Page 30 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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20
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
and believed that this collection will in great measure
supply the deficiency.
Significantly, the prayerbook begins with a setting forth of
Articles of Faith, ten in number. It contains prayers for public
worship, as well as newly composed prayers for the rite of
circumcision, the Naming of a Daughter, the Marriage Ceremony,
etc.—all with accompanying instructions for the conduct of the
ritual.
The Preface expresses the hope:
At a future period it is contemplated to present to the
Israelites of the United States, a new and enlarged edition
of the whole form of prayer, to include the service of
festivals, as well as such selections from the original Hebrew,
as have been unavoidably omitted from the present work.
The Society went out of existence three years later, so that
the hopes were never realized. But those who established Reform
Judaism in America published the looked for “enlarged editions”
with “the original Hebrew” a quarter-century later.
THE MERZBACHER PRAYER BOOK
Three Reform prayerbooks appeared in the 1850’s, each more
radical than its predecessor. The first:
The Order of Prayer for
Divine Service, Revised by Dr. L. Merzbacher, Rabbi at the
Temple “Emanu-El.” I I Volume. Prayers For the Day of Atone­
ment, New York, 1855.
It is a revised form of the traditional
prayerbook. The rubric of prayer, including the five services
of Yom Kippur, is retained. It contains the Hebrew text with
English translation. While the
Kol Nidre
prayer is omitted, the
traditional text of the prayer for the restoration of the dead in
the
Amidah
is retained, and its translation is identical with that
of Leeser “who revivest the dead . . . who killest and restorest
to life.” The main concession to Reform is its abridgement.
The prayerbook departed from tradition, so it could not be
used in traditional congregations. Its revisions were so slight
as to make it unacceptable to Reform congregations.
An edition revised by Merzbacher’s successor, Samuel Adler,
was used by Temple Emanuel, and a few moderate Reform
congregations.