Apr 15, 2017
Rabbi Beryl Epstein, 58, OBM
Rabbi Beryl Epstein, famous for his walking tours around the Crown Heights neighborhood, passed away on Shabbos.
Rabbi Beryl Epstein, a Crown Heights resident who gave walking tours around the neighborhood for many years, passed away on Motzei Shabbos, 20 Nissan - Chol Hamoed Pesach, 5777.
He was 58.
A Chattanooga, Tennessee native raised in a non-religious Jewish family, Rabbi Epstein moved to Crown Heights at the age of 18, after he received a call from his older brother, Mordechai, who was about to join the Israel Defense Forces, he once told CNN.
Mordechai urged his younger brother to come to Crown Heights, where he was studying before heading to Israel. "I knew there must be more – something I was missing," recalled Epstein.
His visit to Crown Heights the following year, 1977, inspired him to move there and to join Chabad. As a baal Teshuva living among chassidim, Epstein noticed there was a misconception among outsiders that Lubavitcher Jews shun the outside world.
"I felt there was such a need to acclimate society to Hasidic Jews," he said. "It’s one thing to have people speak about Hasidim. It’s another to have chassidim themselves speak."
Since 1982, Epstein has helped to bridge the community and the rest of the world by leading more than 200,000 New Yorkers, tourists, scholars and others on his Crown Heights walking tours which he called "living Judaism."
VIDEO: Rabbi Beryl Epstein and his faith
He founded the Chassidic Discovery Welcome center, which has given people from 71 countries an insider's look at the neighborhood where he lived, educating them on the Chassidic Jewish life and culture.
His tours, which included people of all faiths and nationalities, toured Crown Heights' Jewish landmarks, such as 770, the Matzah Bakery, Mikvah, Kingston Avenue shops, and kosher restaurants.
The tours, he would note, were "not meant to convert guests but to educate about culture and history."
He is survived by his children, Chaya, Yosef and Mendy.
He is also survived by his brothers and sisters, Mordicai Epstein of Pittsburgh, Eron Epstein of Chattanooga, TN, and Rachel Epstein of Santa Rosa Beach, FL.
He was predeceased by his wife Dena Esther Epstein (nee Klein) OBM.
The levaya will take place tomorrow, Sunday, leaving Shomrei Hadas in Boro Park at 1:00 pm and passing by 770 at 2:00 pm.
Shiva will take place at 930 eastern parkway #3
Till monday morning
Baruch Dayan Ha'emes.