All in all, it is probably a positive sign that immigrants to America no longer feel the need or desire to change their surnames to more “American” (re: Anglo, or at least intelligible-to-English) variants. At the same time, one can’t help but feel that something is being lost, particularly in the Jewish community. To that end, I polled a few Tablet Magazine staffers to find out their original last names from way, way back. Don’t forget to leave yours in the comments!
Fishbeyn –> Matthew Fishbane, deputy politics editor
Hoffmann –> Allison Hoffman, senior writer
Urich* –> Wayne Hoffman, deputy editor of Nextbook Press
Ivry –> Sara Ivry (ivrit, anyone?), senior editor
Mueller –> Abigail Miller, assistant art director/Webmaster
Neuhaus –> Alana Newhouse, editor-in-chief
Oxfeld –> Jesse Oxfeld, executive editor (okay so not everyone had name-changes)
Schmutz (!) –> Gabe Sanders, deputy editor
Smallwood –> Len Small, art director/Webmaster
Zubrine/Rosenfeld** –> Julie Subrin, audio producer
Tracovutski –> Marc Tracy, staff writer
* “Apparently some other family in Russia named Hoffman had visas to emigrate, and their visas came in before my family’s (Urich) did. But when their visa came up, one of the Hoffman children was ill and they’d have been turned away from the boat. They told the Urichs that they could use the Hoffman visa—all they had to do was switch family names. Simple. We’ve been Hoffman ever since.”
**There is apparently much controversy on the subject!