Howard M. Kaplan wrote :
Some years ago, a gentile union officer said to me "You're one of the
Jewish priests, aren't you?" Startled by this query >from a Slavic
Catholic, I answered yes, and asked how he determined that. His reply
was "kaplan in the Czech language is the word for priest." I assume
Katz, Cohen, Kaplan, and all the similar surnames descended >from the
offspring of Moses' brother, Aaron, therefore are, indeed, cohanim and,
as a result, about as difficult to find among the families as Smiths,
Joneses and, say, Johnsons in Minneapolis! Or am I jumping at
This word also equates to priest in Polish. I am descended >from Kaplans as
well (they were originally Kagans, which is the same thing).
It's probably one of the two or three most common names to come out of the
Pale of Settlement. The other is Lev or Levy, which is the other name from
which I am descended.