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I was in a Jewish Community Center recently for a meeting, after which a bunch of people wished to say orthodox maariv. Someone went to the JCC's chapel to borrow sidurim (prayer books), and brought back a pile, including some copies of Sim Shalom, the official sidur of the Conservative movement. I pointed out to him (quietly) that it's a Conservative sidur, to which he replied that the text is the same as orthodox sidurim's. Wikipedia disagrees, citing some differences.

  1. Is its text for maariv the same as orthodox sidurim's, though?
  2. If so, is there any problem using it for maariv? (I can't see why there would be.)
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it isn't identical IIRC. I believe it adds in "ba'olam" in Sim Shalom at the end of the amida, and turns the verbs in musaf into past tense (asu v'hikrivu). I haven't seen one in a while so I might be wrong (thus, comment not an answer). – Danno Feb 20 '14 at 0:45
@Danno, I've revised the question. – msh210 Feb 20 '14 at 0:48
@Danno "ba'olam" is added to Sim Shalom, but that is at Shaharit and Musaf. At Ma'ariv, the only differance I know of is some of bracha 17 (avodah) being shortened to not ask for restoration of the sacrifices. – Mike Feb 20 '14 at 1:25
For what it is worth, I was looking at my copy of the 1998 edition. I can find other differences in Brachot HaShachar, Kabbalat Shabbat, Musaf, and Tachanun, but Maariv might actually be the service that is closest to Orthodox. I've used it tons of times, but that is certainly no standard for you to use it. I wonder if anyone can answer #2. – Mike Feb 20 '14 at 2:52
Why the downvotes? – Monica Cellio Feb 21 '14 at 1:42

I have just compared the weekday ma'ariv services in the following two books:

  • Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays, September 2003 (2nd printing)
  • Expanded Artscroll Siddur, Wasserman Edition, 2010

I found the following differences:

  • Sim Shalom has two versions of the beginning of the t'filah, the usual text (page 142a) and the same text with the imahot inserted and a clear header (page 142b).

  • In re'eh, Sim Shalom inserts "na" ("re'eh na b'onyeinu..."). @msh210 reports in a comment that some other Orthodox siddurim do this too.

  • In 'al hatzaddikim, Sim Shalom has "yehemu na rachamekha" (inserts "na"). @msh210 reports in a comment that some other Orthodox siddurim do this too.

  • Sh'ma koleinu in Sim Shalom has an optional insert for Yom HaShoah.

  • Sh'ma koleinu in ArtScroll has optional inserts for livelihood and forgiveness.

  • R'tzei in Sim Shalom omits "v'ishei Yisrael" (as noted in this answer).

  • Shalom rav in Sim Shalom inserts "v'al kol yoshvei teivel" (after "'al yisrael amcha").

  • After 'Aleinu and before Kaddish ArtScroll has a paragraph marked "in some congregations:" beginning "Al tirah mipachad pitom".

The question asks "if so" (if the texts are the same) is there any problem using Sim Shalom? Technically that question doesn't apply since the texts aren't the same. However, it seems possible that these changes are minor enough that, if the alternative is to not pray with a siddur at all, you might want to use this siddur anyway, especially if you'll recognize and correct for these changes. CYR, of course. See this related question.

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Sorry for all the transliteration, but it was too much for me to try to type out in Hebrew. If anybody wants to edit to insert Hebrew, please feel free. – Monica Cellio Feb 21 '14 at 2:54
+1; many thanks. Note that some of the differences are to that specific ArtScroll sidur: specifically, some orthodox sidurim include both instances of "na" and I think some omit "Al tira...". – msh210 Feb 21 '14 at 3:32
@msh210 thanks for that information. The other Orthodox siddur that I have handy that I understand to be typical/mainstream is Shabbat-only, so no help with this particular project. (Thanks also for fixing typos.) – Monica Cellio Feb 21 '14 at 3:51
Good answer. I like that you had the two texts side-by-side and compared them, instead of trying to remember what was different like some of us were. – Mike Feb 21 '14 at 4:25

The text in Siddur Sim Shalom is clearly different by the Amidah, where it includes the names of the Imahos. Perhaps there are other differences too. Per Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:91 conservative doctrine is against the Torah.

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Versions that include the imahot have two versions of avot, one without and one with, and they are clearly labeled. They also use the same page number with "a" and "b" suffixes, which should make it even more clear that these are alternatives and you should do only one. – Monica Cellio Feb 20 '14 at 16:51
@C.BenYosef If you are making up your own psakim, you should indicate that clearly in the answer. As it is now the quote from Igrot Moshe is totally irrelevant to this question, which did not ask about doctrines. – Double AA Feb 20 '14 at 17:35
@DoubleAA didn't question part 2 ask implicitly about doctrine, "is there any problem using it for ma'ariv?" Without having seen Igros Moshe 4:91, or another teshuva, perhaps there would be a problem using it even it was identical nusach in this particular tefila (which it's not). Perhaps could be compared to learning torah from a X-ian "bible" even if in Hebrew. Given that there are teshuvas (sorry no source) to burn/not own apikores, using such a siddur for tefila may certainly be an issue. (not commenting re: b'dieved, shas hadchak) – Seymore Cohen Feb 20 '14 at 19:41
@SeymoreCohen Not at all! It asks if the siddur may be used. If someone wants to use doctrinal issues or hilchos bechoros to answer that, they may, but both of those subjects are irrelevant without a tie-in. – Double AA Feb 20 '14 at 21:17
@SeymoreCohen I don't think comparing Conservative Judaism to Xianity (l'havdil) is appropriate. You may not agree with them but they are part of klal Yisrael. – Monica Cellio Feb 21 '14 at 1:46

I grew up in a Conservative shul and we used the old version of Siddur Sim Shalom (which didn't include the imahot). The only difference in the weekday ma'ariv davening is that the רצה bracha does not include the words ואשי ישראל. Someone who knows that one difference could easily daven with that siddur and make that change on his own.

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The first part is correct, regarding the changes in nusach for shemone esrei. Note there are also differences in the nusach of birkas hashachar (not that that was being asked) for example they don't say shelo asani goy, isha, eved, but rather use positive phrasings (I forget what they are, but like sheh asani ben chorin instead of shelo asani eved). The second assertion that one could easily daven with that siddur by making changes, is true from a technical perspective not necessarily halachically as discussed below about whether one may use such a siddur. – Seymore Cohen Feb 20 '14 at 19:44
@SeymoreCohen Where was that discussed below? – Double AA Feb 20 '14 at 21:18

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