Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!
Written in the nineteenth century, rediscovered in the twenty-first, timeless in its wisdom and beauty, Hours of Devotion by Fanny Neuda, (the daughter of a Moravian rabbi), was the first full-length book of Jewish prayers written by a woman for women. In her moving introduction to this volume—the first edition of Neuda’s prayer book to appear in English for more than a century—editor Dinah Berland describes her serendipitous discovery of Hours of Devotion in a Los Angeles used bookstore. She had been estranged from her son for eleven years, and the prayers she found in the book provided immediate comfort, giving her the feeling that someone understood both her pain and her hope. Eventually, these prayers would also lead her back to Jewish study and toward a deeper practice of her Judaism.
Originally published in German, Fanny Neuda’s popular prayer book was reprinted more than two dozen times in German and appeared in Yiddish and English editions between 1855 and 1918. Working with a translator, Berland has carefully brought the prayers into modern English and set them into verse to fully realize their poetry. Many of these eighty-eight prayers, as well as Neuda’s own preface and afterword, appear here in English for the first time, opening a window to a Jewish woman’s life in Central Europe during the Enlightenment. Reading "A Daughter’s Prayer for Her Parents," "On the Approach of Childbirth," For a Mother Whose Child Is Abroad,"and the other prayers for both daily and momentous occasions, one cannot help but feel connected to the women who’ve come before.
For Berland, Hours of Devotion served as a guide and a testament to the mystery and power of prayer. Fanny Neuda’s remarkable spirit and faith in God, displayed throughout these heartfelt prayers, now offer the same hope of guidance to others.
“Dinah Berland's new edition of the 19th 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's prayers—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.”—Miriyam Glazer
“Dinah 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.” —Edward Hirsch
“Ms. 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.” —Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi; co-author of Jewish With Feeling