Page 32 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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22
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
3. Individual congregations are to decide how much English
or Hebrew they will use;
4. Whatever is against the concepts of Biblical Judaism,
American Israel, or the wants and demands of the time,
is to be omitted. The service was not to be beyond a
reasonable length and there was to be provision in it
for the use of choir and organ.2
In 1857, the prayerbook was published in Cincinnati by Bloch
& Co., in two versions, the Hebrew text plus a translation in
either English or German. The Hebrew title page calls the
volume
Minhag America, T ’filot B’nai Yeshurun.
The Hebrew
names of the committee members are listed. The German title:
Gebet-Buch fiir den Oeffentlichen Gottesdienst und die Privat-
Andacht,
and credits “der Clevelander Conferenz ernannten
liturgischen Commission, den Rabbinem Kalisch, Rottenheim
und Wise.” The English edition is called
The Daily Prayers,
“Revised and Compiled by the Committee of the Cleveland
Conference,” but does not credit the committee members by
name.
The Hebrew text of 144 pages runs from right to left, and
the translations (120 pages of English; 171 pages of German)
are paginated left to right.
The prayerbook was true to the principles stated. It retained
the form of the traditional prayerbook, but freely omitted pas­
sages which did not conform to “the wants and demands of the
time.” Thus, for example, in the
Amidah,
where the Merzbacher
prayerbook has: “send a redeemer to their children’s children,”
Minhag America
changes the Hebrew
goel
(redeemer) to
geulah
(redemption) and the translation to: “bringest redemption to
their descendants.” In the following blessing the Hebrew
mehaye
metim
is retained, but is translated, “grantest perpetual life to
the dead.”
In subsequent editions of this widely used prayerbook, neither
Conference nor committee is mentioned. It came to be known
as the Wise Prayerbook, as fitting tribute to the vision and
persistence of its architect and fashioner, who saw to its publica­
tion and promoted its distribution.
2
American Israelite,
vol. 5, December 31, 1858.