WHO WE ARE
Loving all Jews through Chesed and Torah
We are a chesed and Torah education organization created in memory of Gil Epstein, Z'L. Read below to learn about the incredible person he was.
GIL SIMON EPSTEIN O.B.M.
Gil Shimon ben Baruch v’ Zohara z’l
Gil was born on May 9, 1969 – 21 Iyar 5729 at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, New York.
He spent his formative years from kindergarten to fourth grade at Achiezer Yeshiva in Brooklyn, and he then transferred to the Yeshiva of Flatbush, where he ultimately graduated from high school. In 1987 Gil was accepted to the University of Miami, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in business administration in 1991. That same year, he started his post graduate studies at the University of Houston Law Center, specializing in criminal law. He graduated from U of H and was admitted to the Texas Bar on November 4, 1994. In May 1995 Gil was hired as an assistant district attorney for Fort Bend County, Texas.
As a prosecutor, Gil tried many cases, however he specialized in cases to protect the rights of abused women. He so excelled in his profession that The Houston Chronicle published articles about his cases and his passion for the law and women’s rights. At one point the District Attorney challenged him with a difficult case that the DA expected Gil to lose. Gil researched the case with extraordinary fortitude, located the victim and witnesses in far-away Minnesota, who he brought to Texas where he won the case. Gil was a rising star.
Gil was very athletic and regularly participated in both coaching children and playing basketball at the Jewish Community Center in Houston. He frequently played pick up games with his close professional friends. On September 18, 1996, after a particularly trying day at the office, and although he was tired, Gil went to play ball at the JCC to release some tension and be amongst friends. After a few hours of playing Gil was very tired, and he and a friend decided to leave earlier than the rest of the group. As they left through the JCC back exit, two assailants were waiting. One of the assailants had a gun and forced Gil to sit in the back of his own car. He went through Gil’s duffle bag in a search for money, finding none. The assailant did find Gil’s DA badge and, because he believed Gil was a police officer, without warning he shot Gil twice in the head. The emergency room team of nurses and doctors at Ben Taube Hospital in Houston desperately tried to save Gil, but to no avail. At 1.00 a.m. (Houston Time) on September 19, 1996, Gil passed away.
Gil was successful in many areas beyond the law. While at the University of Houston he was a successful matchmaker amongst his friends. Probably because of that, Hashem gave him one more mitzvah to fulfill at his funeral. One of Gil’s best lifelong friends, a neighbor from Brooklyn, met one of Gil’s lady friends at the funeral and they exchanged phone numbers. Today they are married with three children.
His parents Baruch and Zohara Epstein decided to keep Gil’s memory alive by performing positive deeds in his remembrance.
In the immediate neighborhood of the courthouse in Fort Bend County, where Gil worked so hard to protect people’s rights, Mr. and Mrs. Epstein worked to repair an old building and establish a women’s shelter. They also donated crucial funding that allowed the shelter to pay for materials needed in the startup. Today the Fort Bend County Women’s Center has moved to a new, enlarged and modern building and the Epsteins still assist in providing funding and used clothing.
Also in memory of Gil, the Epsteins have established a fund at the University of Houston which provides a yearly grant to a student who excels in the study of criminal law.
As the entire Epstein family has deep ties to Young Israel of Hollywood, Florida, Mr. and Mrs. Epstein commissioned the writing of a Torah scroll in Gil’s memory. This Torah is in full use during the weekly torah readings, as well as bar mitzvah and holiday readings, and, with the other acts of kindness undertaken in his memory, serves as an ongoing merit to the soul of this amazing man.