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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Childrearing Related Questions (12/12)
Section - Question 21.2.5: Naming: My spouse has a living relative with the same name as my deceased relative. Can we name our children after my

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Previous Document: Question 21.2.4: Naming: Is it appropriate for multiple children (i.e. cousins) to be named after the same relative?
Next Document: Question 21.2.6: Naming: What are the Sephardi customs regarding the naming of children?
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         relative?

                                  Answer:
   
   Note that this response is significant only to those that hold with
   Ashkenazi traditions; Sephardi traditions name after living relatives.
   Also note that we are dealing with custom here; there is no formal law
   that would prohibit it. Ashkenazic custom discourages naming a baby
   after a living relative. This is a based on a folk-myth that this
   might confuse the Angel of Death, who might then accidentally take the
   baby instead of the older relative. Sefardic custom has no such
   tradition, and thus encourages parents to name their children after
   living relatives. Generally, Ashkenazi Jews should follow the
   traditional Ashkenazi custom, and Sefardic Jews should follow the
   Sefardic custom, but the end decision is left to the parents.
   
   For the most part, most people would not use the same name. Often, the
   living relative with that name would be offended that one might be
   trying to use the name before they were done with it! However, as with
   anything, there are solutions. Consider using a less recognizable
   variant of the name, or a name with the same first letter, instead.
   Another approach would be to use a name that is different, but has the
   same meaning. There also appears to be less of a taboo against using
   English names of living relatives (i.e., use the English name, but use
   a different Hebrew name). However, the best approach is to check with
   the living relative to see if they would be offended.

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