One downside to the explosion of prayer books published over the past generation by each denomination is how the Birnbaum edition has fallen into near disuse. Forgotten, though often found tucked away on the back bookshelf of legions of synagogues, are tattered copies of prayer books for daily, Sabbath, festival, and High Holiday use translated and edited by the late Philip Birnbaum (d. 1988), a man who was justly described by The Hebrew Publishing Company as “the most obscure bestselling author.” Polish-born Birnbaum studied at Dropsie College in Philadelphia and made it his life’s mission to translate and publish works into English to popularize Jewish liturgy for a uniquely American audience. His ability to balance sensitive literary translation with a thorough and unfaddish understanding of the way tradition works in practice helped to raise a generation of Jews for whom daily and weekly prayers made sense in both Hebrew and English.