September 9, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm #604828sheinMember
What is so famous about the Katzenellenbogen’s, who are they, and is the name still used by anyone today?September 10, 2012 1:45 am at 1:45 am #956651midwesternerParticipant
There was a boy in the family with a yarmulke . . . .September 10, 2012 2:03 am at 2:03 am #956652MeemaYehudisMember
I don’t know the background, but there is a wonderful family with that name in Meah Sh’arim. A number of years ago, we spent 2 months in Meah Sh’arim, & Rav Katzenellenbogen, who was the head of the Neturei Karta k’hilla, and his wonderful rebbitzen, hosted us for a few s’udos on Shabbos & Yom Tov. We were clearly not N’turei Karta types (more Yeshivish), but the whole family was so warm & welcoming, and not only to us. There were many guests, ranging from one, who was jokingly referred to as the Tzoini, to very right-wing types.
There is a doctor in Flatbush with that name, but I don’t know if he is related.September 10, 2012 2:05 am at 2:05 am #956653mommamia22Participant
Don’t know the history, but there’s a Dr. katzenellenbogen in Brooklyn who’s practicing.September 10, 2012 2:22 am at 2:22 am #956654sheinMember
Doesn’t the name or family go back (i.e. in known history) hundreds or even a thousand of years in Ashkenazic Jewish history?September 10, 2012 2:40 am at 2:40 am #956655Sam2Participant
I am unfamiliar with any special story, but Katzenellenbogen was a relatively common last name in Europe. If you would meet a “Katz” in America who isn’t a Cohen, it’s probably because the name used to be Katzenellenbogen and got shortened.September 10, 2012 3:04 am at 3:04 am #956656seeallsidesParticipant
The Katzenellenbogen name is a long time respected name – they wrote seforim, one of them supported a whole city – what is your specific question? You can look in wikipedia which has a lot of information.September 10, 2012 3:24 am at 3:24 am #956657bubkaParticipant
Is the last name Elbogen a shortened version of Katzenelbogen?September 10, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am #956658
Rav Meir Katzenellenbogen the Maharam Padvi was the first of the name, having been born in Katzenellenbogen in the late 15th century CE, studied in Prague, and lived in Padua where he married the daughter of Rav Avrohom Mintz. He was a cousin of the Ramo, and a great Torah scholar in his own right. He has many descendants today, among a number of families of rabbinic ancestry, including my own.
The family is descended as well from Rashi, and thus from Dovid Hamelech, which might answer the first question, and put the name among other families such as Shapira, Treivish, Loew, Landau, Frankel, Wahl, and many others who share the ancestry.September 10, 2012 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #956659Sam2Participant
Yichusdik: We’re all descended from Rashi (as well as everyone else who was alive at that time). Do you mean Ben Achar Ben? Because no one is descended from Rashi that way.September 10, 2012 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #956660
Sam2 – Many families, and perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands of Jews are descended from Rashi, but not everyone in klal Yisroel. None of them is ben achar ben, because he had 3 daughters. I am descended from two of them, Miriam and Yocheved, through a number of lines.
For some more insight into Rashi and Rabbinic lineages I suggest you take a look at the works of Dr. Neil Rosenstein, Rabbi Meir Wunder, and Arthur Kurzweil, among many others.June 3, 2013 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #956662distractedParticipantJune 3, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm #956663akupermaParticipant
Someone attempted to compile a list of the descendants of Rav Meir Katzenellenbogen (the book was entitled “Unbroken chain”). He ended up proving that virtually everyone alive today is related if you go back a mere 500 years, at least in western Europe. Since this increases exponentially, it turns out everyone alive is related to someone in the last 5000 years. A hiddush!June 4, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm #956664bigben18Participant
Rabbi Yosef Kazen who started chabad.org was the grandson of Rabbi Michoel and Sara Katzenellenbogen. His father, Rabbi Zalman Kazen, was the son of Rabbi Michoel and Sara Katzenellenbogen.June 5, 2013 1:03 am at 1:03 am #956665
akuperma, the person who wrote “The Unbroken Chain” is Dr. Neil Rosenstein, who I mentioned above. I’ve spoken with him and corresponded with him (he sent me some sources for my family tree that I didn’t have) and he is, from a few lines, a distant relative of mine.
The assertion you make certainly wasn’t the focus of his book, and I don’t remember reading that when I read the very long and very technical book. ( He stopped making new editions and started putting together CDs with the information as he updated it. Much easier than publishing an incredibly long and very expensive book.)
It is clear that at some point during the crusades, the Jewish families of Western and Central Europe were reduced to a few thousands or tens of thousands. But this does not account for the ongoing marriages and movements of families from Iberia, North Africa, the Italian states, and parts of the Byzantine Empire to and with these drastically reduced numbers of families. The argument goes both ways – yes, extended kinship, but no, less of a genetic bottleneck than usually perceived.
My own ancestors at the time were as widely placed as Gerona, Lunel, Narbonne, elsewhere in the Languedoc, Paris, Trier, Troyes, Worms, Treves, Rome, and they and others were beginning to migrate north and east. See R’ Naftali yaakov Hakohen’s Otzar Hagedolim (out of print since the sixties, but I have 7 of the 11 volumes) for some more details about that time period and where Jewish communities and their leaders lived.
So while I agree that there is extensive kinship among perhaps a plurality of Jewish families, I do not agree that it is ALL of them.June 5, 2013 2:34 am at 2:34 am #956666akupermaParticipant
His methodology aroused bemusement among genealogists, who usually start with themselves and work back. Doing it the other way around, picking a person and working forwards, ends leading to virtually meaningless results if you start going back too far – and 500 years is stretching it. I used the book to study the development of surnames and found it fascinating.
At this point, virtually every Jew, and probably almost every goy in Europe and the Middle East, is related to Avraham Aveinu, as well as to everyone else from that time. People were constantly moving around. Indeed, we have a mesorah, admittedly al pe kaballah, that every human had a common ancestor less than 5000 years ago (the goyim hold the common ancestor was probably more like several hundred thousand years ago).
Remember also that tools of genealogy don’t pick up converts, since we had to forge fake yichus for them since if the goyim knew someone converted they would execute them as a heretic. It also misses people who went off the derekh, whether or not they later returned, since it would have been loshon ho’ra to record such matters.
My response to someone who starts boasting of yichus is to point out I’m from the family of Adam ha-Rishon by way of Avraham Aveinu, and then ask them what they are descended from.November 16, 2017 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm #1405106SaftaParticipant
Being that I am from Cleveland, Ohio, I knew a family Katzenellenbogen. They were Lubavitch. I think they are now in Crown Heights.
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