Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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18
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Zadikim,
edited and translated by Isaac Leeser.
Volume I is titled
Daily Prayers of the Form of Prayers According to the
Custom of the Spanish and Portugese Jews, Philadelphia:
Printed by Haswell, Barrington, and Haswell for the Editor,
5597 (1837).
In his Preface, Leeser makes no mention of the Jackson-
Lazarus edition. He states that he is indebted to the German
translation of Mendelssohn whom he calls “the great restorer
(under God) of biblical learning among us.” The Hebrew text
“has been rendered according to the great light shed upon it
by the great philosopher and by . . . such as Yarchi, Aban Ezra”
etc. He readily admits to shortcomings in the translation, but
offers as explanation and excuse:
Our people . . . have been familiar from their infancy with
the translation issued by David Levi; I therefore did not
think myself at liberty to alter it so much as to break up
all connexion between the books in common use and those
now offered.
Leeser intended his edition not only for the Jews of the
United States, but also for those of the West Indies and England.
It therefore contains both “A Prayer For a Royal Government”
(p. 114) and “A Prayer For A Republican Government” p. 115).
The more “American” Jackson-Lazarus volume lists:
The President and Vice-President of the Union: the Senate
and House of Representatives of the United States in Con­
gress assembled; the Governor and Lieutenant Governor,
the people of this state, represented in senate and assembly,
and the magistrates of this city.
Leeser is content to state “the constituted officers of the govern­
ment.”
Writing in Iyar 28, 5597 (1837) Leeser records the history of
publication:
It was only on the twenty-seventh of last July, that the
subject was seriously agitated, and the final resolve was not
taken till the first of November. Since then the paper was
manufactured, the types were cast, and even some new
letters engraved; there being no persons here acquainted
with Hebrew composition, vexatious delays had to be sub­