Environmental Scan

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Contents

A look around at what others are doing.

An "Environmental Scan" of Open Siddur's Competitors, Comparatives, Complements, and Collaboratives.

Target markets of the Open Siddur

  • Creative Jews looking for tools that help them engage in a relevant personal practice,
  • Learned Jews, book artist, and publishers seeking to provide Jews beautifully crafted siddurim
  • emerging spiritual communities developing their own siddurim,
  • small communities whose traditions are threatened,
  • small communities that lack the resources to purchase siddurim for their congregations
  • individuals with special needs needing custom accessible siddurim
  • educators looking to introduce t'fillah and the Jewish liturgy to children and adults through an interactive curriculum.
  • academics interested in teaching and studying the development of Jewish liturgy and/or adding to an intellectual commons on the subject
  • traditional Jews who want a free, well-sourced text to use as a basis for pocket siddurim, bentchers for lifecycle events

Problems addressed by the Open Siddur

  • Pre-programmed siddurim do not allow easy modification, and are:
    • difficult to engage in a meaningful way with intention,
    • disconnected from the innovations of other communities and individuals,
    • frequently text only,
    • rarely embrace values of pluralism,
    • text is copyrighted (non-free),
    • non-interactive/non-networked.
  • In general, there is an unsatisfied need for a siddur that represents itself as an aggregate of thousands of years of inspired creativity that continues in the present day, and not as a monolithic expression of a "Torah True" Judaism.

Competitors

Ventures that address possibly similar target markets as the Open Siddur, while licensing their content under restrictive terms. Creative Jews dissatisfied with these offerings currently have no recourse except to digitize their own content and make their own siddur.

  • Davka Corporation’s Transliterated Siddur: An EULA restricted CD-ROM for printing (not publishing) your own siddur texts. EULA is here.
  • All contemporary traditional and denominational siddurim which publish under restrictive licensing (e.g., Siddur Sim Shalom, Artscroll, Koren Sachs, etc.).

Comparatives

Ventures that seek to solve the same problems as the Open Siddur Project, while addressing a different target market.

These are siddur or Jewish liturgy focused projects whose texts are not freely licensed.

  • Kakatuv: Nice index of seder Tefillah, links to PDF with Hebrew, transliteration, translation
  • Issu: Massive PDF/reader applications. In this example, Shir Yaakov (friend of Open Siddur) has some PDF's uploaded.
  • Kerem: a Journal dedicated to recording innovations and inspirations in Jewish spirituality, for copyright
  • Siddur AviChai: The text of Avigodr Shinan's siddur with an interface for commenting available to subscribers. Hebrew Only.
  • Siddur Sababa: A printed book resource for teaching Jewish Liturgy
  • BBYO's Build-A-Prayer: A website helping BBYO lay leaders design services for their chapter
  • Mechon Herzog's Daat Project Siddurim
  • The Online Siddur: Seems to be the same text as provided by the Daat Project
  • Baer Heitev: the Transliterated Siddur English only
  • SiddurAudio: Audio only
  • the iPhone Siddur: iphone only
  • aSiddur for Java-based mobile devices. (Free software using non-free text).
  • Ariel Benjamin’s Free Siddur Project: transcribed texts in word and pdf files, transcribed siddur texts free for personal use (copyright Ariel Benjamin)
  • Kesher Service Templates (College Campus Program of the URJ)

Complements

Ventures that address overlapping markets as the Open Siddur does while seeking to solve other problems. Most of these lack free culture licensing but are not directly focused on helping folk craft their own siddur.

Collaboratives

The following collaboratives contain resources available to the Open Siddur Project although they have a different mission.

Content Collaboratives

Technology Collaboratives

Print-on-demand collaboratives

  • Lulu (in North America)
  • Lupa (in Israel)

Legal/Licensing Collaboratives

  • Tulane Center for Intellectual Property Law & Culture
  • Creative Commons
  • GNU
  • Free Software Foundation,
  • Wikimedia Foundation

Institutional Collaboratives

Recruitment Targets

  • The Society for Biblical Literature, and in particular their SBL Hebrew font
  • Jewish Publication Society. A non-profit whose mission should be helping to disseminate Jewish cultural resources.
  • JESNA (Jewish Education Service of North America)
  • All synagogue siddur committees
  • Jewish Braille Institute
  • BBYO
  • Reform Movement
  • National Havurah Committee,
  • Our Jewish Community (A post-denominational online community affiliated with Beth Adam, an unaffiliated Humanist Synagogue in Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Jewish Renewal and the Aleph Program
  • Academy for Jewish Religion,
  • JTS
  • Yeshiva University,
  • Eden Village,
  • Teva Environmental Center,
  • Nesiyah Introducing Jewish teenagers to Israel through creative workshops
  • Hebrew College,
  • Chabad
  • Breslov
  • Aish
  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical College,
  • Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies,
  • Academic Divinity Schools (?),
  • Hillel International,
  • Pluralistic and Creative Jewish Summer Camps (?),
  • Pluralistic and Creative Jewish Day Schools (?),
  • other Lay-led minyanim (?),
  • religious programming at JCCs (?),
  • Limmud UK/NY/Philly/LA, and Jewish Federations.

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