Finkelstein (Hebrew: פֿינק(ע)לשׁטײַן or פינקלשׁט(י)ין, Russian: Финкельштейн) is a German and Yiddish surname originating from Old High German funko (spark) and stein (stone). Funkelstein meant pyrite (Adler German-English Dictionary, 1864). The Yiddish version of pyrite, finkelstein, could have denoted bareketh, one of the 12 tribe stones of High Priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:17).
Notable people with the surname include:
- Arthur Fields (Abe Finkelstein), American singer and songwriter
- Arthur J. Finkelstein, US Republican political activist
- Avram Finkelstein, gay rights activist
- Clive Finkelstein, Information Engineering pioneer
- David Finkelstein, professor of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology
- Daniel Finkelstein, British journalist
- Hans Finkelstein, German chemist who discovered the Finkelstein reaction
- Israel Finkelstein, Israeli archaeologist
- Jacob Finkelstein (Jackie Fields), American world champion welterweight & Olympic champion featherweight Hall of Fame boxer
- Louis Finkelstein, Talmud scholar
- Louis Finkelstein (artist) (1923-2000), painter and Queens College (CUNY) professor
- Max Finkelstein (died 1940), New York City policeman.
- Meir Finkelstein, cantor and composer of contemporary Jewish liturgical music
- Menachem Finkelstein, Israeli district judge, Israel's Military Advocate General from 2000 to 2004.
- Norman Finkelstein, American political scientist and writer.
- Norman Finkelstein (poet), poet and writer
- Peter Max (Peter Finkelstein)
- Salo Finkelstein
- William Zorach (born Finkelstein)
- Eddington-Finkelstein coordinates
- Finkelstein reaction, named after Hans Finkelstein
- Finkelstein's test, a method to diagnose DeQuervain's syndrome
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