The surname "Eppstein" is one of the oldest Jewish family names in the Slavic countries. Nathan ha-Levi Eppstein and Solomon b. Jacob ha-Levi Eppstein are mentioned in the responsa (No. 37) of R. Moses Minz about the middle of the fifteenth century. Meïr b. Jacob ha-Levi Eppstein was a printer in Prague in 1522. Meïr Eppstein was a leader of the community of that city in 1601; and Samuel b. Judah ha-Levi Eppstein, a pupil of Mordecai Joffe (Lebush), flourished there about 1615. In 1635 Abraham b. Meïr ha-Levi Eppstein, a descendant of the above R. Nathan, was rabbi of Brest-Litovsk (see "Keneset Yisrael" for 5648, "Liḳ-Ḳuṭim," 43). Wolf b. Jacob ha-Levi Eppstein, who came from Kremenetz, Volhynia, was rabbi of Friedberg, 1669-81 (see Brüll's "Jahrb." vii. 46). The cabalist Israel Joffe of Sklov mentions among the friends of his youth a certain Aryeh Löb Epstein, which places him about the end of the seventeenth century (see "Ha-Shaḥar," vi. 229). Michael b. Abraham ha-Levi Epstein flourished in Moravia 1670-80; another Michael ha-Levi Eppstein in 1699; and a Judah ha-Levi Eppstein in 1690 (Mordecai Rothenberg, Responsa, No. 14). A Joseph b. Wolf ha-Levi Epstein of Konitz is mentioned in the preface to "Iggeret Musar" (1713).

About the beginning of the eighteenth century Mordecai ha-Levi Epstein, a great-grandson of R. Abraham of Brest-Litovsk, was one of the chiefs of the Jewish community in Grodno. One of his sons, Zebi Hirsch Epstein, who died in 1772, was also a prominent leader in that city. His other son, Aryeh Löb Epstein, author of "Ha-Pardes," was rabbi of Königsberg. One of the latter's descendants, in his biography of the rabbi of Königsberg, collected much material for the history of the family, and according to his data the accompanying family tree may be constructed (see page 196).

The number of families named "Epstein" is very large. There are more than two hundred Epsteins in the city directory of New York (Manhattan), with a proportionate number in all the large and smaller cities of the United States where Jews live. This makes the number of the members of the Epstein families in the New World alone much larger than the combined population of the two little cities named "Eppstein," one in Bavaria and one in Hessen-Nassau, whence they are supposed to have originated. It is certain that many families assumed the name "Epstein" at a later period, while in other families the name was changed to "Ebstein," "Eppenstein," or similar forms.

The number of individual Epsteins who have achieved prominence is also correspondingly large. Among the Epsteins who merit mention are: Jehiel Michael Epstein, author of "Darke ha-Ḥeshbon," Wilna, 1836; Isaac Baer Eppstein, author of "Yesode ha-Dat ha-Yisraelit," an adaptation of Philippson's "Kurzgefasster Katechismus," Königsberg, 1849. The more important of the Epsteins are treated in separate articles below.

  • Zunz, Z. G. pp. 270-271;
  • catalogues of the British Museum and of the library of the surgeon-general's office of the United States army, s.v. Eppstein;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud.;
  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels. s.v. Epstein;
  • Geburot ha-Ari, Wilna, 1870;
  • Friedenstein, 'Ir Gibborim, pp. 44, 60-61, Wilna, 1880;
  • Efrati, Dor we-Dorshaw, p. 64, ib. 1889;
  • Eisenstadt, Dor Rabbanaw we-Soferaw, p. 42, Warsaw, 1895.
J. P. Wi.Abraham Epstein:

Russo-Austrian rabbinical scholar; born in Staro Constantinov, Volhynia, Dec. 19, 1841. Epstein diligently studied the works ofLevinsohn, Krochmal, and S. D. Luzzatto, and when he traveled in western Europe for the first time in 1861, he made the acquaintance of Rapoport, Frankel, and Michael Sachs. After his father's death in 1874 (see Israel Epstein's biography in "Ha-Shaḥar," vi. 699-708) Epstein took charge of his extensive business interests, but gradually wound up all his affairs, and since 1884 has devoted most of his time to travel and study. He settled in Vienna in 1876 and became an Austrian subject. He is the possessor of a large library which contains many valuable manuscripts.


Epstein is the author of the "Ḳadmut ha-Tanḥuma," a review of Buber's edition of the Midrash Tanḥuma (Presburg, 1886), and of "Mi-Ḳadmoniyyot ha-Yehudim," which contains (1) treatises on Jewish chronology and archeology, and (2) a revised and annotated edition of Midrash Tadshe (Vienna, 1887). He also wrote: "Bereschit-Rabbati, Dessen Verhältnisse zu Rabba," etc. (Berlin, 1888); "R. Simeon Kara und der Jalkut Schimeoni" (Cracow, 1891); "Eldad ha-Dani," a critical edition, with variations from divers manuscripts, of the well-known work of Eldad, with an introduction and notes(Vienna, 1891); "La Lettre d'Eldad sur les Dix Tribus" (Paris, 1892; reprinted from "R. E. J." xxv.); "R. Moshe ha-Darshan mi-Narbona" (Vienna, 1891); "Dibre Biḳḳoret li-Kebod Rabbi S. L. Rapoport," a defense of Rapoport against the attacks of I. H. Weiss (Vienna, 1896); "Jụdische Alterthümer in Worms und Speier" (Breslau, 1896; reprinted from "Monatsschrift," v. 40). He wrote in addition many critical, biographical, historical, and archeological articles for the Jewish periodical press, especially for "Monatsschrift," "Revue des Etudes Juives," and "Ha-Ḥoḳer," some of which have been reprinted in book form.

  • Autobiographical sketch in Sokolow's Sefer Zikaron, pp. 162-166, Warsaw, 1890;
  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels. p. 79;
  • Lippe, Bibliographisches Lexicon, iii. 98-99, Vienna, 1899.
H. R. P. Wi.Alois Epstein:

Austrian pediatrist; born at Kamenitz-an-der-Linde, Bohemia, Jan. 1, 1849. He was educated at the gymnasium at Neuhaus and the University of Prague, graduating as doctor of medicine in 1873. In the same year he established himself at Prague as a physician, and in 1880 became privat-docent in pediatrics. In 1881 he was appointed physician-in-chief at the foundling hospital, and in 1884 professor at the university.

Besides numerous essays in the medical journals, Epstein has written many monographs and books, among which may be mentioned: "Ueber Blutungen im Frühesten Kindesalter," Prague, 1876; "Ueber das Systolische Schädelgeräusch der Kinder," ib. 1878; "Ueber die Gelbsucht bei Neugeborenen Kindern," Leipsic, 1880; "Studien zur Frage der Findelanstalten," Prague, 1882; "Beitrag zu den Bildungsfehlern des Herzens," ib. 1886; "Ueber das Wesen und die Behandlung der Cholera Infantum," Berlin, 1890; "Ueber Pseudodiphtheritis Septhaemischen Ursprungs," ib. 1894; "Vulvite, Vulvovaginite et Autres Inflammations des Organes Génitaux Externes de Petites Filles," Paris, 1897; "Ueber Angina Chronica Leptothricia bei Kindern," Prague, 1900; "Ueber Verdauungsstoerungen im Säuglingsalter," Stuttgart, 1901.

Epstein is one of the editors of the "Jahrbuch far Kinderkrankheiten.

S. F. T. H.Aryeh (Löb) Epstein b. Mordecai (Ba'alha-Pardes):

Polish rabbi; born in Grodno 1708; died in Königsberg, Prussia, June 26, 1775. At first he refused to become a rabbi, preferring to devote himself entirely to study; but in 1739 he was forced by poverty to accept the rabbinate of Brestovech, Lithuania, and in 1745 he became rabbi of Königsberg, where he remained until his death. He corresponded with Elijah, gaon of Wilna, and with Jonathan Eybeschütz, with whom he sided in the quarrel about amulets.

He is the author of "Or ha-Shanim," on the 613 commandments (Frankfort - on - the - Oder, 1754); "Halakah Aḥaronah" and "Ḳunṭres ha-Ra'yot" (ib. 1754; Königsberg, 1759); "Sefer ha-Pardes," in three parts—(1) on the Shema' and the observance of Sabbath, (2) sermons, (3) funeral orations (ib. 1759). Several other cabalistic and halakic works from his pen are mentioned in his own works or by his biographer. A prayer which he composed on the occasion of the dedication of a new synagogue in Königsberg (ib. 1756) is found in the Bodleian Library. Annotations by him and by his son Abraham Meïr are published in some of the later editions of the Babylonian Talmud. He is called "Levin Marcus" in Solowicz's "Gesch. der Juden in Königsberg," Posen, 1857.

  • Epstein, Geburot Ari, Warsaw, 1870;
  • Zedner, Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus. p. 241;
  • Friedenstein, 'Ir Gibborim, pp. 44, 47, Wilna, 1880.
L. G. P. Wi.Jacob Epstein:

Polish banker and philanthropist; born in Zarki, Poland, 1771; died at Warmbrunn, Prussian Silesia, Aug. 16, 1843. In early manhood he went to Warsaw, where he succeeded in amassing a large fortune and became one of the most prominent figures in the old Polish capital. He was the first Jew in Warsaw to discard the old-style Jewish garb and to dress himself and his family in European fashion. In the rebellion of 1830-31 Epstein took the part of his oppressed countrymen, and was an officer in the insurrectionary army; but later he seems to have completely regained the favor of the Russian government, as is evidenced by his appointment as banker of the treasury commission of the kingdom of Poland in 1838.

Epstein was the founder and president of the Jewish hospital at Warsaw, on which he spent large sums and which he raised to a high standard of efficiency. Emperor Nicholas I., who visited the institution, conferred on Epstein the title of "hereditary honorary citizen." The high respect in which Epstein was held by the Christian population of Warsaw is best indicated by his election to membership in the commission of charities, which consisted mostly of Polish noblemen.

  • Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, p. 561:
  • Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums, 1838, No. 97; 1840, p. 340.
H. R. P. Wi.Jehiel N. Epstein:

Son of R. Abraham Segal Epstein; flourished about the middle of the seventeenth century. He was the author of the "Ḳiẓẓur Shene Luḥot ha-Berit" (1683), written after the style of the cabalistic "Shene Luḥot ha-Berit." A second edition, with numerous additions, and containing extracts from current ethical works, was published fifteen years later at Fürth. Nothing is known of the career of Epstein.

K. S. B.Joseph Lazar Epstein:

Russian educator and author; born 1821; died in Shavli April 19, 1885. For the last twenty-four years of his life he taught at the government school of Shavli. He was a contributor to the Hebrew periodicals, and was the first to write in Hebrew an account of Abraham Lincoln's life. This biography appeared in "Ha-Karmel," 1862, Nos. 34-36, under the title "Toledot Abraham" (Generations of Abraham). He also wrote a biography of Manasseh b. Israel (after Kayserling), which appeared in the same periodical (Ib. 1863, Nos. 8-9). His Hebrew translation of M. A. Goldschmidt's life of I. M. Jost appeared in Kohn-Ẓedeḳ's "Oẓar Ḥokmah," 1865, v. 3. Epstein was also the author of a history of Russia, entitled "Dibre ha-Yamim le-Malke Russya," and paying special regard to their influence on the condition of the Jews (Wilna, 1872).

Epstein's novel, "Miryam ha Ḥashmona'It," Wilna, 1863, is a translation from the German of L. Philippson. A second novel, "Yad la-Zahab," Warsaw, 1884, was the last of his works. Like most Russian "maskilim," Epstein lived and died poor, and left his family in straitened circumstances.

  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels, pp. 78-79;
  • Ha-Ẓefirah, 1885, No. 16.
H. R. P. Wi.Joshua Ḥayyim b. Mordecai ha-Levi Epstein:

Russian rabbinical scholar and communal worker; born in Wilna 1820; died there Dec. 1, 1900. He was familiarly known as "Reb Joshua Ḥayyim the Sarsur" (money-broker), and was one of the most popular and respected members of his native city. He is the author of "Ḥddushe Ri-YaḤ," novellæ on the Midrash Rabbot, and "Liḳḳuṭte RiYaḤ," collectanea on the Talmud, published at Wilna, 1890, and distributed gratuitously among poor scholars. The work closes with three short treatises by his son Mordecai, entitled "Ma'amar Mordekai."

  • Aḥiasaf, 5662, pp. 224-225, Warsaw, 1901;
  • Steinschneider, 'Ir Wilna, p. 249.
K. P. Wi.Julius Epstein:

Austrian pianist; born at Agram, Croatia, Aug. 7, 1832; pupil at Agram of the choir-director Lichtenegger, in Vienna of Rufinatscha (composition) and Halm (pianoforte). He made his début in 1852, and soon became one of the most popular pianists and teachers in Vienna.

From 1867 to 1901 Epstein was professor of piano at the Vienna Conservatorium, where Ignaz Brüll, Marcella Sembrich, and Gustav Mahler were among his pupils. Epstein edited Beethoven's Claviersonaten"; Mendelssohn's "Sämmtliche Clavierwerke"; Schubert's "Kritisch Durchgesehene Gesammtausgabe," etc.

His two daughters Rudolfine (cellist) and Eugénie (violinist) made a concert tour through Germany and Austria during the season of 1876-1877, which was very successful. His son Richard is professor of piano at the Vienna Conservatorium.

  • Mendel, Musikalisches Konversations-Lexikon;
  • Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, New York, 1900;
  • Schuster, Julius Epstein, 1902;
  • Kosel, Biographien der Wiener Künstler und Schriftsteller, 1902.
S. J. So.Sigismund Stefan Epstein (pseudonym, Schimon Simel):

German author; nephew of Abraham Epstein; born at Warsaw, Russia, Nov. 12, 1866. He was educated at the gymnasia of Kiev and Vienna and at the University of Vienna, where he studied natural science. He went in 1895 to Berlin, where he studied physiology under Du Bois-Reymond at the Polytechnical Institute. He is at present living in Paris, France.

Epstein is the author of "Kabbala und Naturwissenschaft," 1891; "Paul Bourget als Lyriker," 1893; "H. von Helmholtz," 1895; "Emil du Bois-Reymond," 1896; "Maupassant und der Französische Roman der Gegenwart," 1899; "Der Kampf des Menschen Gegen die Natur." In 1899 Epstein collaborated in the publication of "Hundert Jahre in Wort und Bild; Eine Kulturgeschichte des XIX Jahrhunderts," Berlin, 1902.

S. F. T. H.