The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

AVADALA (avdala)
AbdAllah (see Aba, Abou, Abiob...)
among other possible variations depending on the country and language of the person.

Avadala is a rare name in the inventory of creators of Mediterranean Jewish origin. It may mean 'avdala' in Hebrew, that is the time distinguishing between the end of the Sabbath and the begining of weekdays. Avdala is also a ceremony to distinguish a ceremony between the end of the Sabbath and the begining of weekdays. But the name 'Avadala' may be a French transformation of the Arabic name 'Abd Allah,' which means God's servant. It is a rare name among Jews but very prevalent among Moslems. Some converts to Islam adopted Abd Allah. In Rabat, Morocco, a well known tailor, Al Couhin Abd Allah, may be one of the converts.

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (aben, iben, abi, avi, am, ben, bin, abou, a, aj, al, bel, ha, i, la, lel, me, m, o, wi, vi, ) denotes usually a relation to a person, i.e., the father of or the son of X, a place, i.e., a person from X, an occupation, i.e., a person who practices a specific occupation, a characteristic of a person, i.e., beautiful... The prefixes al, el are equivalent to 'the' in English or the article 'le' in French. In the Moroccan Berbers tradition, prefixes such as 'wi' 'vi' 'i' means usually a family relationship to X, the equivalent of Abu in Arabic, i.e., 'the father of', 'son of' a man, a tribal affiliation and so forth.In the Hebrew tradition, the prefix ‘M ‘ is an abbreviation of the word 'from.'

Suffixes such as 'i' or 'ri' 'ti' refer to an association with a person or a location, for example: arditi= from ardou or ard.
Suffixes such as 'illo' 'ano' 'ino'
'nino' are used in Spain and Italy to indicate descendence or association with an attribute.

AVADALA Jacques (1927-). Turkey (Istanbul. Painter and designer of theatre, opera, cinema decors in Bulgaria.
ABDALLAH Moché (XIVe-XVes.). Spain. Rabbi. Doctor. Author of a medical commentary on the Aphorismes of Hippocrates in Hebrew.


Azoulay, Hayim Yossef Shem Hagdolim (the names of the great)

AZOULAY Haïm Yossef David (Hida) (1724-1807) Chém haguédolim va’ad lahakhamim (The names of the Great Council of Sages).

Levi, J et. al. 2000        Dictionnaire biographique du monde Juif Sepharade et Mediteranean, Editions Elysee, Montreal.

Toledano, J. 1983        La saga des familles, Les juifs du Maroc et leurs noms, Editions Stavit, Tel Aviv

Laredo A. 1978           Les noms des juifs au Maroc (Madrid, 1978)