Presented by The Library of JTS
People of Faith, Land of Promise

Prayers for Shabbath, Rosh-Hashanah, and Kippur
Translated by Isaac Pinto
New York: printed by John Holt, 1766

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Isaac Pinto (ca. 1720-1791), a New York merchant and an American patriot, published the first volume of his pioneering English translation of the Jewish liturgy in 1761. He justified his labors in the preface to the second volume, which appeared five years later:

[Hebrew] being imperfectly understood by many, by some, not at all; it has been necessary to translate our Prayers, in the Language of the Country wherein it hath pleased the divine Providence to appoint our Lot. In Europe, the Spanish and Portuguese Jews have a Translation in Spanish, which as they generally understand, may be sufficient; but that not being the Case in the British Dominions in America, has induced me to Attempt a Translation in English, not without Hope that it will tend to the Improvement of many of my Brethren in their Devotion....

Pinto’s edition was issued a decade before the first translation of the liturgy was published for the community in England, though the English community was ten times larger.