The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

Ceh, Alceh,
Cheikh, Acheikh, Ben Echeikh
Seh, Siah

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

The root of the name may be 'ceh' or 'Cheikh'

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (aben, iben, abi, avi, ben, bin, abou, a, bel ) 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 Arab tradition, the prefix 'Abu' means usually 'the father of', a man is given the prefix 'abu' to identify him as the father of X. 'Abu' may also indicate a tribal affiliation. In the Hebrew tradition, the prefix ‘El ‘ is an abreviation of Elohim, Hebrew for God.

The root ‘ceh'’ in Arabic refers usually to 'phlegm' if pronounced as 'keh.' However it may be a transformation of 'Cheikh' i.e., leader or chief or 'seha' i.e., health.

The root ‘ch'’ in Hebrew refers usually to 'taking' if pronounced as 'kh' and possibly phlegm (kiah) but it may also be pronounced as 'siah' (conversation) or 'se' which may mean 'lamb' or 'sacrificial lamb.'

ALCEH Mathilde (1923-1967). Turkey. Poet. Author of a collection of poems in Le goéland.

ALCHEKH Moché (XVIIes.). Palestine (Safed). Rabbi. Poet. Author of many commentaries on the Bible and the poem Chah’aré Tsion (The gates of Zion).
ALCHEKH Moïse (1508-1600?). Turkey.Rabbi in Safed. Community leader. Author of Torat Moché (Moses Law). Student of Rabbi Yosef Caro..

Ben Echeikh Abraham (XVIII) Morocco. Rabbi. Issued a ruling relating to fund collections in Morocco.


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