Page 54 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
48
W. Weyman printed an anonymous translation of the
Evening
Service of Roshashanah
,
and Kippur
,
or The Beginning of the Year
,
and The Day of Atonement
, which has been described as being
“the earliest Jewish prayer book printed in America.” But the
outstanding Jewish publication of early days is that volume of
prayers which John Holt of New York published for Shearith
Israel in 1766 (5526). Translated by Isaac Pinto, it was entitled
Prayers fo r Shabbath
,
Rosh-Hashanah
,
and Kippur; or The Sabbath
,
the Beginning of the Year
,
and The Day of Atonements; with the
Amidah and Musaph of the Moadim
,
or Solemn Seasons. According
to the order of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews.
In the preface to
this prayer book, Pinto stated, among other things, his reason for
making this translation:
. . . it has been necessary to translate our Prayers, in the
language of the Country wherein it hath pleased the divine
Providence to appoin our Lot. In Europe, the Spanish and
Portuguese Jews have a Translation in Spanish, which as they
generally understand, may be sufficient; but that not being the
Case in the British Dominions in America, has induced me to
Attempt a Translation in English, not without Hope that it
will tend to the Improvement of many of my Brethren in their
Devotion; and if it answer that Good Intention, it will afford
me the Satisfaction of having contributed towards it.
A second issue was produced almost immediately.2 Thus, in a
little over a hundred years after their first coming, these Spanish
and Portuguese Jews were already so American that they wanted
their prayer books in English.
The first sermon preached by a rabbi in the Western world to
be published was that of Rabbi Samuel Mendes deSolla, preached
at Curasao in 1750 and published in Amsterdam. But the first
sermon to be both preached and published in the United States
dates from 1773. Rabbi Haim Isaac Carigal, who excited much
attention as he travelled around in that year, preached at the
Newport Synagogue a Pentacost sermon which so impressed his
hearers that the great merchant, Aaron Lopez, had it translated
from Spanish into English and caused it to be published as the
first of Jewish sermons published in America which was preached
here.
There is a whole literature dealing with the Ten Lost Tribes,
in many of which the authors discovered and proved to their
entire satisfaction that the Indians were the dispersed Israelites.
2 See
PAJHS
, No. 30, Item Nos. 41 (1761), 45 and 46 (1766).