Re: Noga #unitedkingdom

Wegner, Peter

Subject: [jcr-uk] Noga

Sue Levy asked:
"I would very much like to hear >from anyone who has the surname NOGA (or
variant) in their family tree. My grandfather was born Gershon Noga but
changed his name to George Finley after settling in England around 1900. He
was Polish. I believe the word means 'foot' in Russian and related
languages. "

Dear Sue,

Do you know for sure that your gf's surname Noga was taken >from Russian or a related language? I ask because it so happens that there is a very lovely Hebrew word "nogah" (spelled nun gimel heh) -- meaning "brightness, splendor, glory" -- which of course would have made a wonderful surname! Orthodox Jews would have been well acquainted with the biblical Hebrew word nogah, which appears in a well-known hymn that is sung/recited during the Shabbat morning service (see "mlei'im ziv u-m'fiqim nogah" in the hymn "El Adon al Kol Ha-Ma'asim" )

It occurs to me to wonder how often the surname of an Eastern European Jew does in fact come >from a Hebrew word rather than >from Yiddish, German, or a Slavic language? (Excluding, of course, surnames like Abrahams, Isaacs, etc., that obviously come >from personal Hebrew names -- or >from titles like Cohen and Levy -- and I'm also excluding Hebrew translations or sound-alikes that were adopted by some Jews with European language surnames who emigrated to Israel in the early 1900s and made a special point of Hebraizing their names.

So, what can anyone tell us about this question?

Judith Romney Wegner

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