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Prayers hold deep significance in Jewish tradition and are an integral part of religious practice in Judaism.

The Siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book, contains the three daily prayers, as well as prayers for Shabbat, Rosh-Chodesh, and the festivals. These prayers are recited as part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism and often include instructions and commentary.

Prayer, as a "service of the heart," is fundamentally a Torah-based commandment. It is obligatory for both Jewish men and women. However, there is a distinction in the rabbinic requirement regarding the recitation of specific prayers in that Jewish men are obligated to recite three prayers daily, within specific time frames, while women, according to various interpretations, may be required to pray once or twice a day, and might not need to recite a specific text.

Traditionally, prayer services are recited each day in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

The morning prayer is known as the Shacharit. It is recited after sunrise and before midday. The main components of the morning prayer are preparatory prayers and readings, which set the stage for the main prayer. The Shema, the central declaration of faith, is recited along with its blessings. This section contemplates the workings of the supernal worlds and comprehension of G-d's greatness and oneness. The Amidah is the heart of the Shacharit. It is when one stands before G-d and addresses Him directly, asking for personal needs. After the Amidah, there are penitential prayers, a brief Torah reading on Mondays and Thursdays, and hymns. When there are ten men present, Kaddish is recited several times during the prayer.

Known as the Minchah, the Jewish afternoon prayer is recited approximately a half hour after midday until sunset. The Minchah could still be prayed until nightfall if the deadline is missed. Minchah minyans (prayer groups) can be found in synagogues, offices, storefronts, restaurants, and airport lobbies. When ten men are not available for a minyan, Jewish people can pray privately while facing Jerusalem from wherever they are. Hands are to be washed first; then, the Minchah is read using a prayer book or digital device. It includes passages related to the daily afternoon service in the Holy Temple, followed by Psalm 145, referred to as Ashrei. The centerpiece is the nineteen-blessing Amidah, which is recited while facing Jerusalem. The Minchan concludes with brief penitential prayers, which are omitted on feast days, and the Aleinu hymn. When ten men are present, the leader repeats the Amidah aloud, and the rest answer "Amen."

The evening prayer, known as Maariv, Arvit, or Arbit, is recited after dark. However, since the Jewish calendar date begins with the preceding nightfall, Maariv is actually seen as the first of the day's prayers. The prayer opens with the recitation of the Shema, a central declaration of faith. Two blessings are said before and two after the Shema. Then, the nineteen-blessing Amidah is recited while standing and facing Jerusalem. This prayer is silent. The prayer concludes with the Aleinu hymn. When praying with a congregation, the leader begins with the Kaddish and Barchu, followed by the Amidah.

There are several other prayers associated with Judaism, and it should also be recognized that there are denominational variations. Conservative services generally use the same basic format for services as Orthodox Judaism, with some doctrinal leniencies and some prayers in English. However, in practice, there are wide variations among Conservative congregations. In traditional congregations, the liturgy can be nearly identical to that of Orthodox Judaism, almost entirely in Hebrew, with few exceptions. In more liberal Conservative congregations, there will be greater changes to the service, including more use of English, abbreviations, omissions, and replacements of some traditional prayers with contemporary forms. The liturgies of Reform and Reconstructionist congregations are based on traditional elements but contain language more reflective of liberal belief. Doctrinal revisions often include the omission of references to bodily resurrection, a personal Jewish Messiah, and other elements of traditional Jewish eschatology. Reform Judaism has made greater alterations to the traditional service, such as dropping references to bodily resurrection, a personal Jewish Messiah, and conceptions of rewards and punishments.

While there is no single form or tradition of prayer in Judaism, prayer serves as a powerful means of communication, connection, and devotion to G-d.



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