Re: Given name "Sepp" #germany

Prof. G. L. Esterson <jerry@...>

Incidentally, I sent a copy of my original GerSig posting to Steve Orlen,
to which he responded as follows (relating to my doubts that Sepp was the
name of a female):
"You're right, of course. After further inquiry, the ancestor turns out to
have been a man named Joseph!" =============>

In response to my response to the query of Steve Orlen about the "female"
name Sepp, Michael Bernet posted as follows:

On 4/3/2006 Prof. Esterson, wrote of "a German secular name Jozef" used by Jews.
This must be a typo. The letter "z" is always pronounced as "ts" in German
which has no equivalent for the z-as-in-zero sound. And the German Josef, or
Joseph, both pronounced (just like the original Hebrew name) as Yosef in English
transliteration, is a Biblical name, a fully Hebrew name, a fully Jewish name,
that *happens* to have been correctly transmitted into German through the Vulgate
and German versions and used by German Christians (not the other >way around)..

Michael is both right and wrong!

I did indeed intend to designate the German secular name as Josef, and not
Jozef. Josef was the normal German spelling of the secular name used by
non-Jewish Germans, but Jozef was the normal Polish spelling of the secular
name used by non-Jewish Poles. In Germany, Jews used the name Josef
(pronounced "Yozef") as their secular name in dealings with the government
and with non-Jews, while in Poland, Jews used the name Jozef (pronounced
"Yozef" -- the same as in Germany, i.e., using the same pronunciation). So
only the written spellings of these two secular names differed.

However, there was another name which was also used by non-Jewish Poles --
Jozef, where there is an accent above the letter "o", such that the name
was pronounced as "Juzef". This name was used by both Jews and non-Jews in
Poland, and it naturally found its way into use in Germany by some
Jews. So, in a sense, the name Jozef (without the accent) was also to be
found in some German archival documents by this route, as well as by the
also natural route of incorrect interpretation of German names by German
civil servants, Jewish genealogists, and others. This spelling, Jozef, is
indeed to be found in German archival documents, along with the more common
and correct name Josef.

The German secular name Josef was considered by Rabbi/Lawyers of the 19th
century to be a formal legal kinui for the Hebrew name Yoseyf
(transliterated here into Latin characters). This meant that for someone
having the Hebrew name Yoseyf and the German name Josef, his legal Jewish
given name was to be written in a Get (Jewish divorce contract) this way
(in Latin transliteration): Yoseyf haMechune Yozef. ("haMechune" is
Hebrew and means "alias, or known as".) This name was written in
Hebrew/Yiddish characters, with the Yiddishized German name for Josef being
*written* as: Yod-alef-zayin-ayin-feh. Those of you familiar with Yiddish
will immediately recognize that this Yiddishized German name was pronounced
as "Yozef".

(Those of you interested in exploring this rabbinic determination of the
name spelling and pronunciation of the German secular name Josef are
invited to go to page 216 of the Hilchot Gitin book "Get Mesudar", written
by Rabbi Elazar Mintz, and published initially about 1905 after about 50
years of his research).

Professor G. L. Esterson, Ra'anana, Israel <>
MODERATOR NOTE: Private replies only to Prof. Esterson and/or

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