Siddur [Prayerbook]

Photo of book open to pages 94-95. It reads "Morning Service of Kippur." the pages are torn in places and stained. The text is black.

Isaac Pinto (translator). Siddur [Prayerbook]. 1766. J. Holt, New York. BM675.S3 Z62713 1766.
Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica, Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.

Isaac Pinto published the first English translation of the Jewish prayerbook for the High Holidays. Pinto was a Sephardi immigrant in New York and a member of Shearith Israel; the first Jewish congregation in North America. He soon discovered that many congregants were unfamiliar with the Hebrew language. Realizing the need for a prayer-book in the vernacular, he set about the translation himself. The result reflected British colonial rule and included a prayer for King George III. Yet, the fact that the first Jewish prayer-book to be published in English emerged out of a tiny Jewish community in colonial New York suggests that it represented the will of the American Jewish community to determine their own independent religious practices.

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