The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

HARRUS (Harosh, Arosh, Harris)
BENARROCH BenAroch BenArosh BenHaroch BenArus
AROUSI (A'rousi)

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

Harosh means the head or the leader in the Hebrew language. The name is common in North Africa and went through typical transformation due to linguistic influences throughout the region. Haroush is an Arabic transformation, Harrus is a French transformation and Harris is an English transformation (mostly in Egypt).

Arrouas is the plural of head in North African Arabic. It may also refer to the occupation of roaster in the Arabic language. Some suggest that the name Arrouas is related to the name Arroyo. Arroyo is a province/county of Madrid, Spain.

A'rousi, may have a completely different meaning and is in all likelihood based on a different root. The name A'rousi is found in Tunisia and Yemen and means 'my groom.'

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.

ARROUAS Albert (XXes.). Algéria (Bône). Lived in Tunis. Journalist. Author of Le Livre d’or (The Golden Book).
ARROUAS Yossef (1847-1925). Morroco (Rabat). Leader of the Sepharadi community in Palestine. Author of Hod Yossef (Joseph splendour).

HARROUCH Michel (1948-). Morocco (Casablanca). Théâtre professor. Radio animator. Painter.
HARRUS Elias (1919-). Morocco (Beni Mellal). Educator. Director of Alliance schools in Marrakech and the Atlas region. et de l’extrême sud du Maroc. Exhibited rare photographs of Jews in remote Atlas communities at the Diaspora Museum in Israel.

BENARROCH Isaac (XIXes.) Vénézuéla. Intellectual. Author of El Indiano, el cadi y la luna (The Indian, the Cadi and the Moon).
BENAROCH Raphaël (1921-1994). Morocco (Rabat). Lawyer. Author of Succession Law in Morocco. Chair of O.S.E. (Oeuvre de Secours pour l’Enfance). Led the establishment of the Union of North African World Jewry in Nice, France.
BENAROCH Roger (1934-). Morocco (Meknès). Professor of mangement at l’École supérieure de commerce de Paris. Community leader. Founder and leader of the Movement of Liberal Jews in France.
BENARROCH Chélomo (?-1880). Morocco (Meknès). King Merchant. Owner of the Bahtit synagogue in Meknes.
BENARROCH Joseph (1942-). Morocco (Meknès). Counsellor in finance in Québec (Montréal). Chair of the Sépharade francophone association and the Canadian sépharade federation.
BENARROCH Lucien (1941-). Morocco (Meknès). Textile engineer in Quebec. Chair of the Communauté Sépharade du Québec (1985-1987).
BENARROCH Yamin A. (1882-1949). Morocco (Tétouan). Philanthropist. Chair of the Jewish community of Mélilla. Founder of a synagogue in Jérusalem and a yéchivah in Tibérias.
BENHARROSH Gilbert (1938-1998). Morocco (Rabat). Agronomist in Quebec. Led projects in Canada au Burkina Fasso.
BENARROCH PARIENTÉ Élias (XIXe-XXes.). Vénézuéla. Doctor. Specialist in tropical diseases.
BENARUS Adolpho (1863-1958). Portugal. Painter. Author. Taught english at Lisbon university. Community leader.

AROUSI Abraham (1878-1934). Yémen (Kaubakan). Folklorist. Poet. Author of an anthology of Yemenite folktales and poems.


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)