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York@BethDavid: What’s in a Name? On the Uses and Abuses of Jewish Names

Monday, April 8, 2024 29 Adar II 5784

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Session #1

What's in a Name? On the Uses and Abuses of Jewish Names with Professor Kalman Weiser

What are "Jewish names" and what joys and problems have they brought their bearers? This talk explores how Jews got “Jewish“ first names and family names in the modern era. It also looks at how names have served not only as a source of identity but also one of conflict within Jewish communities and of calamities in Jews' interactions with gentile authorities and society. Topics to be discussed include the origins and meanings of names, comparative naming practices among Jewish communities, names and military recruitment, names and antisemitism, the politics of Jewish names, and current trends in naming children.


Professor Kalman Weiser is the Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies and Director of the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. He specializes in modern Jewish history and Yiddish language and culture. His most recent volume is Key Concepts in the Study of Antisemitism (2021). He is now completing two books - one about the complex relationships across the decades between four Yiddish linguists - two Jewish, two Germans who became Nazis; the other about how refuge scholars transformed the Yiddish Scientific Institute (YIVO) in Vilna, Poland into today's YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City.


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Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784