Kosher Cookbooks
The Top 25 Sellers

updated daily

Jewish Biography
The Top 25 Sellers

updated daily


Q&A Archives

-  synagogue
-  home
-  non-jews
-  other topics

Ask a
New Question

New Questions


Survival Kit


Jewish Story

Jan 25, 1998 - 17:09 -

I have a question:
Our pastor in a Christian Church(Disciples) mentioned the synagogue services at the time of Jesus of Nazareth (year 25CE) as containing the "eighteen benedictions." Could you clarify what these might have been? Thanks.

About me: Emerson Gillett, retired minister
My e-mail address:
How I found this site: surfing the net

Thanks for your question, Emerson. Although there have been slight changes in details, the organization of the Shemoneh Esreh (Eighteen Benedictions), and the gist of each of the benedictions, has not changed. You can find it in any Jewish prayerbook, borrowable from your nearest synagogue. The prayer you are looking for is most commonly called the Amidah.

The Amidah follows a basic principle of Jewish worship: we proceed from praise, to petition, to thanks. The first three benedictions contain praise, and are designed to promote the reasonableness of prayer (i.e., talking to God) as a strategy for establishing intimacy with the transcendental.  They recall the instituters of prayer, the immanance of God, and the transcendence of God, respectively. The last three benedictions are expressions of thanks. The intermediate benedictions are petitions for the most essential needs of the individual and the community, including both spiritual and material needs. They are ordered such that they form a prescriptive path toward building a utopia, thereby fulfilling the intent of creation, which in turn fulfills the Jewish mission.

A more detailed presentation of the above information, plus additional insights and analysis, can be found in my book, The Synagogue Survival Kit (

I hope this is helpful.

--- Jordan