Friday, February 26, 2010

Aaronson is also a Cohen

Riding the Katz and Cohen wave, let's talk about the last name Aaronson (interestingly, this week's Torah portion T'zaveh, discusses at length the priestlihood).  By obvious definition, it means "son of Aaron."  Let's go back historically and look at the original Aaron.  He was the brother of Moses, who led the Children of Israel from Egypt out of slavery (remember the Passover story where frogs were here, frogs were there, frogs were jumping everywhere?).  Aaron was selected as the first High Priest (in Hebrew, kohen gadol).   It would make sense, then, that the descendents of Aaron are also from the priestly lineage and are cohanim as well.

There are, indeed, Aronsons and Aaronsons who are not Jewish, and come from Norweigan backgrounds.

We don't know if composer Jack Aaronson is Jewish, but it sure looks like his gigs down in the West Village in NYC are lots of fun. 

If belting out current Broadway tunes is your thing, then pop in on a Tuesday night and let us know how it goes!

Marie's Crisis Cafe
59 Grove Street
New York, NY

Monday, February 22, 2010

Katz = Cohen...Live Long and Prosper

We have decided to return to our roots and reinstate the Whole Phamily as a blog about Jewish names.  Names that you've heard.  Names that you haven't.  Ashkenazic names.  Sephardic names.  We will focus on one Jewish name per blog post, and perhaps bring up a person, business, work of art,  or all of the above that bears this name.

To say that Katz is a vintage Jewish last name is an understatement.  If you're from New York, or simply a deli maven, you know Katz's Deli.  Many folks say that their pastrami is the real deal.

Katz's Deli, NYC

We were blown away when, many years ago, we learned that Katz is a priestly name.  Saying Katz is just like saying Cohen, but in German.   Do you recall Spock's Vulcan Salute in Star Trek?

Leonard Nimoy as Spock giving the Vulcan Salute

  Ask a random male Katz today, and he will tell you that the traditional blessing he says in synagogue (be it once in a while or every week) that was passed down by his father is eerily reminscent of the Vulcan Salute.

Shlomo Katz, Israel-based musician

Another Katz of note is Shlomo Katz, a musician bringing on down some of the most beautiful Jewish-infused (hint:  Torah) music out there today.

We heard him perform tonight at an intimate evening of music and story.  We bless him that his music should spread far and wide among alle yidden!