JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: ben and bit #general

Chuck Weinstein <cweinstein@...>

Hebrew names consist of a name and a patronymic. Traditionally, a Jew
is called to the Torah by his Hebrew name, followed by "son of" and his
father's name. There were never ongoing surnames in most Jewish
families until they were required to take on surnames in the 18th or
19th centuries. My Hebrew name is Rachmael; my father's is Yehuda
Leib. When I am called to the Torah, I am known as Rachmael ben Yehuda
Leib. His father was Shmuel ben Moshe, so my father is Yehuda Leib ben
Shmuel. A woman would be called to the Torah (in a modern Conservative
or Reform congregation) in the same fashion. Ben is Hebrew for "son"
and bat is Hebrew for "daughter". If I had a sister, she would be Sarah
bat Yehuda Leib. In your example, the name Elizabeth often comes from
the Hebrew name Elisheva, so we would have Rut (Hebrew name generally
rendered in English as Ruth) bat Elisheva, Elisheva bat Miriam (again, a
common Hebrew name for Marian) and Yitzhaaq (Hebrew, often rendered
Isaac in English) ben Yisroel (generally rendered Israel in English),
Yisroel ben Yosef, etc. Hope this helps.

Chuck Weinstein in San Mateo, CA