Interesting Jewish Last Names – ShaleiahSabour

It’s interesting to meet people with interesting, long, exotic last names from time to time. It shows how we all are the same, yet our cultural and accent differences create a barrier.

A few years ago, when I was tutoring at Touro College, one of the students was a Yemenite female with the last name printed “ShaleiahSabouh.” Curious, I asked her about what her interesting last name meant. She looked at me incredulously, saying that it was a very Jewish one. First, she said, the name is “ShaleiahSabour,” and the last “R” was excluded when her name was transliterated into English. Then, she said that it meant someone who was the leader of a congregation.

At that point I put two and two together and said out loud, that’s Shaliach Tzibbur, or Chazzan! In the Yemenite Jewish dialect the Tzaddi is pronounced with an “S” and the “Chet” is pronounced as an “H.” Cool!