“Once Upon a Time…….” those great Sephardic names! by Jack Israel


My dad, Jack Israel, has written many wonderful stories. He currently writes for and edits the “Shofar” for Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, CA. He has written for and edited the “El Shofar” for Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in LA, the “Lashon” for LASHA at the LA Jewish Home, the “Hamerkaz” for the SEC, “The Sephardic Star” for the Sephardic Hebrew Center…..as well as many other publications.

This is one of my favorites…..a reflection on Sephardic names, written near 50 years ago. Enjoy it! As always, your comments are welcome!

Once Upon a Time…..an Ode to Great Sephardic Names
By Jack Israel (aka Jek)

Once upon a time, when a dime was worth a dime,
the Sephardim named their children Solomon and Haim.
It was not unusual then, to hear Benjamin called Ben,
and Leon grew to Leonard, then shortened down to Len.

I sure miss all those Turkish names, like my Uncle Leachon,
and the puzzlers of the spelling game
Batsheva, Sarina and Davichon.

And what about the guy who called his offspring Rahamim,
today you know the kids would say that guy was off his beam!
Betsheva, Bohora and Sinuru –
names that were tested, tried and true…
names that will last to oblivion –
Vida,
eh, now that’s Vivian!

6 thoughts on ““Once Upon a Time…….” those great Sephardic names! by Jack Israel

  1. What makes you think this short story would appeal to us? (signed Nissimico & Rachelica Israel (whose sisters are and were Bienvenida (Vivian) and Miriam (Margie!) Raye’s mother (Malcuna) became Margaret…..!

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  2. Why do you think this short story would appeal to us? Signed Nissimico & Rachelica Israel (sisters Bienvenida (Vivian) Miriam (Margie), and mother Malcuna (Margaret!)

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  3. I stumbled upon this. Thank you. My father’s name is Hayim, his mother’s was Symbul (her sister was Esther). Beautiful, glorious names that I think are fading fast in my generation. We often would walk through the Sephardic cemetary just outside of Istanbul in Turkey when we would visit. It is a magical place.

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