Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Sabbath Among Orthodox Jews in NYC in 1872

I came across this interesting article called 'A Sabbath Among The Orthodox Jews' by a W.M.R. which appeared in a periodical called The Galaxy in 1872 (Volume 14, Issue 3, September 1872). The Galaxy was the precursor to the Atlantic Monthly, which began where it left off in 1878.

W.M.R. is Jewish--he got an aliyah, giving his name as Moses bar Samuel, although he declined to daven mussaph, having "to confess, humiliating though it was, that to do this second thing was utterly beyond my powers". Unfortunately he doesn't share his background, and it isn't even clear that he is Jewish until well into the article. It is obvious that this synagogue experience among Orthodox Russian immigrants was as foreign to him as a Friday morning in a mosque would be for me. He also said that he understood Hebrew--better, he thought, than probably most of the people in the shul.

Here is the first page (click to enlarge):

You can download the entire article as a PDF here.

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