Some common Jewish last names include Abramson, Kruger, Reinhardt and Sternberg. Jewish last names derive from various factors, such as religion, occupation, gender, personal traits or family history.
Jewish last names derived from religion usually reveal a particular religious characteristic or rank. For example, the name ?Klopman? refers to a person who calls people to morning prayers by knocking on the shutters on their windows. Additionally, most common Jewish names based on religion derive from places or people in the Bible.
Occupational names describe the profession of that particular person. For example, the name ?Drucker? means ?printer,? and ?Shuster? means ?shoemaker.? Most Jewish occupational names derive from occupations that require hard labor or special skills, such as ?Wasserman? for ?water carrier? and ?Ackerman? for ?plowman.?
Some examples of Jewish names based on personal traits include ?Alter? or ?Alterman? for old people, ?Gottleib? for a God-fearing person and ?Shein? for a pretty or handsome person. Common Patronymic names include ?Abramson? meaning ?the son of Abraham? and ?Itskowitz? meaning ?the son of Itzhak.?
However, Ashkenazic Jews rarely used last names before the 19th century. Most children, both girls and boys, were named after their fathers. For example, the feminine name ?Rifke bas Avrom? derived from ?Rebecca son of "Abraham.?