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Gele bat Moshe

Gele, daughter of Moshe and Freyde, was a typesetter employed by her father along with her older sister, Ele, in his printing shop in Halle, Germany (then part of Brandenburg, Prussia). Her father, a convert to Judaism, worked in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Frankfurt am Oder, before settling in Halle in 1706 at "the press established by J.H. Michaelis," according to Marvin Heller. Not much more is known of Gele outside of the difficulty we imagine that she and her family must have experienced after her father was imprisoned and his press destroyed following the 1710 publication of a siddur containing the prayer, "Aleinu," recently forbidden by royal decree. (source: K. Hellerstein, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987 (2014, Stanford University Press), p. 66)

דיזי שיני נייאי תפילה | Dize sheyne naye tfile (This Beautiful New Prayer), by the typesetter Gele bat Moshe v’Freyde (1710)

Contributed on: 15 Jul 2017 by Aharon N. Varady (editing/transcription) | Kathryn Hellerstein (translation) | Gele bat Moshe |

This is a faithful transcription of the prayer of Gele (Gella), daughter of the printer Moshe, as found at the end of Tefillah l’Mosheh (2nd ed., Halle, Germany, 1710), a prayerbook Gele typeset when she was only 11-years-old. This prayerbook is rare owing to the destruction of the press following the incarceration of Gele’s father for publishing a prayerbook containing the prayer “Aleinu,” which had been forbidden by royal decree. The translation provided here was made by Dr. Kathryn Hellerstein as found in A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987 (2014, Stanford University Press), p. 63-4. The layout of Gele’s prayer follows that of Ezra Korman from his anthology of Jewish women’s poetry, Yiddishe Dikhterins, also the source of the page image provided. If you know the location of a copy or digital scan of this siddur, please contact us. . . .