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1925 Female Yiddish and Hebrew Names (Harkavy)

After my earlier lists of Hebrew names were published (see the Names page for a list of all name-related posts on this site), Rachel NewYork (moderator at the City-Data Judaism forum) reached out about me publishing the list of names that was included in Alexander Harkavy’s Yiddish-English-Hebrew Dictionary, published in 1925 (see it online at the Yiddish Book Center). After I started on it, Rachel sent me a complete transcription of the names, separated by gender, and transliterated into English. My list below is indebted to her transcriptions, but is different in several ways. The primary differences are that I have kept the book’s structure, and have also retained the nikud from the book (including unique Yiddish letter forms such as ײַ). Rachel’s lists separate each form into its own line, and includes English transliteration for every form. Her version is very useful, so if you want to, you can download her spreadsheet (she later also sent a second spreadsheet, comparing her transliterations to name currently in use by the Lubavitch community in Crown Heights, as found in publications of marriage and birth announcements). Those unable to read Hebrew will find her version eminently more usable for accessing the diminutive forms, as I have not transliterated those forms into English.

Names from the 1925 edition of Yiddish-English-Hebrew Dictionary

For the most part my table is true to the original from the book. I’ve made a few minor changes in formatting. There are some names where the Hebrew and English names don’t strictly correspond. In those cases I’ve written the actual name in brackets. For example, the name עלקע (Elka) is shown as “Ella”, so I’ve written the English as “Elka [Ella]”.

Continue reading 1925 Female Yiddish and Hebrew Names (Harkavy)
Harkavy Names

1925 Male Yiddish and Hebrew Names (Harkavy)

After my earlier lists of Hebrew names were published (see the Names page for a list of all name-related posts on this site), Rachel NewYork (moderator at the City-Data Judaism forum) reached out about me publishing the list of names that was included in Alexander Harkavy’s Yiddish-English-Hebrew Dictionary, published in 1925 (see it online at the Yiddish Book Center). After I started on it, Rachel then sent me a complete transcription of the names, separated by gender, and transliterated into English. My list below is indebted to her transcriptions, but is different in several ways. The primary differences are that I have kept the book’s structure, and have also retained the nikud from the book (including unique Yiddish letter forms such as ײַ). Rachel’s lists separate each name form into its own line, and includes English transliteration for every form. Her version is very useful, so if you want to, you can download her spreadsheet (she later also sent a second spreadsheet, comparing her transliterations to name currently in use by the Lubavitch community in Crown Heights, as found in publications of marriage and birth announcements). Those unable to read Hebrew will find her version eminently more usable for accessing the diminutive forms, as I have not transliterated those forms into English.

Harkavy Names
Names from the 1925 edition of Yiddish-English-Hebrew Dictionary

For the most part my table is true to the original from the book. I’ve made a few minor changes in formatting. There are some names where the Hebrew and English names don’t strictly correspond. In those cases I’ve written the actual name in brackets. For example, the name אִיסר (Isser) is shown as “Israel”, so I’ve written the English as “Isser [Israel]”.

Continue reading 1925 Male Yiddish and Hebrew Names (Harkavy)

Deciphering Jewish Gravestones

My 2011 article on Jewish gravestone symbols has long been one of the most popular posts on this web site. In that article, I discuss the symbols found on Jewish gravestones, but not the text. I wrote in the first paragraph that I will likely write about the text at some point in the future. Unfortunately, I waited nine years to do so, but here’s a look at some of the Hebrew text you might find on a Jewish gravestone, and how to decipher it.

We should get some terminology out the way. We’re talking about Hebrew inscriptions on gravestones. In Hebrew we call the grave a קבר kever, and the gravestone itself a מצבה matseva (lit. monument). There isn’t a particularly good Hebrew word for epitaph (the inscription), it’s just הכתובת על המצבה the writing on the gravestone. We do use the word הספד hesped for eulogy, and you can think of some of the inscription to be a eulogy. As this is intended as an introduction to this topic, I’ll simply use the English terms most of the time.

For those who want to print this out, I’ve created a parallel version that will print nicely, and you can download it as a PDF.

As this is a long article with lots of sections, I’ve added a table of contents below that will let you jump to a particular section if you want. The sections generally follow the order that these items would show up in the inscription.

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US Rabbinical Guide to Female Jewish Names from 1939

Adding to my recent series of Jewish given name lists (see my Names page for links to all the articles on names) is this list which comes from a US-published guide for pulpit rabbis. The book, called Hamadrikh (ְהַמַּדְרִיך), was initially published in 1939, and later revised in 1956. For decades it served as a unique guide to rabbis on how to perform specific rituals, with lists of prayers for things like marriage, circumcision, redeeming the first born, bar mitzvahs, dedicating a new torah, a new synagogue, laws related to visiting the sick, adding a name, the dying, etc. One important section deals offers templates for inscriptions to be used on gravestones. It’s likely many of the gravestones inscribed in the subsequent decades in the US followed the templates present in this book.

Excerpt from Hamadrikh
Continue reading US Rabbinical Guide to Female Jewish Names from 1939

US Rabbinical Guide to Male Jewish Names from 1939

Adding to my recent series of Jewish given name lists (see my Names page for links to all the articles on names) is this list which comes from a US-published guide for pulpit rabbis. The book, called Hamadrikh (ְהַמַּדְרִיך), was initially published in 1939, and later revised in 1956. For decades it served as a unique guide to rabbis on how to perform specific rituals, with lists of prayers for things like marriage, circumcision, redeeming the first born, bar mitzvahs, dedicating a new torah, a new synagogue, laws related to visiting the sick, adding a name, the dying, etc. One important section deals offers templates for inscriptions to be used on gravestones. It’s likely many of the gravestones inscribed in the subsequent decades in the US followed the templates present in this book.

Excerpt from Hamadrikh
Continue reading US Rabbinical Guide to Male Jewish Names from 1939