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What is a rabbi, and who can be one? | Worship

 


My mother’s maiden name is Robinson. The name was created by an immigration official when my grandfather came to America in the early 1900s from what was then called Palestine.

I say created because there’s no doubt that is not how my grandfather, who grew up speaking Arabic and Yiddish, would have pronounced his last name.

The family legend is Robinson refers to the fact that my grandfather was the son of a rabbi – with “Robin” being an English speaker trying to make sense of the Arabic “rebbe.”

This is consistent with the traditional Jewish naming convention of adding “s...



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