Project Genesis

Mitzvos (Commandments)

A Cohen by Name

Question: Is there a way I can check from someone’s last name if they are a Cohen (a member of the priestly Jewish tribe)? Where can I find that out?

Answer: The short answer is no. There are many names that are much much more common among Cohanim like the name Cohen, Katz, Kagan, Kahana, Azulai and quite a few more but there are non-Cohanim who have these names as well (there are even non-Jews with these last names. In Europe it was common to “borrow” a last name to help get out of the draft and there are Cohanim that married women which they were not allowed to marry thus rendering their offspring non-Cohanim according to Jewish marital law.

All the best,
Rabbi Benyowitz

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