A Prayer Book of Many Colors


Lori Justice-Shocket thought that the traditional praying
experience was just a bit too black and white. Not the prayers, themselves, per
se, but the siddurim (prayer books), with their plain black typeface on white
pages and the archaic traditional language, made davening, for her at least,
formal, stiff and lacking in the visual and emotional engagement that she
thought prayer should have.

So Justice-Shocket, vice president of conceptual development
at the Los Angeles-based nail polish company, OPI, decided to take matters into
her own  presumably well-manicured hands  and create a prayer book that could
visually and intellectually inspire worshippers.

The result is the new Reform Shabbat morning prayer book,
“Mikdash M’at” (Behrman House Inc), which means “small sanctuary.” It’s a
prayer book unlike any seen before. The first page — the morning blessings — is
illuminated in deep reds and pinks, and thereafter the colors don’t stop.
Sometimes the graphics are superimposed on the text, other times they are
located at the side, but every page is replete with some design, either a
graphic of an old Israeli coin, item of Judaica or a vibrant and richly hued
modernist painting that causes one to look twice at the text it illuminates.

The text, however, is still the same. “Mikdash M’at” is a
traditional prayer book with traditional prayers — they’re just presented in a
funkier fashion. Justice-Shocket also worked to make the prayers easier to
follow. The book is divided into the seven parts of the Shabbat morning
davening. Many of the prayers are transliterated, but all are translated into
gender-inclusive English. Most are prefaced with a brief explanation of what
the prayer is about, to inhibit mindless recitation of the words. For those who
get distracted during prayer, this is the kind of book that keeps you looking
inside.

To order, visit www.behrmanhouse.com .