ASH (Asch; Heb. א״ש), abbreviation of various Hebrew words and transcriptions, later used as a name in its own right in Central and Eastern Europe. (1) Ash was the traditional Hebrew abbreviation of the city name *Eisenstadt. Meir b. Isaac *Eisenstadt is also known as "Maharam Ash"; "Ash" appears on a number of old Eisenstadt tombstones. Meir *Eisenstadter (Asch) made a pun from the Hebrew meaning of the word (אש, "fire") in the title of his work Imrei Esh (1852) and so did Abraham b. Joseph *Ash. (2) "Ash" is also used as an abbreviation for Alt-schul, the "old school" (synagogue) quarter of Prague, by Moses b. Ḥanokh *Altschul in the late 15th century; it was later found on tombstones of 1582 to 1727 in the old cemetery of Prague. (3) The Ash family of rabbis (descended from Moses b. Joseph of Mezhirech in Poland, who moved to Stargard in Pomerania), believing that their name literally signified "ash" (Asche in German), "retranslated" it into Hebrew as Efer (Mishpaḥat Efer), "ash" in Hebrew.
H. Flesch, in: Juedische Familien-Forschung, 2, no. 4 (1926), 188; A. Berliner, Zur Familiengeschichte Asch (1913), 15; S. Hock, Die Familien Prags (1892), 16–19; B. Wachstein, Die Grabinschriften des alten Judenfriedhofs in Eisenstadt (1922), 660.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.