Mōšeh Ahărōn ben Hʿeršʿel
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This page will discuss the onomastics of my names, particularly, but not exclusively, as they are related to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) persona, Mōšeh Ahărōn ben Hʿeršʿel (Hebrew/Yiddish, מֹשֶׁה אַהֲרֹן בֶּן הֶערשֶׁעל). I became a bar mitzvah, or son of the commandment, through Joel Bernstein’s Hebrew School in Bayside, Queens, NY, at 13 years old. Onomastics, or onomatology, is the study of the origins of proper names.

In our neighborhood, there was a man named Joel Bernstein who said he was a rabbi and he had a plan. His niece lived in a two-family house and they converted the basement of the house into a school by putting a divider in the middle of the room to create two classrooms. He charged minimal, affordable tuition for kids to come for Hebrew school training. We learned to read in Hebrew—just enough to qualify for our bar mitzvah—but we didn’t learn much else.
Rabbi Bernstein also had a connection on Manhattan’s lower east side, where he would buy tape recorders, walkie-talkies, and transistor radios, and make Hebrew school into a competition. He broke the class up into quadrants, four students to a quadrant, and we went around the room reading from the Hebrew book. Whichever team made the fewest mistakes during the reading would get so many points, and whatever team had the most points after a set period won tape recorders, walkie-talkies, or transistor radios. We were being bribed into learning Hebrew.
Howie Rose with Phil Pepe, Put It In the Book!: A Half-Century of Mets Mania. Chicago, IL: Triumph Books. 2013. Kindle edition.
  1. Mōšeh Ahărōn ben Hʿeršʿel (Hebrew/Yiddish) is my brit milah (Hebrew for covenant of circumcision) name and paternal family name connected with myself name is Moses Aaron in English is Moshe Aharon in Hebrew and Mūsā Harūn in Arabic. (Mōšeh is rendered as drawn from water, and Ahărōn translates as high mountain or bearer of martyrs.) According to this source, “They [Yiddish words] are spelled exactly as they are in Hebrew, but may be pronounced differently. Almost a fifth of Yiddish words are derived from Hebrew.” In Yiddish, Mōšeh Ahărōn is pronounced “Moyshe Arn.”
  2. Der Faygnboym (Yiddish version of the German, "der Feigenbaum," i.e., the fig tree in English, HaAllee in Hebrew, or at-Tīna in Arabic) was (with its German spelling, Feigenbaum) my father's last name before my parents changed it (according to my father, about six months before I was born) to Foster. My parents did not want me to have such a long name. They changed it early so there was no doubt about my family birth name. (Foster was selected, since that was the name already chosen by my paternal uncle Stanley.) In Arabic, this part of my name is a laqab (a byname or epithet). It follows the name (Arabic, ism) and precedes the nasab (pedigree, i.e., Arabic, ibn).
  3. My father’s Jewish name, Herschel or Hîršl (“little dear,” a dimminutive of the much older Hîrš), is of modern origin. Therefore, my full name in the SCA cannot be submitted for approval to the association. (The Arabic for dear is Dhabī.)
  4. Ben is Yiddish and Hebrew for son of. (The Arabic equivalent is ibn.)
  5. al-Wāḥidātī is a follower of the unities in Arabic. I use it as a designation for a critical realist.
  6. Der Leyvy is Yiddish for ha-Lēwî (Hebrew, the attached), al-Liwī (Arabic), and the Levite (English). While records were lost with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (70 C.E.), according to tradition, I am, patrilineally, of the tribe of Levi, i.e., those who assisted the Kohanim with their priestly duties in the Temple and served as rabbis and teachers to other Israelites.
  7. My mother's maiden name is Kleinman, and my material grandmother's maiden name is Fisch.
  8. Here is some informal documentation:

    Moses is an Egyptian name-element meaning "-gave birth to him" or "-formed him" and was usually combined with a theophoric element, as in "Ramose" which had the meaning "child of Ra" or "Ra formed him" or as in "Djehutymos" (Thutmose) meaning "Thoth's child." "Moshe" is a Hebrew word (meaning "one who draws water"). The Bible asserts that this is the origin of the name because Moses was "drawn out" of the water by the Egyptian princess. It could also be a reference to his role in leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
    Moses, Wikipedia entry

    MOISHE: Yiddish form of Hebrew Moshe, the Hebrew form of Moses, probably meaning "born/son of," but which is usually translated as "saved (from the water)."
    Male Yiddish Names

    son of ... ben [Yiddish and Hebrew]
    Yiddish Dictionary Online

    faygnboym (a fig tree)
    Albright Broaches Brooches at a Gem of a Gala

    The name of Moses means "drawn from water" in the Egyptian's language.

    ARKE: Yiddish form of biblical Aaron, meaning "high mountain."
    Male Yiddish Names

    The meaning of the name "Aaron" is unclear. Possible meanings are:

    1. Pregnancy - In Hebrew - herayon. In Ancient Egyptian herr is to conceive and hrara is conception.
    2. From the mountain - In Hebrew - har, which may refer to place of his own death.
    3. High mountain - In Arabic - haroun or harun.
    4. One of light
    5. From Hebrew (Aharon), possibly meaning "bearer of martyrs",
    6. Related to the Ancient Egyptian aha rw ("warrior lion", or possibly "elevated", "exalted" or "high mountain").
    Aaron, Wikipedia entry

    Aaron is a Hebrew masculine given name. It is derived from the Hebrew name Aharon which is most likely of Egyptian origin. According to other theories, the name could be derived from various Hebrew roots meaning "high mountain", "mountain of strength" or "enlightened". Aaron is also a Jewish surname. Aaron was most popular in the USA in 1994 peaking as the 28th most popular name. St. Aaron's day is on July 1 and is celebrated in French speaking countries and Polish speaking countries.
    Aaron (given name), Wikipedia entry

    Aaron is a Jewish surname which is derived from the given name Aaron.The name Aaron is derived from the Hebrew words meaning "lofty." There are several surname variants including Aarons, Aaronson, and Aron.
    Aaron (surname), Wikipedia entry

    Hirsch means dear in the German language and in Yiddish.
    Hirsch, Wikipedia entry

    Hertzel , Hertzl - Dear. Hebrew variations and short forms include Hertz, Hershel, Hersch, Herschel, Herz, Herzl, Heschel, Hesh, Heshel, Heskel, Hirsch and Hirschel. (M)
    (from a now defunct website)

    If you share any of my ancestral last names, please register, at no cost, with FamilySearch.org. After joining, do a genealogical search for the Feigenbaum email list, which I created, or for the two additional lists list, created by others. Then, post a message to introduce yourself. The addresses are: