Select Horowitz Surname Genealogy

The Horowitz family has been one of the most illustrious rabbinic families in Jewish history.

A family tree has traced Horowitz origins back to the 12th century.  The Sephardic surname of this family was BenVeniste.  This later changed to Horowitz after their expulsion from Spain and their subsequent immigration in the 16th century into the small town of Horovice near Prague in the then German province of Bohemia.  From that time forward rabbis of this family were to be found in Jewish communities in Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire.

There have been numerous spelling variations of this surname.  The three most to be found in America have been Horowitz, Horwitz, and Hurwitz

Select Horowitz Resources on The Internet

Select Horowitz Ancestry

The patriarch of the Horowitz family line is considered to be Aaron Meshullam Horowitz, founder of the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, who lived in Horovice and Prague in the early 16th century.  He had eight sons who began to spread this rabbinical family more widely in the Jewish diaspora in Europe and also into Palestine. 

There is one Rabbinic Horowitz line that is not related on the male side.  This is the extensive family of Rabbi Naftali Zyi Horowitz, founder of the Ropshitz Hasidic dynasty in Poland in the early 1800s.  His mother was a Horowitz by birth and he adopted her maiden name.

Horowitzes started arriving in America in the late 19th century.

.  The breakdown of Horowtizes in America by point of origin was approximately:
  • 44% from the Russian Empire
  • 44% from Austria-Hungary
  • and 12% from Germany.
The rabbinical streak was brought to America by Rabbi Pinchos D. Horowitz, the seventh generation descendant of Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz the Nikolsburger Rebbe.  He had come to Boston in 1915 during the turmoil of the First World War and had been asked to be their Jewish Hasidic leader.  He was succeeded as the Bostoner Rebbe by his sons Rabbi Moshe Horowitz and Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Horowitz and by his grandson Rabbi Naftali Yehudah Horowitz.

Vladimir Horowitz
from Kiev in Russia first came to America in 1928 to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York.  He settled in the US in 1939 and became an American citizen in 1944.  He is widely considered as one of the greatest pianists of all time.

There were earlier Horowitz arrivals.  Jacob Horowitz arrived on the Lower East Side of New York with his family from Hungary in 1883He started making Passover matzohs for the local Jewish population.  His descendants,
the Horowitz-Margareten family, became well known for their matzohs and other Passover products.

The Horwitz spelling also occurs, notably in the Chicago area.  Jacob Horwitz (originally Gurvitz) came to Chicago as a young man in 1906.  In 1924 he started a company of personal injury trial lawyers which continues today with the third generation of Horwitzes.  Meanwhile Reuben Horwitz (originally Gurwitch) made the journey from Latvia to Chicago in 1907.

Some Horowitzes arrived in America and changed their name to something more anglophonic like Howard.

Moe Howard, the professional name for Moses Horwitz, was the leader of the farce comedy team The Three Stooges that first toured the vaudeville circuit and then starred in films and TV.

Then there were one or two that adopted the Horowitz name.  Louis Tomchin came to New York from Minsk in Russia in 1903 with his young son who became known as Sol Horowitz.  Sols son Michael Horowitz was in the 1960s a close associate of the psychedelic drug promoter Timothy Leary and is the father of the actress Winona Ryder

Select Horowitz Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Horowitz Names

Jacob Horowitz founded the Matzoh bakery on the Lower East Side of New York in 1884.
Rabbi Pinchos D. Horowitz
began the family line of Bostoner Rebbe on his arrival in Boston in 1915.
Vladimir Horowitz
who first came to America in 1928 is widely considered as one of the greatest pianists of all time.
David Horowitz
grew up in New York in the 1950s in left wing radical circles and subsequently became one of their fiercest critics

Select Horowitzes Today
  • 200 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 8,000 in America (most numerous in New York) 

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page