L'Chayim's "What's In a Name" column recently received an
inquiry about the family name, Furstenberg. This name was probably
adopted by an ancestor who lived in the German city of Furst. It was
also used later in Poland, Hungary and Sweden. The Universal
Jewish Encyclopedia has an article about Pontus Furstenberg, a
wealthy Swedish gentleman (1827-1902).
The family Furstenberg is also discussed in a brief history of the
Jews of Sweden (many were originally from Germany), 18th to early
20th Century: Det Svenska Israel: Fran Aaron Isaac till Marcus
Ehrenpreis, by Lazarus Rothchild. There are also non-Jewish families
using the name Furstenberg.
* * *
Many Jewish family names, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic,
evolved from a locality or place of origin. We must remember,
however, that some prominent names were copied or adapted by
others. Some examples of surnames taken from geographical
Agranati is a Sephardic name which originated in Granada,
Altschul/Altschuler/Altschueler is a very interesting surname. It
was adopted by 14th Century Jews who fled Prague from Provence,
France. Legend has it that they carried parts of their old synagogue
with them and rebuilt it in Prague. Thus the name "Alt Shut." The
name was also used by later generations of Jews born in Prague. The
historic Alt Shul still stands in the old Jewish Quarter of Prague. The
surname Ash/Asch is sometimes thought to be an abbreviation for Alt
Shul. In the 16th Century the Jewish People were expelled from
Prague and the family and the name spread to Russia, Poland and
Lithuania. The Jewish Encyclopedia has three family trees and many
Amsterdam is a name taken from the city in Holland where
Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews found a haven.
Auerbach/Auerbacher/Awerbuch/Orbach/Urbach. This name was
derived from the town of Auerbach, Germany. The American Jewish
Archives and Leo Baeck Institute have much information on this
family. Genealogical material can be found in The Unbroken Chain, by
* * *
Bacharach/Bachrach/Bacher/Baker. This is the name of a family
originating in Bacharach, Germany.
Brody/Braude/Braudes/Braudo/Brod/Brodsky/Broder. These are all
variations on a name from the Galician town of Brody. In Russian and
Polish, Brody is a ford or shallow place in a river. There was also
another town named Brod in Germany. The Encyclopaedia Judaica,
Jewish Encyclopedia and The Unbroken Chain, all contain material on
* * *
Dresner is a surname originating in the city of Dresden, Germany.
Lubin/Lublin are from the city of Lublin, Poland.
Oppenheim/Oppenheimer come from Oppenheim, a town in Germany.
Pollock/Pollack/Polak is the name of people who came from
Poland. Scheinberg/Schein/Scheinman/Scheinfeld/Schenfeld. This may
be a name derived from the Yiddish for the Prussian town of
Schoenberg. Sulzberg/Sulzberger. These are German towns. Ulman is
a town in Germany.
WertheimNVertheimer are names coming from German towns.
Did you ever wonder where your last name came from? Did it
come from an ancestor's profession? Was it derived from the town in
which an ancestor lived? Would you like to know the origins of your
family name? Each month Betty Provizer Starkman will discuss,
according to available information, the probable source of a Jewish
family surname. If you would like to know the derivation of your family
name, send it to Mrs. Starkman c/o L'Chayim, The Jewish News,
20300 Civic Center Dr., Suite 240, Southfield, 48076.
Betty Provizer Starkman is the past president and founder of the
genealogical branch of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan.
Rabbi Nelson describes the ritual objects used when reciting Havdalah.
Continued from Page L-2
blessing over spices is said in order
to cheer the soul, which is
saddened at the departure of the
Shabbat. Just as the spices' aroma
lingers in the air, it is hoped that the
memories of Shabbat will infuse
While reciting the blessing over
the spices, it is customary for a box
of aromatic spices to be passed
around to the participants in the
What's the role of family in the
Havdalah ceremony? Here the
possibilities are endless. During the
week children should be
encouraged to fashion for
themselves the special objects used
in the ritual. I still cherish the spice
boxes my children created and their
handmade candles with double
wicks, made in accordance with the
blessing: "Be praised, Lord our
God, Ruler of the universe, who
creates the lights (note the plural,
hence more than one wick is
required) and fires."
Once the objects are
assembled, the real opportunity for
a special family celebration is at
hand. In many families, the children
vie for the privilege of holding the
wine cup, the spice box and
especially the lighted candle. What
unfolds is a marvelous moment of
spirituality. In less than three
minutes, you have enticed the whole
family to stand together and enjoy a
moment of tranquility that is
Why? All of the senses have
been appealed to in the ceremony.
The candle is seen, the spices are
smelled, the wine is tasted, the
melodies are heard and the objects
are being touched as they are held
and, at the conclusion, family
members embrace and wish each
other "Shavuah Tov!" (Good week!).
The significance of reciting
Havdalah is that it incredibly
strengthens family ties, family unity.
How often can we stand together in
prayer and bless each other for the
coming week and drink a l'chayim
to one another? There are many
families who have this, perhaps the
most sacred moment in their weekly
routine. In an age when families
need to create strong and positive
memories, what better way to do so
than by chanting Havdalah
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS