About the Piyut and Tefillah Website
Liturgical hymns, called piyutim in Hebrew (piyut is the singular form), which incorporate prayer and folk poetry and which have been played and sung for generations, are among the Jewish people’s greatest spiritual and cultural assets. Reaching back to ancient times, this expansive and enduring art form encompasses sacred and secular song and revolves around life cycle events and Jewish festivals. Sung in many different voices and languages, the art of piyut continues to reverberate to this day.
Each piyut and prayer has the capacity to open gates to the past, hinting at an unparalleled cultural and spiritual wealth. The songs, prayers and melodies passed down from generation to generation hold within them a power that touches the hearts of people, across time, space, and social boundaries.
Spearheading the piyut revolution in Israel is “An Invitation to Piyut” from the Snunit Association, a social and cultural initiative established in 2004 with the support of the Avi Chai Foundation. The project seeks to revive the Jewish people's traditions of piyut and prayer by documenting, preserving and providing access to materials and content. We believe that this tradition is a central pillar of Jewish culture and we have been working for years to make it available to the general public in the State of Israel and Jewish communities around the world.
The Invitation to Piyut website launched in 2005 and operated until 2016. Starting this year, we will operate the Piyut and Teffilah website here in cooperation with the National Library of Israel and the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage. The site contains thousands of piyutim and prayers from all Jewish ethnic traditions, along with educational programs, cultural events, musical productions, a publication arm and more.
The Piyut and Teffilah website seeks to document and preserve, make accessible and revive many diverse traditions of piyut and prayer from Jewish communities around the world. In so doing, we hope to enable both continuity and inspiration, mutual pollination and the development of multi-vocal versions, based on layers that are thousands of years old.
The site offers the general public access to the various components of the world of piyut and prayer, from the texts and melodies to conceptual, historical, cultural and topical backgrounds. The website’s databank of piyutim and prayer contains both popular and lesser known performances. We are attentive to the varied and multifaceted work that has been created over the generations, even to this day, in communities in Israel and around the world, and we are open to the broadest possible range of creative output.
The website is the flagship project of the Invitation to Piyut initiative from the Snunit Association, in collaboration with the National Library of Israel, the “Landmarks” project at the Ministry of Heritage and Jerusalem and the Avi Chai Foundation.