Czech author of first women’s prayer book commemorated

Israeli, Czech officials attend unveiling of plaque honoring Fanny Neuda in Prague

PRAGUE — Israeli and Czech officials attended the unveiling of a plaque honoring Fanny Neuda, the author of the first Jewish prayer book known to have been written by a woman for women.

The monument in memory of the late author of “Hours of Devotion” was unveiled Thursday in the Czech town of Lostice, or Loschitz, 115 miles east of Prague, where she lived with her husband when he served there as a rabbi.

Czech Minister of Culture Daniel Herman, the Israeli ambassador to the Czech Republic, Gary Koren, and Aliza Lavie, an Israeli lawmaker, attended the event.

Lavie, a professor of communications and political science at Bar-Ilan University, translated items from Neuda’s prayer book into Hebrew.

“It is fascinating that such an educated woman lived here in the mid-19th century whose work continues to appeal to people around the world,” she told the Czech News Agency, or CTK.

Neuda, a daughter of a Czech rabbi, wrote her prayer book in 1854. The work was translated into English and published in the United States 12 years later. Neuda passed away in 1894 at the age of 75.

“It has since appeared in more than 40 editions in many countries of the world. It used be a popular wedding gift for brides,” said Ladislav Stipl, a member of the Respekt a Tolerence organization, which documents the history of local Jewish communities.

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