Bride reading a pray from A Jewish Woman's Prayer Book
on her wedding day.
To purchase the book
purchase the book
To purchases in quantity
I'd be glad to receive
your comments, original prayers, comments, or further
information about women's prayers by e-mail, for the
purposes of ongoing research and to contribute to the
discussion on this site.
Dear Aliza Lavie,
My name is Hannah Bender. I am 15 years old and am a
member of the Reformed Jewish Congregation, Etz Chaim in
Lombard, IL. I live in a very non-Jewish area and
recently got back from a trip to Israel with my
synogauge and my appreciation, interest, and love for my
religion grew. So much that I now aspire to become a
rabbi. I recently purchased your book "A Jewish Woman's
Prayer Book," at my local scholastic book warehouse, and
I was blown away. I use the morning and night prayers
everyday and for all other occasions. One thing did
strike me about the English though, I was wondering why
if it's a womens prayer book, why were the words "Him,"
"He," and "His" used in place of the word God as to
suggest God was male? I understand that the Hebrew is in
the masculine form but shouldn't it be gender nutural?
Thank you for your time, I really appreciate your work
on this book.
First of all, I am glad that you are using and enjoying
my book. I hope your continued journey into the depths
of judaism will be meaningful and fulfilling.
As for your question, firstly, I did my best not to
change any of the language in the texts I found, even
when there were grammatical or language mistakes. I did
not want to change tradition, I just recorded what I
Secondly, we did our best to translate as close to the
text as possible and since the language of the text was
masculine then the name or pronoun for God had to be
masculine too. This was not a statement of belief, but
rather an attempt to keep the translation consistent and
coherent as a whole.
Wishing you all the best of luck,
Readers Comments and reviews at
Two years ago I suggested to David Silber that the
Drisha Minyan incorporate short readings from Zelda's
poetry into the Yom Kippur tefillah. My motivation was a
concern that the spirited musical language of the minyan
was overshadowing the powerful verbal language of the
Mahzor; and the realization that the poetry's
noncanconical status might enable women to play a more
public and central role in a traditional Halachic
While the experiment was limited and the response not
overwhelming (A statement about my grasp of poetry,
prayer and women?) I still think the idea holds promise.
Perhaps you can reshape it and infuse it with new life.
Click here for the proposal
Dear Dr. Lavie-
I had the pleasure of hearing you speak at Rinat Israel
in Teaneck recently and was very impressed by your
efforts to create this wonderful Prayer Book.
One of the questions from the audience was regarding
interest in your Prayer Book by non - Jewish people. You
responded that there have been instances of Arab women
using your Prayer Book to pray.
I was very intrigued by your response. It occurred to me
(and probably to you and your publisher), that there
could be a very broad and diverse audience (and need)
for your Prayer Book. But more importantly, your Prayer
Book could become an important catalyst for helping
Israel change it's image and maybe even help bring a
little bit of peace to this turbulent world.
Dr. Lavie, you represent a new generation of Jew and
Israeli. Israel has been a leader in science, technology
and military might but it has been many years since the
Jews have been a spiritual inspiration to others. As
Isaiah said, the Jews should be a light unto nations.
Your Prayer Book could be that spark. It could touch
many people - Jew and non-Jew alike.
More specifically, my suggestion is that you have the
book translated into Arabic (and other languages?) for
at least two reasons.
1. From a public relations and sales perspective, I
would think that there could be much interest by Oprah
Winfrey to have you on her show. By having the book in
English and Arabic , it demonstrates both universalism
and a unique effort to reach out to others in a very
important area- the spiritual. (I am sure there are many
contacts in the Jewish community who could bring you and
your Prayer Book to Oprah's attention. )
2. A Jewish Prayer Book translated into Arabic,
represents an idealism crystallized through prayer that
we can all come together and make this world a better
place. If women from around the world can share common
prayers, it brings hope that they can also shape a more
promising future for our children.
If you get on Oprah, please let me know as I would be
interested in seeing the show.
If I can be of any assistance, please let me know.
I wish you much success with your Prayer Book.
Wonderful - todah rabah Aliza for coming and giving
your lecture on Esther Malcha!
The event was a real success and on behalf of the entire
Boston Hadassah Chapter I wish you todah and l'hatzbicha
on your new book.
Be well, kol tuv, and Shabbat Shalom,
Director, The Boston Chapter of Hadassah
Fanny Neuda By Bettina
Kratz-Ritter / Jewish Women's Archive
Dear Dr. Lavie,
I just watched your interview on Shalom TV and was so
taken by your words. I am anxious to get a copy of your
work. Thank you so very much for writing about this
significant subject .
All the best to you.
Hi Aliza - it was so great to meet you and your
family! Your presentation at Rinat was a huge hit - hope
you can come back for a return engagement.
Best regards, F.
It was great to meet you on Tuesday night. Thank you for
leading such a lively discussion at the beit midrash and
for sharing your research. I decided to write a blog
entry about your work on the blog of the Jewish Women's
Archive (which is called "Jewesses With Attitude"). Here
is the link:
My co-workers and I would love to find a time for
you to come to the Jewish Women's Archive to tell us
more about the work you are doing, and to share some of
the work we are doing as well. When do you return to
Israel? What is your schedule over the next month or
All the best, and looking forward to staying in touch!
One more question:
In the Yahrzeit Prayer on page 382, there are places to
insert the name of the deceased and to "insert loved
one's mother's name." In Traditional Judaism, the
deceased is usually referred to as the son/daughter of
the father. Is the reference in your book a change
because it is a woman's prayer?
Thank you for your help,
Association of Jewish Libraries
Thank you for your enquiry.
This is exactly how this Yahrzeit Prayer appears in the
original. I did no editing and made no changes.
There are instances of linguistic changes in the gender
conjugation in Hebrew, into feminine form, where it is
clear that the prayer is meant for a woman to recite -
in our case, for a woman to recite during the Yizkor
service. I will consult with a rabbi in this regard.
Thank you for drawing my attention to this.
In general, where it comes to many areas related to
mourning, the halakha is not clearly defined. There are
different customs concerning bereavement and mourning,
and this may be the case here, too. It may reflect a
sort of sensitivity and understanding.
This area could certainly benefit from further research
I am still
trying to trace my grandmother's copy of Neuda.
My uncle didn't find it but reports finding a
different book, also in german. I attach his
description in case you are familiar with that
My uncle wrote:
.... I did find a volume among the few
books I got from Oma, by
J.H.Kohn entitled " Bibel und
Talmudtchat..." for the title page is
loose and frayed. It is not excactly
what I remember from my youth as a
volume specifically entitled for "
Frauen" , i.e. women. The title
translates into "Bible and
Talmuting ?Musings"..It is
subtitled "Ein Familienbuch fur yeder
Stand, besonders fur
Frauen und Yugend beidere Geschlechtes'
which translates into "a family
book for all occasions especially for
women and youth of both genders".
I have the 7th " Improved" Edtion,
Second Part, published
in Budapest in 1883 by Moriz
I love your book and have given to several
friends (including a Christian woman and a woman
rabbi!). I was wondering if you know of any
prayers for mothers of single children (to find
their mates), and for a mother to say on the
occasion of a son's engagement/wedding. I love
the mother in law prayer!! Thanks.
Thanks, nice talking to you. Just remembered
one more thing: about Got Fun Avrohom: there's a
woman at Young Israel who someone said maybe
says that prayer or might remember it being
said. I've been meaning to ask her, but if you
want to, you can do it instead. I don't know if
you're really interested in this topic, but it's
very interesting to me how so many people think
of that as THE quintessential women's prayer in
Yiddish, and yet you haven't encountered any
women with a personal connection with it and
neither have I. Anyhow, if you're interested,
her name is Frieda. She works at Israel Book
Shop. Perhaps you know her. She's a survivor
from Germany, but with Polish parents, so she
speaks Yiddish fluently.
Congratulations on your #1 bestseller!
I read the Jewish week article. So impressive. Meanwhile, I'm spreading
the word about the book. An Israeli woman who
came to the
Mikvah this past week had just had another
I told her to buy the book & wrote out the title
for her tobuy it a Israel Book Shop. I have some
questions to discuss
with you when you get back from London.
I love your book and have given to several friends
(including a Christian woman and a woman rabbi!). I was
wondering if you know of any prayers for mothers of
single children (to find their mates), and for a mother
to say on the occasion of a son's engagement/wedding. I
love the mother in law prayer!! Thanks.
Dear Ms. Lavie.
A friend of mine, Tova Moonay, attended =our lecture on
Thursday evening, Dec.11 at Young Israel in Buffalo. New
=ork. I am sorry to have missed this talk. Tova
remembered that on Friday =ve. I say a German prayer on
lighting the candles I memorized this prayer because my
mother used it after lighting the candles. =his prayer
can be found in the HANNAH . Gebet und Andachtsbuch fuer
=sralitische Frauen und Maedchen compiled by Jacob
Freund, of which I have the 9nth =dition, pub. in
However, I also have another German prayerbook for women
by the title of STUNDEN DER ANDACHT BY =anny Neuda,
22d edition, Prag, Breslau, l911 =Publisher Jakob
B.Brandeis. (The spine label is gone). Anyway, my =riend
Tova thought you might be interested to know that I own
these copies, handed =own to me by my mother. They
escaped the theft of my father's Judaica =ollection (he
was a rabbi in Germany) and made it to the U.S. with us
=n August 1939. I would love to hear from you
and wonder how many copies of these =rayerbooks are
still around. By the way, I translated the prayer on
lighting the =andles into English just so the family
would know what I was saying but they =ike me to say it
Sincerely , M.
Aliza, Todah Rabbah! Thank you so much for sharing
some of your story and your learning with us. I look
forward to your next book and you are welcoming to join
us any time. Hanukkah Sameah.
Rabbi David Lerner
9 Piper Road
Lexington, MA 02421
Thank you again for speaking about your quest for
Jewish women's prayers and the book. It was a very
moving talk and many people commented that your talk was
very meaningful to them.
I realized with regret that we did not have an
opportunity to even show you the beautiful Sanctuary at
the Temple. Best regards to all.
Thank you so much for traveling to our community. You
have inspired us and I wish we had all day to talk to
you. The women present were as touched as I personally
was as your message is so powerful!
I will send you the pictures I tool soon.
Gook luck in your travel in the US and have a safe trip
back to Israel. (I told my daughter to take one of your
classes next semester at Bar Ilanů)
All the best!
Director of Adult Services
5403 Monument Ave.
Richmond VA 23226
804-545-8610 Fax: 804-545-8679
The JewBerry: Praying on the PDA /
Thank you for your inspirational lecture this evening
and helping to make our sukkah kehilatit project so
successful this year. Can you send your fax number so my
wife can fax you the bat-mitzvah tfilla?
Chag sameach, and thank you again,
The eve of
Passover, 5705 - 1945
By Aliza Lavie,
Haaretz, April 2006
(this article is based on
information recieved after the book was published).
Brought to custody in the holocaust Studies
institute in memory of Hedva Iveshitz in
Haifa By Toby's friend Aliza Klein.
Two young women are on the death march from Auschwitz to
the territories of the old Germany. Two friends from the
city of Munkacs in Hungary: Toby Trakltaub and Aliza
Klein. The Germans are slaughtering the Jews who are
dragging along with the last remnants of their strength.
Only a few of them will survive. Toby did not live to
see the liberation, Aliza did. A moment before her
death, Toby handed her friend a tiny booklet bound in
blue cloth, its pages folded toilet paper.
Aliza will never know where Toby obtained
toilet paper in the camp. On the binding Toby had
embroidered letters with threads she had unraveled from
her prisoner's garments. Around the edge she made a
frame. Above, on the right, she embroidered the word
"Zion" and in the center, a map. A map of the land of
Israel, in its familiar outlines: Haifa Bay, the Sea of
Galilee, the Dead Sea. And inside the booklet, page
after page - written and vowel pointed in her careful
Years will go by before Aliza identifies
the map on the binding and learns to read what is
written in the booklet. For more than half a century her
friend's gift will lie among her personal possessions
until she decides to pass the legacy along to an
institution that documents the Holocaust. Only then will
she understand what she held in her hands: a Passover
Haggadah. Not the usual, familiar Haggadah of her
childhood home, but rather a personal appeal to the
Creator of the World. "And you shall retell," in the
spirit of the times. "Toby was very religious," Aliza
Klein related many years later, "and so as not to forget
the holidays, she made a Jewish calendar for herself.
That way she knew when Hanukkah was, and Purim and when
Passover was approaching." And thus she also knew to
write on the first page that it was written during
Passover, 5075 - that is, in 1945. In the Jewish
tradition, Passover is made up of two central ideas that
reach their climax in the story of the Exodus from
Egypt: The one is personal and national freedom and the
other is the absolute faith in one God, the God of
Abraham. In a situation in which she was left without a
shred of personal freedom, Toby expressed her absolute
faith. In quite a number of ghettoes and concentration
camps many tried to reproduce the Haggadah, and even to
illustrate it, and to hold a symbolic Passover seder.
But Toby did not reproduce the Haggadah.
She rewrote it, in the Auschwitz version. In the midst
of the inferno, in Hebrew that had been preserved,
apparently, from the well-developed Jewish education
system in the town of Munkacs )which also included a
Hebrew Gymnasium(, she wrote about the hope for freedom
"and a better and more beautiful future about which we
want to think and not hang our heads." Out of the horror
of abandonment she wrote: "And if God saved our
forefathers from Egypt, he will also save us from our
bitter enslavement and return us to the land of our
forefathers." Faith, she wrote, is the only thing that
"they" cannot take away. The inclusion of Toby's
Haggadah in the book "Women's Prayer" was accompanied by
some linguistic indecision. Toby's language is rich, but
in the text there are some errors of spelling,
conjugation and vowel pointing. In the end, we decided
that we must not change the language of her work, which
teaches about the conditions and the times in which it
was created. And here is the Haggadah: We want to
celebrate but we cannot, we desire to believe and the
only thing we have and that they cannot take from us is
memory only this can give us hope for a better and more
beautiful future about which we want to think and not
hang our heads and if God saved our forefathers from
Egypt he will also save us from our bitter enslavement.
And return us to the land of our forefathers.