Re: Yiddish name question - Yehuda Leybush #hungary

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

Stephen Lowe posted to h-sig as follows:

"My great grandfather was born in the Szatmar region of Hungary in the
mid-1900s. He is buried in NYC. His name appears in Hebrew characters on
his tombstone. I assume that these may be Yiddish (not Hebrew names).

His first name is unmistakably "Yehuda" His second name appears to be
"Leybish" spelled lamed-yod-bet-vav-shin. Can anyone tell me "more" about
this name? Why is not simply Leib, for example?

By the way, this man was known as Leopold in America and Lipot in
Hungary. The similarity between Leybish and Lipot seems to me to NOT be a

The double Jewish name Yehuda Leybush (not Leybish -- that would require a
yod in place of the vav) is formed of a Biblical Hebrew name Yehuda and the
Yiddish nickname Leybush. This configuration of Hebrew and Yiddish names
indicates that this great grandfather had the *Legal* Jewish given name
Yehuda Leyb, but that he was called by friends and family members by the
less formal name Leybush, which is a nickname for Leyb. In shul he would
have been called to the Tora using his full Legal Jewish name Yehuda Leyb
ben Ploni, where Ploni is the Legal Jewish *given* name of his father.

While his informal double name Yehuda Leybush would have been quite
acceptable for civil name recording, for his friends to address him
somewhat more formally (rather than the more personal name Leybush which
was likely what his family members and close friends called him), it would
not have been acceptable for use in Jewish legal contracts (like a Get, a
divorce contract, or for a ketuva), or for calling him to an aliya. In
fact, one would expect that in civil documents, one would see the name
Leybush *rather* than its precursor Leyb, while in formal Jewish documents,
the name Leyb would be more common.

Statistically, it has been found that Jews with the Yiddish name Leyb (or
one of its nicknames) were more likely to choose the Hungarian secular name
Lipot, rather than most other secular names. Why? Because it begins with
the same sound, the letter "L". This habit was quite common for Jews in
other cases as well (e.g., Avraham Albert is a Legal Jewish double given name).

In fact, Lipot can be a secular kinui (alias) for any Hebrew name, but Jews
favored the Yiddish name Leyb for Yehuda and a few other Hebrew names
(Arye, Moshe, Yehuda); it is likely that if he were to be divorced, his
Legal Jewish given name for the Get would have been something like Yehuda
haMechune Leyb haMechune Lipot (all in Yiddish/Hebrew characters -- the
Yiddish kinui Leyb and the secular kinui Lipot both would have been
included. ("haMechune" is a technical Hebrew word meaning "known as".)

In addition, Hungarian Jews who had the Hungarian secular name Lipot
frequently (i.e., with statistical significance) chose the English name
Leopold upon immigrating to the U.S. Even more, the German name Leopold
and the Hungarian name Lipot are considered to be *equivalent* names -- and
there are numerous cases where Hungarian Jews in Hungary sometimes used
both of these names at one time or another.

So, this great grandfather fits right into the above-described
statistically typical case.

Stephen can see other linked names (which his great grandfather may have
used in other venues) by visiting the JewishGen Given Names web site:

< >

and by using Global Text Search in the Hungary Given Names Data Base to
search for the name Yehuda.

Professor G. L. Esterson, Ra'anana, Israel

Moderator: Please search the Hungarian SIG archives for more information on given names. This has been a frequent topic of discussion that does not need to be repeated.

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