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Eskolsky Family

Translations of articles in the Mir Yizkor book by Michael Escott, great grandson of Rabbi Yaakov Eskolsky.

Note: Michael Escott's personal notes and comments are in square brackets

Rabbi  Yaakov Eskolsky   HaRav R. Yaakov Eskolsky
from Sefer Mir Nachman Blumenthal, ed. 1962 – article by Moshe Tzinowitz, p. 438.
Translated by Michael Escott
Born in Mir, 1st intermediate day of sukkos in 5636 (1875). His father Dov-Ber descended from the gaon R. Yehuda Leib Mirkes, and from the author of the “Shulchan Shlomo” who was Rabbi and head of the beis din in Mir. R. Yaakov received his education at the yeshiva of Mir, his birthplace. After that he learned in Slonim and was one of the closer ones to the head of its beis din, the gaon R. Yosef Shluffer (father-in-law of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Reines) who greatly befriended him.
In Kovno he learned in the “Kollel Avreichim HaPrushim” and was ordained for the rabbinate by R. Zvi-Hirsh Rabinowitz (Kovno), R. Moshe Danishevsky (Slabodka), R. Shlomo HaKohen and R. Chaim Ozer Grodzensky of Vilna.
In 5663 he was appointed Rabbi of the town of Rublie (near Pinsk) and in 5664 in Kazan-Horodok. In 5667 [= late 1906] he left for the USA and was a rabbi in the community of Scranton (PA). After three years he accepted an invitation to become Rabbi in the shul of the Slutzk landsmen in New York. In 5674 [typo: should say 5678] he was appointed Rabbi of the shul of the Bialystok landsmen in New York. There he served as a rabbi and spiritual leader for 15 years [it was really 13+ years] until his passing.
R. Yaakov Eskolsky became famous as one of the great rabbis of America and leaders of Orthodox Judaism. He was one of the leaders of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada (The Agudas HaRabbanim). He was also among the founders of Ezras Torah which supported yeshivos, Torah organizations and rabbis in Eastern Europe and in Israel during the years of World War I and afterwards. He became involved in aiding scholars and rabbis who came to settle in the USA in troubled times. He also advised and guided heads of yeshivos and clergy in Lithuania and Poland in the collection of funds from the wealthy in New York and elsewhere. In his work Taryag Mitzvos (New York 5686), he publicized a plan to publish a comprehensive book on the entire 613 commandments from a halachic and ethical viewpoint (the other volumes of his work never were published).
The Rabbi R. Y. Eskolsky was also the editor and publisher of the rabbinical Torah monthly “HaMitzpe”, which appeared in 5670-5671. In rabbinic style, it published articles on the strengthening of Torah and religion among American Jews, Torah novellae and halachic decisions that dealt with timely issues of concern to the recent immigrants.
The Rabbi R. Y. Eskolsky turned his attention toward Zionism and became involved with the Mizrachi movement and dedicated great efforts to the establishment of this movement. In one of his articles in the HaMitzpe monthly, he deals with the proposed activity of organizing synagogues within the framework of the Mizrachi movement with these words: “I pray that the efforts for this purpose will be crowned with success. The benefit that will emerge from this is immeasurable, since whatever synagogues will do for the life of the land of Israel, this holy work for the land of Israel will do even more for the life of synagogues in America.” He passed away on the 1st of Adar 5692 [it was really on 30 Shevat 5691].For more information on Rabbi Yaakov Eskolsky go to

Eskolsky Family
from Sefer Mir Nachman Blumenthal, ed. 1962 – article by Zalman Shazar, pp. 276,277
Translation of a section by Michael Escott, who said: It is within an article by Zalman Shazar on the various chassidic groups in Mir. I have presented a loose translation here in order to maintain a smoother flow.
There was a large family of Slonimer chassidim in Mir belonging to Berel (Michel Shimon's) that went by the name of Eskolsky. His children would go on to become famous rabbis in America. They had a mill by a pool in the road on the way to the Graf's orchard. Though the family was not rich, they were significant in the realms of Torah and Slonimer chassidus. Michel Shimon and Berel were both pillars of their local shtibel. Berel's son Reb Ahreh [Aharon] was a Torah scholar. He became a rabbi in New York and gave a shiur at the Slonimer shul on the Lower East Side. Reb Yaakov Eskolsky, Berel's third son, authored Taryag Mitzvos (New York, 1926) and was a famous rabbi in New York. For a short time, he was the head of a rabbinical organization [Degel HaRabbanim] and an editor of their journal "Degel HaRabbanim" [really was "Degel Yisroel"]. His own son, Michel Shimon [Mitchel Eskolsky] completed his studies at Yeshivas Yitzchak Elchanan and also learned at Rav Kook's yeshiva in Jerusalem. Michel was the Rabbi of the Bialystoker shul in New York, he was head of the Keren HaYesod in his neighborhood and was one of the first Orthodox rabbis in New York to give sermons in English.
The most fiery, talented and unsettled of the family was my brother-in-law, Berel Eskolsky's second son, Miram of blessed memory. He was named after the great Rabbi Meir Miram'l of Kobrin. In his youth, Miram was a student and colleague of Reb Yissachar Ber [Weinberg] who would later be Rebbe of Slonim. They were sent together to study Torah and Chassidus with an elderly chassid in Borgen. Miram became distinct in his Torah learning and enthusiasm for Slonimer chassidus. At the turn of the century when he returned to Mir, he became ensnared in the Haskala and revolutionary movements being one of the first revolutionaries in his area. He was thought of as an anarchist and became an enemy of both the chassidic and yeshiva communities of Mir. It got to the point where he was in danger of being jailed so he uprooted himself to America. There, under the influence of Zhitlovsky and Morrison, he returned to the good and became an observant Jew. He married my oldest sister Miriam [Manya] and he taught at talmud torahs (in Haverhill, MA and in Wilkes-Barre, PA) for 39 consecutive years.
Eskolsky family
The Eskolsky Family [from Sefer Mir p. 275]
Sitting from right: Miram Eskolsky, Zalman Shazar.
Standing from right: Emanuel Eskolsky, Moshe Eskolsky, Miriam [Manya] Shazar Eskolsky, Zalman Eskolsky
Aharon Eskolsky
R. Aharon Eskolsky (1872 – 1937), became a rabbi in New York
Avraham Eskolsky (mid 1880s - 1967)
Ike Sokol (1880 - 1965) changed name from Eskolsky. Lived for a time in Perth Amboy, NJ (2)
IzzyIsadore Sokol (1876 – 1959) changed name from Eskolsky
Joseph Sokol (1888 - 1937) changed name from Eskolsky
Miram Eskolsky (mid 1870s-1941). see text above

Sophie Eskolsky Aronson (1894 - 1983)


1. The name Eskolsky may have come from the shtetl of Ishkol'd which is 9.4 miles SSW of Mir.
2. There is an old post card to A Sokol sent from Mir to Perth Amboy. It might have a connection to this Sokol family.

Photos and information provided by Michael Escott, great-grandson of Rabbi Yaakov Eskolsky

Read a translation from Sefer Mir - Section 3: Rabbis of the Mir Community by Moshe Tzinowitz (pp. 49 - 54) about
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Mirkes
translated by Michael Escott.


Updated December 2009


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