.

Aharon Varady

Founding director of the Open Siddur Project, Aharon Varady is a community planner (M.C.P.) and Jewish educator (M.A.J.Ed.) working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of Torah study. His work on the adoption of Open Source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Yiddish Forverts, the Atlantic Magazine, Tablet, and Haaretz. Aharon Varady studied environmental planning and planning history at DAAP/University of Cincinnati, and the intersection of theurgy, experiential education, and ecology at the Davidson School of Education/JTSA. 

Naomi Socher-Lerner

Naomi Socher-Lerner is a librarian and knowledge-seeker. A librarian in the Central Childrens Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia, she is also a volunteer reader for the Public Domain LibriVox Recordings project, a contributor to the Open Siddur Project, and serves on the working group for the Philadelphia Havurah: Heymish Philly. She lives in Philadelphia with her spouse, Beverly and enjoys slacklining, quilting, ancient philosophy, woodworking, making music, and reading.

The Open Siddur Project

Online at <>, the Open Siddur is a volunteer-driven, non-profit, non-denominational, and non-prescriptive community project growing a gratis and libre Open Access archive of Jewish prayer, liturgy, and related works (historic and contemporary, familiar and obscure), composed in every era, region, and language Jews have ever prayed. Founded in 2009 with support from the Jewish Publication Society, their goal remains to provide a platform for sharing open-source resources, tools, and content for individuals and communities crafting their own prayerbook (siddur). Through this work, they hope to empower personal autonomy, preserve customs, and foster openness and vitality in religious culture.