The Jewish Home Prayer-Book: A Manual of Household Devotion (1887) is a prayerbook containing prayers for private and family use in the home, in vernacular English, expanding upon Marcus Jastrow’s 1875 revision of Benjamin Szold’s Israelitisches Gebetbuch für die häusliche Andacht. Henrietta Szold prepared the initial manuscript, a translation of her father’s work with Rabbi Jastrow. The impetus for the work was a paper delivered by Rabbi Louis Stern at the first conference of the Jewish Ministers’ Association in 1885 entitled “Home-Worship.” The paper gathered the interest of a number of other learned rabbinic colleagues including Gustav Gottheil, Frederick de Sola Mendes, Alexander Kohut, Kaufmann Kohler, and Henry William Schneeberger. (The latter two either retired or withdrew from the publication committee before its publication.)
This work is in the Public Domain due to its having been published more than 95 years ago.
The Jewish Home Prayer-Book is the outcome of much reflection among the members of the Jewish Ministers’ Association, at whose conference in Baltimore, October, 1885, the Rev. Louis Stern gave the first impetus to the work in a paper upon “Home-Worship,” wherein he forcibly demonstrated the vital and immediate necessity for some such book, to conserve aught of the olden spirit of Jewish piety in our American homes. A committee, consisting of Rev. Drs. G. Gottheil, F. de Sola Mendes and H.W. Schneeberger, was appointed to prepare a practical report upon the suggestion, and in May, 1886, this committee from which Dr. Schneeberger had meanwhile retired, reported that on due examination it found a little manual entitled “Haus-Andacht,” and published by Rev. Drs. Szold and Jastrow, Full title: Israelitisches Gebetbuch für die häusliche Andacht by Benjamin Szold in its revision by Marcus Jastrow in 1875. The original prayerbook by Benjamin Szold was published in 1867. eminently fitted to serve as the foundation of such a work, and that likewise it was authorized to state that these gentlemen would relinquish to the Association all rights to an English version. The committee, to which then Rev. Drs. K. Kohler, A. Kohut and L. Stern were added, was requested to proceed with the translation and elaboration of the “Haus-Andacht,” and, with valuable preparatory work done by Miss Henrietta Szold, the committee presented in November the MS. of an English version of the same. It was, however, thought advisable that this should be considerably enlarged by the addition of new prayers and meditations not included in the original, and the committee, from which, however, Rev. Dr. Kohler withdrew, was authorized to print and publish the same under the auspices of the Association when completed to its satisfaction. The result is the present volume.
In presenting this book, the undersigned desire it to be understood that it is in no wise intended to interfere with any existing congregational ritual, but simply to supply an acknowledged want in our households, a vernacular home-manual of religious reading in the line of Jewish devotion. Accordingly, matters of doctrine and interpretation whereon opinion might be found to differ among us, were either altogether avoided or given such broadly Jewish expression as could evoke dissent in the minds of none; our book is intended for all.
Sabbath evening prayers for the home circle, so worthy of introduction, are here suggested; so too for each of the Festivals, with an appropriate Table-grace which may supplement the customary Ḳiddush. Short daily morning and evening prayers, with special petitions suited for the individual circumstances of the members of the household, including children; births and marriages, too, the dedication of a new home, journeys, voyages, all were believed to be proper subjects for treatment in a manual of household devotion. Finally, those mournful days which likewise must come to every home, when sickness renders anxious and death startles our too thoughtless round of life, furnish abundant scope for petition and meditation, in the home and in the cemetery, for private as well as for public prayer, a form of which last has been added. For these days primarily, but for all other days as well, a series of ethical readings and a few poetical selections have been included, and the gems of thought and of lyric art thus gathered here, it is presumed, will be unwelcome to no one.
It remains but to add that while the general selection has been the work of all the undersigned, the responsibility for the treatment, diction and editorship generally, rests with Rev. Dr. de Sola Mendes, from whose pen likewise are the Meditations for the Sabbaths, the Festivals, the Daily Prayers for Children, and sundry occasional prayers, such as that for a student, for dedicating a new house etc., etc. Rev. Dr. Gottheil collaborated especially in the ethical readings, (which it is believed are given here in terse and forcible rendition,) as well as in contributing sound editorial criticism throughout the whole course of the work.
In conclusion, we beg to say we consider this present effort a tentative one: our English-speaking brethren must pass the final verdict upon it, and their suggestions will be held in view in future editions. It is especially to our brother ministers that we shall look for aid in this direction. Our inspiration has been the natural prayerfulness of Israel’s children, which in all generations has put forth such beauteous tendrils of prayer and praise, of psalm and devotional meditation; and with it, the pressing necessity which prevails for furnishing some such hand-book to lead that inherited disposition as on trelliswork, to trained and well ordered growth and luxuriance. May this our effort help to preserve that inestimable possession of our people, its home-religion, whereupon alone home-happiness is founded. And may He, whom Israel in all ages has revered as the “Hearkener to Prayer” שומע תפלה, bless our earnest endeavor to feed the flame of devotion in Judah’s homes, and to contribute to the preservation of unity of spirit among all our brethren.
Temple Emanuel, New York.
F. de Sola Mendes,
Cong. Shaaray Tefilla, New York.
Cong. Ahavath Chesed, New York.
Washington Hebrew Cong., Washington, D.C.
Part Ⅰ. — General Home-Prayers.
“Adon Olam” (English version)
Chanuka, Psalm and Meditation for
Evening Prayers for Week-days
Evening Prayers for Passover
Evening Prayers for Pentecost
Evening Prayers for Sabbath
Evening Prayers for Tabernacles
Festivals, Evening Prayers for
Grace before Meals (“Kiddush” or Sanctification)
Grace after Meals
Introduction to the Haggadah-service for Passover
Lighting the Festival Candles, Prayer on
Lighting the Sabbath Candles, Prayer on
Morning Prayers for Week-days
New Year, “Kiddush” or Sanctification for
Ninth of Ab (Tisha Be-Ab) Psalm and Meditation for
Passover, Evening Prayers for
Passover, Introduction to the Haggadah for
Pentecost, Evening Prayers for
Purim, Psalm and Meditation for
Sabbath Evening Prayers
“Shemang” (“Hear, O Israel”)
Tabernacles, Evening Prayers for
Tish’a Be-Ab, Psalm and Meditation for
Part Ⅱ. — Special or Individual Prayers.
1 . A Daily Prayer for the Father of a Family
2. A Mother’s Daily Prayer
3. A Student’s Daily Prayer
4. Daily Prayer of a Betrothed Bride
5. A Newly Married Wife’s Daily Prayer
6. A Widow’s Daily Prayer
7. An Orphan’s Daily Prayer
8. A Daily Prayer during the Week of Mourning
9. Prayer on the Anniversary of a Parent’s Death (Yahr-zeit)
10. A Bridegroom’s Prayer on his Wedding-day
11. Prayer of a Bride on her Wedding-day
12. The Parents’ Prayer on their Child’s Wedding-day
13. A Mother’s Prayer during her Son’s Initiation (Milah)
14. Prayer on a Journey
15. Prayer during a Voyage
16. Prayer after a Voyage
17. Prayer during a Storm at Sea
18. Prayer after any Danger safely passed
19. Prayer on Dedicating a Dwelling
1. Thoughts on Sickness
2. On Visiting the Sick
3. Prayer on behalf of a Sick Parent
4. Prayer for a Sick Husband or Wife
5. Prayer for a Sick Child
6. Prayer in behalf of a Sick Brother, Sister or Friend
7. A Sick Person’s Prayer
8. Prayer of Resignation and Confession of Sin for the Dying
9. Prayer of Thanksgiving on Recovery
10. A Mother’s Prayer after Confinement
1. Prayer on preparing the Dead for Burial
2. Prayer on the Death of a Parent
3. An Orphan’s Prayer
4. Prayer of a bereaved Husband or Wife
5. The Parents’ Prayer on their Child’s Death
6. Meditation on the Dead
7. Meditations for the House of Mourning
8. A Private Prayer during the Week of Mourning
9. Public Prayers at the House of Mourning
10. The Sanctification of God: “Kaddish” (English Paraphrase)
11. Meditation at the Cemetery
12. At the Grave of a Father
13. At the Grave of a Mother
14. At the Grave of a Child
15. At the Grave of a Husband or Wife
16. At the Grave of a Brother or Sister or Friend
Part Ⅲ. — Ethical Readings.
Selections from the “Sayings of the Fathers” (Pirke Aboth)
Selections from Mediaeval Jewish Writers
Part Ⅳ. — Children’s Prayers.
1. Morning Prayers for little Children
2. Night Prayers for little Children
3. Daily Prayers for Older Children
4. Grace before and after Meals
5. A Child’s Prayer on its Birthday
6. A Child’s Prayer on its Parent’s Birthday
7. Prayer at the Commencement of School-term
8. Prayer at the Close of School-term
9. Prayer for a Sick Friend
10. Prayer during Preparation for Confirmation
Part Ⅴ. — Poetical Selections.
The Lord is Nigh
The Sabbath Lamp
The Time of Old Age
The Mystic Tie
To the Loved Dead
My Times are in Thy hand
The Chanuka Hymn
|1||Full title: Israelitisches Gebetbuch für die häusliche Andacht by Benjamin Szold in its revision by Marcus Jastrow in 1875. The original prayerbook by Benjamin Szold was published in 1867.|
“📖 The Jewish Home Prayer-Book: A Manual of Household Devotion (Committee of the Jewish Ministers’ Association, 1887)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
📖 Hours of Devotion: A Book of Prayers & Meditations for the Use of the Daughters of Israel, an anthology of teḥinot compiled by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)
📖 תפלות בני ישורון (רפורמי) | Selected Prayers for Various Occasions in Life, by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise (Minhag America, 1872)
📖 Devotional Exercises for the Use of Jewish Women on Public and Domestic Occasions, an anthology of teḥinot by Miriam Wertheimer (1852) translated from the work of Dr. Meïr Letteris
📖 Meditation of the Heart: A Book of Private Devotion for Young and Old, arranged and written by Annie Josephine Levi (1900)
📖 אמרי לב (Imrei Lev) Prières D’un Cœur Israélite, a collection of paraliturgical prayers and teḥinot in French by Jonas Ennery & Rabbi Arnaud Aron (1848/53)
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