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The German origin is from cat = katze.

The correct way was to spell it as two words "Kahanim Tzadik".  Katz is from the first two letters in the two words KAhanim TZadik. It was an abbreviation for high priest.  -  Sam Katz

The Katz name claims Kohen descent, meaning that theoretically it is descended from Aaron the High Priest (Moses's brother) mentioned in the Torah.  Aaron and Moses were the great grandsons of Levi, identifying the family's tribal affiliation with the Levites.  Levi was the son of Jacob and Leah, Jacob was the son Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob the son of Abraham and Sarah.  -  Barry Stiefel

Thanks to modern genetic analysis, and the "cohanim" markers found to exist on the Y-chromosomes of almost all men claiming to be of cohanim descent (including most Jewish Katzes), this claim can actually be verified. I had my dad's DNA analyzed and sure enough, we Katz' were indeed descended from the early "kahanim tzedaks!"  As a genealogist, being able to go back 3,300 years is way cool.  -  Debra Katz

Katz is composed of the two Hebrew letters "kof" and "tzadi", which is an abbreviation for "Kohayn Tzeddek".  That part is accurrate, however the translation is not.  Kohayn Tzeddek means "Righteous Priest" Kohayn Gadol is the "high priest".  -  Joshua Katz

"Katz" is also a common surname for a kohein (it is an acronym of "kohein tzadik," that is, "righteous priest"), but not all Katzes are koheins.  -

Hebrew acronym based anthroponyms. I'm not sure we are looking at the phenomena the way it ought to be seriously dealt with from the point of view of the scientific study of natural language.  That "Katz" is an acronym for _kohen tzedek_ `priest of justice' and "Segal" for _sgan levi_ `deputy Levite', for example, is fairly well-known.  The question is whether this is true in the sense that it is the actual way such names were formed. I strongly suspect that lesser-known examples such as "amen" being an acronym for _emet muvan (ve-)naxon_ `true, understood (and) correct', or the Aramaic based "bar" (as in Bar-Mitzvah) for _ben rav_ `son of rabbi' (rabbi here in the sense of `respected gentleman') and "mar" `Mr.' for _morenu (ve-)rabenu_ `our teacher (and) rabbi' are nothing more that folk (or rabbinical) etymologies.  If so, why should we take the Katz and Segal cases for granted?  Well, an explanation might go along the lines that it is no accident that the vast majority of Katzes are kohanim (descendents of Aaron along paternal lineage) and Segals, leviyim (descendents of Levi [but not Aaron] along paternal lineage).  But then, why don't we find non-Ashkenazi (i.e., from parts other than central or east Europe) Katzes and Segals?  It seems, to me at least, far more reasonable to assume that the names Katz and Segal derive from Germanic terms related to felines and sails, respectively (or perhaps some other Indo-European source).  It simple just happened to be the case that the original (or originals) Katz was a kohen, and Segal, a levi.  Once the families grew substantially, folk etymologies were sought.  Any corroboration on this?  Is there anyone out there who can enlighten us some more on this matter?  -  Daniel Radzinski

ANY staunchly religious Jew who is planning to visit the historic town of Tiberias in the near future and who is also called Cohen would be better off revising his plans.  The main street of this busy tourist attraction is namely off-limits to anyone bearing the name Cohen or any of its derivatives, such as Kahan, Kahane or the Hebrew equivalent, Katz.
    During recent construction work the town's elders discovered that the main street runs through an old cemetery and according to strict Judaic rules, it is out of bounds to anyone who is called Cohen -- provided he is very religious at the same time.
  According to tradition, anyone bearing the name Cohen or any of its variations is a direct descendant of the high priests, the kohanim, who can trace their lineage back 3000 years to Aaron, brother of Moses.  As members of this ancient caste of priests, they are even today subject to strict limitations, one of which is being forbidden to enter cemeteries regarded as impure. In addition, in Israel, where there is no civil marriage ceremony, these Cohens are not allowed to marry divorced women or those converted to Judaism.
    The discovery of the cemetery underneath Tiberias' main street is not a major find -- there are after all plenty of side streets -- but city fathers discovered during digging work that the side streets are also built on top of old graves and these are also forbidden ground, or "not kosher" for the tens of thousands of Cohens in Israel.
  Cohens are only allowed to visit graveyards when a member of their family is to be buried.
In order to avoid banning Cohens from the city centre altogether, town mayor Benjamin Kiriati decided to bring the Cohens into the town centre on a new route.  A parallel street to the main thoroughfare is to be built in order to allow Cohens easier access to the town.  To ensure no more tombs trip up the kohanim, the parallel street will be built on flat concrete bridges over any burial places. This procedure will cost many million shekels more than planned but for the Cohens, the extra costs are justified.
Problems with old Jewish cemeteries do not only occur in Israel. At the beginning of the '90s, in the northern German port of Hamburg, a years-long controversy flared up over a planned shopping centre in the working-class district of Altona, which was to be built on top of old Jewish graves.  Only after tough and lengthy negotiations, to which the Chief Rabbinate was also a party, could the go-ahead be given for the shopping mall to be built.
In Tiberias, groups of ultra-orthodox Jews have also announced resistance. Basically, they want to prevent any street being built on top of Jewish graves and they also want the existing road to be raised over known locations of graves so the dead may rest in peace.
    Although Tiberias' cemetery controversy solely affects Cohens who follow strict religious beliefs, a further religious law affects any Jew bearing the name.  Anyone called Cohen, a name common in Israel, is from the outset limited in his choice of marriage partner.  Israeli rabbis refuse to marry any Cohen to a woman who has been divorced, which in modern-day Israel is becoming increasingly more common, or to a women converted from any other religion to Judaism.  Nor even for Chaim Cohen, the former supreme justice of the country, was an exception made by the strict religious functionaries.  Cohen was forced to marry his divorced partner in a civil ceremony abroad.
British scientists have also found out that Cohens, Kahanes and Katzes are actually different to other Jews. British and Israeli scientists examined 306 members of the kohanim, the ancient caste of priests, and discovered that they all possess certain genetic details which set them apart from other Jews.  According to Oxford University's David Goldstein, this is a direct result of the tradition whereby the status of kohanim priest has been passed from father to son ever since the building of the first Jewish temple, 3000 years ago.  -  Sapa, Dispatch Online

Did you know that it is illegal in Israel to change your name to Katz? It is also illegal to change your name to Cohen. This is to prevent people from claiming to being cohanim when they are not. I had a relative who changed his name to Dror, which was more Israeli sounding. When he wanted to change it back to Katz, he found he couldn't. In the end, he had to find some semi-legal way of getting his file pulled.  -  Professor David S. Katz, Tel Aviv University

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