Jewish Family Names & Their Origins (Second Edition)

Etymological Dictionary

By Heinrich W. Guggenheimer, Eva H. Guggenheimer

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 882



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Jewish family names are "chronicles written in code," as one historian put it, and reflect the history of the Jewish people, from the world of Biblical Patriarchs through the many countries and languages of the Diaspora, to the newly Hebraized setting of present-day Israel. Despite their antiquity, most names of Biblical origin can be fairly easily identified; strangely enough, however, names of late periods are much more difficult to explain. Through historical research and linguistic analysis, these names too can be deciphered. This dictionary is the most complete compilation of its kind in English – it contains over 70,000 family names, from the common to the exotic, for nearly every Jewish group: Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Oriental and modern Israeli. If an Ashkenazic or Sephardic name in current use is missing, the reader will likely find it under a related name of similar origin. For the record, currently used family names are included even when their origins cannot be established.


Heinrich W. Guggenheimer is not only Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Polytechnic University, but polymath, with many contributions to mathematics, the philosophy and history of science, and Jewish history and talmudics as well. He is the author of five mathematics textbooks as well as over a hundred mathematics papers on the philosophy and history of science, four books of Jewish history and texts, and a 17 volume edition and commentary of the Jerusalem Talmud.

Eva H. Guggenheimer is a classicist and has taught and done research in classics, written several books and articles on classic words and phrases in the Talmud and on classical Latin poetry.