Heifetz Linked To Family Of Scholars And Rabbis
By BETTY STARKMAN
A local family, related to the
late violinist Jascha Heifetz, has
requested information about this
Keyfetz were used as Jewish male
first names as early as the year
1050. The female version is found in
the Bible (Kings 21:1) as Heftzi-Bah.
About 350 years ago we find the
name used as a surname in Prague
and later in Lithuania. This was a
rabbinical family of scholars and
their descendants can be found
throughout the world today. Rabbi
Eliyahu Cheifetz was the famous
Gaon of Vilna and Jascha Heifetz
(Cheifetz) who was born in Vilna
was one of his descendants. He
died late last year at age 86.
Lindsay and Jared Raben of
West Bloomfield are interested in
the derivation Schneider and Selik.
Germanic surnames dating from
before the 15th Century. They are of
Ashkenazic origin and mean "tailor."
These names are among those
chosen from an occupation, and
long ago an ancestor was a tailor.
Seligman/Zelig/Zelik are names of
For Everyone A Passover
By HEIDI PRESS
Two brothers and one woman
who reside in Cass Corridor, the
elderly, the down on their luck,
whether observant or barely
traditional, all who might otherwise
not have a Passover are assured of
having at least matza and wine, -
owing to the efforts of Moies
Founded in 1922 by Louis
Smith, great-grandfather of the
group's vice president Levi Smith,
Moies Chetim (Money for Wheat)
was founded to ensure that no Jew
is denied a Passover for lack of
funds. Originally, the group began
distributing funds to the poor and
grew not only to give money but to
supply Passover foods as well.
According to financial secretary
Shirley Robbins the organization,
which exists solely to provide
Passover necessities for the needy,
used to supply matza, wine and
other holiday foodstuffs such as
matza meal, farfel, cereal and cake
meal. However, "it became too
expensive to provide the other
products," she said, and only wine
(or grape juice) and matza and a
small check are given to the clients.
Recipients are determined on
the basis-of lists supplied by the
Jewish Family Service, the younger
Smith said. Additional names are
supplied by the Zedakah Club,
Women's Bicur Cholem
Organization and area rabbis. Some
of the recipients return yearly.
Clients are found in the inner city,
suburbs and from as far away as
Holly, Mich. This year, Mrs. Robbins
estimates nearly 550 families will be
Morris Gould, president, said
many newly arrived Russian Jews
are among the recipients. Other
Russians who previously needed
donations but who have found jobs
and become self sufficient are now
making donations. "It makes me
feel good," Gould said. A fund-
raising drive via letters to
prospective donors is held about
two months before Pesah each year.
However, contributions are accepted
all year long.
In addition to matza and wine
for the needy, Moies Chetim gives
donations on Pesah to the Hillel
Foundation at the University of
Michigan and to the Wayne and
Oakland County jails. Donations of
funds also have been made to the
Jackson Prison so that Jewish
inmates who desire to have a seder
will be assured of having one.
Moies Chetim also donates matza
and grape juice for the annual
seder for the mentally impaired held
at the Jewish Community Center.
Rabbi Solomon Gruskin is given
matza to distribute to Jewish
patients in nursing homes he
Moies Chetim has become a
family affair over the years. Smith
follows his great-grandfather,
grandfather and father in assisting
the annual distribution. Mrs.
Robbins, whose late father Morris
Dorn directed the organization for
many years, now includes her
children and grandchildren in
helping prepare the packages for
The distribution usually takes
place about two weeks before
Pesah, and a volunteer corps, in
addition to the group's officers and
relatives, is enlisted.
Donations are tax deductible
and are still being accepted. For
information, call Gould, 851-9076.
patronymic origin. According to
Benzion Kaganoff, this name is a
translation of Asher and means
happy or blessed.
Aaron Cohn, Marc Zerkel and
David Sheinwald of Beth Shalom
Religious School have requested
information about their names.
Cohn/Cohen/Kahn were derived
from descendants of the priestly
caste, or Kohanim. Since these
names had great prestige in early
times they were sometimes adopted
by immigrants to the United States
who were not kohanim.
Zerkel/Sertel is another
matronymiic surname. Sertel was
the nickname for Sarah.
Scheinwald could all be of
matronymic origin. You may have
had a female ancestor named
Shayna, whom the family wished to
honor, by adopting her name as a
family name. These names could
also have come from the Yiddish
pronunciation of the German town
Minsky/Minski are names
chosen from a location — Minsk in
Russia. The Jewish Encyclopedia
discusses these families.
Because of different dialects
spoken by our European ancestors,
names were corrupted or mutated
over the ages. Yitzhak became
Isaac, Itzig, Itzik, Itzl and Zekl.
ltskovitz is therefore a patronymic
Ashkenazi name meaning son of
Yitzhak or Isaac. In the book,
Scattered Seeds, Vol. II, by George
I. Sackheim, there is a tree of the
family Itkowitz, who presently live in
all parts of Israel, Argentina and
Betty Provizer Starkman is the
past president and founder of the
Jewish Genealogical Society of
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017tvw Sunday, March 27
Temple Israel's Religious School will
have an "underground Seder" modeled after
that celebrated by Jews in the Soviet Union
at 9:45 a.m. Sunday at the Orchard Lake
Middle School. The students will follow up
with letters to Russian Jewish refuseniks.
A model seder will be held at 11 a.m.
Sunday in Herman Hall of Temple Israel. The
students of the temple religious school will
read from the Haggadah and sing traditional
This Is The Matza Of Hope
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Perform this ritual after setting aside the afikoman.The leader of the services takes
up a fourth matza, sets it aside, and says:
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On Passover, all Jews celebrate freedom. Yet our brothers in the Soviet Union must
still observe this holy time in secret. These are the Jews for whom the exodus is not yet a
The Matza of Hope represents those who are not with us tonight — Jews who have
been refused exit visas and who suffer daily harassment ... Prisoners of Conscience
who endure the hardships of cruel imprisonment. Their "crime": the desire to live as
Jews, among Jews, in a free land.
We pause for a moment during this seder to reaffirm our solidarity with Soviet Jewry.
We pledge ourselves to contribute to work for their freedom. We vow that, once they are
free, we will help them rebuild their lives. We will not rest until the task is complete; for,
until all Jews are free, no Jew is free.
Copies are still available at the Jewish Community Council program office at the main
United Hebrew Schools' building, 21550 W 12 Mile, Southfield.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS