Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hebrew conference explores Jewish names

Jerusalem Post

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is hosting an international conference on the history and origin of Jewish names. The 13th biannual International Conference on Jewish Names, which takes place today at the Mount Scopus campus, features 20 lecturers and academics from Israel, Poland, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Canada, Italy and the United States – all of whom study Jewish onomastics, or name studies, in their country of origin.

The conference on Jewish names, part of the World Congress of Jewish Studies, was organized by Prof. Aaron Demsky of Bar-Ilan University, an expert in the field of Jewish names.

According to Demsky: “This conference is a reflection of the interdisciplinary nature and relevance of Jewish names from multiple disciplines as well as the wide-ranging history of Jewish names from biblical times to modern Israel.

“The conference will also place emphasis on Jewish communities in the Diaspora facing questions of identity... one’s name speaks volumes and an immigrant’s relationship to his birth name – especially when it is ‘different’ or ‘strange’ – reflects his relationship to his old and new cultures, old and new identities.”

The conference’s content is presented in historical chronological order and is divided into six sections, starting with names in the Bible and Rabbinical literature, then early Diaspora Jewish communities in Italy and Spain, followed by early Ashkenazi communities in Germany and Poland, plus lectures highlighting the meanings of names in communities in Morocco and Baghdad.

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