Author Birnbaum Dead at 83

Funeral services were held here Monday for renowned Jewish author and editor Dr. Philip Birnbaum of New York. Birnbaum died here Saturday of natural causes at age 83.

Responsible for about 75 works in Hebrew and English, Birnbaum is probably best known for his version of the Hebrew prayerbook “Ha Siddur Hashalem,” also known as the Birnbaum siddur. Originally published in 1949 by the Hebrew Publishing Co. of Brooklyn, N.Y., it was the first to include prayers for daily as well as holiday use in one volume.

Three major Birnbaum siddurs are in use worldwide: the “Daily Prayer Book (Hashalem),” Book for Sabbaths and Festivals.” The siddurs were published independently of any religious affiliation.

Although Birnbaum was Orthodox, his works have been used by the Conservative movement as well as Orthodox.

Birnbaum wrote, edited and translated in Hebrew and English. He was considered to be profoundly interested in education and in opening Jewish learning to the Jewish masses.

Among his works were “The Arabic Commentary of Yefet ben Ali the Karaite on Book of Hosea,” “Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah,” “Ethics of the Fathers” and “The Passover Haggadah.”

Born in Kielce, Poland, Birnbaum came to the United States in 1923. He was an active member of the Association for the Advancement of Hebrew Language and Culture in North America, Hahistadruth Haivrith B’America, and belonged to the Zionist Organization of America and the National Council of Jewish Education.

In 1986, Birnbaum received Yeshiva University’s Mordechai Ben-David Award for literature and the Body of Works Citation from the Jewish Book Council.

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