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What are some Jewish last names?

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Quick Answer

Some Jewish last names include Miller, Asch, Farber, Meltzer and Klausner. Levi, Ezra, Benjamin, Isaac and Aaron have Hebrew origins. Blumen, Lowen, Schein and Kestenbaum, other common Jewish names, stem from other cultures.

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Full Answer

Jews cannot always be identified from their last names, as historically they did not have permanent family names. Moreover, most of the Jewish family names have foreign origins and were forcefully adopted in the 17th century. Jewish surnames such as Gross, Weismann, Klein, Schwartz and Siegel originate from Germany and remain common both there and among Jews in the United States. Similarly, Jewish last names ending with "-ski," "-witz" or "-vitz" appear more common to Jews of Russian and Polish nationalities. Sephardic Jews, or Jews of Spanish or Portuguese descent, bear surnames such as Moreno, Pereira, Gaster, Veneziano and Torres.

Like in many other cultures, Jews derived names from natural creations, place names, occupations and personal traits. Silverstein, Einstein, Cooperman, Ackerman and Wasserman represent Jewish names originating from common trades. Rabin, Spector, Shuchter, London and Altshul have roots in religion. Pinsky, Unger, Gurevitch, Frankfurter and Danziger originate from cities in Germany. Other common Jewish surnames include Hirsch, Taub, Dreyfus, Eckstein and Langerman, each of which has origins in either personal traits or animal names.

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