Welcome to Gnesia Publications
My wife, Gloria, and I founded this in-house publishing facility in 1974.
Our first book was called Understanding the Synagogue Service.
This was in the age before desk-top publishing, and the text of each page was interspersed with so many Siddur phrases on every page that the established publishers didn't want to touch it. We went ahead ourselves, and it proved very popular, so much so that even today people meet us and say how that book was the key to opening up the mystique of the prayer book for them.
We followed it with a children's story book, Festival Adventure, in 1982, a Yizkor Memorial Booklet for Synagogues (1983), and The Abridged Haggadah for Rusty readers (2000).
In 1999, when my Stanmore community wished to mark my 13 years as its rabbi by publishing a book of my sermons and addresses, it was natural that they should entrust the publication of Issues of the day to Gnesia!
Over the years, a large number of my books were published by established Judaica publishers, such as Vallentine Mitchell, Jason Aronson Inc. (USA), Ktav (USA), Routledge & Kegan Paul, but as I became interested in rendering our sacred Jewish texts into poetry, and noting the lack of interest on the part of the publishing establishment to produce works of that genre, I decided to defy their scepticism and resuscitate the Gnesia imprint.
Our first book, Genesis in Poetry was well received, especially by gatherings where I gave renditions, and hence the decision to produce the two volumes: The Siddur in Poetry and The Machzor in Poetry.
Both books have been reviewed by the Chief Rabbi and other literary and scholarly personalities, and have received their highest praise - please see the endorsements on our website: www.rabbijeffrey.co.uk.
It is our belief that the poetic approach we have taken follows in the tradition of Judaism's earliest Hebrew poets, from the 6th cent., who wrote poems associated with, and inspired by, various parts of our daily, Sabbath, High Holy Day and festival liturgy.
Their poetic supplements to the prayers were in the Hebrew language, and contained allusions that only the scholarly could appreciate, whereas my poetry is in the English language, in rhymed verse, and geared to the level and spiritual requirements of 'the man and woman in the pew'.
Indeed, no prior knowledge is required to appreciate the poetry, and it is hoped that non-Jewish visitors to synagogue will also enjoy its lyrical and devotional quality.
I hope that you will find it uplifting and engaging. If you do so, please pass the word (and our web site address!) along to your family, friends and teachers.
May all your prayers be answered, and may these volumes enrich your synagogue and home experience.
Jeffrey M Cohen
Rosh Hashanah 5773
To contact Gnesia Publications please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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