the ritual of
|Date and Month of|
birth and circumcision
|Place of Birth||Father's status,|
father and mother names
|Who was born and|
what name was given
|in Sredniki Settlement||Keidan Community|
Movsha Ruvin Meerovich Zaelson
wife Rachane Eizerovna
(Rachane daughter of Eizer)
|In the previous month of May there were males born - one, and females - none. This book is correct and accurate, I certify that 1st June 1886.|
It should be noted that Sivan 6 marks the Festival of Shavuot, also called the Feast of Weeks or Pentacost in English, and that it is one of the three major, Biblically commanded, Jewish Holy Days. Al Jolson was born on a Jewish Holy Day!
So, what was his original name? The name given on this sheet is "Eizer," spelled Alef-Yud-Yud-Zayin-Ayin-Raysh, which is a Yiddish, not a Hebrew, name. What is the difference? Just as in this country, Jews in Europe often had a Yiddish name and a Hebrew Name. Mendel in Yiddish, Menachem in Hebrew; the tailor Motle in Fiddler on the Roof carries a Yiddish name, that is the Yiddish diminutive for the Hebrew Mordechai. Al's brother Hirsch has a Yiddish name, it would be Tzvi in Hebrew. And so our man Al Jolson also had a Yiddish name, Eizer, and a Hebrew name, Asa. According to Harry Jolson's book, he was named for Naomi's father, and, allowing for another first name change that is still being worked on, his mother's last name is given as "Eizerovna," meaning "daughter of Eizer" in Russian. There are many examples of such dual names, Hebrew and Yiddish, or Yiddish and Hebrew, and it appears that Al Jolson had just such a name.