Hours of Devotion
Fanny Neuda's Book of Prayers for Jewish Women
Schocken Books / ISBN: 978-0-8052-4245
Written in the nineteenth century, rediscovered in the twenty-first, timeless in its wisdom and beauty – the first full-length book of Jewish prayers written for women by a woman.
"You don’t have to be a rabbi’s wife to find inspiration in Ms. Berland’s lovely verse translation of 'Fanny’s humble little book, with its fervent expressions of true feeling.'” ---THE NEW YORK TIMES
The poetry singing through these prayers is as beautifully compelling today as it was some 150 years ago, when they were written. ---THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
A "milestone" . . . one of the "notable firsts . . . in the world of Jewish women." ---FORWARD
"These elegantly written prayers, filled with powerful emotion, rich in experiences, offering wisdom and yet expressing personal humility, are a treasure." ---CHICAGO JEWISH STAR
"Berland's verses transcend the boundaries of time, gender, and formula. For those who seek a new vessel to help them pour out their heart like water, Berland's reinterpretation of a classic is a welcome discovery." ---SH'MA
"Neuda's prayers are a wonderful discovery for modern audiences and should appeal to historians of Jewish life as well as to women of all faiths." ---LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Collections like this one, which demonstrate the enduring power of prayer, are universal spiritual gifts to all of us." ---David Crumm, READTHESPIRIT.COM
In her moving introduction, Dinah Berland describes her serendipitous discovery of Hours of Devotion in a Los Angeles used-book store, It was a time of painful estrangement from her son, and the prayers she found in the slim volume provided immediate comfort. Eventually, they would also lead her back to Jewish study and to a deeper practice of Judaism.
Originally published in German, this book by the daughter of a Moravian rabbi was reprinted more than two dozen times in German, Yiddish, and English between 1855 and 1918. Working with a translator, Berland has brought the original version in to modern English – including Fanny Neuda’s forward-thinking essay on the education of Jewish women—and has set the prayers into verse. Reading "A Daughter’s Prayer for Her Parents," "On the Approach of Childbirth," " For a Mother Whose Child Is Abroad," and other prayers for both daily and momentous occasions in life, one cannot help but feel connected to the women who have come before.
For Berland, Hours of Devotion served as a guide and a testament to the mystery and power of prayer. Fanny Neuda’s generous spirit and faith in God, present throughout these pages, offer the same hope of guidance to others.
“Dinah Berland has given us a treasure for the praying heart. Her English rendering of Fanny Neuda’s book of prayers for Jewish women is elegant as well as capable of opening hearts. It stirred mine.”
“Berland has been preparing all her life to recreate Fanny Neuda’s deeply useful and soulful Hours of Devotion. She has given us a woman’s book of illuminations, a compilation of prayers that moves from suffering to gratitude, a work that sanctifies life.”
“Dinah Berland’s new edition of the nineteenth-century Hours of Devotion is a rich, spiritually vital collection that shines with integrity, wisdom, and love. Contemporary Jewish life as a whole is immeasurably enriched by Berland’s graceful restoration of Fanny Neuda’sprayers – prayers that had articulated the deep yearnings of Jewish women for generations. This is the kind of book every Jewish woman, and every Jewish home, should have – a book to be truly cherished and transmitted from generation to generation.”
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