אמרי לב | Imrei Lev – Meditations And Prayers For Every Situation And Occasion In Life by Jonas Ennery, translated by Isaac Leeser (1863)

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[Isaac Leeser’s Preface]

In presenting this volume of meditations and prayers to the public, but little need be said on the propriety, we may almost say the necessity, of issuing a work of the kind to serve as a manual of domestic devotion in addition to our usual public form of service, whether of the Portuguese or German custom. Nothing, indeed, at all equal to this has ever been given to the world; for, let fault-finders say what they will, not a book of devotion ever devised contains so much that is sublime, useful, instructive, and consolatory, as does our liturgy. Still, it has always been the custom of our people to have short prayers in the languages used by them, in addition to the daily and festival services; and it is only following the good example of the great ones of former years, to place in the hands of our females especially a book which is, so to say, a mirror of the soul, containing reflections and short formulae of petitions or thanksgiving adapted to the several circumstances of our existence, to serve as a constant companion in our life’s journey, whether the incidents be of joy or of sorrow. It is erroneous to assert that Israelites are opposed to the use of prayer in the languages of the various countries. The efforts which have been made, both in ancient and modern times, to furnish special composition in tongues other than the Hebrew, and this by the most earnest and pious teachers, prove the contrary. The retention of the Hebrew, however, has quite another reason, namely, to maintain our national speech as the vehicle for public prayers and reading of the Law, in order to preserve a bond of union which, while it exists, can withstand all assaults against our religion, as it enables us, at all times, to verify any assertion made as founded on the Scriptures, by referring at once to the original text, which will uniformly refute all forced constructions, that are generally the only proof against our faith. But if the Hebrew were once banished, we should have to rely on authorised versions of the Holy Text, and thus open the door to all the evils resulting from resorting to a varying standard, which in itself is but an approximation to, not a perfect transcript of, the Divine Word. As long as our worship is, therefore, in the language of Israel, this will be studied and far better understood than others which are not the vernacular of the respective countries where we live, and will, at the same time, render the Synagogue an acceptable meeting-place for Israelites all over the world, who will listen there to a worship in which they can freely participate, as it is the same, or nearly the same, allowing for differences in Minhag, with what they have been accustomed to from infancy. It is, therefore, absolutely requisite that the knowledge of the Hebrew should be universally diffused among us, so that it may be, in truth, the language of heartfelt devotion, —not merely a lip-service without effect on the mind.

While the public service, therefore, ought not to be changed, there is no reason why, for other objects, many books of devotional exercises, in all modern languages, should not be written by competent persons. It is, however, not to be denied, that this peculiar composition is one of the most difficult in the whole range of literature; for to think for others, to excite in them the feelings that agitate us, to lift them up to our own mental elevation, or to enter into the sentiments of their hearts, which we have, perhaps, never experienced, is surely not an easy thing, and requires a peculiar talent which very few can possess. It is, therefore, nowise remarkable that many who attempt to compose voluntary prayers utterly fail, and furnish thus indirectly the most convincing proof that the body of our liturgy should never be touched, as it can never be equalled or materially improved. The editor, when he commenced delivering public lectures, prefaced and concluded them with prayers of his own, in imitation of the European preachers; but latterly he has generally omitted them, being satisfied with the set forms of our books. Indeed, when one views attentively the feeble efforts of many who venture on prayer-making, he must soon come to the conclusion that they had better choose another field for their exertions, since they fail to excite devotion in their hearers, and utter words before Heaven which cannot be acceptable before Him. For it should not be forgotten, that we have only one model for entreaty and thanksgiving, namely, the Holy Scriptures; and that in framing either, we should carefully adhere to the views, doctrines, hopes, and aspirations which they have furnished us, while in putting in opinions of our own we may unconsciously blaspheme instead of uttering praises.

There are, it is admitted, many situations for which the Bible furnishes no example of prayer which we should offer therein. Since the close of the holy canon, new things and new historical developments have been ushered in, and given birth to new trains of thought. But in treating them as the subjects of prayer, we must, for all that, hold fast to our standard, and take heed that no ideas foreign to Judaism or unworthy to be offered to the God of Israel should find even a temporary sojourn in our devotional exercises. Besides, though events have not stood still in history, and though inventions have multiplied through ages past, no new truths have been evolved, and the simple words of the Bible are still as true as in the beginning, wherefore they present us, even now, as in past ages, with the best specimens of prayer, which alone, being revealed, can be acceptable to our Maker, the Author no less of the word than of the works of creation.

We should, accordingly, welcome as a valuable gift every book written in the spirit of the Scriptures, giving us prayers couched in the form and after the model of the liturgy furnished to us by our wise men of blessed memory. What they have done for the people is permitted to be done for the individual; they looked on the individual Israelite as a part of the indestructible people of God: the set prayers, therefore, always bring before us the idea of nationality, the restoration of all that was desirable in ancient times, the religion in its full effulgence, the nation in all its glory. They left it to the single Israelite “to ask his wants” in any manner he pleased. Hence they who do understand how to arrange the wants of the single man and Woman in becoming language on the scriptural basis, have only followed in the footsteps of our sages and rendered an important service to the progress of godliness among us.

As regards the present work, in which the editor claims no more than that it has been carefully revised and corrected by him, —it is the product of Mr. J. Ennery,[1]The author of “Le Sentier d’Israel,” translated and published in Philadelphia, under the name of the “Path of Israel,” by the Hebrew Publication Society. as he has been informed, and was issued in 5608 (1848) at Strasburg, France, under the supervision of Rabbi Arnaud Aron, and with his approval. It soon made its way wherever the French language is understood; and a copy of the second edition (1858) is now before the editor. Its success in France induced Mrs. Hesther Rothschild, of London, who, it is believed, is a Danish lady, to translate it into English, so that it might effect also its beneficent mission among those who speak the language of Britain. It appeared thus in London in 5616 [1855], and again in 5620 [1859]. The few copies which reached America were readily disposed of; and the demand having increased, while the circumstances of the times have rendered the importation of books for general use almost impossible, has caused this revised American edition to be issued. As the work is not a literal translation from the French, and is in many instances greatly abridged, for reasons by which the translator is perfectly justified, the editor of the American edition has farther revised it, and at times re-written entire passages, that the book may be more in accordance with the principles of prayer as laid down above; though he is free to acknowledge that it has not lost altogether the character of a translation, to avoid which it would have been necessary to recast the whole, and has, besides, some other defects inherent in all human productions. But, as he was bound not to deviate too far from the original, and thus give the public a different book from what its title professes, he had to limit himself to correcting, and has added nothing to what was not before him. He much desired to write several pieces for occasions not embraced in the present collection; but he declined doing so now, hoping that the time may be propitious hereafter to present another book containing original prayers by several competent men, in which he trusts to have a share assigned to him among the laborers for the welfare of Israel. With the present the subject is not exhausted, nor will it interfere with similar books issued by others both here and in England; but the editor honestly thinks that the spirit of piety will be promoted, not hindered, when the devout have at hand several devotional works from which to draw hope, encouragement, comfort, and divine aid on all fitting occasions. With these remarks he entrusts this production of pious men, in which a daughter of Israel has had a material share, to the kindness of his fellow-Israelites, in the full confidence that they will discover in it much that will raise their hearts and souls to the Author of our life, the benevolent Father, the God of truth, —the One who was, who is, and who will be in glory for ever and ever.

Isaac Leeser
Philadelphia, Ab 7, August 9, 5624 [1863].

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DAILY PRAYERS.

Prayer on entering the Synagogue
Hymn. Adon Olam
Preparation for Prayer
I. Morning Prayer
II. Shema
Shemona Essray
Confession of Faith
Evening Prayers

PRAYERS FOR THE SABBATH

On the Holiness of the Sabbath
After Public Worship
On Lighting the Sabbath Lamp
Prayer for Divine Light
Meditation I
Meditation II
Prayer before the Sermon
Prayer after the Sermon
During the Reading of the Law
During the Prayer for the Government
The Proverbs of the Fathers
Final Prayers for the Sabbath

PRAYERS BEFORE RETIRING TO REST

Before retiring to Rest
Self-examination to be made each Night

AT THE NEW MOON

On the Shortness of Life
Prayer for the Month of Elul
Prayer for the first of the Penitential Days preceding the New Year
Thoughts for the Last Day of the Year

PRAYERS FOR THE NEW YEAR.

Eve of the New Year.
Wishes for the Year.
Prayer Whilst The Minister Repeats The Shemona Essray.
During The Attah-Hoo.
Meditation On The Sacrifice Of Abraham.
During The Sounding Of The Shofar.
Meditation before the Additional Service

MEDITATIONS FOR THE PENITENTIAL DAYS

First Day
Second Day – The voice of Conscience
Third Day – On the Ruling Passion
Fourth Day – The Iniquity of the Evil Example
Fifth Day – On the Duties of Everyday Life
Sixth Day – The Sinner’s Delusions
Seventh Day – Eve of the Day of Atonement

DAY OF ATONEMENT

Eve of the Day of Atonement
Evening Service
The Morning Haphtorah—Isaiah Explains to the People in What True Penitence Consists.
Prayer in Memory of the Dead.
During the Prayer for the Martyrs.
Prayer Before Mussaph.
Prayer, When the Minister Recommences Mussaph.
Meditation During the Reading of the Law in the Afternoon Service of Kippur.
Prayer in Virtue of the Faith of Abraham
After the Confession in Minchah
Thoughts on the Judgment-Day
After the Confession in the Ne’ila Service

FEAST OF TABERNACLES

Evening Service for the Two First Days of the Feast of Tabernacles
Morning Service for the Feast of Tabernacles
Meditation before the Blessing of the Citron and Palm
On Perseverance in Good Resolves
Prayer when the Minister repeats the Shemona Essray in Mussaph
Meditation whilst the Lulab is carried in Procession

HOSHAANA RABBAH

Reflections during the Recitation of the Hoshaana

FINAL FESTIVAL (SHEMINI AZERETH)

The Feast of Solemn Assembly
On the Vanity of Earthly Possessions
Thanks for the Harvest, and Prayer for a Favourable Winter
On the Day of the Rejoicing of the Law (Simchath Torah)

HANUCCAH

The Festival of Hanuccah
Prayer on lighting the Lamp of Hanuccah
Prayer for Hanuccah

PURIM.

Fast of Esther.
Prayer

PASSOVER

Feast of Passover
Passover-Evening Service
Prayer before sitting at Table on the Evening of Passover
Recital, or Lecture
Passover-Morning Service
Morning Service For The Two Last Days Of Passover.

SHABUOTH—THE FEAST OF WEEKS, OF PENTECOST

Prayer for the Two Evenings of Pentecost
Prayer
Prayer whilst the Minister repeats the Shemona Essray in the Morning Service
The Decalogue—Meditation during the Reading of the Law
Final Prayer
During the repetition of the Mussaph on both days of Pentecost

TISHAH-BEAB (9th of Ab), Anniversary of the Destruction of the Temple

Prayer
For a Fast-day

RELIGIOUS INITIATION

Prayer before the Initiation
Prayer after the Confirmation
Prayer to be said by the Parents on the Day of the Initiation
Prayer for those present at the Initiation
The Parents’ Blessing

THE MARRIAGE SERVICE

Private Prayer used by the Bride on the Bridal Morning
Prayer to be used by the Bride after the Ceremony
Prayer to be used by the Bridegroom
Prayer to be used by the Bride’s Parents
Prayer to be used by the Bridegroom’s Parents
Prayer to be used by those who are present at the Ceremony

PRAYERS FOR THE USE OF CHILDREN

A Child’s Morning Prayer
A Child’s Prayer at Table
A Child’s Evening Prayer
Prayer before School
Prayer after School
A Child’s Prayer for his Parents
A Child’s Prayer for an Invalid

SPECIAL PRAYERS AND MEDITATIONS

Prayer
Submission to the Divine Will
Acknowledgment of God’s Mercies
An Appeal to Divine Mercy
Thoughts on Charity
Humbleness before God
Supplication in Sorrow
Thanksgiving after a Fortunate Recovery
Resolution to Amend
Petition for Perseverance in doing Good
Petition for Mercy for Oneself or Another
In a Time of Public Calamity
Prayer for Aid to Repentance
Prayer for Maintenance
Meditation in Prosperity
Prayer for Patience
Resignation in Adversity
Prayer in Poverty
A Servant’s Prayer
Prayer on setting out on a Journey
Prayer for a Friend setting out on a Journey
A Father’s Prayer
A Mother’s Prayer
A Husband’s Prayer
A Wife’s Prayer
Prayer of an Unhappy Wife
A Widow’s Prayer.
An Orphan’s Prayer
Prayer of a Young Girl
A Child’s Blessing for his Parents
Meditation in Old Age
Prayer for Future Life
Prayer of a Young Girl before her Betrothal
Prayer of an Affianced Bride before Marriage
A Mother’s Prayer on the Day of the Circumcision of her Son
A Mother’s Prayer on the Sabbath on which her Daughter is named
Prayer for a Mother on entering the Synagogue after her Confinement
Prayer in Sickness
Prayer in behalf of the Sick
Prayer for Sick Parents
Prayer in behalf of a Sick Husband or Wife
A Mother’s prayer in behalf of her Sick Child
Prayer for a Convalescent
Preparation in a Serious Illness
Prayer on Entering a New Habitation

MEDITATIONS FOR EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK

Meditation for Sunday (First Day)—On Faith
Meditation for Monday (Second Day)—On the Love of God
Meditation for Tuesday (Third Day)—On the Love of thy Neighbour
Meditation for Wednesday (Fourth Day)—On False Shame in Matters of Religion
Meditation for Thursday (Fifth Day)—On our Duties as Israelites
Meditation for the Eve of Sabbath (Friday)

VARIOUS MEDITATIONS FOR SABBATHS AND FESTIVALS

I. The Mission of Israel
II. On the Unity of God
III. On Public Worship

PRAYERS FOR THE SICK AND DYING

Thoughts on Eternity
Confession for the Sick
Prayers to be said with the Dying
Burial Service
Prayer said in the House of Mourning, or on the Anniversary of a Death
On the Anniversary of a Father’s Death
Prayer on the Anniversary of a Mother’s Death
Meditations and Prayers on Visiting the Graves of those we loved
At a Father’s Grave
At a Mother’s Grave
At a Husband’s Grave
At a Wife’s Grave
At a Brother or Sister’s Grave
At a Grandparent’s Grave
A Parent’s Prayer at a Child’s Grave
At the Grave of a Friend or Relative
At the Grave of a Teacher or Benefactor
On Setting a Tombstone
On Leaving the Cemetery


[Hester Rothschild’s preface to her English translation of אמרי לב (1855):]

The following pages are translated and adapted from a little volume in French, entitled Prières d’un Cœur Israélite published by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Havre [in 1848].

In its present form the work is not intended to be used in place of, but as a companion to, the Jewish ritual, to be referred to during the periods of public service when the congregation is not actually employed in prayer, or in receiving pulpit instruction; so that, combined with our sacred ceremonies, it may tend to inspire devotion, and direct the attention to holy thoughts.

It is likewise designed as an aid to domestic and individual worship. We all feel the want of pouring forth the soul’s emotions of joy or sorrow by communion with the Universal Father; general public forms of prayer may not always be adapted to the peculiar exigencies of every mind; the compilers of this work have therefore striven to supply in some measure this spiritual need, by meditations and prayers suited to every situation and occasion in life; and it has been the humble yet anxious endeavour of the translator to preserve the spirit of the original in its English garb. But, as the genius of the French language differs so widely from that of our own, a mere translation of phrases would render this impossible; it has often been found necessary, therefore, to arrange the same ideas in a very different order and form of language to the original, and even sometimes to remodel them altogether; thus this little volume frequently partakes of the character of an adaptation.

Having ventured these remarks in apology for the deviations from the original, the translator trusts the public will receive with lenient judgment this result of the employment of some leisure hours; and if the use of these pages produce but to one member of the Hebrew family anything like the soul’s satisfaction and comfort that have been derived from this “labour of love,” the translator will deem it an ample reward.

Hester Rothschild

LONDON, Adar 28, March 13, 5616, A.M. [1855]


[From the preface to אמרי לב Prières d’un Cœur Israélite (1848):]

La Société consistoriale pour la propagation des bons livres réalise aujourd’hui sa première œuvre, en offrant aux fidèles un recueil de prières et de méditations religieuses.

En choisissant ce livre pour notre début, nous avons eu à cœur de répondre à un besoin généralement senti, et de remplir une lacune très-grave dans la littérature moderne de notre culte.

Ce n’est pas que l’idée et la nécessité d’un livre de ce genre soient bien nouvelles parmi nous; les suppliques (תחנות) imprimées, comme appendice, à la fin des anciennes éditions de nos rituels, prouveraient suffisamment le contraire; mais toutes ces prières, expressions fidèles des sentiments pieux de nos ancêtres, sont écrites dans un allemand corrompu, et dont aucune traduction n’existe daas notre langue; elles sont d’ailleurs conçues dans un esprit et formulées dans un style incompatibles avec les exigences de notre époque.

Notre rituel ordinaire ne peut non plus suffire au recueillement individuel: inspiré soit de souvenirs historiques, soit de chants patriotiques, ou de poésies religieuses, il semble n’avoir eu en vue que la prière officielle, (תפלת חובה) ce qui résulte encore du sens collectif de la plupart de ses formules. Or, c’est là le caractère le mieux approprié aux prières destinées au culte public, et, à ce titre, notre rituel peut soutenir dignement la comparaison avec ceux de tous les autres cultes.

Mais, à côté de la prière officielle, il est un besoin non moins divin: c’est celtii qu’éprouve l’âme de s’épancher, dans un recueillement intime, devant le maître de nos destinées, de lui offrir le tribut de ses soupirs comme celui de ses joies; de lui exprimer sa gratitude ou ses espérances; c’est ce que nous appelons la prière individuelle. Or, la prière individuelle ne saurait se plier aux formules générales; elle s’inspire d’une situation personnelle et puise ses expressions dans le sentiment. Un livre de prières et de méditations religieuses doit donc être comme une lyre harmonieuse, dont les cordes diverses résonnent sous les variables émotions de l’âme. Il faut qu’il y ait des sons pour la joie et la douleur, pour le bonheur et pour le deuil, pour le convalescent qui se relève, et pour le malade qui s’éteint. C’est à ce besoin que nous essayons de répondre aujourd’hui.

Loin de nous la prétention de remplacer le rituel; ce legs des hommes de la grande synagogue sera toujours notre plus beau joyau; mais, placés à un autre point de vue, nous avons cru devoir faire autrement.

Toutefois ce n’est pas au culte domestique exclusivement que nous vouons ce livre. Nous souhaitons, au contraire, qu’il accompagne les fidèles jusque dans le temple, et qu’il contribue avec nos saintes cérémonies à leur inspirer le recueillement et à les préserver de toute distraction. C’est pourquoi nous avons emprunté au rituel et aux Pioutim quelques morceaux choisis, et affecté un certain nombre de prières aux divers offices du culte public, surtout pour les jours de fête.

Nous n’avons que peu de mots à ajouter sur la manière dont nous avons cru pouvoir remplir notre tâche. Nous avons cherché à donner à nos prières une forme simple, claire, dénuée de toute prétention littéraire. La prière étant l’expression la plus intime des rapports de l’homme avec Dieu, perd son caractère de vérité, si, au lieu de jaillir simple et facile, elle s’égare dans l’affectation et les métaphores. Nous avons donc évité avec soin ces tirades déclamatoires, ces ornements lyriques qui, à notre avis, déparent quelques ouvrages de ce genre. Devant qui doit-on être vrai si ce n’est en présence de celui qui sonde les derniers replis de nos cœurs, et qui s’appelle Dieu de vérité, יי אלהים אמת?

Un très-grand nombre des prières de notre recueil sont originales, d’autres sont imitées de nos livres sacrés, ou traduites un rituel et du Machsor, sans cependant que nous nous soyons attachés servilement au texte littéral, toutes les fois que le génie de notre langue exigeait une forme différente. Enfin, nous avons plus d’une fois puisé dans les excellents livres de piété publiés en Allemagne, notamment par Letteris, Jacobsohn, Rosenfeld, etc.; leurs ouvrages nous ont fourni le sujet et quelquefois le texte de plusieurs morceaux. Que ces savanta coreligionnaires veuillent recevoir ici l’hommage public de notre reconnaissance.

Pour la division matérielle de notre ouvrage, nous avons adopté la classification suivante:

  1. Prières qui reviennent périodiquement, soit tous les jours, soit aux jours de fête.
  2. Prières et méditations religieuses pour les diverses circonstances de la vie; ces méditations remplissent une lacune importante de notre rituel, qui n’a pas de prières pour ce que nous appelons la piété domestique.
  3. Prières de deuil, à réciter soit aux anniversaires, soit au cimetière.
  4. Enfin, dans une quatrième et dernière partie, nous avons placé quelques morceaux de philosophie religieuse, qui sont plutôt des préparations à la foi que de véritables prières.

Avant dé terminer, qu’il nous soit permis d’adresser une humble supplique à nos lecleurs et surtout à nos pieuses lectrices. Nous les conjurons de ne pas lire ce livre comme on lit une œuvre de littérature, c’est-à-dire avec l’esprit d’analyse et de critique. La prière écrite, quelque parfaite qu’elle soit, est impuissante si l’élan du cœur ne la complète, si l’enthousiasme de l’âme ne l’é-chauffe. Or, l’analyse refroidit l’âme et les sentiments du cœur. Ouvrez donc ce livre avec la pieuse intention de prier, et non de lire, alors la religion vous inspirera, et votre prière étant l’expression de votre foi, sera agréable au Seigneur.

Strasbourg, janvier 1848 (Schebat 5608).

Le grand-rabbin du Consistoire du Bas-Rhin,

Arnaud Aron.

Notes   [ + ]

  1. The author of “Le Sentier d’Israel,” translated and published in Philadelphia, under the name of the “Path of Israel,” by the Hebrew Publication Society.

3 comments to אמרי לב | Imrei Lev – Meditations And Prayers For Every Situation And Occasion In Life by Jonas Ennery, translated by Isaac Leeser (1863)

  • In the following letter from 1866, Hester Rothschild writes to Isaac Leeser directly that she is not very pleased how Isaac Leeser was advertising his new publication of his adaptation of her work:

    London February 16th 1866

    To the Revd Isaac Leeser

    Sir,

    Seeing in a recent number of the „Occident” an advertisement announcing the publication of “Meditations and Prayers adapted from the French by Hester Rothschild, American stereotype edition revised and corrected by Isaac Leeser.” I beg you will have the courtesy to withhold the publication as well as any further announcement of the correction and revision by you, until I am in a position to judge of and sanction such a revision and correction, for which purpose I must request you will be good enough to favor me with a copy of the work or a full and accurate list of the said corrections and revisions, as my M.S. of the first edition was submitted to our reverend chief Rabbi Dr Adler for his approval and the last English edition was most carefully looked over and revised by myself and a gentleman ably fitted for the task. I am induced to appeal to your gentlemanly feeling and sense of right by an old and esteemed friend Mr Jacob Franklin, whom you know as he has taken some trouble in your behalf in the matter of your translation of the Bible; and he assures me that although there is no international copyright between England and the United States, yet, you would be certain to acknowledge the moral obligations existing towards a laborer, however humble, who, although working but in the vestibule of literature, has bestowed much care, love and conscientiousness on the little volume in question. Therefore, I must claim from you, the withdrawal of the expressions „corrected and revised by Isaac Leeser” from your advertisements as well as from the work which should not be altered except by myself whilst it bears my name and I am still living. Hoping, Sir, that you will be good enough to accede to my wish.

    I have the honor to be
    Sir
    Yours very obediently
    Hester Rothschild

    • This is really fascinating to me since it brings up a number of important issues that are still relevant: copyright, attribution, and permission when it comes to redistribution and adaptation of liturgy intended for private or communal use distributed via private publishing interests. It also brings up a longstanding issue of men editing collections of tkhines compiled by women.

      By the mid-19th century, the publishing industry is responding to strong market interest among both Christians and Jews for books containing novel prayers that speak to the familiar exigencies of the human condition. Meanwhile, both the traditional prayer book and collections of tkhines for women are being translated for publication in local languages, French, German, and English, as ethnic and national identities are strained by assimilation and growing ignorance of Hebrew and Yiddish. While the publications of Fanny Neuda and Hester Rothschild quickly gain popularity in the 1850s, by the 1860s men like Moritz Mayer and Isaac Leeser are editing and adapting their work without their consent. This is in part aided by the lack of an international copyright agreement between the US, the UK, and continental Europe, but also by a longstanding practice of tkhines literature authored or adapted by Jewish women, being re-edited and “corrected” by Jewish men. In the United States, the Liberal/Reform movement is most responsive in recognizing the popularity of this new prayer literature and male Reform leaders begin working to compile new collections (e.g. Hanna) and incorporate more of these prayers into new Liberal siddurim.

      In the Jewish Chronicle 1 August 1856, Abraham Benisch writes in his review of Hester Rothschild’s adaptation: “It is a remarkable phenomenon on the horizon of Anglo-Jewish literature that it is women, not men, that shine as the principal stars. The translations of Miss Goldsmid and the original writings of the late Miss Aguilar and Mts. H. Montefiore, are productions of which the community may be proud. It is in vain that we seek for an explanation of this phenomena…” (Benisch’s review continues to descend into even greater sexism.) I think it’s within such a cultural context that the nascent stars of Anglo-Jewish liturgical literature in the mid-19th century had their works modified.

  • I’m also fascinated by how a number of the authors and translators involved in this new prayer literature were heavily involved with socialist republican politics that directly affected their life circumstances. By 1852, Jonas Ennery had been exiled for life from France. Aaron Meïr Goldschmidt whose work in English was edited by Hester Rothschild had also been exiled. Moritz Mayer had also come to the United States in part due to the failures of the 1848 revolutions. Something to look into with more depth…

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