The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

ABENDANA (danan, IbnDanan, BenDanan)

among other possible variations depending on the country and language of the person.

AbenDanan is represented here by a famous family of rabbis of Moroccan origin (Fes) who moved back and forth from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. Some scattered to European countries such as the Netherlands and Britain. They demonstrate the close links and interdependence between the Spanish/Portuguese and North African Jewry. Danan is believed to be of Babylonian origin. The Danans led the ancient Jewish Moroccan diaspora, called Toshavim (Inhabitants) who distinguished themselves by maintaining Palestinian/Babylonian rituals and rabbinical rulings. The name consist of the prefix avi (aben, Ben, Ibn) which implies fatherhood or lineage, the root 'dan' = the tribe of Dan, one of Jacob's children. It may be associated with judicial practice as 'dan' = judging in Hebrew and Danan may be an Aramaec transformation of Dan during passage in Babylonia.

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (aben, iben, abe, abi, abou, 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.'

Complex prefixes such as BarHa in the name BarHaNess consist of two elements Bar=son and Ha=the.

Suffixes such as 'an' or 'in' denote affiliation or a characteristic in Aramaec.

Suffixes such as 'a' characterize ancient Hebrew names, i.e., AviHatsir'a'
Suffixes such as oulah, oulay, ilah, ily, el, eli are used in Hebrew and Arabic to associate a name with God' blessing.
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.
Suffixes such as 'yah', 'yahu' 'hu' are used in Hebrew to denote God's benediction, for example: aviyah, aviyahu, avihu...
Suffixws such as 'oun' 'on' 'yout' 'out' characterize adjectives in Hebrew, for example: Hayoun, hayout...

ABENDANA Itshak Sardo (1622?-1709). Netherlands. Diamond Jewler. Operated in India and London.
ABENDANA DE BRITO Itshak Haïm (1660-1760). Netherlands. Rabbi of de Brito. Approved the publication of Mayïm rabbim (Sacred Sources) of Raphaël Meldola, the rabbi of Bayonne.
ABENDANA Itshak (1640-1710). Marrano origin. Brother of Ya’acov Abendana. Doctor. Rabbi. Hebrew teacher at Cambridge and Oxford. Translator of the Mishnah to latin. Author of Jewish Almanachs juifs targetting Christian readers.
ABENDANA Yah’acov Yossef (1630-1685). Marrano origin. Amsterdam community leader. Rabbi of the Spanish Portuguese Jewish Community in London. Author and translator. Translated the Kouzari of Rabbi Yéhoudah Halévi, and Maïmonides' Mishne Torah.
ABENDANAN Chélomo (1848-1929). Morocco (Fes). Rabbi. Kabalist. Rabbinical Judge in Fes and Rabat. Contributed to improving the conditions of life of Moroccan Jewry due to his influence of the French Protectorat. Author of Acher lichlomo (The Wisdom of Solomon) and Bikèch Chélomo (Solomon's Plea).
ABENDANAN Chémouèl (?-1622). Morocco (Fes). Rabbi. Notary. Author.
ABENDANAN Chémouèl (XVIes.). Spain. Grandson of Saadia ben Moché Abendanan. Settled in Fes after the expulsion from Spain. Community leader. Rabbi. Acredited Yossef Caro as rabbi.
ABENDANAN Chémouèl (1542-1621). Spain. Grandson of Rabbi Chémouèl Abendanan. Rabbi. Chief rabbinical judge in Fès.
ABENDANAN Moché (RAMBAM Elfassi) (XIVe-XVes.). Morocco (Fès). Rabbi. Author of a commentary on the Talmud.
ABENDANAN Saadia ben Moché (?-1493). Morocco (Fès). Rabbi. Talmudist. Doctor and poet. Chief rabbi of Granada. Returned to Fes after the Expulsion from Spain (1492).Author of a Hebrew/Arab dictionary, a history of the Jews in Morocco and Spain and judgements re forced conversion.


ABEHSSERA Chalom Séfér youhassin (Genealogy Registers).

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)