Jul 1, 1997 - 18:59 -
I have a question:
Thank you for your inquiry, Arnot.
The Shemoneh Esrei (also called the Amidah) is the central core of every Jewish congregational service, and so you will find it in every Siddur (Jewish prayerbook). It usually occupies about ten pages. Although the Hebrew is ancient, all the good modern English translations are copyrighted by publishers of prayerbooks.
Most Jewish prayerbooks used in America include English translations. Your nearest synagogue will have them on hand in quantity and will be happy to have you stop by to read; and their library will probably have a few for borrowing.
If you want to buy your own for reference or worship, you have very many choices. The three siddurim (prayerbooks) that include the most commentary in English are:
If your primary interest is studying the commentary I'd recommend the first two; if your primary interest is convenience to use during congregational prayer, then the last. There are many other Jewish prayerbooks with fine English translations but no commentary and varying amounts of instructions.
There are also books of deep religious insights devoted exclusively
to the Shemoneh Esrei, such as
Also, my own book ("The Synagogue Survival Kit") has a chapter that discusses the internal structure of the Shemoneh Esrei.
I hope this information is helpful.