I am a man and new to Judaism, interested in learning more. I have read about the 5 required prayers, and have attended an Orthodox Jewish synagogue a few times, many years ago. I remember early morning around sunrise, facing east (Jerusalem), standing in a narrow aisle in front of a bench (behind another bench), and taking 3 tiny steps back (barely noticeable, to fit in the bench area) and 3 steps forwards, then reciting a prayer which include "King of the Universe" (in English, since I did not know Hebrew). Perhaps it was the Amidah.

Like that last link, which describes in detail (in English) how to say the prayer (both with your voice or in your head, and the physical movements you make like the steps), is there a ritual book which describes in detail (in English) the prayer words and the physical motions you are supposed to make? I feel like we were reading from a half-Hebrew-half-English nicely bound prayer book which had annotations describing the physical motions you were to make as well, but I'm not sure, and I can't seem to find anything. Does anything like this exist (either for free, somewhere on Sefaria, or paid physical book)?

  • Hi @Attribute welcome to Mi Yodeya and wishing you hatzlacha (the best of luck) on yourr journey!
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 12:48
  • 1
    The five required prayers that you mention is a reference to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) the climax of the High Holy Days. On an average day, Jews pray just three times a day (shacharit in the morning, mincha in the afternoon/early evening and maariv at night)
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 12:50
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    I would start by purchasing an Artscroll siddur (prayer book) or a Machzor (the prayer book for Jewish holidays) which has both translation and directions before each relevant part of prayer. There also exists from Artscroll and interlinear version which has the translation for each specific word so you can understand more readily what you are saying.
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 12:52
  • Perhaps you can clarify which specific service you are looking for? Is a normal day or Yom Kippur as described in your question?
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


Hello Attribute and welcome to mi yodeya.

The following link is to an old book that might be exactly what you are looking for. It is called, To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayer Book and the Synagogue Service, by Rabbi Chaim HaLevy Donin.

His explanations are clear and he covers many of the details that you mention. If you click the "Look Inside" tab, you can browse part of the Kindle edition to see if it is what you need.

There is also a companion column called, To Be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life, which you might find very helpful in a broader sense.

Here is a link for that volume too:



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