Today is the 44th day of the Omer.
I’ve been in touch with Rabbi Dr. Richard S. Sarason off and on recently, asking questions about liturgy. He suggested that I might like it if he sent me the course packets for an upcoming class he’s teacheing at HUC on the evolution of Reform liturgy. I suggested that I would probably like that very much. He dropped it in the mail and it arrived yesterday in the form of a large manilla envelope full of five large packets.
One packet has a selecetion of the Kriat Shma rubric from a selection of Reform sidurim, the next packet has a selection of Amidahs, the third has a selection of Reform triennial cycles, the fourth contains Reform treatments of Aleinu, and the final packet contains Kadish Yatoms.
The sidruim represented include the 1819 and 1845 Hamburg Temple Sidur; the 1841(?) West London Synagogue Sidur; 1848 and 1895 editions of a Berlin sidur; Abraham Geiger’s 1854 Breslau sidur; a 1929 sidur from Frankfurt am Main (same publisher as one of these); Rabbi Merzbacher’s 1855 New York Temple Emanu-El sidur and an 1864 revision of the Temple Emanu-El sidur; the 1872 2nd edition of Minhag America; an 1896 English translation from the German sidur Olat Tamid by David Einhorn; 1892, 1905, 1936, and 1959 editions of the Union Prayer Book. Also included were selections from Gates of Prayer (Big Blue and Gates of Gender) as well as Mishkan Tefilah, all three of which I already own.
On a really fun note, the first edition of the Union Prayer Book has a hand-written note on it’s inside front cover from an unidentified person to another unidentified person. The note says, “To the Master of American Judaism, the Father of the Union of Hebrew Congregations, and the Founder of the Union Hebrew College, from the maker of this Union Prayer Book as a [the rest of the note is totally illegible, including the signature at the bottom.]” Anyway, it’s pretty obvious that it’s a note from one of the original editors of the UPB to Isaac Mayer Wise, eight years from death when UPB was published.
And now, the Omer: