OU Press Publishes New Book on Prayer

02 Aug 2021

OU Press announces the publication of Beurei HaTefillah: A Guide to Jewish Prayer—Expanded and Updated Edition by Rabbi Isaiah Wohlgemuth, edited by Rabbi Asher Reichert and Rashie Reichert, and published in conjunction with Ktav Publishing House.

Rabbi Isaiah Wohlgemuth (1915-2008) was for decades a beloved teacher at the Maimonides School in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was renowned for his course on Jewish prayer, or Beurei HaTefillah. Later in life, Rabbi Wohlgemuth was persuaded to commit his course to writing, and he devoted his final strength to this effort, with the aid of his student Rabbi Asher Reichert. Rabbi Reichert and his wife Rashie, in turn, have dedicated themselves to realizing the full scope of Rabbi Wohlgemuth’s vision. This expanded and updated edition of Beurei HaTefillah: A Guide to Jewish Prayer, suitable for young and old, reflects the fruit of their cumulative labor.

Faithful to Rabbi Wohlgemuth’s course, Beurei HaTefillah: A Guide to Jewish Prayer conveys the meaning and underlying structure of our prayers as well as the halachot and history of the siddur. Rabbi Wohlgemuth was a product of the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin, and his approach to the siddur reflects the rigor of Germany’s finest rabbinic scholarship. In addition, he developed a close relationship with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, founder of the Maimonides School, who took a particular interest in Rabbi Wohlgemuth’s tefillah course and insisted that no student graduate without it. Rabbi Wohlgemuth incorporated into his course and his work many ideas which he discussed with Rabbi Soloveitchik, as well as practices he observed as a participant in Rabbi Soloveitchik’s minyan over many years.

Rabbi Wohlgemuth’s students attest to “hearing his voice” whenever they pray because of the indelible impression he made upon them. With the publication of this volume, Rabbi Wohlgemuth’s wisdom and teachings can be shared by all.

This book is dedicated by Kenny Wintman and Sandy Wintman Welkes in memory of their parents, Abraham and Sylvia Wintman of the Boston Jewish community.

OU Press, the publishing division of the Orthodox Union, publishes high-quality books on Jewish thought, including such works on prayer as Blessings and Thanksgiving Reflections on the Siddur and Synagogue by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Coming Closer: Understanding and Experiencing Tefillah by Rabbi Yisrael Shlomo Goldfinger, and Hilchot Tefilla: A Comprehensive Guide to the Laws of Daily Prayer by Rabbi David Brofsky.