This surname of WEIRICH is an occupational name for a producer or seller of wine, derived originally from the Old German WEIN (wine) + REICH (kingdom). The name was also adopted by Ashkenazic Jews, largely recollecting the prominence of wine in the Jewish Scriptures and its use in Jewish ceremonies. It has been suggested that the surname has been adopted because of the symbolic association of the vine with the Hebrew personal name ISRAEL ('they shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine) Jeremiah. 6:9, but since wine is mentioned over nine hundred times in the Jewish scriptures it is almost impossible to explain which reference there is to this name. During the Middle Ages the manufacture and fermenting of wines and ale was necessary in every small village. Ale was the people's food in liquid form, and was consumed by everybody at all times. The extreme poverty of the Franciscans when they first settled in London was noted by a writer at the time 'I have seen the brothers drink ale so sour that some would have preferred to drink water'. In early times each villager usually brewed his own drink although he often had to pay the lord of the manor for the privilege of using his equipment. In later times the manufacture of ales and wine became an important monastic industry. The name is also spelt WEINER, WEINMAN, WEINERMAN, WAINERMAN, VEINER, WEINBACH, WEINRAUCH, WAINRAUCH and WEINSTOCK to name but a few. The United States became the intellectual and cultural centre of world Jewry and in 1948 it was reported 'this country now holds first place in Yiddish culture and ranks second only to Palestine as a creative centre in Hebrew. The most important institution for the study of Yiddish-speaking Jewry was YIVO, the Yiddish Scientific Institute, which had been established in Vilna in the mid-1920's. It moved to New York City in 1940, shortly before the German invasion of the Baltic states. Once in America it changed its name to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Max WEINREICH YIVO's head and the foremost authority on the Yiddish language, migrated from Vilna to New York in 1940.
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