Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Ashkenazic Jewish names

In Schul someone named Something ben Oodle got a mishebeirach.  People, the rabbi in particular, were taken aback by the name.  Our local expert on the topic had his guess - that it came from Yehudit which became Hoodie and then this dialect did not pronounce the H sound so it became Hoodle, then Oodle.  While the topic was hot, right after shul I asked the expert a few questions.  How did they pronounce Miriam in Galicia? Mariam.  Bing.  That was my mother's middle name, though she never mentioned it to me when she was alive.  But my aunt knew it, as she said Tehillim for her when she was ill. Next I asked about my grandfather's middle name Maneleh.  Yes, it was a common name as were several starting with Man. My name was also not uncommon and in Galicia was pronounced Nootah.  O don't know, and didn't get to ask the expert, why my family said it as Nyootah.  I didn't get to ask about my uncle's name Shmayah.  However my friend the expert recommended the book Handbook of Ashkenazic Given Names and Their Variants by Alexander Beider.


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