75 Common Jewish Last Names/Surnames and their Meanings

75 Jewish Last Names That’ll Have You Toasting “L’Chaim”

December 20, 2019 Updated April 19, 2021

jewish last names
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Just like the families they belong to, Jewish last names have roots all across the globe. And while Hebrew and Biblical names are mostly limited to a region, the same is not true of Jewish last names. In many cultures, it’s common for last names to come from the paternal side, but many surnames come from the mother’s as well. In fact, many Jewish people who lived in the Russian Empire during the 19th had last names that derived from women’s first names. In Jewish culture, last names also originate from places, like the town or region the family lived. For example, Asch is an acronym for the Aisenshtadt, Altshul, or Amsterdam and Bergman is also a common last name that means “from a hilly place.”

Judaism’s extensive history is obviously not limited to the Middle East, but it’s useful to have a little more context as to why some Jewish surnames sound so different from others. Many common Jewish last names overlap with Slavic or German languages, while others sound straight-up Biblical. But why?

It’s all down to early migration, which brought about two groups of Jews separate from those who lived in the Middle East and North Africa since biblical times (known as Mizrahi Jews, from the Hebrew for ‘Sons of the East’). These Jews lived (and their descendants now live) in parts of Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Armenia, and Israel. ‘Ashkenazi‘ (from the Hebrew word for Germany) refers to the Jews who settled in Germany and Eastern Europe between the 13th and 17th centuries, while ‘Sephardi‘ (from the Hebrew word for Spain) refers to Jews who lived in Spain and Italy from the end of the Roman Empire until the 15th century.

The persecution of both groups led to further migration. Descendants of Sephardi Jews now live in parts of Northern Africa, Spain, France, England, Italy, and Holland, while Ashkenazi Jews are still largely based in Germany, Poland, Russia, and other areas of Eastern Europe. Modern Israel is also home to a roughly even number of both, and the Middle East is still home to many Mizrahi Jews.

Ashkenazi Jewish last names, therefore, refer to names bore by Jewish families that are spelled in either German, a Slavic language, or Yiddish (a Hebrew-Germanic language used solely by Ashkenazi Jews). Sephardi Jewish surnames can be a little harder to recognize because of their mostly Italian and Spanish spellings. And since 80 percent of the world’s Jews are Ashkenazi, there are considerably fewer Sephardi Jewish names. Mizrahi Jewish surnames can have Hebrew, Arabic, or Aramaic roots.

All that said, Hebrew names are still common within all groups, and even non-Jewish families today bear last names with biblical, Hebrew origins. Oh, and you’re not the only one searching for them and their meaning, either. According to the latest search data available, Jewish last names are searched for nearly 15,000 times per month. Now you know the rich history behind them, read our list of popular Jewish last names and their meanings!

If you’re interested in the last names and meanings of other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: Irish, Russian, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, HawaiianBritish, French, African, Japanese, and Korean last names, among others.

jewish last names
Nickelodeon

Popular Jewish Last Names

  1. Hoffman
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Steward or farm laborer.
  2. Pereira
    Origin: Sephardi
    Meaning: Pear tree.
  3. Abrams
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: High father or reference to the prophet Abraham.
  4. Haddad
    Origin: Mizrahi
    Meaning: Blacksmith.
  5. Goldmann
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Gold.
  6. Levi/Levy
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Descendant of Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah.
  7. Blau
    Origin: Ashkenazi/German
    Meaning: Blue.
  8. Friedman/Fridman/Friedmann
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Follower or servant of peace.
  9. Horowitz
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: A person from Horovice in Bohemia, which is now known as the Czech Republic.
  10. Abulafia
    Origin: Sephardi
    Meaning: Father of wellbeing.
  11. Blum
    Origin: Yiddish
    Meaning: Flower.
  12. Kantor/Cantor
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: A synagogue singer.
  13. Fingerhut/Vingerhuot
    Origin: Ashkenazi/Yiddish
    Meaning: Thimble or an occupational name for a tailor.
  14. Leib/Leiberman/Leibermann
    Origin: Yiddish
    Meaning: Dear or beloved.
  15. Cardoso
    Origin: Sephardi
    Meaning: From a place with an abundance of cardoon plants.
  16. Bensaïd
    Origin: Mizrahi
    Meaning: Son or descendant of Said.
  17. Cohen
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Priest.

    jewish last names
    Bravo/T. Kyle
  18. Efron
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Singing bird.
  19. Abutbul
    Origin: Mizrahi
    Meaning: Father of tambourines.
  20. Schechter
    Origin: Yiddish
    Meaning: Ritual slaughterer or butcher.
  21. Abecassis
    Origin: Sephardi
    Meaning: Father of Cassis or those who occupied the Cassis valley in the Bible.
  22. Bernstein
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Amber.
  23. Geller
    Origin: Yiddish
    Meaning: Yellow, or reference to people with lighter hair.
  24. Nazarian
    Origin: Mizrahi
    Meaning: Son of Nazar.
  25. Bensoussan
    Origin: Sephardi
    Meaning: Lily flower.
  26. Melamed
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Teacher.
  27. Weinberg
    Origin: Ashkenazi/German
    Meaning: Vineyard.
  28. Stern
    Origin: Yiddish
    Meaning: Star.
  29. Benveniste
    Origin: Sephardi
    Meaning: Welcome.
  30. Obadia
    Origin: Mizrahi
    Meaning: Servant of God.
  31. Becker
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Baker of bread or tiles.
  32. Chason/Chazen
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Cantor.
  33. Ackerman
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Ploughman.
  34. Rubin
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Behold a son.
  35. Altman
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Old man.
  36. Pasternak
    Origin: Polish/Romanian/Russian/Ukrainian/Yiddish
    Meaning: Parsnip.
  37. Nahum
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Comforter or consoler.
  38. Navarro
    Origin: Sephardi
    Meaning: Someone from the Navarro region in Spain.
  39. Naftali
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Wrestling, struggle, or strife.
  40. Nisim
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Miracles.
  41. Åarons
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Shining light.
  42. Abate
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: High priest.
  43. Babel
    Origin: Polish
    Meaning: Babylon.
  44. Bach
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Stream or creek.
  45. Camhi
    Origin: Sephardi
    Meaning: Wheat.
  46. Ancel
    Origin: Ashkenazi/French
    Meaning: Servant or serving maid.
  47. Arenberg
    Origin: Ashkenazi/German
    Meaning: Mountain.
  48. Alterman
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Alter, Alt, or head of a craft building.
  49. Abadi
    Origin: Arabic/Sephardi
    Meaning: Immortal, undying, or eternal.
  50. Abeles
    Origin: Ashkenazi/Dutch
    Meaning: The white popular.
  51. Benowitz
    Origin: Eastern Ashkenazi/Hebrew
    Meaning: Binyamin or son of the south or son of the right hand.
  52. Berenson
    Origin: Yiddish/German/Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Bear or son.
  53. Bing
    Origin: Old English/German
    Meaning: A dweller of the hollow.
  54. Broder
    Origin: Yiddish
    Meaning: Brodsky or a common family name for people from Brody, an area in Ukraine.
  55. Cooperman
    Origin: Yiddish
    Meaning: Copper or an occupational name for coppersmiths.
  56. Diamond
    Origin: Yiddish/Latin
    Meaning: Diamond or invincible.
  57. Barak
    Origin: Ashkenazi/Turkish/Croatian
    Meaning: Cottage, shanty, or cabin.
  58. Baran
    Origin: Russian/Slovak/Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Ram or forceful.
  59. Barber
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Blessed.
  60. Bard
    Origin: Ashkenazi/Yiddish
    Meaning: Beard.
  61. Bark
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: Birch or a name for someone who lives near a birch tree.
  62. Belman
    Origin: Ashkenazi/French/Yiddish
    Meaning: Beautiful.
  63. Beloff
    Origin: Belarus/Ukraine
    Meaning: White or pale.
  64. Bichler
    Origin: Ashkenazi
    Meaning: A seller of books.
  65. Kleid
    Origin: German
    Meaning: Clothing or garment.
  66. Klein
    Origin: German/Dutch
    Meaning: Small or little.
  67. Bieler
    Origin: German
    Meaning: An occupational name for someone who uses or makes hatchets.
  68. Landau
    Origin: German
    Meaning: Land or valley.
  69. Lichtenberg
    Origin: German
    Meaning: Lighthill.
  70. Ehrlich
    Origin: Austro-Hungarian.
    Meaning: Honest.
  71. Eisen
    Origin: Austrian.
    Meaning: Iron.
  72. Gelb
    Origin: Yiddish.
    Meaning: Yellow.
  73. Goldberg
    Origin: German.
    Meaning: Golden town.
  74. Hakimi
    Origin: Arabic.
    Meaning: Wise.
  75. Leiberman
    Origin: Jewish.
    Meaning: Dear man.

Common Hebrew Phrases

No matter where you are in the world, certain phrases have a way of making you feel you’re right at home with the fam. So, if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of Hebrew sayings, see below: 

Shalom — Hello, goodbye, or peace
Slicha — Sorry or excuse me
Ma Nishma — How are you doing or what’s up?