Tuesday, June 27, 2006

They don't make tombstones like they used to: Judah Monis

At On the Main Line I once posted about Judah Monis's Hebrew text book which he titled 'Dickdook Leshon Gnebreet,' using an interesting variation of the Italian pronunciation of the Hebrew 'ayin.

I can't resist the opportunity to post his tombstone. They sure don't make 'em like they used to!

You can click it to enlarge, but here is what it says:

Here lies buried the Remains of RABBI JUDAH MONIS, MA late Hebrew Instructor at HARVARD College in Cambridge in which Office Hecontinued 40 years. He was by Birth and Religion a jew but embraced the Christian Faith ? was publiclly baptized at Cambridge AD 1722 and departed this Life April 25 1764 Aged 81 years, 2 months and 21 days.

A native branch of Jacob see
Which once from off its olive brok
Regrafted from the living tree
Of the reviving sap partook Rom xi 17 24

and then followed quotes from Isaiah, Psalms and Iohn.

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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