German poet and rabbinical scholar; born at Fürth, Bavaria, May 7, 1829; died at Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 17, 1893; educated privately. His parents intended him for a commercial career, and for a short time he was employed as a clerk by a firm in Fürth, but his early studies of German and English classics inspired him to continue studying, and at the age of nineteen he went to Munich, where he attended the gymnasium until 1855. He then moved to Vienna, and remained there until 1857. These two years were chiefly devoted to poetry, and some of his best verse was written during that time, his "Kassandra," a tragedy in five acts, being published at Vienna in 1856. In 1857 he obtained the position of rabbi of Lipto-Szent-Miklos, Hungary, but soon resigned and moved to Frankfort-on-the-Main; there he made the personal acquaintance of Isaac Marcus Jost (1859), whose reminiscences he published under the title "Isaak Markus Jost und Seine Freunde" (Cincinnati, 1886). In 1860 he published a selection of his poems at Leipsic, and in the fall of the same year he accepted an invitation to go to London as a private tutor. There he lived for thirteen years, writing and teaching, and mingling with the best society of the capital. In 1873 he returned to Germany as rector of the Hebrew Teachers' Institute at Münster, and three years later accepted a call to the rabbinate of the Congregation Beth-El, Detroit, Mich. In 1884 he became professor of history in the Hebrew Union College at Cincinnati, being succeeded in Detroit by Louis Grossmann, now rabbi of the Plum Street Temple and professor in the Hebrew Union College. About this time Zirndorf began to contribute to the "Deborah," of which he subsequently became associate editor. In 1889 he was chosen rabbi and preacher of the Ahabath Achim congregation in Cincinnati, and held this position until his death. In 1892 a translation of a number of his sketches contributed to the "Deborah" appeared at Philadelphia under the title "Some Jewish Women."
- Zirndorf, Isaak Markus Jost und Seine Freunde, pp. 6-9, Cincinnati, 1886;
- idem, Some Jewish Women, p. vi., Philadelphia, 1892;
- Brümmer, Deutsches Dichter-Lexikon, i. 545 et seq.;
- American Israelite, xl., No. 25.