Q&A: When Israelis Hebraized their last names in the 1930-60s, was there any paperwork needed or people just started using the new surname?

People usually started by simply adopting the new surname informally, often followed by their original surname in parentheses, until their new surname becomes better known among the public—e.g. David Ben-Gurion (né Grin). Then after a year or two, they made it official by registering it at the Ministry of the Interior (or its equivalent during the British Mandate period). This was useful, as in some cases the user might decide to change the name to something else, or to tweak it (as happened in my own family).

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What does Nathaniel mean in Hebrew?

In Hebrew it is Natan’el (the i was inserted in the European version, for easier pronunciation), meaning ‘God has given’.

Incidentally, the name Jonathan (Hebrew, Yonatan) means the same, only with the Judean contraction for the Lord’s name—Jo.

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(Originally written in reply to a question at Quora.com)