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(("who brings on twilight"), Jewish evening prayers recited after sunset; the name derives from one of the opening words of the first prayer. Maarib consists essentially of the Shema, with its accompanying benedictions, and the amidah. The Shema expresses the central theme of Jewish worship: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deuteronomy 6:4), while the amidah is composed of a series of benedictions. The amidah is recited by the congregation but is not repeated by the reader because in ancient times some argued that its recitation was optional. Maarib has other elements also, some of which vary from place to place. Certain Ashkenazic (German-rite) congregations, for example, include special liturgical poems composed during the European Middle Ages in the maarib service on festivals.