Belarus SIG #Belarus Re: Hebrew name Yair? #belarus

Adam Katzeff <adam.katzeff@...>

Dear all,

First of all, many thanks to all of you that has answered my question about
the existence of a Hebrew male name Yair!

As most of you have pointed out Yair is a widely spread Hebrew name in
Israel today, but is of Biblical origin and means "he will light", "he will
shine" etc and is equivalent to Meir.

In my case the man who had this name lived a long time ago, he was probably
born in the 1820's or 30's and lived in what is today Belarus (around the
city of Vitebsk). As some of you, especially professor G.L. Esterson, has
pointed out, the name Yair was very uncommon in Europe in the 19th century.
So, I guess there might have been a reason why a man got this name in early
19th century Eastern Europe.

As I wrote in my last message, in the same family several people had names
that were uncommon in those days (or at least not common):

*Hertz, NOT to the common kinnui Hirsh.
*Shifra, common today, but rather uncommon in the 19th century.
*Sima (female version of Simkhah).
*Hadasah, common today, but uncommon in the 19th century.

The two above names Sima and Hadasah where sometimes combined with each
other into the Yiddish "double" name Shim-Ode (also written Shimode) and
versions like Shim-Oda, Shim-Uda and Shim-Ude. Especially the latter half of
this name, Oda/Ode/Uda/Ude, was short Yiddish version of Hadasah that only
seems to have been used in the area around Vitebsk. I have a feeling that
most women with this name were somehow related and all descended >from the
same ancestor!

The concentration of all those names makes me believe that they might be
related to a Rabbinic family. There are stories about Rabbinic ancestry in
my family that I haven't been able to prove so far. Wouldn't it be more
likely in a Rabbinic family to use more uncommon names of Biblical origin
than in other families?

I will continue my research and hopefully I will find some clues to the use
of uncommon names

Best regards,

Adam Katzeff,
Malmoe, Sweden

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