The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

Adrey, Derry, Deri, Dery, Derhy, Drai, Dray, Ederi, Edery, Edrehi, among other possible variations depending on the country and language of the person.

The root of the name is: dra'

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (a, aben, iben, abi, avi, ben, bin, abou) 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, a part of a body, i.e. arm. In some cases, a name may be followed by a suffix such as 'i' or 'y.' The suffix has a similar meaning to the prefix. It denotes a relationship to a person, a place, etc...

In the Arab tradition, the prefix 'A' denotes usually a relationship to a family, a tribe or a place, among other possibilities.
The root ‘dra'’ in Arabic refers usually to 'arm' but it may also refer to a place 'the river dra' in Southern Morocco.' In some cases,the letter 'h' accompanies the root dra' when spelled in French, as a substitute to the sound 'a'yin' which does not exist in French. Many people omitted the 'h' and the a'yin due to French influence.
The root ‘dra'’ in not known or does not exist in Hebrew.

ADREY Maurice (Moïse) (1899-1950). Algeria. Painter. Painted portraits of wealthy people in Algiers.
DERRY Benjamin (XXes.).Morocco. Painter. His work in France portrayed the Moroccan Melah, its rabbis and scribes.
DERHY René (XXes.). Morocco. A leading fashion designer in Paris, France.
DÉRI André (1937-). Morocco. Pharmacist in France. Community leader.
DÉRY William (XXes.). Morocco. Dental surgeon and community leader in Quebec, Canada.
DÉRI Aryeh (1959-). Morocco. Rabbi. Founders of the religious party 'Shas'. Served as minister and parliament member in Israel.
DRAÏ Raphaël (XXes.). Algeria. Political science professor in France. Author of La sortie d’Égypte, Le temps dans la vie politique, among other publications.
DRAY Julien (1955-). Algeria. Historian, a founder of SOS Racisme in France. Author of Lettre d’un député de base à ceux qui nous gouvernent.
DRAÏ Isaac (XXes.). Algeria. Rabbi. Subject to annual pilgrimage.
ÉDÉRY Gérard (XXes.). Morocco. Musician in New York. Specializes in Judeo-Spanish music.
ÉDÉRY Raphaël (1937-). Morocco. Member of the Israeli parliament affiliated with the Labor Party. Mayor of Hatsor. Politician, businessman.
ÉDÉRY Haïm (XVIIes.). Morocco. Rabbi of the Dra' region. Author of Séfér hahézyonot (the book of dreams)
ÉDÉRY Mordékhaï (1928-). Morocco. Rabbi in Argentina. Director of the Buenos Aires seminary.
ÉDRÉHI Moché de Itshak (1771-1841). Morocco. Rabbi in England and Holland. Linguistics professor. Author of Ten Tribes Settled Beyond the River Sambatyon in the East on lost tribes found in Southern 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