The Kosher Bookworm: “In Her Voice” and “A Jewish Woman’s Prayer Book”

A Mothers’ Day Annual Literary Tribute

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With the annual tribute to our nation’s mothers coming up this weekend I would like to present to you a couple of last minute suggestions that might serve as gifts to those most valiant ladies .

“In Her Voice” by Enya Tamar Keshet and published by Maggid Books, is a rich collection of prayers, mostly in Hebrew, with some in Yiddish and Ladino, all cast into English translation, each thematically linked to the cares, concerns, fears and hopes of Jewish women. Spanning the whole gamut and reach of the totality of life’s experiences, these prayers deal with the place of women in the Jewish tradition, its Bible, liturgy, poetry and prose reflecting life cycle events from marriage, and childbearing or lack thereof to such home centered rituals as candle lighting, the blessing of children and other family members, each prayer reflecting a deep as well as intense sensitivity that is framed throughout with an artwork that is both bold in its grandeur and appropriate to both theme and theology.

Such sensitive issues as agunot, shidduchim, childlessness, as well as such rituals as separating challah, Torah study, and a unique prayer of the Chevra Kadisha are each treated with a dignity of place and purpose that serve to further enhance the importance that each, in its own way, has as a priority for our deep concern, or observance.

Based upon what is called The Lisbon School, that has to be seen to be appreciated, the art style used in this book is flexible in style from prayer to prayer, thus giving each liturgical work an artistic personality unique to its own individual purpose and meaning.

The calligraphy that is utilized throughout is practical enough in both size and clarity to be used as a prayer text for both worship and study. The English translations throughout as well as the running commentaries are user friendly that can serve as an excellent educational tool for both home, school, and shul libraries.

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