For many centuries Jewish prayer was so dominated by its male creators and male readers that the Jewish woman's role in prayer seems to have been all but obliterated. Yet Jewish women have always prayed and, before prayer became standardized into a formal liturgy, Israelite women offered up spontaneous petitions and hymns to God as freely as did men. While they may not have been able to help constitute a minyan, and while many did not know Hebrew or Aramaic, women produced and used material for prayer at home. The Yiddish tkhines had its origin in a form of supplicatory prayer in the Talmud, whose original intent was to allow for individual private devotion during the standard prayer service. The private Yiddish prayers and devotions for Jewish women continued to use this term. They emerged in the world of premodern Ashkenazic Jewry and represent one of the richest and least-known forms of Jewish religious literature. Because modern sensibility seemed to reject them, and because Yiddish was quickly forgotten by second and third generation Jews in the West, they have been sadly neglected. Although a few have been individually translated into English, this is the first bilingual anthology ever to appear. The prayers in this volume are characterized by a highly personal and intimate style and mark occasions in the religious calendar, such as the Tkhine for the Blessing of the New Moon, as well as occasions in the life of a woman, such as the Tkhine for a Mother who Leads Her Child to Kheyder for the First Time. The tkhines are of great appeal and value to those who wish to hear the voices of Jewish women in history, study Yiddish literature and culture, or create new expressions of spirituality.
The tkhines, prayers and devotions for Jewish women, originated in the world of premodern Ashkenazic Jewry and represent one of the richest and least-known forms of Jewish religious literature. Because modern sensibility seemed to reject them and because they were written in Yiddish, a language quickly forgotten by second and third generation Jews in the West, they have been sadly neglected. Although a few have been translated into English, this is the first bilingual anthology ever to appear. This volume is not meant to be a contribution to the scholarly literature. The intention has rather been to make a significant sample of this rich literature available to men and women, especially but not exclusively Jews, who may find in it not only an important historical example of Jewish women's spirituality, but also a vehicle for their own devotions.
This first-of-its-kind resource provides more than 200 texts and ideas for a women's seder and practical guidance for planning the event. Women from all aspects of Judaism have contributed to this work, sharing new insights and discussing the origins, evolution, and significance of women's seders.
"It took considerable courage for a woman to uproot herself and her family and travel with her husband to make a new life in a new country: "The Otago of our mothers" pays tribute to those pioneer women who faced the uncertainty and played such a large part in the formation of Otago. Ill prepared by the crowded industrial conditions of their homeland for life in the undeveloped countryside of New Zealand, they shared the workload with the men. They had to cut and drag timber through heavy bush, make wattle and daub huts and where the soil permitted, hand made bricks. The need for making an existence brought much unsuspected ingenuity to the surface, showing unexpected strengths and resourcefulness and enabling them to become cook, baker, maker of soap and candles, butter and cheese, nurse, gardener, handyman and hostess. This strength of character is still evident in the Otago women of today. Filled with delightful anecdotes there are wonderful descriptions of: Harpers Twelvetrees Patent washing machine; changes in the fashions, with reason for the changes; Victorian knick-knacks and why they were so popular; the balls, social evenings, dinners, births and marriages; formation of the women's union; acceptance into the world of education -- these and many more little known aspects of the characters of the pioneer women and their life have been given due credit and written about with style." -- Inside front cover.