The meaning of names among Mediterranean Jews

Marc Eliany ©

Abitbol, Teboul, Toubol, Touboul, Tovel among other possible variations depending on the country and language of the person.

The root of the name is: tbl

Prefixes attached to the root name such as (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.

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. The root ‘tbl’ in Arabic refers usually to 'drum,' a popular musical instrument in North Africa but it may mean also 'table.' Thus when the root 'tbl' is part of a name, it may indicate a family relationship with a drum or table maker or that the person is a musician who played the drum.
In the Hebrew tradition, the prefix ‘Avi ‘ denotes patrilineal ancestry, i.e., father of 'tbl' or the son of 'tbl'. The root ‘tbl’ in Hebrew means ‘to bathe’ or 'to swim.' It may be an indication to an occupation of a person who took care or owned a public bath.

ABITBOL Bob-Oré (1947-). Morocco. Businessman. Author of Le goût des confitures.
ABITBOL Léa (XXes.). Morocco. painter.

ABITBOL Michel (1943-). Morocco. Historian. Author of Les Juifs d’Afrique du Nord sous Vichy

TEBOUL Annie (XXes.). Algeria. Journalist in France.
TEBOUL Victor (1945-). Egypt. Literature professor. Author of Que D’ieu vous garde de l’homme silencieux quand il se met soudain à parler.

TOUBOL Aaron (1828-). Algeria. Translator for the French army. among the first Algerian Jews granted French citizenship.

ABITBOL Chélomo (?-1815). Morocco. Rabbi. Author.
ABITBOL Meyer (1944-). Morocco. Rabbi. Chair of ’Béné Yissakhar Institut' in Jerusalem.
ABITBOL Shaoul Yéhochouah ben Itshak (Harav Chicha) (1740-1809). Morocco. Rabbi. Judge. author of Avné chèch (Marble Stones).

TEBOUL Yossef (Hamah’aravi) (XVIes.). Morocco. Chief Rabbi of Safed. Author of commentaries on the Book of Spendour.

TOUBOUL Haïm (XXes.). Algeria. Rabbi. Author of a treaty on the feast of Pourim.


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).

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

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

Laredo A. 1978           Les noms des juifs au Maroc