Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Jews got their Surnames

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Give Them to Others

Every time you give charity, you should feel great joy.

Look for opportunities that you might otherwise have overlooked. For example, give away old things that you don't need anymore to someone who can't afford them.

Love Yehuda Lave

Akbar the Skateboarder takes a little misstep

This "story" is only 5 seconds.  Caution, do not click the start button while sipping your coffee.



Praise Allah!



Just to remember from last week

A professor. A mother of four. A former commando. A bride-to-be.

May the memories of those who perished in the Tel Aviv shooting be a blessing.

America's Got Talent 2016 Jonathan Nosan The Suited Contortionist with Kippot Full Audition S11E02


A little Bible Humor

  1. What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth?
    A. Ruthless.

    Q. What do they call pastors in Germany?
    A. German Shepherds.

    Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
    A. Noah. He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.

    Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
    A Pharaoh's daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.

    Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
    A. God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. David's Triumph was heard throughout the land. Also, probably a Honda, because the apostles were all in one Accord.

    Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
    A. Samson He brought the house down.

    Q What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden?
    A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.

    Q. Which servant of God was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible?

    A. Moses. He broke all 10 commandments at once.

    Q. Who is the greatest babysitter mentioned in the Bible?
    A. David. He rocked Goliath to a very deep sleep.

    Q. Which Bible character had no parents?
    A. Joshua, son of Nun.

    Q. Why didn't they play cards on the Ark?
    A. Because Noah was standing on the deck. (Groan...)

    Did you know it's a sin for a woman to make coffee?

    Yup, it's in the Bible.  It says . . . "He-brews"


How Jews got their names  

Other than aristocrats and wealthy people Jews did not get surnames
In Eastern Europe until the Napoleon years of the early 19th century.
Most of the Jews from countries captured by Napoleon, Russia, Poland,and Germany were ordered to get surnames for tax purposes.

After Napoleon's defeat, many Jews dropped these names and returned to "son of" names such as: MENDELSOHN, JACOBSON, LEVINSON, etc.

During the so called Emancipation, Jews were once more ordered to
Take surnames. In Austria The Emperor Joseph made Jews take last names in the late 1700s, Poland in 1821 and Russia in 1844. It's probable that some of our families have had last names for 175 years or less.

In France and the Anglo Saxon countries surnames went back to the 16th century. Also Sephardic Jews had surnames stretching back centuries.Spain prior to Ferdinand and Isabella was a golden spot for Jews.
They were expelled by Isabella in the same year that Columbus left
For America.

The earliest American Jews were Sephardic.

In general there were Five types of names (people had to pay for their
choice of names; the poor had assigned names):

1-- Names that were descriptive of the head of household:
HOCH (tall) ,
KLEIN (small),
COHEN (descendant of Aaron on the male line),
BURGER (village dweller),
SHEIN (good looking),
LEVI (Levite),
GROSS (large),
SCHWARTZ (dark or black),
WEISS (white),
KURTZ (short)
GROSSBARD (big beard)
GELBART (yellow beard)

-- Names describing occupations:
HOLTZ (wood)
HOLTZHOCKER (wood chopper),
GELTSCHMIDT (goldsmith),
SCHNEIDER (tailor),
KREIGSMAN (warrior),
MALAMED (teacher)
EISEN (iron),
FISCHER (fisherman)
SCHMUCKLER (jeweler)

3-- Names from place of origin:
DEUTSCH (German)
POLLACK (Polish),

4 -- Bought names:
GLUCK (luck),
ROSEN (roses),
ROSENBLATT (rose paper or leaf),
ROSENBERG (rose mountain),
ROTHMAN (red man),
KOENIG (king),
SPIELMAN (spiel is to play),
LIEBER (lover),
BERG (mountain),
WASSERMAN (water dweller),
KIRSHENBLATT (cherry [colored] paper),
STEIN (stone, stoneware, beer mug).

5-- Assigned names (usually undesirable):
PLOTZ (to die),
KLUTZ (clumsy),
BILLIG (cheap)
DREK (shit)
BARDAKI (bordello operator)
SCHEINSKOPF (shiny head)
BECKMESSER (knife beak)
MONCHARSH (monk's arse)

Original Birth Names of Jewish Performers:
Woody Allen --- Alan Stewart Koenigsberg
June Allyson --- Ella Geisman
Lauren Bacall --- Betty Joan Perske
Jack Benny --- Benjamin Kubelsky
Irving Berlin --- Israel Baline
Milton Berle --- Milton Berlinger
Joey Bishop ---Joseph Gottlieb
Karen Black --- Karen Blanche Ziegler
Victor Borge --- Borge Rosenbaum
Fanny Brice --- Fanny Borach
Mel Brooks --- Melvin Kaminsky
George Burns --- Nathan Birnbaum
Eddie Cantor --- Edward Israel Iskowitz
Jeff Chandler --- Ira Grossel
Lee J. Cobb --- Amos Jacob
Tony Curtis --- Bernard Schwartz
Rodney Dangerfield --- Jacob Cohen
Kirk Douglas --- Issue Danielovich Demsky
Melvyn Douglas --- Melvyn Hesselberg
Bob Dylan --- Bobby Zimmerman
Paulette Goddard --- Marion Levy
Lee Grant --- Lyova Geisman
Elliot Gould --- Elliot Goldstein
Judy Holliday --- Judith Tuvim
Al Jolson --- Asa Yoelson
Danny Kaye --- David Daniel Kaminsky
Michael Landon --- Michael Orowitz
Steve Lawrence --- Sidney Leibowitz
Jerry Lewis --- Joseph Levitch
Peter Lorre --- Lazlo Lowenstein
Elaine May --- Elaine Berlin
Yves Montand --- Ivo Levy
Mike Nichols --- Michael Peschkowsky
Joan Rivers --- Joan Molinsky
Edward G. Robinson -- Emanuel Goldenberg
Jane Seymour --- Joyce Penelope Frankenburg
Simone Signoret --- Simone-Henriette Kaminker
Beverly Sills --- Belle Silverman
Sophie Tucker --- Sophia Kalish
Gene Wilder --- Gerald Silberman


Yiddish was the secret code, therefore I don't farshtaist,
A bisseleh maybe here and there,
The rest has gone to waste.

Sadly when I hear it now, I only get the gist,
My Bubbeh spoke it beautifully; but me, I am tsemisht.

So och un vai as I should say, or even oy vai iz mir,
Though my pisk is lacking Yiddish, it's familiar to my ear..
And I'm no Chaim Yonkel , in fact
I was shtick naches, But, when it comes to Yiddish
Though, I'm talking out my tuchas.
Es iz a shandeh far di kinder that I don't know it better
(Though it's really nishtkefelecht when one
Needs to write a letter)
But, when it comes to characters, there's really no contention,
No other linguist can compete with honorable mentshen:
They have nebbishes and nebechels and
others without mazel,
Then, too, schmendriks and schlemiels,
and let's not forget schlemazel.
These words are so precise and descriptive to the
listener, So much better than "a pill "
is to call someone 'farbissener'.
Or - that a brazen woman would be better called chaleria,
And you'll agree farklempt says more than does hysteria.
I'm not haken dir a tsheinik and I hope I'm not a kvetch,
But isn't mieskeit kinder, than to call someone a wretch?
Mitten derinnen, I hear Bubbeh say, "It's nechtiker tog, don't fear,
To me you're still a maven, zol zein shah, don't fill my ear.
A leben ahf dein keppele, I don't mean to interrupt,
But you are speaking narishkeit.....
And A gezunt auf dein kup!"
Farshtaist = (Do You?) Understand
Bisseleh = A little
Tsemisht = Confused or mixed up
Och un vai = Alas and alack
Oi vai iz mir = Woe is me
Pisk = mouth
Naches = Joy, Gratification
Shandeh far di kinder = A pity/shame for the children
Nishtkefelecht = Not so terrible
Nebbishes = A nobody or simpleton
Nebechels = A pititful person or playing the role
of being one
Schlemiel = Clumsy bungler, an inept person, butter-fingered;
dopey person
Schmendrik = Nincompoop; an inept or indifferent person;
same as chlemiel
Schlemazel = Luckless person. Unlucky person; one with perpetual bad
(it is said that the shlemiel spills the soup on the Shlimazel!)
Farbissener = Embittered; bitter person
Chaleria = Evil woman. Probably derived from cholera.
Farklempt = Too emotional to talk. Ready to cry.
Haken dir a tsheinik = Don't get on your nerves
(Lit., Don't bang your teapot!)
Kvetch = Whine, complain; whiner, a complainer
Mieskeit = Ugly
Mitten derinnen = All of a sudden, suddenly
Nechtiker tog! = He's (it's) gone! Forget it! Nonsense!
(Lit., a night's day)
Zol zein shah! = Be quiet. Shut up!!
Leben ahf dein keppele = Words of praise like; Well said! Well done!
(Lit., A long life upon your head.)
Narishkeit = Nonsense
Shanna punim= Beautiful face