Why a High Holidays prayer book is still going strong after 70 years
September 16, 2022
(JTA) — When a local Orthodox synagogue asked me to lead Yom Kippur prayers six years ago, one aspect of the request stood out: Was I comfortable using the “High Holyday Prayer Book” translated and edited by Philip Birnbaum?
The archaic spelling of “Holyday” is a tipoff to the book’s longevity. First published in 1951 by the Hebrew Publishing Company, this Hebrew-English prayer book, or machzor, has been used by multiple generations of worshippers in Orthodox and, to a lesser extent, Conservative synagogues. It is the prayer book I used as a child; my earliest High Holidays memo...