Jewish surname
Jews have historically used Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.In many areas patronyms...

 names. In the Jewish patronymic system the first name is followed by either ben- or bat- ("son of" and "daughter of," respectively), and then the father's name. (Bar-, "son of" in Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

, is also seen). Permanent family surnames exist today but only gained popularity among Sephardic Jews in Iberia
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 and elsewhere as early as the 10th or 11th century and did not spread widely to the Ashkenazic Jews of Germany or Eastern Europe until the 18th and 19th century, where the adoption of German surnames was imposed in exchange for Jewish Emancipation
Emancipation means the act of setting an individual or social group free or making equal to citizens in a political society.Emancipation may also refer to:* Emancipation , a champion Australian thoroughbred racehorse foaled in 1979...


Although Ashkenazi Jews now use European or modern-Hebrew surnames for everyday life, the Hebrew patronymic form is still used in Jewish religious and cultural life. It is used in synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 and in documents in Jewish law
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 such as the ketubah
A ketubah is a special type of Jewish prenuptial agreement. It is considered an integral part of a traditional Jewish marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom, in relation to the bride.-History:...

 (marriage contract).

Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry

Surnames were not unknown among the Jews of the Middle Ages, and as Jews began to mingle more with their fellow citizens, the practice of using or adopting civic surnames in addition to the "sacred" name, used only in religious connections, grew commensurately. Among the Sephardim this practice was common long before the exile from Spain
Alhambra decree
The Alhambra Decree was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.The edict was formally revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second...

, and probably became still more common as a result of the example of the conversos, who on adopting Christianity accepted in most cases the family names of their godfathers. Among the Ashkenazim, whose isolation from the mainstream majority population in the lands where they lived was more complete, the use of surnames only started to become common in the eighteenth century in most places.

The use of surnames became common very early among the Arabic-speaking Jews, who naturally carried the custom into the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 (modern Spain and Portugal). Among Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 are found such names as Abeldano, corresponding to Ibn el-Danan; Abencabre, corresponding to Ibn Zabara; Avinbruch, corresponding to Ibn Baruch, Hacen corresponding to Hassan
Hassan (surname)
Hassan Hassan Hassan (also spelled Hasan, Hassen, Hasson, Hassin, Hassine, Hacen, Hasen, Hasin, Hass, Hassa, Hasa, Haas, Cassin, Chassan, Chasan, Chasson, Chason, Khassan, Khasan, Cassan, Casan, Hasso, Hassanein, Hasnen, Hassani, Hasani,...

 or Hazan; and the like. Biblical names often take curious forms in the Iberian records, Isaac appearing as Acaz, Cohen as Coffen or Coffe, Yom-Ṭob as Bondia, Ẓemaḥ as Crescas
Crescas is a Jewish family name. There have been a number of scholars and rabbis sharing that surname, including:* Abiathar Crescas, a 15th-century Jewish physician and astrologer, doctor to King John II of Aragon * Astruc Don Crescas...

 or Cresquez.

The Ḥen family appears to have adopted a translation of the name of their home-village, Gracia, near Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

. Indeed, among the Sephardi the tendency to adopt family names from localities is largely developed; hence were derived such names as Espinosa
Espinoza (surname)
Espinosa is a surname. It is sometimes rendered in the latinized form as Spinoza.It may refer to:* Al Espinosa , an American golfer* Álvaro Espinoza, an American baseball coach...

, Gerondi, Cavalleria, De La Torre, del Monte, Lousada
-Parishes:The 25 parishes of Lousada are:* Alvarenga* Aveleda* Boim* Caíde de Rei* Casais* Cernadelo* Covas* Cristelos * Figueiras* Lodares* Lustosa* Macieira* Meinedo* Nespereira* Nevogilde* Nogueira* Ordem* Pias...

, and Villa Real
Vila Real, Portugal
Vila Real is a city in Vila Real Municipality, Trás-os-Montes, northern Portugal.According to the 2001 census, the city had a total of 24,481 inhabitants.- History :...

. The name Sasportas deserves special attention, as it is really the Balearic dialectal form of La Porta
La Porta
La Porta d'Ampugnani is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica.La Porta is situated in the heart of the Castagniccia, of which this is the largest settlement...


Many families, especially among New Christians (Jewish converts to Catholicism) and Crypto-Jews, but not restricted to them, took Spanish and Portuguese family names, sometimes using translations (such as Vidal/de Vidas for Hayyim, Lobos for Zev, de Paz for Shalom, and de la Cruz or Espírito Santo for Ruah); phonetic similarities according to a kinnui
KinnuiMany Jewish men and women have two names, a religious name and a secular name, called the "kinnui" or "kinui" ....

-like system, sometimes choosing between already existing ones (such as Pizarro/Pissarro, Mendes, Fonseca, or Rodrígues); even given name
Given name
A given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...

s (for example, de Jesus or de Miguel).

Many Sephardic Jews used the Arabic ibn instead of bat or ben when it was the norm. The Spanish family Ibn Ezra is one example.

Ashkenazic Jewry

Until the emancipation of the Jews in the late 18th century, Most Jews in Europe used the traditional system of patrimonial Hebrew surnames. Exceptions included Jewish communities in large cities such as Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 or Frankfurt am Main, where many of the names were derived from house-signs; and rabbinical dynasties, which often used a town name, typically the birthplace of the founder of the dynasty. Such surnames were much easier to shed or change than they would be today, and did not have the official status that modern ones do.

The process of assigning permanent surnames to Jewish families (most of which are still used to this day) began in Austria-Hungary. On 23 July 1787, five years after the Edict of Tolerance
1782 Edict of Tolerance
The 1782 Edict of Tolerance was a religious reform of Joseph II during the time he was emperor of the Habsburg Monarchy as part of his policy of Josephinism, a series of drastic reforms to remodel Austria in the form of the ideal Enlightened state. Joseph II's enlightened despotism included the...

, the Austrian
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 emperor Joseph the second
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

 issued a decree called Das Patent über die Judennamen which compelled the Jews to adopt German surnames. Prussia did so soon after, beginning with Silesia: the city of Breslau in 1790, the Breslau administrative region in 1791, the Liegnitz region in 1794. In 1812, when Napoleon had occupied much of Prussia, surname adoption was mandated for the unoccupied parts; and Jews in the rest of Prussia adopted surnames in 1845.

Napoleon also, in a decree of July 20, 1808, insisted upon the Jews adopting fixed names His decree covered all lands west of the Rhine; and many other parts of Germany required surname-adoption within a few years. Oldenburg was the last principality to complete the process, in 1852.

At the end of the 18th century after the Partition of Poland the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 acquired a large number of Jews who did not use surnames. They, too, were required to adopt surnames during the early 19th century.

Medieval France and Great Britain

In medieval France the use of Biblical names appears to have been more extended, judging by the elaborate lists at the end of Gross's "Gallia Judaica." True surnames occurred, especially in the south, like Farissol, Bonet, Barron, Lafitte; but as a rule local distinctions were popular, as Samson of Sens, etc.

The early Jews of England, who spoke French throughout their stay, also used Biblical names; the most popular name, in the twelfth century at least, being Isaac, next to which came Joseph. On both sides of the British Channel there was a tendency to translate Biblical names into French, as Deulesalt for Isaiah, Serfdeu for Obadiah, Deudone for Elhanan, but the ordinary popular names were adopted also, as Beleasez, Fleurdelis, and Muriel
Muriel (given name)
-Etymology:The name is derived from a Celtic language name composed of word elements meaning "sea" and "bright". Forms of Muriel are found in the Breton, Irish, and Scottish Gaelic languages. In the form Merial, the name was very common in mediaeval England...

 for Jewish women, or Amiot, Bonevie, Bonenfaund, Bonfil
Club Deportivo Ejidatarios Bonfil is a Mexican football club that plays in the Tercera División de México. The club is based in Cancun, Mexico.-External links:*...

, among men. Deulacres and Crescas both occur (probably corresponding to Solomon or Gedaliah).

In Israel

Many immigrants
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

 to modern Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 change their names to Hebrew names, to erase remnants of galuti (exiled) life still surviving in family names from other languages. This phenomenon was especially common among Ashkenazic Jewish immigrants to Israel, because most of their surnames were taken recently.

A popular form to create a new family name using Jewish patronymics sometimes related to poetic Zionist themes, such as ben Ami ("son of my people"), or ben Artzi ("son of my country"), and sometimes related to the Israeli landscape, such as bar Ilan ("son of the trees"). Others have created Hebrew names based on phonetic
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

 similarity with their original family name: Golda Meyersohn became Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

. Another famous person who used a false patronymic was the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, whose original family name was Grün but adopted the name "Ben-Gurion" ("son of the lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

 cub"), not "Ben-Avigdor" (his father's name).

Local names

Local names form, perhaps, the larger number of surnames among modern Jews. Besides general names like Deutsch
Deutsch (surname)
Deutsch is a German surname, meaning German. When transliterated from other languages, it may also be spelledas Deutch, Deitch, Deich, Dajč.-Deutsch:* Adolph Deutsch, Academy Award-winning composer...

, Frank
Frank (surname)
Frank is a surname. Notable persons with that surname include:In science:* Adolf Frank , German chemist*Albert Bernhard Frank , German biologist* András Frank , Hungarian mathematician...

, Franco, Frankel
Frankel is the surname of:* Charles Frankel , American philosopher, known for Charles Frankel Prize* Benjamin Frankel , British composer* Bethenny Frankel, American chef and reality television personality...

, almost every European country has contributed its quota.

The Netherlands has contributed Leuwarden, Neumegen, Limburg
Limburg (Netherlands)
Limburg is the southernmost of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. It is located in the southeastern part of the country and bordered by the province of Gelderland to the north, Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and part of the west, andthe Dutch province of North Brabant partly to...

, van Thal, and various other van
A tussenvoegsel in Dutch linguistics is a word that is positioned between a person's first and last name. The most common tussenvoegsels are "van" meaning "from" and "de" , meaning "the"...

s, as van Ryn, (Rhine), etc.

Germany has contributed the largest number. Besides such well-known cities as Posen
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

 (hence Posener), Berlin (hence Berliner and Berlinsky), Bingen
Bingen am Rhein
Bingen am Rhein is a town in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.The settlement’s original name was Bingium, a Celtic word that may have meant “hole in the rock”, a description of the shoal behind the Mäuseturm, known as the Binger Loch. Bingen was the starting point for the...

, Cassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

 (cf.David Cassel
David Cassel
David Cassel was a German historian and Jewish theologian.-Life:Cassel was born in Gross-Glogau, a city in Prussian Silesia with a large Jewish community. He graduated from its gymnasium....

), Treves
-France:Trèves is the name or part of the name of several communes in France:* Trèves, in the Rhône department* Trèves, in the Gard department* Trèves, former commune of the Maine-et-Loire department, now part of Chênehutte-Trèves-Cunault...

 (whence, according to some authorities, originated the very popular Alsatian
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 name of Dreyfus), Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, Fulda
Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

 (hence Foulde), and Oppenheim
Oppenheim is a town in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The town is well known as a wine town, the site of the German Winegrowing Museum and particularly for the wines from the Oppenheimer Krötenbrunnen vineyards.- Location :...

, less familiar towns, like Auerbach, Bischoffsheim
Bischoffsheim is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.-Neighboring communes:*Bœrsch*Griesheim-près-Molsheim*Rosheim*Krautergersheim*Obernai*Innenheim*Blaesheim-History:...

, Flatow (hence Flathow, and Flath), Hildesheim
Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located in the district of Hildesheim, about 30 km southeast of Hanover on the banks of the Innerste river, which is a small tributary of the Leine river...

 (Hildesheimer), Landshuth, Sulzberg, have contributed their share.

To the signs of the Frankfurter Judengasse
Frankfurter Judengasse
The Frankfurter Judengasse was the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt and one of the earliest ghettos in Germany. It existed from 1462 until 1796 and was home to Germany's largest Jewish community in early modern times....

are due the names of some of the best known of Jewish families: Rothschild
Rothschild family
The Rothschild family , known as The House of Rothschild, or more simply as the Rothschilds, is a Jewish-German family that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century...

 ("red shield
A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace or battle axe to the side of the shield-bearer....

"), Schwarzschild ("black shield"), Adler
The term Adler, the German word for the bird of prey "eagle", is both the last name of many people and an emblematic bird featured on many blazons since the feudal age, including the present German Bundeswappen and at times on the flags of Austria and Germany...

 ("eagle"), Ganz
The Ganz electric works in Budapest is probably best known for the manufacture of tramcars, but was also a pioneer in the application of three-phase alternating current to electric railways. Ganz also made / makes: ships , bridge steel structures , high voltage equipment...

 or Gans
Gans (surname)
Gans is a Dutch and German noun meaning "goose".It is also a surname and may refer to:* Carl Gans , Jewish German-American herpetologist* Christophe Gans , French film director...

The word goose is the English name for a group of waterfowl, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller....

"), Strauss ("ostrich
The Ostrich is one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member of the genus Struthio. Some analyses indicate that the Somali Ostrich may be better considered a full species apart from the Common Ostrich, but most taxonomists consider it to be a...

"), and Ochs ("ox").

A certain number of names which might at first sight seem to be derived artificially are sometimes names of towns after which they were taken, like Birnbaum (translated into "Pear
The pear is any of several tree species of genus Pyrus and also the name of the pomaceous fruit of these trees. Several species of pear are valued by humans for their edible fruit, but the fruit of other species is small, hard, and astringent....

tree"), Rosenberg
Rosenberg (surname)
Rosenberg is a Germanic-language family name and toponym. Its principal meaning is "mountain of roses", from rose + berg. However, as a toponym, in some locations it may have originally meant "red mountain" or simply "red hill", from rot + berg...

, Sommerfeld, Grünberg
Grünberg (disambiguation)
Grünberg or Gruenberg may refer to:Places* Grünberg, Hesse, a town in Hesse* Grünberg , a part of Sankt Bernhard-Frauenhofen, Austria...

 (hence Greenberg (surname)), Goldberg, and Rubenstein.

The English Crawcour (cf. Siegfried Kracauer
Siegfried Kracauer
Siegfried Kracauer was a German-Jewish writer, journalist, sociologist, cultural critic, and film theorist...

) comes from Cracow, while Van Praag(h) is the name of a Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 family that settled in the Netherlands before going over to England. The name Lovin or Loving is derived from Lovington of which originated from areas near Poland. The name Gordon may in some cases be derived be from the Russian Grodno but is also said to have been adopted by Jews in the Russian Empire in honor of Lord George Gordon
Lord George Gordon
Lord George Gordon was a British politician best known for lending his name to the Gordon Riots of 1780....

 (1751–1793), a Scottish nobleman who converted to Judaism in 1787 in Birmingham. From Poland have come names such as Polano, Pollock
Pollock (disambiguation)
Pollock is an Atlantic fish of the genus Pollachius.Pollock can also mean:* Alaska Pollock, Pacific fish of the genus Theragra* Clan Pollock, an armigerous Scottish clan- Places :United Kingdom* Pollok, Glasgow, ScotlandUnited States...

, Polack
The noun Polack , in the contemporary English language, is a derogatory reference to a person of Polish descent. It is an Anglicisation of the Polish language word Polak, which means a Polish male person...

, Polak
Polak may refer to:* Jacques J. Polak, Dutch economist* Benjamin Polak, British professor of economics* Sjaak Polak, Dutch footballer* Graham Polak, Australian Football League player* Maralyn Lois Polak, American writer- See also :* Polák...

, Pollak
Pollak is a surname, and may refer to:* Burglinde Pollak , German athlete* Jacob Pollak , Polish rabbi, founder of the Pilpul method of halakic study* Joachim Pollak , Austrian rabbi...

, Poole
Poole is a large coastal town and seaport in the county of Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is east of Dorchester, and Bournemouth adjoins Poole to the east. The Borough of Poole was made a unitary authority in 1997, gaining administrative independence from Dorset County Council...

, Pool
Pool (surname)
Pool is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:*Albert-Jan Pool , Dutch type designer*Andre Pool, member of the National Assembly of Seychelles...

, and Polk. Sephardic surnames, as already mentioned, are almost invariably local, as Almanzi, Castro
Castro (surname)
Castro is a Romance surname coming from Latin castrum, a fortification...

, Carvajal, Leon, Navarro, Somogyi
Somogyi is a Hungarian surname and may refer to:* Csaba Somogyi , s a Hungarian football player* Ervin V. Somogyi , a pioneer of steel string guitar making...

, Robles, Sevilla (Spanish), and Almeida, Carvallo, Lisbona, Miranda
Miranda (surname)
Miranda is a Portuguese and Spanish languages surnameIt may refer to:-Arts and entertainment:* Carmen Miranda, Portuguese-Brazilian singer and motion picture star, popularly known for wearing fruit headdresses...

, Paiva, Porto
Porto , also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits include a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes...

, and Pieba (Portuguese). Many Italian names are also of this class, as Alatino, Genovese
Genovese is an Italian surname meaning, properly, someone from Genoa, but more often , a clever person, a generalization particularly in Southern Italy of people from Genoa....

 (from Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

), Meldola
-History:The area of Meldola was inhabited since very ancient times. The Romans built here a large aqueduct which served the military port of Classis. To the 5th-6th century belongs a large patrician villa which is now under the historical centre.In the Middle Ages a castle was present, the name...

, Montefiore
Montefiore (disambiguation)
The surname Montefiore may refer to:* Claude Montefiore , Jewish philosopher* Dora Montefiore* Fausto Montefiore* Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, author, attorney, and journalist...

, Mortara, Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

, Rizzolo, Romanelli
Romanelli is a family name of Italian origin. The 1990 Census found that Romanelli was the 21,280th most common surname in the United States. Some people named Romanelli include:*Carl Romanelli , a Green Party activist in Pennsylvania...

 (with its variants Romanin, Romain, Romayne, and Romanel), Vitalis (from Jaim or Chaim and its variants Vidal, Vidale and Vidas); Paradiso an anagram for the word Diaspora (dispersion). Even in the East there are names of these last two classes, Behar
Behar, BeHar, Be-har, or B’har is the 32nd weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the ninth in the book of Leviticus...

 (from Bejar
Béjar is a town and municipality in the province of Salamanca, western Spain, part of the autonomous community of Castile and León. It lies had a population of 15,016 .-History:...

), Barron (from BarOn
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

), Galante, Veneziani, though there are a few Arabic names like Alfandari
Alfandari, Alphandéry is a family of eastern rabbis prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries, found in Smyrna, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. The name may be derived from a Spanish locality, perhaps from Alfambra...

 and Ḥaggis; Greek, as Galipapa and Pappo
-, 1968:-, 1969:# # # # # # # # # -Rock de la mujer perdida, 1970:...

; and a few Turkish, as Jamila, Gungur, Bilbil, and Sabad.

Going still farther east, the curious custom which prevails among the Bene Israel
Bene Israel
The Bene Israel are a group of Jews who migrated in the 19th century from villages in the Konkan area to the nearby Indian cities, primarily Mumbai, but also to Pune, and Ahmedabad. Prior to these waves of emigrations and to this day, the Bene Israel formed the largest sector of the subcontinent's...

 may be mentioned of changing Biblical names to similar Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 names with the addition of -jee, thus Benjamin
Benjamin was the last-born of Jacob's twelve sons, and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the Biblical account, unlike Rachel's first son, Joseph, Benjamin was born in Canaan. He died in Egypt on...

 into Benmajee, Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 into Abrajee, David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

 into Dawoodjee, Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

 into Akkoobjee. Before dismissing the local names, the names Altschul
Altschul:* Annie Altschul , British nursing administrator* Arthur Altschul , American banker* Serena Altschul , American broadcast journalist* Stephen Altschul , American mathematician...

 or Altschuler, derived from the Altschul ("old school/synagogue") of Prague, should be mentioned.

Official names and nicknames

Turning to the next great source from which have been derived the surnames used in ordinary nomenclature—trades and occupations—such names as Kaufmann
Kaufmann is a surname with many variants such as Kauffmann, Kaufman, and Kauffman. In German, the name means merchant. It is the cognate of the English Chapman . "Kaufmann" may refer to:- Kaufmann :* Aloys P. Kaufmann , Mayor of St...

 and Marchant ("merchant") become prominent. Others of the same kind are: Banks
Banks (surname)
- Athletes :* Antonio Banks, American wrestler* Antonio Banks , defensive back* Brad Banks, American football player* Carl Banks, American football player* Chip Banks, American football player* Denis Banks, Australian rules footballer...

 (Surname) Spielmann
Spielmann or Spielman is a German surname meaning "gleeman", a travelling performer in the Middle Ages. There are several spelling variations.Spielmann may refer to:* Götz Spielmann , Austrian film director...

 ("player"); Steinschneider ("engraver"); Schuster
Schuster is a common family name in German.* Alexander Schuster , German ski mountaineer* Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, an Italian cardinal and Archbishop of Milan* Arnold Schuster, murdered businessman...

, Schneider
Schneider (surname)
Schneider is a very common family name in Germany. Alternate spellings include: Schnieder , Snyder, Snider, Sneider, Sneijder , Schnyder, Schnider , Sznajder and Znaider .-People:*Alexander Schneider, classical...

, Schneiders, and Snyders ("tailor"; in Hebrew Ḥayyat; hence Chayet); Wechsler ("money-changer"). But there are others that are more distinctively Jewish: Parnass, Gabbay, Singer, Cantor
A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish cantor, a musician trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer.There are many rules relating to how a cantor should lead services, but the idea of a cantor as a paid professional does not exist in classical rabbinic sources...

, Voorsanger, Chazan, Cantarini
Cantarini is a surname of Italian origin and may refer to:* Giorgio Cantarini , Italian actor* Isaac Chayyim Cantarini , Italian poet, writer and physician* Judah ben Samuel ha-Kohen Cantarini Cantarini is a surname of Italian origin and may refer to:* Giorgio Cantarini (born 1992), Italian actor*...

, from the synagogue officials who were so called; Shochet, Schaechter, Schechter
Schechter may refer to:* Schechter Letter, letter discovered in the Cairo Geniza* Solomon Schechter Day School Association, named after Solomon Schechter.* Schechter Poultry Corp. v...

, from the ritual slaughterer; Shadkun, a marriage-broker; Moreno , Rabe, Rabinowitz
Rabinowitz , is a Polish Ashkenazi Jewish surname, Slavic for "son of the rabbi". The Russian equivalents are Rabinovich or Rabinovitch.It may refer to:* Alan Rabinowitz , American zoologist...

, Rabinovich
Rabinovich , is a Russian Ashkenazi Jewish surname, Slavic for "son of the rabbi". The Polish/Lithuanian equivalents are Rabinowitz or Rabinowicz....

, Rabinowicz, and Rabbinovitz, rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s; Benmohel, son of one who performed circumcision
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin and ....

, the sacred rite of Abraham. A number of Arabic names are of similar origin: Al-Fakhkhar, a potter; Mocatta
Mocatta is the name of a prominent Anglo-Jewish family originally from Spain known for philanthropy, leadership and sponsorship of arts and letters, particularly in the United Kingdom...

, a mason or possibly a soldier (Al-Muḳatil).


  • Franz D. Lucas and Margret Heitmann: Stadt des Glaubens. Olms, 1992, ISBN 978-3487094953.
  • A. Heppner: Die Stamm-Numeranten. In: Breslauer Juedisches Gemeindeblatt, Amtliches Blatt der Synagogengemeinde zu Breslau. Breslau 1928.
  • Leopold Zunz
    Leopold Zunz
    Leopold Zunz was a German Reform rabbi and writer, the founder of what has been termed "Jewish Studies" or "Judaic Studies" , the critical investigation of Jewish literature, hymnology and ritual...

    : Namen der Juden: Eine geschichtliche Untersuchung. Leipzig 1837.
  • Johann Jakob Schudt
    Johann Jakob Schudt
    Johann Jakob Schudt was a German polyhistor and Orientalist.-Life:...

    : Jüdische Merkwürdigkeiten. Vorstellende, was sich Curieuses ... mit denen ... Juden zugetragen. Frankfurt & Leipzig, 1714-18.

See also

  • Jewish name
  • Hebrew name
    Hebrew name
    Hebrew names are names that have a Hebrew language origin, classically from the Hebrew Bible. They are mostly used by people living in Jewish or Christian parts of the world, but some are also adapted to the Islamic world, particularly if a Hebrew name is mentioned in the Qur'an. When...

  • List of Jewish nobility
  • Family name etymology
  • German family name etymology
    German family name etymology
    German family names were introduced during the late Middle Ages in the German language area. Usually, such family names are derived from nicknames. In etymology, they are generally classified into four groups, based on the origin of a nickname: given names, job designations, bodily attributes, and...

  • Polish surnames
  • Jewish Encyclopedia
    Jewish Encyclopedia
    The Jewish Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia originally published in New York between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. It contained over 15,000 articles in 12 volumes on the history and then-current state of Judaism and the Jews as of 1901...

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