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New Siddurim for Hungary

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The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) will publish the first Hungarian siddur to be printed in that country since the war. JDC president Heinz Eppler announced that the agreement to publish 5,000 siddurim was worked out at a meeting in Hungary last month between JDC executive vice president Ralph Goldman and members of the Hungarian government.

“This new printing will provide a full supply of siddurim for the Hungarian Jewish community,” said Eppler. “JDC has an extensive social service program there, and we are very pleased that we can also make this valuable contribution to the community’s religious life.”

JDC is working with the Jewish community of Budapest to publish the Pollak Siddur, a Hungarian translation by Rabbi Miksa Pollak, originally published in 1924. The translation was reprinted in the 1960’s in Tel Aviv by Sinai Publishing, which granted permission for the present Budapest printing.

“This is a bilingual siddur,” said Goldman. “The Hungarian version is well done from a literary point of view, and it reflects the spirit of the prayer. For example, where the prayer includes quotations from the Bible, Rabbi Pollak makes reference to where the quotation is located in the Bible.” The Pollak Siddur also includes a summary of the important aspects of all Jewish holidays.

According to Rabbi Alfred Schoner, the Grand Rabbi of Hungary, the new siddurim will be used in synagogue services and Talmud Torah classes. He said the new edition will make the services and classes more pleasant for all participants.

Pollak was rabbi of a synagogue in Sopron, Hungary, from 1894 to 1944. He was highly regarded as a preacher, historian, and literary scholar, and wrote histories of the Jews of Hungary and studies of biblical imagery in Hungarian poetry. Pollak was arrested by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz, where he died in 1944.

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