Elbogen, Ismar. Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993.Printable PDF
Zion, Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel) and Jerusalem are mentioned frequently in ancient Jewish texts: the Bible, the Prophetic Books, the Talmud, and the Siddur (Jewish prayerbook). The archeological evidence for Jewish presence in The Land of Israel is abundant. An examination of Jewish prayer shows additional context for the connection to The Land of Israel.
Jews are directed to engage in formal worship services three times a day: in the evening (Ma’ariv ), in the morning (Shacharit ), and in the afternoon (Minchah ). Additional blessings are recited prior to and following meals and on special occasions, such as at the Passover holiday. Prayers are collected in the siddur which is a compendium of liturgy that reflect the core beliefs of Judaism. The liturgy is a window into the unfolding history of the Jewish people, their faith, their relationship with G-d, with others, to time and place, and Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel). One of the most original 19th century thinkers, Franz Rosenzweig, maintained that the prayer book is the enduring “sum and substance of the whole of historical Judaism, its handbook and memorial tablet.” The liturgy contains biblical passages and rabbinic reflections that praise, thank, and declare the wonder of the G-d’s creation. In studying the liturgy and prayers for special occasions at home or in the synagogue, one can see that both the physical place and the spiritual aspiration of Zion are identified over and over again. While it has evolved over two millennia, the basic structure and core content of the Siddur and the special prayers for home and synagogue were codified and have been set for worship since the early rabbinic period, about the 6th century before the common era.
The following are a sampling of prayers and blessings that make reference to Zion [View PDF].
Additional Commemorative Days
Yom HaShoah Excerpts from the Book of Lamentations are read
Yom Ha’atzmaut Psalm 126 & Zechariah 8:35 are added to the daily worship
Yom Yirushalayim Isaiah 62:17, Ps 116:13, and Yehudah HaLevi’s poem “My Heart is in the East” are often added to the morning and afternoon service that day
Tisha Be’Av Excerpts from the Book of Lamentations are read