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June 24, 1988 - Image 136

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-24

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Family Names: 10th Century Phenomenon


In 10th Century France, Spain,
Italy and North Africa, Jewish
people began adopting family
names. It was not until the 18th
Century, however, that this occurred
in Central and Eastern Europe.
Biblical first names played an

Next Issue

Look for our next L'Chayim
on August 26 as we focus on
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur
and Sukkot. There will be
special recipes, games and
projects for the entire family and
our popular Yiddish and Hebrew
lessons, too! Don't miss it.

important role in the selection
process. Examples are: Abel,
Abraham, Aaron, Baruch, David,
Isaac, Jacob, Meir, Solomon,
Samson. The German "son" or
"sohn" was added to some of these
names to indicate "son of."
These biblical names then
became Abrahamson, Aaronson,
Davidson, Isaacson, Meyerson. As
the Jewish people moved into
Eastern Europe, these same
surnames acquired Slavonic
endings — Aronovich, Davidowitch,
Berkowitz. The Yiddish vernacular
further altered the names. Mordecai
became Marcus, Mottel, Model and
Marx. Isaac, in the same manner
became Eisig, Essig, ltzig, Sack,
Guggenheim is a surname
derived from a geographic location
— Jugenheim, near Darmstadt,
West Germany.
Toledano is a name of

Sephardic origin which denotes that
the family at one time lived in
Toledo, Spain. For 1,500 years
before the Spanish Inquisition of
1492, Toledo was considered the
Jerusalem of the Diaspora. The city
looks much the same today as
when our ancestors were forced to
flee. Two beautiful ancient
synagogues have been restored by
the Spanish government. Tolentino,
has another origin. It is also a name
of geographic meaning. It indicates
that the family once lived in
Tolentino, Italy.
Finkel, an old surname,
probably stems from the Frankfort,
Germany, ghetto. The signpost on
this family's home bore the sign of
the "finch" or Finkel. Two other
Ashkenazic names from the
Frankfort ghetto are Ochs, whose
signpost had the sign of a "steer"
or "ox" and Haas, with the sign of
a "hare."

Rivkind is a name of
matronymic root and means "the
child of Rivka." The woman whose
name was adopted as a family
name was very often the family
breadwinner or of rabbinic descent.
The name Sargee is indeed an
unusual one. This is another
instance of a name being abridged
or slightly transformed in the
Yiddish. The original name was
probably Sarfatti/Zarfatti, and was
used by an Oriental and French
family dating from the 13th Century.
One branch of this line descended
from Rashi (1040-1105). They also
lived in Holland, Russia, Morocco
and Italy.
The family Fidelman had an
ancestor who was a violinist — he
played the fiddle.

Betty Provizer Starkman is the past president
and founder of the Jewish Genealogical
Society of Michigan.

A Secret Admirer

Your letters, small gifts and notes of good cheer will
brighten a senior's day. And at a special
Grandparent's Day event in the fall, you — the
"secret admirer" — will meet your senior adult
match in person . . . and build upon your friendship!

To strengthen the bonds that unite older and younger generations in our
community, the L'Chayim family section of The Jewish News, Jewish
Experiences For Families (J.E.F.F.), Jewish Federation Apartments and Jewish
Home For Aged want to make a match . . . between you and a resident of
Federation Apartments or Jewish Home For Aged.

Here's how the "secret admirer" program works:
— Make a commitment to developing a new friendship with a senior adult
— Fill out, clip and mail the coupon below to The Jewish News at the
address listed
— You'll receive a special kit with instructions, suggestions and —
of course — the name and address of your match. Naturally, your match
will not know who you are, not even from your letters, notes and
small gifts!

Won't you please take a moment right now to fill out the coupon?
We must receive all coupons by July 8, 1988

Yes! I would like to become a secret admirer. Please send me the information kit and the
name and address of my match!
My Name is
My address is
My phone number is
Some of my special interests are

Clip and mail to:


L-8 FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 1988

Secret Admirer
The Jewish News, 20300 Civic Center Dr. #240, Southfield, MI 48076



Coupons must be received by July 8, 1988

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