On Thursday, August 13, 2015, the Saint James Vicariate published a prayer book for the whole family.

siddur

From the Introduction to the book:

This year, 2015, we are marking sixty years since the establishment of the Work of Saint James. It was in 1955, in an apartment on Yehudah HaYamit Street in Jaffa, that the founders began a fascinating journey which brought about the establishment of Hebrew speaking Catholic communities throughout the State of Israel. These communities live their lives in the Hebrew language, whilst prayer is the center of that life. The pioneers who set out agreed completely that they had to draw on two springs, emerging from one source: the Jewish and the Christian traditions.

In the Statutes of the Work of Saint James, that were published in 1956, it was written that the Work would develop a solid Christian spirit sensitive to “the mystery of Israel” (Romans 11:25), steeped in both a Biblical formation and a spirituality sensitive to Jewish-Christian culture.”

(...)

The pioneering work continues until today. The Lord sent the first ones to begin the work and He sends today others who consecrate their lives to continuing the work. The cooperation between the generation of the founders and the next generation is essential for the efforts of the Work and its progress. This book gives another expression to the collective work that gathers together translators and composers of prayer, theologians and interpreters of the Bible, people of prayer and people of action from all the generations.

Since the 1950s, the founders and pioneers began to formulate our faith, prayers and spirituality in the Hebrew language. This was not just a work of translation as happens in many other places but rather a search into our origins. The Hebrew language, the language of the TaNaKh (Old Testament) and of the tradition of Israel is not foreign to the teaching of Jesus, the New Testament and Christianity but is rather, in a certain manner of speaking, their origin. The founders knew that if they would deepen their knowledge of the tradition of Israel, Israel’s spirituality and prayers, they would find the appropriate expression for the prayers of the Church.

This book is another step in the search for the correct Hebrew expression of our faith in Christ. The book also comes to respond to another common question among the members of the communities. The generation of the parents received its religious formation in many languages and in different places. The diverse cultural and linguistic background of the members of the Hebrew speaking communities is remarkable. The children, the next generation, who were born and are educated in Israel, speaks almost uniquely Hebrew. In school, in the work place, in the street, Hebrew reigns and at home there is a mixture of languages. This book seeks to help parents, who do not know the prayers in Hebrew but do want their children to pray with understanding, adopting for themselves the prayer of the Church.

Special thanks to the two editors of the book, Father Rafic and Benedetto Di Bitonto, seminarian for the Saint James Vicariate. It is a great joy to publish this book in the light of the sixty years of our Hebrew speaking, Catholic communities and the fifty years since the end of the Second Vatican Council. The beautiful volume is made up of 160 pages of prayers for all the hours of the day and for special occasions.

The Vicariate heartily thanks the John Paul II Foundation in Italy, which contributed the funding for the publication of this book.