Last Names Ashkenazi and Mizrachi

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    Is the surname “Ashkenazi” exclusively utilized by Ashkenazim and the surname “Mizrachi” exclusively used by Mizrachim? And do either of them carry any notable significance?


    I believe there are mizrachim (sefaradim, not necessarily mizrachim) called Ashkenazi.


    What’s the difference between a Sefardi and a Mizrachi?


    Sefardi = those descended from Spain/Portugal.

    Mizrachi = those descended from Iraq, Egypt etc.

    Many use the terms interchangeably, but there is a difference.

    Read the Wikipedia article about “Syrian Jews” – Syria is one place where the difference between them was very important.


    Ashkenazi is a very common surname in the Syrian community. Not sure if it comes from the Sefardi bit or the Mizrachi bit, though.


    Ashkenazi is most defiantely not exclusive to Ashkenazim.

    Three of my Syrian friends’ last names are Ashkenazi.


    Most people with the last name “ashkenazi” are either sefardim or mizrachim whose ancestors came from ashkenazi countries. The Ari was a good example.


    Most likely, either name would indicate someone who moved from one region to another (which was quite common). If you lived in Brooklyn, and moved to Chicago, everyone in Chicago would know you as “the Brooklyner”. A person with a geographic name of origin would indicate the person came from the place and settled in a place where such an indicator would be of use in identifying them.

    You should also know that “Ashkenazi” sometimes refers specificially to Germany, so a yekke who moved to Eastern Europe might be known as “Ashkenazi”. Based on such evidence as family records, gene flow, etc., many people moved between regions.

    Aishes Chayil

    I know pple with the name Ashkenazie who are chassidish.

    ohr chodesh

    The Ari was himself an Ashkenazi (not Sephardic; though his mother was of Sephardic origin. His father was Ashkenazic.)


    ohr chodesh: And when he moved to Egypt, he became known as Ashkenazi.

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