Marilyn Monroe’s Jewish Prayer Book From Arthur Miller’s Synagogue Up For Auction

Monroe converted to Judaism when she married the playwright

Film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) with her husband playwright, Arthur Mille
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Monroe converted to Judaism when she married the playwright

Marilyn Monroe fans who would like to own something important to the blonde bombshell have the chance to own her personal siddur or Jewish prayer book from 1922, which is being auctioned off with a starting bid of $4,600.

The New York Post says that while this might seem steep, it’s one of the more reasonably priced items that went through her estate. The item, which Monroe received upon her conversion to Judaism, bears the imprint of husband Arthur Miller’s synagogue in Brooklyn. The book will be auctioned off by J. Greenstein & Co. on Nov. 12 in Cedarhurst.

An American living in Israel is the current owner of the prayer book and indicates that Monroe received the siddur in 1956 when she converted to Miller’s religion.

Rabbi Robert Goldburg of Congregation Mishkan Israel in New Haven, Connecticut, (Miller lived in Conn. until his death in 2005) oversaw Monroe’s conversion to Judaism and officiated at the couple’s Jewish wedding days after their civil ceremony. Rabbi Goldburg confirms that despite the fact that the couple was only married for five years, Monroe remained committed to the practice of the religion for the rest of her life.

“Marilyn was not an intellectual person, but she was sincere in her desire to learn.”

After the death of Marilyn Monroe, the rabbi wrote about his conversations with the actor about her feelings about Judaism.

“She indicated that she was impressed with the rationalism of Judaism, its ethical and prophetic ideals and its concept of close family life.”

The Washington Post reported that within the prayer book, Monroe made notes in her own handwriting about particular prayers and readings. Jonathan Greenstein, the owner of the auction house, said that the notes she made within the pages of the siddur show her commitment even after she and Miller split.

“It means that deep inside, she has a Jewish soul. She took it very seriously, even after she left Arthur Miller. She considered herself Jewish.”

Greenstein explains that the book, which was published in Austria, would be worth between $100 and $200 if it belonged to just anyone, but because it was Monroe’s, it could get between $7,000 and $12,000.

He added that he has been receiving many phone calls about the Monroe prayer book which he says has “generated significant interest.”

“In 35 years, this is the most significant celebrity Judaica we’ve ever had. We’ve had some incredible items. But nothing like this — Marilyn Monroe’s personal siddur.”