Page 27 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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KARP / AMERICA’S PIONEER PRAYERBOOKS
17
read in their synagogues and used in their families.” It contained
the traditional prayers in Hebrew “carefully Revised and Cor­
rected by E. S. Lazarus,” and on the opposite page was an
English translation by Solomon Henry Jackson, a native of
England, who came to these shores about 1787. He married the
daughter of a Presbyterian minister who bore him five children.
After twenty years of marriage his wife died. He thereupon
left his Pike County home, brought his children to New York,
raised them as Jews, and devoted the rest of his life to defense of
Judaism and in service of the Jewish community. In New York
he got to know Eleazer S. Lazarus, a leader of the Shearith
Israel Congregation, a learned Jew who on occasion served as
lay Hazzan—the grandfather of the poet Emma Lazarus. They
collaborated to fashion for the Jews of America a prayerbook
of 466 pages of text and translation.
It was a prayerbook for the American Jewish community, and
the translator-publisher notes this in his “To The Public.”
It was thought best to adapt the prayer
JfYIJn
to our republican institutions . . . Martyrdom having
ceased, and the liberality of mankind assuring us it will no
more be revived, it was thought best to omit the prayer
Dffn m p
CBntyn . . . It will be perceived that the
American Hebrew type wherewith the work is executed, is
of the handsomest face in the world . . .
The paper is of American manufacture.
The last statements were more boast than fact. The type is
quite ordinary, and the paper not of the best. He concludes
with the hope that “the mark will meet your approbation and
patronage.” A hope, alas, not fully realized. The new congrega­
tions being established by a growing number of immigrants were
all Ashkenazi, the prayerbook, Sefardi. Its republican stance
rendered it unfit for use in the West Indies or in the Mother
Country. But to Jackson goes the credit for having fashioned an
impressive publication despite “its being new to the compositors”
and despite “the spareness of the means of the Editor.”
LEESER’S SIFTEI ZADIKIM
A decade later, there appeared a truly distinguished work of
translation, typography and bookmaking—the six volume
Siftei