Eucharistic action in modern Jewish practice

Emily Rosen

Christians hear the word ‘Eucharist’ and immediately think that they are dealing with a specifically Christian reality. But the practice of Eucharist, being Eucharistic, blessing the Blessed One in thankfulness, is taken over from the core of Jewish prayer. We are reminded of this here by a young Jewish scholar looking at the most recent edition of the key liturgical book, the Siddur. Emily Rosen studied Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham and currently works as a cyber security executive.

In 2006 the Hebrew congregation produced its fourth compact printing of its Siddur (a Jewish prayer book containing a set order of daily prayers). The Hebrew to English translation was ordered to help those who wanted to better understand the prayers. It is used by ‘synagogues, families and schools’ with the intention of its production to supply this ‘primal necessity’ of modern Jewish practice to the community.1 Like any prayer book from the last hundred years, this text includes many blessings over food and meal times and its pocket-size means a reference to modern Jewish practices can be located wherever necessary. Some of the prayers and blessings are as old as the Mishnah, and open our eyes to the ancient Jewish tradition, whilst others are more current and better suited to a help-guide to a modern-Orthodox Jewish life. In the following evaluation I will analyse prayers found in the Daily Siddur, the meanings behind them, questions regarding their significance, and assessing Eucharistic actions and where they can be found in modern Jewish practice.

The Jewish Siddur shows glimpses of Eucharistic practices carried out by the Jewish tradition on a daily, weekly and annual basis. Eucharistic practice is a process with structure; it includes reciting central prayers and the consumption of food such as bread and wine.2 This liturgical practice is a recurring theme in ancient texts; it depicts a group of believers publically believing they encounter G-ds presence.

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