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  • Author: Annette M. Boeckler x
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Miriam's Cup

The Story of a New Ritual

Annette M. Boeckler

In recent years the usage of a goblet filled with water called cos miryam (Miriam's cup) during the Passover Seder has increased. This article shows that this custom had its origins in an evening in a Sukkah in Boston, was then soon used regularly at Havdalah ceremonies and finally found its way into the Seder. In recent years this new custom spread throughout Europe. The article depicts this development and also shows the different places and usages documented in published Haggadot of different denominations, and interprets these usages. As the origins and development of this new custom could be researched from its beginnings, this new Jewish ritual of Miriam's cup can serves as an example for the development of rituals in ritual studies in general.

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The Liturgical Understanding of Psalms in Judaism

Demonstrated with Samples from Psalms 90–106, with a Special Focus on Psalm 92, Mizmor shir leYom haShabbat

Annette M. Boeckler

The usage of a text within liturgy adds new meanings to the text. This article gives an overview of the understandings of Psalm 92 within its Jewish liturgical usages. The understanding is influenced by the general attitude towards psalms in Jewish liturgy, by popular interpretations in the Midrash (Jewish legends), by Kabbalistic views and by its meaning within halakhah (religious law), but also by the music that is commonly attributed to it within the service. The article shows how a text that originally had no relationship with Shabbat became, thanks to its headline, an important study text about the essence of Shabbat.

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Prayerbook Reform in Europe, Continued

Bibliography and Developments in Progressive Jewish Liturgy, 1967–2015

Annette M. Boeckler

The classic bibliography of European Progressive prayer books appeared in 1968 (Jakob J. Petuchowski, Prayerbook Reform in Europe). It provided a chronological bibliography of prayer book publications in Europe from the very first in 1816 until ‘The Service of the Heart’, published in 1967. Based on these sources Petuchowski depicted the typical features of Progressive Jewish liturgy and their developments. European Progressive Jewish liturgy has developed a lot since then. During the last forty-eight years several new liturgical issues and themes arose. These will be described in the second part of this article. The first part aims to present a complete chronological bibliography of European Progressive liturgy from 1967 till 2015.

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The Library – A Source of Strength

An Imaginary Tour through the Present and Past of Leo Baeck College Library

Annette M. Boeckler

Leo Baeck College Library is an international meeting place. It may happen that suddenly a rabbi from France or South Africa, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Israel, Russia or the United States pops into the main room of the library to look something up during the break in a meeting at the college or somewhere else in the Sternberg Centre for Judaism. It is here that Leo Baeck College Library is located in interim rooms since 1982, waiting to move into purpose-made library rooms. The international visitor is very likely to be one of the over 150 alumni from Leo Baeck College. He or she may have come to use the books or to donate some: for example the first Progressive Haggadah printed in Russia, the latest books by a rabbi in France, the latest book about Dutch Jewry, and others. The books of the library mirror the international flair of its users. The books are in German, English, Hebrew, French, Russian, Dutch and other languages and deal not only with the main areas of academic Jewish Studies or traditional Rabbinics, but with the history and present situation in all its diversity of Jewish congregations in all European countries, Israel and the United States.

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Annette M. Boeckler

If books could tell their story . . . Some actually can, because we are able to trace some phases of their history. The above-mentioned Sulzbach Bible has right from its origins the most interesting story to tell: partly because of its very specific function during three particular years and the fact that it contains the only known signature of Israel Jacobson, the founder of Progressive Judaism, further because of its journeys from Westphalia via Brazil to London, and also because of some of its owners, one being the rabbi who initiated the first of the famous three rabbinical conferences that mark the ‘Classical Reform’ period in Judaism.

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Lionel Blue and Annette M. Boeckler

Books, unpublished works, editor, articles, printed lectures and talks, recorded lectures and talks, obituaries, reviews, translations, interviews, miscellaneous