Hours of Devotion: A 19th Century Prayerbook for Women

Posted on October 18th, 2018 by

A blog post by Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.

As often happens, I blithely signed up for a blog post without having any real idea of what I was going to blog about. The fated morning arrived – today! – and I got to work still without a clue. I have a handy list of possible blog-worthy artifacts, arranged by accession number, so I pulled that up: top of the list is 1965.2.5, a 19th century book of prayers for women in various circumstances. Aha, I thought – I heard on the radio this morning that October 18th is World Menopause Day!  That’s a day for women in a circumstance, for sure. Let’s investigate!

Stunden der Andacht, by Fanny Neuda. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice T. Annenberg. JMM 1965.2.5

Object number 1965.2.5 is Stunden  der Andacht, a small hardbound volume published by Jacob B. Brandeis in 1880. Fanny Schwiedl Neuda first published Stunden der Andacht: Ein Gebet- und Erbauungsbuch für Israels Frauen und Jungfrauen zur öffentlichen und häuslichen Andacht (Hours of Devotion: Book of Prayer and Edification for Jewish Wives and Young Women) in 1855, a year after the death of her husband Rabbi Abraham Neuda. Researchers note that it was “the first collection of Jewish prayers known to have been written by a woman for women, and the first collection of women’s teḥinot (supplicatory prayers) to be offered in German rather than Yiddish.”

Our copy is part of a small collection of religious texts related to Temple Oheb Shalom in Baltimore. Although we don’t know the circumstances – if it belonged to a congregant or was on hand in the synagogue for multiple users – it is well worn, and clearly was considered a helpful resource.

The table of contents shows a comprehensive list of Gebete (prayers) for the days of the week, various holidays, and various circumstances and events: for brides, mothers of brides, women about to deliver a baby (and shortly afterward), childless marriages, women with sons in the military, women with ailing parents, during a severe illness, taking a sea voyage, at the gravesite of a child or a parent… (And yes, I did have to pull out my trusty college-era Langenscheidt dictionary; my German is, ah, shall we say, eingerostet (look it up!)).

Alas, I can find no prayer specifically for menopausal women, at least not with my rusty language skills. The closest thing is the Gebet im höheren Alter, or prayer in advanced age. The actual prayer is beyond my quick-what-does-that-say abilities, but if it turns out it does in fact address the Wechseljahre, I’ll be sure to update everyone.

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Once Upon a Time…01.12.2018

Posted on October 16th, 2018 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church by email at jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

JMM 1989.108.2.7

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: Janaury 12, 2018

PastPerfect Accession #: 1989.108.002.007

Status: Partially identified! Members of the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland, circa 1960. Pictured are: back row, center: Roz Kaplan; back row, right: Meta Oppenheimer; front row, right: Gloria Harris. Do you recognize the remaining two women?

Thanks To: Rona Michaelson, Rosa Marx, David Golaner, Marly Goloskov

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Once Upon a Time…01.05.2018

Posted on October 9th, 2018 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church by email at jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

JMM 1989.102.10

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: January 5, 2018

PastPerfect Accession #: 1989.102.010

Status: Unidentified – do you recognize any of these employees of the Becker Sign Company? We believe the shorter man in the middle might be Herman Becker himself. Photo taken in Baltimore, 1928.

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