Sun Apr 23 2023 - Sun May 07 2023


Pacific Time
11:00 am - 12:30 pm


Presented by KlezCalifornia
Co-presented by San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society

Ashkenazic Family Names, a three-session course with Binyumen Schaechter

What does your family name say about your family’s history? Most of our Ashkenazic Jewish ancestors first took family names some 200 years ago related to their occupation, first name, appearance, behavior, socioeconomic status, or birthplace. Learn the etymology of the names of our families, friends, and favorite celebrities. 

We will include a brief history of Ashkenazic family names and an analysis of Ashkenazic patronymics, matronymics, occupational names, geographical names, nicknames, acronyms and abbreviations, and more.

Registration is limited to 36 to allow time for discussion. The presenter will do his best to provide information about at least two family names per registrant. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Each session will be videotaped and made available one day after the class. All videos will be available until one week after the last session, i.e. through May 14.

Binyumen Schaechter is best known as a musical theater composer (five off-Broadway shows as “Ben Schaechter”), Yiddish choral conductor and arranger (for the New York City-based Yiddish Philharmonic Chorus), Musical Director and accompanist (of Di Shekhter-tekhter, and others), translator of lyrics into Yiddish (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Over the Rainbow,”Anything You Can Do”), and leader of Yiddish sing-alongs (especially his recurring Yiddish Song Workshop & Sing-along). But additionally, he is frequently invited to give lectures and workshops relating to Yiddish music and the Yiddish language. Among his most frequently requested topics are “How to Sing in Yiddish So That It Sounds Like Yiddish,” “Ashkenazic Family Names: What Our Names Mean About Our Families”, and, from an autobiographical perspective, “How It Came to Be, in 21st Century America, That Our Entire Extended Family Speaks Yiddish.” He is forever grateful to his parents, Dr. Mordkhe and Charne Schaechter, z”l.


The course will take place via Zoom on three consecutive Sundays: April 23, April 30, May 7, 11am-12:30pm, Pacific Time (PT). Please confirm your local time. Registering means paying the course tuition of $90, due in advance. Registration is available only for the full course.

To reserve a space, scroll down and complete the registration form.

Registering includes giving KlezCalifornia permission to take still and video images and use them for educational or other organizational purposes. If you do not agree to such use, please turn off your video when you join the event. To keep you informed of future events, we enroll registrants in our free monthly newsletter which includes klezmer and Yiddish culture events in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. You may unsubscribe at any time. KlezCalifornia does not share its lists with other organizations.