Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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16
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
divine Providence to appoint 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.
Why did these translations precede any translations published
in England?
By the end of the eighteenth century, the London Jewish
community, numbering some 10-15,000 souls was divided into
Sefardi and Ashkenazi congregations. Each had its distinctive
rite and liturgy. Those in need of a translation in the Sefardi
community could use one of a number published in Amsterdam
and London. The Ashkenazi Jews had their Judeo-German
translations. Because of its size, the community could establish
an educational system which would prepare the young generation
for worship in Hebrew. Spanish in one community and Yiddish
in the other were languages understood and used. In the colonies,
what were the Ashkenazi Jews (who now outnumbered the
Sefardi in Sefardi-rite congregations) and second and third
generation Sefardi to do? They did not understand Spanish, and
the Yiddish translations were of the Ashkenazi liturgy. Because
of the small size of the community, linguistic acculturation
proceded at a pace far more rapid than that in the larger
English community. Clearly there was a need and a market for
an English translation in the colonies and in the British West
Indies. The New York publications addressed themselves to
this need and market.
In the last decades of the 18th century multi-volume editions
of both the Sefardi and Ashkenazi prayerbooks with English
translation by David Levi were published in London and became
the standard. They were imported to America and served the
needs of its young and small Jewish community.
THE JACKSON-LAZARUS PRAYERBOOK
In 1826, when the community numbered some 6,000, Solomon
Henry Jackson, the first Jewish printer in New York, published
The Form of Daily Prayers According to the Custom of the
Spanish and Portuguese Jews.
The title page elaborates: “As