Page 35 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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KARP / AMERICA’S PIONEER PRAYERBOOKS
25
It is a miniature pamphlet of 114 pages of English text inter­
spersed with brief Hebrew sections. A manuscript inscription
on the flyleaf of a copy indicates the editor to be the Rev. Julius
Eckman, rabbi, educator and editor of San Francisco. It reads:
Compiled by the editor of the “Gleaner,” published at his
responsibility and expense without any aid from the
Synagogue or its offices, which he hitherto sought in vain.
At the end of this little volume he describes its composition:
Sent to the press, uncorrected twenty-eight hours after the
Mousaph was commenced to be composed, and five days
after its being commenced, under continued interruption
and other avocations, Thursday evening, Yom Kippur,
5721. (p. 133)
A century and a continent separate the efforts of Pinto and
Eckman, a century which saw a hundred fold increase of the
American Jewish community. The community grew in size,
in area of residence, in affluence and influence, in communal
institutions and organization. But the spirit which animated
Pinto to translate the prayerbook for the young community and
urged Eckman to edit a liturgy for his young students remained
the same—a deep concern for the spiritual welfare of an ancient
people settled in a New World. Those who joined them in labor
during that century and beyond to fashion an ever increasing
variety of prayerbooks did so in the conviction that American
Jewry is a pluralistic community, joined by common concerns
and in united enterprise, but diverse in spiritual attitudes and
needs. It would seem that the true
Minhag America
is the
variety of liturgies it has produced and the recognition of the
place and worth of all.