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Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Levin

April 2nd, 2012 · 8 Comments

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Margolis Levin

צבי ב"ר חיים יהודא

Rav, Charleston, South Carolina

Date of Death: Mon. December 5, 1887 - Kislen 20 5648

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Cemetery Details
3701 Southern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21214
United States

Phone: 410-736-9245
Contact: Neil Noble


Cemetery Map:

Notes: Also try this email address: or Bill Bisesi at 443-829-4189

Directions to Kever: B'nai Israel Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland maintains computerized records and will provide assistance upon request. Location: Needed

Name Listed on Cemetery Database: Name listed on marker: Rabbi Hirsch Levin

Biographical Notes:

Photo Caption: Rav Hirsch Tzvi Margolis Levine c. 1852, Credit: Carol Kaminsky

Photo Caption: A page from Rav Hirsch Tzvi Margolis Levine’s personal notebook, Credit: Carol Kaminsky

Photo Caption: Harav Gershon Shaul Yom-Tov Lipmann ha-Levi Heller (Tosefos Yom Tov), Credit: N/N

Bio Information:
Rav Margolis a descendant of Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller (d. 1654) changed his name to the more American sounding Levine upon his arrival to Charleston, South Carolina. After the Civil War, he relocated to Baltimore, Maryland.

Credit: Sam Schecter, Baltimore, MD

Tags: Baltimore, MD · Maryland · Needs Repair · Pre 1900

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 YD Miller // Apr 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Rabbi Hirsch Zvi Margolis Levin was born in Lithuania in 1807. He was the son of a rabbi and the descendant of a long line of rabbis which included Rashi in the 11th century and Yomtov Lipman Heller (“Tosfos Yomtov”), the great 17th century commentator and Chief Rabbi of Prague, Vienna and Krakow. Rabbi Levin received his ordination from one of the great Lithuanian yeshivot and settled in his wife’s hometown of Wirballin.

    Rabbi Levin’s brothers-in-law, Samuel, Moses and Benjamin Winstock had immigrated to Charleston in the 1830’s and he decided to follow them to America. Rabbi Levin arrived in Charleston in 1852 and immediately organized an Orthodox Ashkenazic Congregation, “Brith Sholom”. This synagogue still exists today as “Brith Sholom Beth Israel” and is located on Rutledge Avenue. The congregation was made up of poor immigrants whose meager contributions (12 cents to $1.50) were recorded in Rabbi Levin’s notebook (still in the family). The notebook also includes sermons and blessings, written in a fine Hebrew hand. The entries reveal a profound knowledge of Torah, Talmud, and mystical texts, which indicates that Rabbi Levin was among the most learned of American Jewish religious leaders.

    Rabbi Levin continued to shepherd his flock throughout the War Between the States and the eighteen months of the daily bombardment of Charleston, the longest siege in military history. During the siege, the congregation met in rented quarters on St. Philip Street, the heart of Charleston’s Jewish quarter, just out of range of Union shells. The Rabbi’s son-in-law, Harris Levin, served with Confederate forces as did his brother-in-law, Moses Winstock and several other family members. His daughter, Dora Amelia, volunteered as a nurse and cared for Confederates wounded in Virginia.

    Rabbi Levin served for 20 years as spiritual leader of Brith Sholom until the early 1870’s when, in the dark days of the Federal occupation of Charleston, he moved his family to Baltimore. He continued to function in that city as “rabbi and teacher in Israel.” When he died in 1887, he was eulogized in the Baltimore Press as “The Jewish Patriarch of Maryland”.


  • 2 asher // Apr 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Very interesting.

    Rabbi Hirsch Zvi “Margolis” Levin – was Margolis his original name…?

    Can someone translate the following:

    1st line: אבי (singular?)
    2nd line: ויא (???)

  • 3 YD Miller // Apr 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Margolies was his original name, see here:

  • 4 YD Miller // Apr 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm


    perhaps he had only one child, or he was only survived by one, or the its an abbreviation for
    אבינו = אבי’

    the ויא is an acronym for וירא אלקים

  • 5 asher // Apr 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Thanx Miller!

    According to the GENI link, he was survived by a few children. Hard to tell if it’s meant to be abbrevitaed.

    Line 4: does it read ימים ארורים (cursed days)? – can u kindly read me that complete line – interesting nusach. Did he pass away somewhat tragically or else 80 years old in the 1880’s is considered 100+ in our day in age.

  • 6 as // Apr 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    From what Ive found online, He was on a wagon and it was getting close to Shabbos, so he jumped off so as not to be riding on Shabbos. He was run over by the wagon and died of his injuries a few days later

  • 7 asher // Apr 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm


    (why not halt the wagon and get off… bit strange this story, nevertheless, somehow he slipped under the carriage)

    On the bottom part of the marker, there’s a name etched in (C. E. ?????)

  • 8 D. Feldman // Nov 12, 2014 at 7:17 am

    CE Ehmann is the signature of the stone carver. This signature is found in other Baltimore area cemeteries such as the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery or the Oheb Shalom Cemetery.

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