The growth of the Latino population in the United States is not news. Studies have long shown that those whose background lies in one of the many countries south of the Texas border are becoming a larger and therefore more influential share of the American population. According to the 2010 census, they now constitute 16 percent of the total population, accounting for half of America’s population growth in the previous decade.
When the Reform movement published its new "Mishkan T'filah" last November, the prayer book looked comfortably familiar to Reform rabbinic students in Los Angeles. It was clear to them that a homemade siddur they had created for their own use had influenced the first official prayer book published by the Union for Reform Judaism since 1975.
Once again, the L.A. branch of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) had made its mark on the Reform movement. The new, official prayer book, like the homemade siddur, includes traditional prayers in Hebrew, as well as new alternative readings and meditations -- changes in keeping with Reform's adoption of more traditional practices.