Friday, October 29, 2010

Lipkowitz or Lefkowitz? How a Litvak is transformed into a Hungarian

One of the venerable ראשי ישיבה in ארץ ישראל is הרב מיכל יהודה ליפקוביץ שליט"א

A real Litvak, from the town of Volozhin I believe.

However, it is common to see his surname rendered in English as Lefkowitz, which to my knowledge is a Hungarian Jewish surname.

How did this happen? How did a Litvak become Hungarian in his later years?

I believe that the people doing the transliterating were not familiar with the Litvishe surname Lipkowitz/Lifkowitz, which is not so common, so they confused it with the more well-known to them Hungarian name Lefkowitz.

Should we let this conversion stand?

Thanks to a friend from New England for pointing this out.

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