Isidore Epstein

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This article is about the rabbinical scholar. For the astronomer of a similar name see: Isadore Epstein (1919-1995)

Rabbi Dr. Ezekiel Isidore Epstein (1894–1962), was an Orthodox rabbi and rabbinical scholar in England. He served as rabbi of Middlesbrough Hebrew Congregation (1920-1928), following which he joined the teaching staff of Jews' College, London. In 1945 he was appointed Director of Studies and subsequently principal. He retired in 1961.[1]

Born in Kovno, Lithuania, he studied at the Pressburg Yeshiva in his youth, as well as in Paris under Rabbi Zadoc Kahn, chief rabbi of France. He received semikhah (ordination) from Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Rabbi Isaiah Silberstein of Vacz,[2] and Rabbi Yisrael Chaim Daiches of Leeds, England.

Epstein is best known for serving as the editor of the first complete English translation of the Babylonian Talmud, by the Soncino Press (London, 36 volumes, 1935-1952). He recruited many rabbis and scholars for the massive project, personally reviewing all of the work as it was produced, and co-ordinating the many details of notation, and transliteration of Hebrew words.

Rabbi Epstein was also an editor of Joseph H. Hertz' Pentateuch and Haftorahs (1929-1936), and editor a collection of papers (published 1935) in connection with the eighth centenary of the birth of Maimonides (b.1135), as well as being the author of numerous scholarly books relating to Judaism.

Publications[edit]

  • 'The Responsa of Rabbi Simon B. Zemah Duran As a Source of the History of the Jews in North Africa' (Oxford University Press, 1930)
  • Ed., 'Moses Maimonides: Anglo-Jewish Papers in Connection with the Eighth Centenary of His Birth' (London, 1935)
  • 'Judaism' (London, The Epworth Press, 1939)
  • 'Social legislation in the Talmud' (Torah Va'Avodah Library, Ideological Series) (Tnuath Torah Va'Avodah, 1943)
  • 'Man and his creator: A guide-book for teachers' (Jewish Educational Publications) (London, Woburn House, 1944)
  • Ed., 'Joseph Herman Hertz, 1872-1946, in Memoriam' (London, Soncino Press, 1947)
  • 'The Jewish Way of Life' (Edward Goldston, 1947)
  • 'The Faith of Judaism: an interpretation for our times' (London, Soncino Press, 1954)
  • 'Step By Step in the Jewish Religion' (London, Soncino Press, 1958)
  • 'Judaism: A Historical Presentation' (Penguin, 1950s, many subsequent editions)
  • 'The faith of Judaism;: An interpretation for our times' (London, Soncino Press, 1960)
  • 'Step by Step in the Jewish Religion' (London, Soncino Press, 1965)

References[edit]