The name BIKEL #general

Judith Romney Wegner

Sally Bruckheimer wrote as follows:

"Theodore Bikel said at the LA JGS Conference that his gt grandfather
had chosen the surname by stabbing his finger at a page in a Bible
opened at random, and taking the acronym for the verse (which I don't
remember. So Bikel, like Katz and Segal, is an acronym.

Dear Sally,

That would be very nice if true! However, there's just one problem:
No such biblical verse exists!

That story passed down by Theodore Bikel's grandfather struck me as
almost certainly a bubbe-mayse. So I googled Bikel as a Jewish
surname, and guess what? Here's what I got:

Bikel. Either >from Bickel, the German for pickaxe, and denotes
someone who used this tool in his work.
Or an acronym for Benei Yisrael Kedoshim L'Adonai, "The Children of
Israel are holy unto God."

This entry actually confirmed my suspicions. Theodore Bikel is
evidently one of many Bikels among whom this acronym story
circulates. But as this "biblical" verse rang no bells for me, I
checked it out in two biblical concordances. As I had surmised, the
verse does not exist -- so no amount of finger-stabbing in Bibles
could possibly have found it!

I am reinforced in my belief (stated earlier) that when we hear such
stories (and even when the biblical verse does acxtually exist) the
surname came first and then someone found (or in this case apparently
manufactured) a verse that could turn the name into an acronym.!

Judith Romney Wegner

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