OU Moves To Publish New Soloveitchik Siddur With Koren


koren-soloveitchok-smallIn April, the JTA reported on the controversy surrounding the debut of the Sacks Siddur, also published jointly by the OU and Koren. The JTA reported that ArtScroll also has approached the O.U. about publishing a forthcoming siddur based on Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik’s writings, according to O.U. officials. Artscroll didn’t get the job.

Like the Sacks Siddur which includes the commentary of England’s Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sachs, the Soloveitchik Siddur is being published by Koren and is due out in Spring 2010, along with a separate volume of Kinnos and commentary for Tisha B’Av.

koren-soloveitchikLast year, the Orthodox Union launched a new publishing arm, which its backers described as filling a “niche” in the Orthodox world, principally through the publication of the writings of Rav J. B. Soloveitchik.Leaders of the Orthodox Union, whose logo appears on the spine of the Koren siddur, were vague in the JTA report last year on the specific reasons why the organization decided to launch its imprint. Insiders said it is principally to serve as a vehicle for publishing Soloveitchik’s writings and is motivated in part by concern that ArtScroll may be sluggish in marketing Modern Orthodox titles.

“The last thing I would have wanted is a Haggadah among the 20 or plus different Haggadahs that ArtScroll puts out,” said one OU official familiar with the issue, referring to the Soloveitchk Haggadah, which was the first offering by O.U. Press. “I have no interest in having the 21st Haggadah be by the Rav. You flood the marketplace.”

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Kehilath Jeshurun and others have lamented that ArtScroll fails to reference many writings of Modern Orthodox figures in its commentaries, a complaint that Rabbi Nosson Scherman, ArtScroll’s general editor, responded to in a 2007 interview with the Jewish Press.

“It’s not a question of trying to include as many names as you can for the sake of popularity,” Scherman said. “It’s a matter of trying to clarify the material.”

¬†When asked by the JTA last April why Artscroll’s books rarely quote Modern Orthodox sources like Rabbi Soleveitchik, ArtScroll cofounder Rabbi Nosson Scherman replied:

“It’s not a question of trying to include as many names as you can for the sake of popularity,” Rabbi Scherman said. “It’s a matter of trying to clarify the material.”

{Matzav.com Newscenter/JTA}


  1. The Rav’s machzorim were truly inspirational. At least in the beginning, Artscroll didn’t even advertise the fact that they were the publisher because they thought it would antagonize a certain element of the frumm community. Maybe now they regret their passive behavior at promoting them. Hopefully, the Rav’s siddur will be as great as the machzorim are.

  2. Rosh hashana and Yom Kippur became much more powerful to me because of the machzorim. I’m really looking forward to davening from the siddur when it’s published.

  3. The absolute greatest Siddur in the world is the one published by Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch ZTZL. The commentary of Rav Hirsch is unbelievable. Rav Hirsch has the most incredible hashkafa. His comments about the meaning and role of Am Yisrael and our galus changed my understanding of Klal Yisrael. His comments about Korbanos are inspiring. The best is his comments on Kabbalat Shabbat finally taught me about Shabbos. The siddur changed my tefillah completely. I cannot believe that it is not more widely used. Check it out.