- ALTSCHUL(ER; Perles), family probably originating in Prague. Its descendants were found throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The name Altschul first occurs as the surname of ABRAHAM EBERLE, a lay leader of Prague who died toward the close of the 15th century. His son MOSES (c. 1542) became a parnas of the Bohemian community of Cracow after the Jews were driven out of Prague. HANOKH BEN MOSES ALTSCHUL (1564–1633), shammash and secretary of the Prague community, was sentenced to be hanged in connection with the theft of a Gobelin tapestry from a palace, but was saved when it was revealed that he was the middleman in a legitimate business transaction. Ḥanokh described his hardships in Megillat Purei ha-Ketayim and for centuries his family celebrated "Purim Altschul" or "Purim Fuerhang" (see special purims ) on the 22nd of Tevet. His son MOSES (d. 1643. succeeded his father and was the author of the unpublished Zikhron Bayit. ELEAZAR BEN ABRAHAM ḤANOKH PERLES (d. c. 1644. wrote a commentary to Elkanah b. Jeroham's Keneh Ḥokhmah Keneh Binah (1610–11) giving the kabbalistic principles to be discerned in the Shema, and esoteric explanations of the commandments. This was very popular and was added to many editions of the prayer book. He is thought to have been the author or editor of the unpublished Hebrew grammar, Dikdukei Yiẓḥak. ISAAC, the son of Eleazar, included biographical notes on his father in the latter's Tikkunei Moẓa'ei Shabbat (1650). JUDAH AARON MOSES BEN ABRAHAM ḤANOKH (early 17th century), the brother of Eleazar, was rabbi of Kromau. He wrote Va-Yeḥal Moshe (Prague, 1613), an ethical treatise giving practical advice to repentant sinners. NAPHTALI HIRSCH BEN ASHER (late 16th century) lived in Lublin and Zhitomir and was in Constantinople in 1607. He was the author of Ayyalah Sheluḥah, a digest of earlier commentaries on the Prophets and Hagiographa (Rabbinical Bible, Cracow 1593, Amsterdam 1740). He also published a biblical concordance Imrei Shefer (Lublin, 1645. arranged in 32 sections. ABRAHAM BEN ISAAC PERLES (d. c. 1690) published Tikkunei Shabbat (1678), and wrote an unpublished kabbalistic commentary on the Pentateuch. MOSES MEIR BEN ISAAC ELEAZAR PERLES (1666–1739) lived in Prague and was the author of a commentary on the book of Esther, Megillat Sefer (Prague, 1710). AARON BEN MOSES MEIR PERLES (d. 1739) wrote an unpublished commentary, Tohorat Aharon on the section of Isaac b. Abba Mari's Ittur which deals with porging. In 1725 he published a pamphlet in Yiddish on the same subject. ZE'EV WOLF BEN DOV BAER (d. 1806) published Zeved Tov (1793), a commentary on the description of the Temple in Ezekiel 40–48, together with an account of the pedestals for the lavers made by Solomon (I Kings 7:17–35); and Ḥamishah Ḥallukei Avanim (1794), containing commentaries on Ruth and Song of Songs. His son ELIAKIM (GOTTSCHALK) BEN ZE'EV WOLF (first half of the 19th century) wrote commentaries to the 1814 edition of his father's Zeved Tov. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Zunz, Gesch, 289 no. 154; 291 no. 168; K.Z. Lieben, Gal Ed (1856), 57 no. 106; Kisch, in: Graetz-Jubelschrift (1887), 48–52; idem, in: MGWJ, 37 (1893), 131; S. Hock, Die Familien Prags (1892), 280–2, n.1; J. Cohen-Zedek, in: Der Yesharim 20–21 (= Ha-Goren, 1 (1898), 2nd pagination); Flesch, in: JJLG, 17 (1926), 59; Gaster, in: Jewish Studies in memory of G.A. Kohut (1935), 272–7; Assaf, in: Reshumot, 4 (1947), 131–43; 5 (1953), 62–77; Zinberg, Sifrut, 4 (1958), 80–82; Michael, Or, Nos. 209, 490, 956; Sadek, in: Judaica Bohemise, 4 (1968), 73–78. (Yehoshua Horowitz)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.