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PREFACE


gogue and school. The Keriat ha-Torah, or the reading of the section from the Five Books of Moses, is the central feature of the Synagogue service. The Pentateuch is divided into fifty-four sections; beginning with the Sabbath following the Feast of Tabernacles, the readings on the Sabbaths of the year are taken in their order from the Five Books of Moses. The reading consists either of the whole section or of a selected portion. There was a variant custom according to which the reading of the Torah extended over a period of three years instead of one year. However, the one year cycle gradually superseded the three year cycle, and has become the universal custom in the Synagogue.

The Pentateuchal readings are supplemented by readings from the Prophets known as Haftarot. Readings from the third portion of the Bible, though customary at one time, have now largely fallen into disuse. The five small books known as the Five Megillot are given a place in the Synagogue service in their entirety. On the feast of Purim the book of Esther is read; the book of Lamentations is read on Tishʻah be-Ab (Ninth of Ab), the fast-day observed in commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem; Song of Songs, Ruth, and Ecclesiastes are read respectively on the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

The sections of the Pentateuch as traditionally read on the Sabbath are indicated, and a table gives all Scriptural readings, both on the Sabbath and on feast days and fast days.

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By the favor of a gracious Providence the present company of Editors was permitted to finish the work which is now given to the public. The final meeting in November, nineteen hundred and fifteen, was closed with a prayer of thanks to God that the great task was completed and that the group which during seven years had toiled together was intact. Since that day two of our number have been called to the

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