How to Pronounce “Jabotinsky” Properly and Impress all Your Friends

Hello Lovers of Jewish History!

By now you must be talking to all your former friends and colleagues about the upcoming Jewish History @ J series of lectures, and hyping up the first biography of Vladimir Jabotinsky scheduled for Monday, October 31.

It occurred to me that it might be helpful for you to get some background on his unusual name, and in particular, how to pronounce it properly.

First, his surname. It’s Slavic in origin, and the Cyrillic alphabet doesn’t have a sound exactly like the letter “J.” The closest is this interesting looking letter, which is actually the initial letter of “Jabotinsky:”


It’s typically rendered “Zh” in most transliteration systems, and it’s pronounced like the French “J” in “Jacques,” not the English”J” in “Jack.” Jabotinsky’s name is often rendered as Zhabotinsky.  Incidentally, to render the sound “J” like “Jack” in the Cyrillic alphabet, a “d” letter is added before the “j.” The American Joint Distribution Committee, for example, was known in Russian as the “Dzhoynt.”

There’s more cool things about his first names–Vladmir Ze’ev–but I’ll save those for the lecture because there’s some small joke potential there. Very small.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Monday, October 31!

P.S. Interested in sponsoring one of the lectures in the series? Please visit the Friends of Jewish History!


2 thoughts on “How to Pronounce “Jabotinsky” Properly and Impress all Your Friends

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  1. I wonder if Vladimir Zhabotinsky was a Zhazz fan. (smile)

    Seriously, this video and the one about Rabbi Kook were very informative. But then, I’ve never been disappointed with any of them.

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