Aharon Varady always wanted a Siddur to call his own. Twenty years ago this involved photocopies, scissors, rubber glue, and a large binder overflowing with prayers, commentaries, and translations ancient, contemporary, and personal. After working at an open source technology firm in early 2000, Varady laid out an idea to build a database to store all the prayers and their textual variations, to create a tool for generating a custom Siddur from the content of the database, and to create a useful tool by which participants could share their custom siddur "recipes" and add additional content to the database. Varady hopes that the Open Siddur will preserve nusḥaot (regional traditions), encourage creativity and sharing in communal and personal prayer, and give those who pray or study prayer a Siddur to call their own. By day, Varady is a teacher, technology consultant, editor, and city planner. Currently, he is teaching Jewish environmental education with the Teva Learning Center.
Originally from the DC metro area, Shelby joined PresenTense after spending a year in Israel studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and working for a joint MBA program between the University of Maryland Entrepreneurship Center and the Technion. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she studied entrepreneurial management at the Wharton School, and pursued this degree as an analyst at two early-stage venture capital funds in Philadelphia while living in Moishe House Philly. She is currently working for The Zitelman Group.