Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Whole Phamily is a network of Jewish names. Jews have only had surnames for a few hundred years. First names, on the other hand, have been around for time immemorial. It was always "child, son/daughter _of_". Like, "Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah." On headstones, the deceased is usually commemorated by their first name, child of their parent's first name. Getting called up to the Torah is done similarly. Like it or not, our names actually do connect us to the past, present, and future. All together, they make up one greater family. The ganse mishpucha* as it were.

Is your last name Gold, Goldberg, Goldstein? Silver, Silverberg, Silverstein, Silverman? What about Field, Feldman, Feldstein? Or, Cohen, Cohane, Coen, Katz? Perhaps you have known a Fisher, Fishman, or Fish.

Do the names Shapiro, Shufro, Shafran sound familiar? Have you had a friend named Bernstein or any of the various Rosen Rosens (a tilt of the head to Fletch)?

These are all some of the very obvious Jewish names, but there are so many more. Naturally many of the original Jewish names that families took on in their homelands before arriving in North America were changed. Blobstein went to Blaine. Eisenberg became Eis. Altman became Alan.

The Whole Phamily's proprietary database will allow you to enter in your own family name and see what we have about it. Or perhaps you already know that Mullens was originally Mulinsky. Write it up and tell us that story.

Why should you care about your name, anyway?
And, what does it matter that it is a Jewish name?
Isn't your name a good name?

Don't you use it every day?

*ganse mishpucha: Yiddish phrase for "whole family"