Yiddish Club Event Reveals Meanings Behind East European Jewish Family Names

What’s in a Yiddish name? At the Yeshiva University Yiddish Club’s opening event of the year on Tuesday, November 13, students and faculty members got the opportunity to explore this fascinating piece of Jewish history. Titled “A Rosen by Any Other Name: Secrets within East European Jewish Family Names,” the event featured a lively lecture by Dr. Robert Shapiro, a professor of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College.

Dr. Robert Shapiro explained the origins of Ashkenazic last names at the Yiddish Club’s first event of the academic year.

The origins of their surnames intrigue many Jews, and the names themselves may reveal a wealth of information. “Surnames are cultural, historical, religious and familial artifacts of Jewish life,” said Shapiro, who has published several scholarly works on the Holocaust and other topics in East European Jewish history. “Those family names carry a message about the values, experiences, hopes and ambitions (and even the sense of humor) of previous generations of Jews who probably did not dream about the opportunities that became available to their great, great, great grandchildren in the 21st century.” Read the rest of this entry…

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