Most Dates are Approximated because we can’t ask him for the exact dates.
Rabbi Beryl Epstein passed on Motzie Shabbos Chol Hamoed Pesach surrounded by his Children doing everything possible to keep him alive for just one more minute. Every second of life matters, make it count.
Last Tour by Rabbi Epstein
Was the last tour Given by Rabbi Epstein to a group of children that had booked well in advance. That was a beautiful tour where the children, as on all his tours, were given Shabbos candles to light, put tefillin on, and ate kosher food, along with learning about yiddishkeit.
Treatment at Sloan Kettering
Chaya got her father in for treatment at Sloan as soon as he asked. He chose the conventional treatment route of Keytruda. Followed by targeted chemo that targeted the genes in his tumor that was removed. (A much more painful route that in my opinion does only harm no good and murders a terrible death more quickly. There nightly chaya was told her father would pass that night and she never left his side for the entire 10 months of treatment.)
Yosef Begins Giving Tours
Due to the constant hospitalizations Yosef his eldest son stepped up to give tours to those booked and to cover the medical insurance costs. Though he hadn’t been trained or ever given a tour before, his breath of knowledge and understanding amazed most individuals.
Passing the Torch
Beryl asked Chaya to take over the Chassidic Discovery Center as executive director of the board and made a detailed plan for the future of the organization. Chaya refused under the current board so Beryl began to create the new board for Chaya’s leadership. That goal wasn’t ultimately completed.
Amish Visit Crown Heights
The Amish had been coming on the Tour for years but this time the news got wind of it and there happened to be no other major news that day. The media swarmed as the tour was coming to a close and that was front page the next day in every major news paper in the world from Iran to Australia it was the major news story and brought a major Kiddish Hashem throughout the world.
Father Passed Away
A week later Motzie Shabbos his father passed away.
Wife Passed Away
His wife Dena passed away after a three year battle with IBC. At the time no one had lived more than 6 months with that strain of illness but due to natural medicine exclusively and g-d’s blessing she lived 3 years longer. He had taken her worldwide for treatment and fundraised for her to access the best treatments possible.
Constantly people in the community would threaten to crush him or take over his work from the JCM to other organizations in the community their ultimate failure as will that of anyone else that gets in the way of ultimate good.
A Place to Live in the Wild West
Beryl was on the waiting list for a home as was done when attempting to buy homes in Crown Heights community. Over Pesach a family stole their place and the Beis Din ultimately didn’t want to throw that family out though they agreed it was wrong.
Buying the Property
The Property on Union St and Albany Ave was sold with the sole purpose of building Rabbi Beryl Epstein’s vision. Bringing the vision and purpose of the tour to life in an automated fashion and making Judaism a tangible experience. His father gave the money to and bought the property for the organization’s mission exclusively.
Chassidic Discovery Center
After his 3rd son was born Tzach which he had been employed under said they no longer wish to have association with his tours and programming and can no longer provide him a salary. They said he can keep his office and use the library though. So he started the Chassidic Discovery Center to build his own place in crown heights for Chassidic Discovery. Though he remained a Shliach under Tzach, as all of NY Shluchim are under, he was no longer working for Tzach.
Rabbi Beryl and Dena, from the time they were married, always had an open home. To the point that the Shabbos his daughter was purposely homebirthed there were guests sleeping in their small apartment.
Bracha from the Rebbe to Build
Dena got a Bracha from the Lubavitcher Rebbe to build Beryl’s Center (likely while pregnant with Chaya.)
Healing After the Pogrom
After the Pogrom Rabbi Epstein and David Lazerson made a program in the school to meet with the students and break down the hatred and animosity.
Helping during the Pogrom
During the pogrom, due to police withholding protection, it became dangerous for women to go to the Mikvah so my father organized the guardian angels to accompany women to and from the Mikvah for their protection.
Pogrom in America
In 1991, there was a pogrom in America. With Al Sharpton at it’s lead. Who bussed in kids from other cities to wreak havoc and harm on the Jews in the community after a fetal car accident. Under David N. Dinkins the police withheld protection for the Jews in Crown Heights as cited in the law suit.
Joy filled the Epstein home as the miracle of their first child was born.
Classes in Manhattan
Rabbi Beryl Epstein would give Jewish classes at night after a day of tours in people’s living rooms. He continued to do this for years. (He said that whenever he would be coming back late from those classes all the lights would be green all the way home. (Said waiting at one of those red lights.))
Rabbi at Bnai Birth International
At the Bnai Brith International Convention Rabbi Beryl and Dena were the Rabbi and Rebbitzen. One session they divided the girls and boys and Dena ran a class called “Ask Me Anything Jewish that you’ve always been afraid to ask.” She later said there was some questions they should have been afraid to ask. Beryl said “we were so successful we never were invited back”.
Rabbi at Pratt Institute
Rabbi Epstein and his wife became the Shluchim on campus of Pratt Institute. Using the connections they created with educators to deal with the adversity of the administration in building a Succah, menorah, and bringing Yiddishkiet to the campus area. When their last student on campus went to yeshivah they turned their focus back to their Shluchos in Crown Heights.
Santa Fe Shluchos
They went on Shluchos in New Mexico to bring Yiddishkiet to the Jews in New Mexico. They taught classes and did the other mivtzoim there.
After Getting Married they went on Shluchos to California under another Shliach. Under the guidance of their Mashpia they left to other Shluchos.
Mazel Tov! Beryl met and married Dena Klien. Rav Zalman Shimon Dworkin married them though he wasn’t doing weddings any longer due to his being an “einakel fun Itche Nachum Der Shmidt” he officiated the wedding.
Yeshivah in Florida
Because of the Hepatitis the doctors recommended he recover in warm climates so he moved to the Yeshivah in Miami.
While in Yeshivah in Morristown he got hepatitis with a terrible prognosis. Leaving him in a coma for weeks. With the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Bracha he recovered.
Beryl would dress up in his overalls and go on missions to get Jewish Youth out of cults like TM and others. While not always immediately successful. He did succeed in saving many youth.
He ran the boys division of the Cincinnati Shluchim’s summer camp there.
Simcha Monica, California
Where he ran the teen summer program. And told us stories of running out of gas with a van full of teens in a wealthy neighborhood and other adventures.
Beryl left college and went to Yeshivah in Morristown for the next four years where he earned his bachelors degree in Rabbinic studies. While summers he would spent running camps.
Welcome to Crown Heights
Beryl came to visit Chabad after his brother had joined and invited him to visit.
Frum on Campus
He was completely Shomer Mitzvos on Campus. Something that shocked Rabbi Oftzen that found him there at the direction of his mother they met in the grocery store while on Merkos Shluchos.
(side note: I asked Aftzen if he was really frum at that point since my father always downplayed things and he said he was beard, tzitzis, yalmulka, etc and the only Frum Jew they found on campus.)
College UT Knox
After High School he went to the University of Tennessee Knoxville to study architecture.
Yeshivah in Atlanta
Beryl contemplated going to Yeshivah in Atlanta but them making their Bocharim shave their beard “the sign of a jew” and Jews have had to have Self Sacrifice for he would not join that Yeshivah or Derech.
His Synagogue Blown up by the KKK
His synagogue was blown up by the KKK. Thank g-d, the guy was missing a screw so he went to the hardware store. By the time he returned the minyan had left and he blew up an empty shul. The only thing standing was the Aaron Hakodesh, the holy ark, with the Torah’s in front of the shul.
Promised not to wear a Yarmulka
His school being 60% Black, 40% Red Neck and only having 6 Jews in the school made him promise his mom not to wear a yarmulka until graduation as she feared for his life. That high school experience with constant physical etc attacks for being a Jew prepared him for the future and ability to speak to anyone of every background.
President of Bnai Brith Club
He became president of his Bnai Brith Chapter and was very involved in his Jewish Youth Group. (Something his wife had in common.)
After hearing an inspiring speech at a BBYO convention he started his journey to becoming Orthodox.
He won second place in a chess championship game. (He loved chess and taught his sons to play every nital nacht. (His daughter doesn’t want to play not that he didn’t try.) I’m not sure where the award is so can’t post the exact date)
He always joked that “it was more a bar than the Mitzvah”.
Ran Track and Played Football
Throughout school he ran track and played on the Football team in school.
March for Soviet Jewry
Always involved in advocacy he joined the March to free soviet Jewry from the socialist communism of the USSR who didn’t allow freedom of religion and tortured Jews for practicing Judaism,( as socialism does.)
Beryl Epstein was Born. Named after the many Beryl, Dov Beryl, Dovber, and every other variation in the family.