Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Feature: Siddurim at the Kotel

After our visit to Ir David this week, we made our way to the Kotel to daven minchah. Recently, during my visits to the Kotel, I've noticed an interesting feature unique to the Kotel: Inscriptions in siddurim, and specifically English ones. About a zillion siddurim are lying around the Kotel area, but interspersed among the normally donated ones are siddurim that have either been left there intentionally - essentially abandoned, or donated on a personal whim. As I read these siddurim, I've found myself wondering about the people who've left them. Each one has a story. Each one opens a window into a deeply personal aspect of someone's life. Take the following siddur:

This siddur was sitting in the men's section, of course. I wonder who Alexandra Alpern is. Is this her? (I don't know - I don't have a Facebook account. I know, I think I'm one of three people left on the internet who doesn't.) I'm guessing that she left the siddur at the Kotel as a donation, in the hopes of finding a soul mate. Did she? Has her siddur brought her closer to finding a זיווג טוב - a "good match"? Maybe this blog post will.

What about this siddur:

I imagine that B.B. and Rachel meant to inscribe the siddur to help the people davening at the Kotel, and not necessarily the Kotel itself. But maybe they did want the Kotel to daven better. People develop relationships with the Kotel. They visit and get a sense of solace, and connection. Sometimes a wall is more than a wall.
But I'm not sure that the Kotel would choose to daven from an Artscroll softcover siddur.
Then again, who knows?